Thursday morning, candidate for Illinois District 112 Representative Katie Stuart experienced firsthand the vital role home healthcare providers play in the lives of seniors and people with disabilities. Stuart participated in a “walk a day,” where she worked directly with personal assistant Richard Jones and one of his consumers, Eric Luckett.
“I appreciate the opportunity to participate in the “Walk-a-Day event with Eric and Richard” said Stuart. “I will stand up against Governor Rauner and Rep. Dwight Kay’s extreme policies that will hurt our most vulnerable. I will fight to ensure such critical programs like in home care is funded at a level that no one is at risk of losing care.”
Personal Assistants like Jones provide invaluable care that seniors and people with disabilities rely on to live full lives in their homes. In a major victory for people with disabilities, seniors and home healthcare providers, Governor Bruce Rauner rescinded his disastrous new rules this week which limited overtime hours for providers. Rauner’s policy restricted workers to 40 hours per week and put the burden on the consumer to find another caregiver to work the additional hours. Because of this, Jones had to let go of another consumer in order to make certain Luckett receives the 40 hours of care he needs each week.
“Home care is my voice, my legs, my transportation, my everything,” said Luckett of his personal assistants. “Without them, I probably would have killed myself. They make my life worthwhile. They’ve become family.”
Some 28,000 home healthcare providers like Jones have been working without a contract across the state of Illinois for more than a year. Rauner has tried to use the overtime rule as a way to extract a 4-year wage freeze from care providers. Healthcare providers like Jones are a literal lifeline for people like Luckett, who requires daily care.
“Having people come to my house shows that there’s people out there who really care for me, and it gives me hope that you’re out there fighting for me,” said Luckett.