Man Can Move Out Of Nursing Home, Appellate Court Rules
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
March 9, 2004
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS--Yes, Bradley Tinder does have a developmental disability. And, yes, he is eligible for community-based services under Illinois rules.
That was the decision recently handed down by the state's Appellate Court of the Third District.
Tinder, 30, has had cerebral palsy since birth. He has been living in a nursing home since 1999, but requested to move into a Community Integrated Living Arrangement (CILA) where he could be more independent.
The Illinois Department of Human Services denied Tinder's CILA placement claiming he did not have a developmental disability. The department said that CILA provides "active treatment" for people with developmental disabilities, and since Tinder did not have mental retardation, he would not benefit from such treatment.
Tinder, represented by Equip for Equality, the state's federally-mandated Protection and Advocacy System, appealed the decision to the Illinois Department of Public Aid (DPA).
The DPA sided with the Department of Human Services. After a trial court later affirmed the original administrative decision, Tinder and Equip for Equality filed for the appeal.
The state argued during the appeal that Mr. Tinder had to have a mental disability to qualify for CILA services. The Appellate Court rejected the state's argument in favor of Tinder's position that state law clearly includes cerebral palsy in the definition of a developmental disability.
"We are pleased that after nearly five years our client will finally be able to move from a nursing home into the community," Janet Cartwright, Senior Attorney for Equip for Equality, said in a press statement. "The Appellate Court correctly recognized that the State's denial of disability community services was unjustified under the statutory language."
The decision is significant because it could affect many others in Illinois that have cerebral palsy and other developmental disabilities, according to Laura J. Miller, managing attorney for Equip for Equality.
"The Illinois Department of Human Services has been routinely denying community living to people who are entitled to those opportunities, and this ruling sends a clear message that the State's position is contrary to the law," Miller said in the statement. "We call upon the State to cease these illegal practices immediately."
No. 3-02-0826, Tinder v. Illinois Department of Public Aid (Appellate Court of the Third District)
Illinois Protection and Advocacy: Equip For Equality