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Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka has announced her office will prioritize payments to providers of services to the developmentally disabled.

Topinka's order on Tuesday follows a notification to group homes and other agencies for the developmentally disabled that they wouldn't be paid for one month of services this fiscal year. Even then, the state payments would be subject to ongoing payment delays.

The letter notifying providers was dated Monday and said there's not enough money in the current budget to pay them. The letter said deferred payments would come from next year's budget.

Topinka says her office will immediately begin making payments to providers for the developmentally disabled when the new fiscal year begins July 1.

Her office estimates the state's backlog of unpaid bills has reached $8.5 billion.

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