Governor’s budget contains hidden cut that will devastate low-income home care recipients and their caregivers

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

January 9, 2014

Contacts:
Khanh Weinberg, (408) 921-0098
Mike Roth, (916) 444-7170

Governor’s Budget Contains Hidden Cut that Will Devastate Low-Income Home Care Recipients And Their Caregivers

Joint statement of home care providers on budget proposal that jeopardizes health of seniors and people with disabilities and delivers tough economic blow to women and people of color.

As we mark the 50th anniversary of the War on Poverty, the Administration’s budget proposal contains a hidden provision that will devastate low-income Californians who rely on home care and on low-wage caregivers, who are predominantly women of color.

Just months after the Obama Administration issued a new rule that gives caregivers equal rights by including them in our nation’s overtime protections, the Brown Administration is undercutting this effort by proposing a drastic cut in hours for tens of thousands of caregivers through the state’s In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) program.

By prohibiting work beyond 40 hours, the proposal will sharply limit the ability of caregivers to earn a living.  Caregivers commonly piece together several shifts of demanding, but low-paying work in order to provide for their families.  For many, public assistance will be the only option if this proposal is enacted.

Seniors and people with disabilities who require care beyond 40 hours a week will be forced to rely on temporary or alternative caregivers with less experience and familiarity with their unique needs.   For patients with complicated chronic diseases that must be managed consistently, or who experience dementia or other symptoms that require continuity of care, this budgetary maneuver is bad medicine.

This proposal purports to save a tiny fraction of the state’s large surplus, yet it contains hidden costs in the form of increased burdens on our social service and health care systems. IHSS is a long-proven program that saves taxpayer money and supports families in need.

We can afford to pay for the investment in quality, consistent care. We strongly urge Legislators to reject the proposal.

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Caregivers are available for comment.

CUHW, UDW AFSCME Local 3930 and SEIU (UHW, ULTCW and Local 521) are made up of hundreds of thousands of caregivers across the state who provide in-home support to 450,000 Californians who are sick, elderly or have disabilities.

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