Cuts would impact the care of an estimated 372,000 low-income seniors and people with disabilities
OAKLAND, CA – Late yesterday afternoon United States District Court Judge Claudia A. Wilken issued a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) effective immediately that stops the state from proceeding with a 20 percent cut to the state’s In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) program until the Court is able to hear the case on December 15, 2011.
The cuts of more than $100 million to the IHSS program are part of the state’s $700 million “trigger cuts” written into the 2011/12 state budget and passed under SB 73. The cuts, which would impact the care of an estimated 372,000 low-income California seniors and people with disabilities, were to be enacted on January 1, 2012, if state revenues didn’t meet projected earnings by mid December.
“Judge Wilken’s Temporary Restraining Order brings a sense of relief to California seniors and people with disabilities,” stated Laphonza Butler, president of SEIU United Long Term Care Workers (ULTCW). “This ruling means that our parents, grandparents, and children with disabilities who rely on the IHSS program to live safely at home will be able to get through the holidays without fear of losing their in-home care and being forced into institutions. It also means that there is a possibility of preventing these dangerous cuts to home care altogether.”
As stated in Judge Wilken’s findings, SB 73 raises serious questions of violations to Title XIX of the Social Security Act, the Medicaid Act, the American Disabilities Act and part of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 by placing IHSS recipients at imminent risk of unnecessary and unwanted out-of-home placement. (download TRO at: http://ultcw.org/files/2011/12/TRO.pdf)
Although the TRO does not stop the cuts from taking place, it does prevent the state from moving forward with issuing a Notice of Action to IHSS recipients that would announce the IHSS cuts as taking place on January 1, 2012.
“If implemented, these trigger cuts to the IHSS program would place hundreds of thousands of fragile lives in jeopardy,” said Butler. “Every hour of in-home care taken away from our seniors and people with disabilities places them in danger of experiencing falls, breaking bones, not taking their medications, or even worse. We simply can’t balance our states budget on the backs of our most vulnerable residents. The consequences are too great.”
The request for the TRO was filed on December 1, 2011, along with a lawsuit by senior and disability advocates to stop these devastating cuts to vital care from taking place. The Court is scheduled to hear the case on December 15, 2011, at 2:00 pm in Oakland.
Over 700,000 Californians make up SEIU in California; we work throughout the state, in all 58 counties, and we represent California in all of its diversity. We are social workers, nurses, classroom aides, state workers, security officers, college professors, home care workers, janitors, and more.