LAKE COUNTY, Calif. – This week an Assembly budget committee is set to discuss the governor's proposed cuts for In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) clients in the coming budget year.
Assembly Budget Subcommittee No. 1 on Health and Human Services will discuss the Gov. Jerry Brown's proposed reduction to the IHSS program as part of a hearing on Wednesday, April 11, at 1:30 p.m. in Room 437 of the Capitol.
The IHSS Program helps more than 425,000 low-income seniors and people with disabilities across California live safely in their own homes. By doing so, IHSS prevents clients from being placed in more costly care facilities.
As part of his 2012-13 budget, Brown is proposing to eliminate domestic and related care services – such as laundry, food shopping, cooking, and general housework – for most IHSS participants living with others, a change that is estimated to impact approximately 254,000 people.
The California Budget Project said the governor's proposal would cut state spending on IHSS by $207 million in 2012-13 and result in the loss of $424 million in county and federal funds, for a total reduction of $631 million.
In Lake County, an estimated 1,020 IHSS clients would lose benefits totaling approximately $3,267,000, according to a California Budget Project report on the proposed cuts.
The Legislative Analyst's Office estimated that affected IHSS participants would lose an average of nine to 14 service hours per month, even in cases where they live with an unrelated individual who is not willing or able to do the listed domestic tasks.
The proposal would not apply to households in which an individual lives only with other IHSS participants or where other members of the household are unable to perform the needed tasks due to a medical condition, the California Budget Project reported.
The Legislative Analyst's Office's analysis of the proposed cuts to IHSS also noted that the governor is proposing to make IHSS a Medi-Cal managed care benefit, which “creates an opportunity for the Legislature to consider the future of the program.”
The report continued. “We find that the Governor's proposal for budget–year savings – the elimination of domestic and related care services for most IHSS recipients who live with other people – raises significant policy and legal concerns.”
As a result, the Legislative Analyst's Office is proposing that the Legislature consider two savings alternatives: the extension of the 3.6 percent across–the–board reduction in hours and the reenactment of the reduction in state participation in provider wages, both of which would achieve some state general fund savings in the budget year.
“We think that our alternatives pose less legal risks and implementation challenges than the Governor's proposal to achieve budget–year savings,” the report states.
IHSS already has been subject to cuts in recent years.
Cuts were made in the 2009-10 budget year and all participants had their hours reduced by 3.6 percent in 2010-11.
In addition, an additional 20 percent “trigger” cut resulting from the state being below its revenue target was implemented by state officials last December. A federal court injunction blocked that cut from taking place, according to homecare providers union, UDW, which joined with other advocate organizations to stop the cut.