**Update – April 10, 2013** NSCLC has prepared a notice about the settlement for consumers and providers, download it here.
March 20, 2013 – A settlement has been reached in the law suit to stop the State of California from reducing In-Home Supportive Services hours and services. The cuts had been enacted in the state’s FY 2011-12 budget and FY 2009-10 budget, but were blocked by court injunction. The Governor’s proposed FY 2013-14 budget still assumed the state would win the suit and implement the cuts.
In the settlement, the State has agreed to repeal and eliminate two major cuts to IHSS: (1) the 20% across-the-board reduction in IHSS hours from 2011, and (2) the termination or reduction in IHSS for many recipients based on their functional index score from 2009.
Instead, the settlement:
- Replaces the permanent 20% cut in IHSS hours with a temporary 8% cut in July 2013. (This is an additional 4.4% on top of the 3.6% current cut that was scheduled to expire in June.)
- Reduces the total cut to 7% in July 2014.
- Restores the hours lost from the 7% cut as early as the spring of 2015 if the State obtains federal approval of a provider fee which could bring significant new federal revenue to California.
- Commits any savings from retroactive federal approval of the new provider fee to fund a program to benefit IHSS recipients, such as the SSI Special Circumstances program, which was used to pay for refrigerators and stoves, rent to avoid eviction and other emergency needs but has not been funded in the budget for many years.
- Clarifies that IHSS consumers have a right to request a reassessment based on a change in circumstances, even if this change is not medical. Recipients will not be required to provide medical certification of a change in their medical condition to obtain a reassessment. This will help ensure that consumers who need additional hours will be able to obtain them.
We’ll have more details soon.
The settlement resolves a second lawsuit that challenged a cut to IHSS worker wages that was enacted in the state’s FY 2009 budget (a cut that was also blocked by the courts). The state agreed to rescind its reduction of the “state participation” share of IHSS worker wages.
The settlement is expected to win approval by the court. The additional cuts in hours will cause hardship for many people who rely on IHSS, yet in light of the alternative, today’s settlement represents an important victory in protecting seniors, children and adults with disabilities from the terrible consequences of short-sighted public policy decisions. The plaintiffs in the suits were represented by lawyers from Disability Rights California, National Senior Citizens Law Center and others, and our hats off to them for this important accomplishment.
Return to the State Budget page here.