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California Authorizes Temporary Cuts to IHSS Service Hours

June 6, 2013

California Senate Bill 67, which authorizes the implementation of temporary across-the-board cuts in service hours to all In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) consumers, was signed by Governor Jerry Brown (D) on May 30 — as expected.

The bill, prompted by a federal court settlement agreement in January 2013, authorizes an 8 percent temporary cut in IHSS service hours from July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2014, and a reduced temporary 7 percent cut from July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2015.

A 20 percent across-the-board cut in IHSS hours had been slated for January 2012, but it was invalidated in the U.S. District Court, Northern District California, before it could take effect. The federal district judge ruled that the reduction in home care service hours would violate the Americans with Disabilities Act, among other issues.

A portion of the 7 percent temporary cut could “remain indefinitely” if the California Department of Finance determines that the state will “not receive sufficient new federal funding for the IHSS program to cover restoring funding,” according to a blog post.

California would save $160 million in general funds under the first round of temporary cuts and $159 million the following year when the 7 percent cuts take effect, the Brown administration estimates. Yet these savings do not account for lost federal matching funds, the post explains.

More than 440,000 children and adults with disabilities, the blind, and elders enrolled in the IHSS program will be impacted by the cuts; there are no exemptions.

The across-the-board cuts in service hours will also affect more than 360,000 IHSS workers, who will see a pay reduction corresponding with the reduced hours of service that their IHSS clients receive, reports the California Disability Action Network.

— by Deane Beebe

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