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California IHSS Program Avoids Huge Budget Cut

March 22, 2013

California’s In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) program has avoided the massive 20 percent cut in services long sought by Governor Jerry Brown (D) to help close the state budget deficit.

Instead, the state will introduce a new 4.4 percent cut in service hours for the program’s 444,000 low-income consumers.

Combined with an existing 3.6 percent cut — originally enacted in 2010 — IHSS services will be temporarily trimmed by 8 percent beginning July 1, the start of the new fiscal year.

Since it is an across-the-board cut, there are no grounds for appeal, but consumers can ask to have their hours reassessed due to the impact of the cut.

The state estimates that the average IHSS consumer will experience a loss of just one hour of home care per week.

Cut Scaled Back from 20 Percent

The original 20 percent cut was set to go into effect on in January 2012. However, it was invalidated by a federal judge in Oakland before it could take effect. Among other issues, the judge ruled that the reduction in home care services would violate the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Union leaders and other activists have called the reduced IHSS cuts a huge relief for IHSS consumers and home care workers in California.

“IHSS is a bare-bones program and no one wants to see it cut by any amount,” said Donna Calame, executive director of the San Francisco IHSS Public Authority.

“However, given the reality of the impending 20 percent cut in the governor’s budget proposal, this is as much as we could expect in a court settlement agreement,” Calame said.

The 8 percent cut scheduled to go into effect this summer will be reduced to just 7 percent next year.

— by Matthew Ozga

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