Governor Brown Cuts IHSS Hours by 8% Starting July 1, 2013

Governor Brown makes temporary 8% cuts in IHSS hours

Governor Brown signs SB 67 IHSS Court Settlement Bill making official temporary 8% across-the-board cut in hours for all IHSS recipients beginning July 1st, 2013, followed by 7% cut next year

SACRAMENTO, CA (CDCAN) [Last updated 05/30/2013 05:30 PM] – Governor Jerry Brown, as expected, signed today SB 67 which contains provisions to implement the In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) court settlement agreement that includes a temporary 8% across-the-board cut in hours for all IHSS recipients beginning July 1, 2013, followed by a smaller 7% cut beginning July 1, 2014.

The legislation includes the other provisions of the settlement that repeals permanent cuts enacted – though never implemented due to federal district court orders – in 2009 and 2011 to the IHSS program that included a 20% reduction to most IHSS recipients, a rollback in the State’s contribution toward IHSS worker wages, and a major cut to IHSS recipients based on their rankings and scores in a county internal assessment tool.

The Governor also signed SB 68, which makes adjustments, including additional appropriations, to the current 2012-2013 State Budget. The adjustments includes additional funding to cover lost federal funds this year budget year for Sonoma Developmental Center in Sonoma County.

TEMPORARY CUT BEGINS JULY 1, 2013 FOR ALL IHSS RECIPIENTS

  • As previously reported, under the federal court settlement agreement as implemented by SB 67, over 440,000 children and adults with disabilities (including developmental), the blind and seniors who are IHSS recipients would see a 8% across-the-board cut in their service hours beginning July 1, 2013 through June 30, 2014. That cut would fall to 7% on July 1, 2014 and end on June 30, 2015. IHSS recipients who have “documented unmet need” hours can have the 8% reduction (and the later 7% cut) taken first from those hours.
  • However some portion of that 7% cut could remain indefinitely if the Governor’s Department of Finance, under the settlement agreement and SB 67, determines that the State will not receive sufficient new federal funding for the IHSS program to cover restoring funding to off-set the temporary reduction.
  • The temporary reductions would replace an existing 3.6% across-the-board cut in hours to all IHSS recipients that was originally authorized as part of the 2010-2011 State Budget, and is scheduled to end on June 30, 2013.
  • The Brown Administration estimates that the 8% across-the-board reduction would mean a cut to the IHSS program budget – and a savings to the State of about $160 million in State general funds during the 2013-2014 State Budget year that begins July 1st.
  • The Administration estimates that the 7% cut would result in a cut to the IHSS program (or savings to the State) of about $159 million in State general funds during the 2014-2015 State Budget year. Neither amount includes lost federal matching funds.
  • SB 67, as part of the court settlement, also repeals previously enacted permanent cuts to the IHSS program made in 2009 and 2011, including a 20% reduction in hours to many IHSS recipients, cuts in the State’s contribution toward IHSS worker wages and major cuts to IHSS recipients based on their functional index scores and rankings (an assessment tool used by county social workers). None of those permanent cuts were implemented due to federal court orders that had remained in place up until the settlement was approved.

WHO IS IMPACTED BY TEMPORARY ACROSS-THE-BOARD IHSS CUTS?

  • IHSS RECIPIENTS: All IHSS recipients – over 440,000 children and adults with disabilities (including developmental served by regional centers), the blind and seniors – are impacted, as they were with the existing 3.6% reduction. No exemptions.
  • IHSS WORKERS: The across-the-board reductions also would impact the over 360,000 IHSS workers who provide individual supports and services to IHSS recipients, who would see a reduction in their pay that corresponds with the reduction in lost hours linked to the temporary across-the-board cut for the IHSS recipient.
  • CUT APPLIED TO MOST RECENT ASSESSMENT: The temporary across-the-board 8% cut (July 1, 2013 through June 30, 2014) and 7% cut (July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2015), under the court settlement agreement and as authorized n SB 67, would be applied to the IHSS recipient’s hours as authorized in their most recent assessment. IHSS recipients may direct the manner in which the reduction of hours is applied to previously authorized services.
  • DOCUMENTED “UNMET NEED”: Under the court settlement and as authorized in SB 67, if a IHSS recipient has documented “unmet need” hours – meaning certain specific needs as documented by the county that exceed the maximum 283 hours per month that a IHSS recipient can have - then the across-the-board reduction will be taken first from those hours. Persons not certain if they have documented “unmet needs” should contact their county IHSS social worker.
  • NOTICE OF ACTION FROM STATE TO IHSS RECIPIENTS: Under the court settlement agreement and as required by SB 67, the Department of Social Services would be required to send out notices of action informing IHSS recipients of the 8% at least 10 days prior to the reduction taking effect and include specified information such as appeal rights and right to request an reassessment.
  • IHSS RECIPIENT REASSESSMENTS: Under the court settlement – and as authorized in SB 67, if a IHSS recipient requests a reassessment based only on the 8% or 7% reductions, that request can be administratively denied. However SB 67 underscores the existing rights of IHSS recipient to request a reassessment when there are changes in circumstances and the responsibilities of counties to respond to such requests.

LINKS TO SB 67 AS AMENDED AND PASSED BY THE LEGISLATURE

NEXT STEPS FOR IHSS COURT SETTLEMENT IMPLEMENTATION

  • GOVERNOR: Governor signed SB 67 today (May 30, 2013) as expected. The bill took effect immediately upon his signature (and the filing of the signed bill with the California Secretary of State)
  • FEDERAL DISTRICT COURT: Federal District Court Judge Claudia Wilken gave final approval of the preliminary court settlement agreement (which SB 67 would implement) last week at a hearing, and noted that some IHSS recipients filed objections. Approval by the court – which was expected – followed the time period allowed for anyone directly impacted by the settlement to file an objection to the agreement. The deadline to file objections was May 3rd.
  • DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL SERVICES: the state agency that oversees the IHSS program statewide sent out on May 10th a draft notice – called an “All County Letter” – that will go to all county welfare directors and IHSS program managers and other county entities when finalized, for comments from stakeholders regarding implementation of the temporary 8% across-the-board reduction in service hours to all IHSS recipients, along with attachments of various forms and notices in different languages [copies of this draft and attachments were sent out in a previous CDCAN Report #027-2013]. Deadline to submit comments on the draft notice was May 24th. When finalized, the department will send out the final version to counties in earl June. CDCAN will send out copies of the final version. In addition the department will, assuming SB 67 is signed into law, notices at least 10 days prior to July 1, 2013 notifying all IHSS recipients of the 8% across-the-board reduction.

BUDGET CONFERENCE COMMITTEE SCHEDULED TO MEET FRIDAY AT 1 PM

  • Meanwhile, the Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee office announced that the 8 member Budget Conference Committee, chaired by Sen. Mark Leno (Democrat – San Francisco), is scheduled to hold its first hearing tomorrow afternoon, May 31st at the State Capitol in Room 4203 at 1:00 PM or upon call of the chair (meaning the exact hearing time could change).
  • The Budget Conference Committee, according to the Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee office, will begin tomorrow’s hearing with a budget overview presentation, followed by, if time allows, taking up the Transportation and Resources Agenda. The Budget Conference Committee agenda is broken up into several separate agendas covering the different major budget areas, including a 28 page agenda focusing on health and human services budget items. It is not certain yet when the committee will take up the health and human services agenda.

BUDGET CONFERENCE COMMITTEE MEMBERS

The 2013 Budget Conference Committee members are:

  • Total members: 8 (3 Senate Democrats, 3 Assembly Democrats and 1 Senate Republican and 1 Assembly Republican)
  • 2013 Budget Conference Committee Chair: Sen. Mark Leno (Democrat – San Francisco)
  • 2013 Budget Conference Committee Vice Chair: Assemblymember Bob Blumenfield (Democrat – Van Nuys)
  • Senate Democrats (3): Sen. Mark Leno (chair, Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee); Sen. Kevin De Leon (chair, Senate Appropriations Committee); and Sen. Loni Hancock (chair, of the Senate Budget Subcommittee #5 on Corrections, Public Safety and the Judiciary.
  • Senate Republican (1): Sen. Bill Emmerson (vice chair, Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee)
  • Assembly Democrats (3): Assemblymember Bob Blumenfield (chair, Assembly Budget Committee); Assemblymember Holly Mitchell (chair, Assembly Budget Subcommittee #1 on Health and Human Services); and Assemblymember Nancy Skinner (chair, Assembly Rules Committee)
  • Assembly Republican (1): Assemblymember Jeff Gorell (vice chair, Assembly Budget Committee)

WHAT IS NEXT FOR THE BUDGET CONFERENCE COMMITTEE

  • As previously reported, AB 110, is the main bill containing the 2013-2014 State Budget – at least through the budget conference committee process.
  • When the budget conference committee begins its public hearings, no additional public comments are taken at these hearings – which are announced and open to the public (and normally televised and streamed live by CalChannel).
  • The budget conference committee normally takes up only those budget items where the two houses took different actions – though sometimes new or alternative proposals can be advanced by either party or by the Governor during this process, and then acted on. The public can always at any time during the budget process send in written comments (letters) to the leadership of both houses and to the budget committee chairs and members regarding their views and positions on specific budget issues.
  • The budget conference committee will, sometime by early to mid-June – report out to the Assembly and State Senate floors their actions and any items still unresolved. At that point further action on the state budget occurs on both floors of the Legislature, with final vote on a budget plan that will be taken before the end of June.
  • With only a majority required to pass a budget and budget trailer bills now (unless there is a revenue increase in those bills), there is no doubt that a budget will be passed before the end of the 2012-2013 State Budget year that ends June 30, 2013.

ASSEMBLY ADJOURNED AT 5:20 PM – WILL MEET AGAIN FROM 9 AM TO 5 PM FRIDAY – SENATE ADJOURNED JUST BEFORE 1:30 PM TODAY AND MEETS NEXT ON MONDAY 12 NOON

  • As previously reported, both the Assembly and State Senate convened this morning to take action on bills introduced in their houses earlier this year to meet the May 31st deadline. That legislative deadline requires that the Assembly must pass all Assembly bills introduced earlier this year and the Senate must pass all Senate bills introduced earlier this year on or before May 31stin order for those bills to continue on in the legislative process this year. Any bill that does not pass by that deadline or fails passage cannot have further action until January. The deadline however does not apply to budget related bills or to “urgency” bills.
  • The Assembly, convened at 09:00 AM on this morning, and adjourned its floor session just at5:20 PM with many more bills to go. The Assembly is scheduled to meet again on Fridaymorning at 09:00 AM to 5:00 PM finish up action on any remaining bills in order to meet the May 31st deadline.
  • The State Senate convened at 10:00 AM and adjourned just before 1:30 PM today, finishing action on the remaining Senate bills. The Senate will reconvene at 12:00 noon on Monday.

HOW CAN I MONITOR THE LEGISLATIVE BUDGET AND POLICY COMMITTEE OR SUBCOMMITTEE HEARINGS IF I CANNOT ATTEND?

People can monitor most legislative hearings in several ways including live audio, and live internet streaming. Nearly all hearings – even those not televised live – can be watched later (at least by the next day) in the video archive. See below for information.

  • LIVE VIDEO STREAM – INTERNET – Most of the scheduled hearings can be viewed live on the CalChannel website at http://www.calchannel.com/live-webcast/ The page will say “LIVE Webcast California Legislative Hearings” Below that heading, look for the floor session, committee or subcommittee you wish to monitor and the scheduled time of the hearing or floor session and at that time. When the hearing or floor session starts, the posted date and time will changed to “In Progress – View Event” Click on that, and a box should open up with the live stream.
  • LIVE CABLE TV BROADCAST – People can also view the hearing via cable TV through CalChannel. To find what channel it may be on (if you cable company carries CalChannel) check this listing for your city or area and local cable company: http://www.calchannel.com/local-listing/
  • LIVE AUDIO ONLY INTERNET BROADCAST AND LIVE VIDEO STREAM – Look for the hearing you want to listen to below, find the room number, and then click on the Assembly website link: http://assembly.ca.gov/listentorooms and then click on the room number (or chamber) where the hearing or floor session is located. The audio quality varies depending on the room and who is speaking. (It doesn’t matter if the floor session or hearing is an Assembly or Senate floor session or hearing – you can access either through this site). The live video stream also available on this page is different from the CalChannel video stream, with the video camera in a fixed position and the quality not as good.