Proposed Budget Would Reduce IHSS for 254,000 People

The In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) Program helps more than 425,000 low-income seniors and people with disabilities live safely in their own homes, thereby preventing their placement in more costly out-of-home care. Most IHSS participants receive domestic and related care services, including laundry, shopping for food, cooking and cleaning up after meals, and general housework. Individuals who are less able to perform these activities are eligible for higher levels of assistance. Governor Brown proposes to eliminate domestic and related care services for most IHSS participants living with others, a change that would affect approximately 254,000 individuals. According to the Legislative Analyst’s Office, those affected by the Governor’s proposal would lose an average of between nine and 14 IHSS service hours per month. This cut 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. However, the cut would apply even in cases in which the IHSS participant lives with an unrelated individual who is not willing or able to do these domestic tasks. 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.

The Governor’s proposed reduction to domestic and related care services would be in addition to IHSS cuts made since 2009-10. The Legislature, for example, reduced hours for all participants by 3.6 percent beginning in 2010-11 and cut hours by an additional 20 percent in 2011-12, although the latter reduction was recently blocked by a federal court injunction.

Last budget year the state legislature voted for serious cuts to the IHSS program that many people consider both immoral and illegal. Those cuts have not taken effect only because IHSSadvocates and other advocates filed lawsuits to stop them.