Proposed State Budget Trigger Cuts to IHSS
Submitted by Frances Gracechild, Chair, Advisory
Committee, based on excerpts from the California
Disability Community Action Network Report,
Dear Yolo County Supervisors and all Yolo County IHSS stakeholders:
As the current Chair of the Yolo County IHSS Advisory Committee I am pleased to report the following committee activities during the last year.
Monthly Advisory Committee (AC) meetings were held on topics of urgent concern for the continuance of a quality IHSS program in California and Yolo County: Those topics included the State Budget deficit crisis, reductions in funding to the IHSS program, new requirements for mandated provider enrollment and DOJ checks, information regarding lists of “Tier I and Tier II” crimes, proposed and final changes to IHSS and elimination of Adult Day Health Care as a Medicaid benefit. Committee members spent several sessions working on how to run a meaningful Advisory Committee without the customary AC budget of $50,000. We found ways to continue our work with an estimated budget of $4,500. Our biggest regret during those committee negotiations was the inability to continue to pay a portion (%) of the salary of the PA Director. We had taken great pride in previous budget years in donating to preserve full time status of our Public Authority Director. We are blessed that Supervisor Provenza provided the necessary leadership in finding and obtaining board approval for contingency funding for 2011-2012. Without the full time status of our devoted PA Director we would have been unable to conduct the following activities:
• Four AC members traveled to San Jose to a statewide conference designed to empower California Advisory Committee members through communication and education;
• Three members traveled to Sacramento in January on the day of the Governor Brown’s press conference and all were interviewed by media – the governor shook hands with one of our members;
• One member had an editorial published in the Woodland Daily Democrat about protecting In-Home Supportive Services from further budget reductions;
• Three members participated in the Capitol Action Day Rally to protest budget cuts to IHSS and Adult Day Health Care centers; and
• One member gave personal testimony to the Assembly Aging and Long Term Care Committee.
Back in June, 2010, as the California Legislature struggled to balance the state budget, rather than forcing additional massive spending cuts, they estimated that the economy would improve and state revenues would increase. They added two “triggers” that would impose automatic spending cuts if the amount if state revenues of $85.5 billion dollars were not reached by December 15th.
According to figures from the State Controller, the state economy is showing improvement, but it is not bringing in revenues as hoped for. Some in the State Capitol believe if the trend continues one or both of the “trigger cuts” will likely be pulled.
If State revenues are forecast in December 2011 to be lower by $1 billion to $2 billion, the first State budget “trigger” will be pulled, causing $600 million in automatic spending cuts for specific programs effective sometime after January 1, 2012.
If State revenue numbers in December 2011 are forecast to be lower by more than $2 billion, then the second State budget “trigger” would be pulled, causing spending cuts of up to $1.9 billion.
Though, as of this writing, no decisions on the State Budget “trigger cuts” have yet been made – and will not be made until December- the State Department of Social Services is preparing notices and documents just in case they are needed.
Cuts to IHSS would be a 20% across the board cut estimated to save the state $100 million in the remaining 6 months of the 2011-2012 budget year.
If this “trigger cut” is pulled it would be in addition to the 3.6% cut that took effect in February of this year.
If this “trigger cut” goes into effect, it allows for exemptions for those who are at serious risk of out of home placement if they lost 20% of their service hours.
If the “trigger cut” goes into effect recipients may choose how the total reduction in service hours is applied to their individual authorized services.
If the “trigger cut” goes into effect it will not apply to individuals receiving IHSS who also receive services under one of the State Home and Community Based Services Waivers; i.e. Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) Waiver, Home and Community-Based Services Waiver for the Developmentally Disabled (HCBS-DD), In-Home Operations (IHO), Multipurpose Senior Services Program (MSSP), and Nursing Facility/ Acute Hospital (NF/AH).
If the “trigger cut” goes into effect the 20% reduction will first be applied to any documented unmet need, excluding protective supervision, before being applied to authorized hours.
If the “trigger cut” goes into effect any IHSS recipient who receives notice of the reduction in authorized services who believes the reduction puts her/him at serious risk of placement in out-of-home care may submit an application for IHSS Supplemental Care to request full or partial restoration of her/his reduced hours.
If the “trigger cut” goes into effect the California State Department will work with counties to develop a process to allow for counties to pre-approve IHSS Supplemental Care requests.
If the “trigger cut” goes into effect in January, you will receive appropriate notice(s) and forms from your Yolo County Adult Service worker.
If the “trigger cut” goes into effect in January, you will need to remember to request “Aid Paid Pending” to maintain your current authorized hours while the appeal of the NOA is processed.
If the “trigger cut” go into effect in January we must stage a resistance on multiple fronts: Rallies, press conferences, visits to our representatives and, for the very bravest of justice warriors, join the non-violent protesters of Occupy Wall Street. Many years from now when our grandchildren ask us what we were doing in 2012 during a worldwide uprising for economic justice we want to say we stood up for In- Home Supportive Services so people with disabilities could live safely and with dignity in their homes and communities.