With the Legislature still debating how to close the current budget gap, it’s worth recalling that policymakers already closed last February’s $40 billion budget gap with significant cuts to health and human service programs for low-income Californians – and some of those cuts take effect tomorrow.
- SSI/SSP grants for low-income seniors and people with disabilities will drop by 2.3 percent, cutting the maximum grant for an individual from $870 to $850 per month. A previous SSI/SSP grant cut took effect in May, reducing maximum monthly grants for individuals from $907 to the current $870.
- CalWORKs grants for low-income families with children will be cut by 4 percent, reducing the maximum grant from $723 to $694 per month (the same amount as in 1989) for a family of three in high-cost counties. CalWORKs grants have been frozen since 2004-05.
- Dental services for most adults in the Medi-Cal Program will be eliminated along with seven other benefits, including eye exams and incontinence creams and washes. (Last week, a trial court judge in Sacramento County ruled against a group that sued to stop the cuts from taking effect.)
A wage cut for in-home care workers was also set to take effect tomorrow, but the workers have won at least a temporary reprieve. The February 2009 budget agreement reduced the maximum amount at which the state will share in the cost of wages and benefits for In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) providers from $12.10 per hour to $10.10 per hour. (The state shares the cost with counties and the federal government; counties can provide wages and benefits that exceed the state limit, but they have to do so without the benefit of state dollars.) Last week, a federal judge blocked the reduction, arguing that the state had not adequately studied the impact on IHSS services. Press reports indicate that the Schwarzenegger Administration plans to ask the judge to allow the wage cut to go into effect while the ruling is on appeal.
— Scott Graves