Budget Package Rolls Back 7 Percent Cut to IHSS Hours, Delays Implementing New Rules for Home Care Workers
Many seniors and people with disabilities rely on the In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) Program, which helps more than 440,000 people with low-incomes remain safely in their own homes, preventing the need for more costly out-of-home care. The 2015-16 budget agreement:
- Rolls back the current 7 percent cut to IHSS consumers’ authorized hours of care on July 1, 2015. The cost of restoring these hours in 2015-16 – $226 million – will be paid for with state General Fund dollars. However, in calling a special session of the Legislature to explore funding options for certain health and human services programs (see page 14), the Governor asserted that “the state’s General Fund cannot afford to permanently maintain [this] restoration.” One of the goals of this special session is to identify an alternative, ongoing source of revenues to fund these restored IHSS hours beginning in the 2016-17 fiscal year.
- Continues to delay the implementation of new labor regulations regarding home care workers. In 2013, the federal government issued rules mandating overtime pay for home care workers – including IHSS providers – and requiring that workers be paid for time spent in transit between multiple consumers, at medical appointments, and in mandatory trainings. The 2014- 15 budget agreement provided state funding to implement these changes – along with new restrictions on overtime – starting on January 1, 2015. However, a federal court prevented the new federal rules from taking effect and, as a result, the Governor delayed implementing the regulations in California pending a final court decision, as allowed by state law. The 2015-16 budget package assumes these rules will not be implemented for IHSS until October 1, 2015, and only if the courts ultimately uphold the legal validity of the federal regulations. (These same provisions apply to home care services that are overseen by the Department of Developmental Services and provided to people with developmental disabilities.)