October 2009

Days Before Major Changes to State’s IHSS Program to Take Effect, Schwarzenegger Administration Unable to Follow its Own Order


Sacramento, CA – Following a federal court order halting the implementation of severe cuts to home care for 130,000 Californians, new information presented during a Capitol hearing demonstrates that the Schwarzenegger Administration is unprepared to meet its own Nov. 1 deadline to implement new restrictions on In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) program providers. Approximately, 450,000 recipients and close to 380,000 providers statewide would be impacted by the restrictions.

“The Administration is causing a lot of confusion,” said Raul Rivera, a home care worker represented by SEIU 521 in Santa Clara County. “It is troubling that with just five days until new job requirements go into effect, the State still has not given us clear information on what these changes mean for our jobs and for the people we serve.”

At least seven California counties have said that the Administration has provided confusing orders and failed to provide funds and materials promised to counties. As a result they cannot meet the Administration’s Nov. 1 deadline to fingerprint providers with live-scan technology, hold orientation sessions and provide employment-related materials for tens of thousands of home care workers.

“Sadly, it is the elderly and disabled who rely on this critical personal care service who ultimately pay for the Administration’s inability to provide clear, consistent instructions, and adequate time to implement the changes,” said Frank Mecca, Executive Director of the County Welfare Directors Association of California. “The Schwarzenegger Administration has put county agencies in an impossible situation, demanding that we implement sweeping changes in our local In-Home Supportive Services programs but not following through with the support and direction we need to implement their orders.”
In letters to the California Department of Social Services, county governments outlined an array of specific concerns and obstacles that prevent them from implementing the changes ordered by the Schwarzenegger Administration, including:

  • The short timeline the Administration gave counties to implement new live-scan fingerprint technology is impossible to meet because for each county, the California Department of Justice takes weeks to approve such a program. The current backlog for getting the go-ahead to start such a program may be six to eight weeks for each county.

  • The Administration has not delivered cash-strapped counties the promised state funding to offset the costs for the costly fingerprint program.

  • Just five days before new employment requirements go into effect, the Administration has failed to provide counties with information and materials for state-required employee orientation sessions.

Today’s hearing of the Assembly Budget Committee comes just a week after federal Judge Claudia Wilken, in response to a lawsuit filed by home care providers, seniors, and people with disabilities, issued a preliminary injunction that halted cuts to critical home care services for 130,000 low-income Californians who rely on IHSS to remain safely at home. The judge’s order prevents the State from moving forward with cuts to the state’s In-Home Supportive Services program until the court hears the class action lawsuit that was filed on October 1.

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SEIU Healthcare, United Long-Term Care Workers’ Union is the largest union of long-term care workers in California. The more than 150,000 nursing home and homecare caregivers provide vital care and services to seniors and people with disabilities.
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Counties Unable To Meet Nov 1 IHSS Deadline

Days Before Major Changes
to State’s IHSS Program to Take Effect,
Schwarzenegger Administration Unable to Follow its Own Orders

Administration missteps cause confusion for workers and Californians who rely on home care services
Courthouse PhotoSacramento, CA – Following a federal court order halting the implementation of severe cuts to home care for 130,000 Californians, new information presented during a Capitol hearing demonstrates that the Schwarzenegger Administration is unprepared to meet its own Nov. 1 deadline to implement new restrictions on In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) program providers. Approximately, 450,000 recipients and close to 380,000 providers statewide would be impacted by the restrictions.

“The Administration is causing a lot of confusion,” said Raul Rivera, a home care worker represented by SEIU 521 in Santa Clara County. “It is troubling that with just five days until new job requirements go into effect, the State still has not given us clear information on what these changes mean for our jobs and for the people we serve.”

At least seven California counties have said that the Administration has provided confusing orders and failed to provide funds and materials promised to counties. As a result they cannot meet the Administration’s Nov. 1 deadline to fingerprint providers with live-scan technology, hold orientation sessions and provide employment-related materials for tens of thousands of home care workers.

“Sadly, it is the elderly and disabled who rely on this critical personal care service who ultimately pay for the Administration’s inability to provide clear, consistent instructions, and adequate time to implement the changes,” said Frank Mecca, Executive Director of the County Welfare Directors Association of California. “The Schwarzenegger Administration has put county agencies in an impossible situation, demanding that we implement sweeping changes in our local In-Home Supportive Services programs but not following through with the support and direction we need to implement their orders.”
In letters to the California Department of Social Services, county governments outlined an array of specific concerns and obstacles that prevent them from implementing the changes ordered by the Schwarzenegger Administration, including:

  • The short timeline the Administration gave counties to implement new live-scan fingerprint technology is impossible to meet because for each county, the California Department of Justice takes weeks to approve such a program. The current backlog for getting the go-ahead to start such a program may be six to eight weeks for each county.

  • The Administration has not delivered cash-strapped counties the promised state funding to offset the costs for the costly fingerprint program.

  • Just five days before new employment requirements go into effect, the Administration has failed to provide counties with information and materials for state-required employee orientation sessions.

Today’s hearing of the Assembly Budget Committee comes just a week after federal Judge Claudia Wilken, in response to a lawsuit filed by home care providers, seniors, and people with disabilities, issued a preliminary injunction that halted cuts to critical home care services for 130,000 low-income Californians who rely on IHSS to remain safely at home. The judge’s order prevents the State from moving forward with cuts to the state’s In-Home Supportive Services program until the court hears the class action lawsuit that was filed on October 1.

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US Federal Judge Halts Cuts To IHSS Hours and Services! Press Coverage

Judge halts cuts to in-home care servicesKGO, Channel 7

Judge blocks cuts to home care program

LA Times Blog

A federal judge today blocked California from cutting in-home aid for 130,000 elderly and disabled state residents whose services would have been reduced or eliminated as of Nov. 1. U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken in Oakland issued a preliminary injunction against the $263.5 million in cuts, siding with the plaintiffs’ argument that the state’s method of determining whose services would be cut was unfair.

IHSS Cuts Temporarily Suspended
Calitics Blog

I’ve just received word that US District Judge Claudia Wilken has issued a preliminary injunction against the IHSS (in-home support services) cuts that were supposed to go into effect on November 1. The suit was brought by SEIU in response to the summer budget cuts. The California Disability Community Action Network has more information about the lawsuit . More details coming.

Judge halts cuts to in-home care
Sacramento Bee, Capitol Alert

A federal judge today halted the state of California’s plan to cut or reduce caregiver services for 130,000 disabled and low-income seniors as of Nov. 1. Judge Claudia Wilken in Oakland imposed a preliminary injunction against the plan, aimed at helping balance the state’s budget by cutting $82.1 million out of In-Home Supportive Services starting next month.

Federal judge halts IHSS cuts

Oakland Tribune, San Jose Mercury News and Tri-Valley Herald

OAKLAND – A federal judge has halted a slashing of the In-Home Supportive Service program which would have affected 130,000 disabled and elderly Californians starting Nov. 1. U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken issued the preliminary injunction at the end of a two-hour hearing Monday. She ruled that a written notice she had stopped the state from sending out last week would have been constitutionally inadequate, too hard to understand, and giving too little time for appeals. She also ruled the plaintiffs – advocates for disabled and elderly Californians, along with several labor unions – are likely to be able to prove at trial that the state was using inadequate standards to determine whose services would be cut.

Federal judge stops IHSS cuts in California
LBRB Autism News Science and Opinion Blog

California is facing severe budget shortfalls. High on the chopping block for cost-cutting are services to the disabled. One form of support is IHSS (In Home Supportive Services)

Federal Judge Blocks IHSS Cuts-Says State Violated Federal Law
California Progress Report

In a sweeping major victory for persons with disabilities, mental health needs, the blind, low income seniors and their families, In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) workers and advocacy groups, Federal District Court Judge Claudia Wilken in Oakland issued an order early Monday afternoon (October 19th) that stopped the State from moving forward on implementing cuts to eligibility and services under the IHSS program that was scheduled to go into effect November 1.

Popular Comment
Comment Section of Sac Bee Website

In-home care is vastly cheaper than putting people in hospitals. Cutting in-home care was a bad decision because it would have ended up costing the state a heck of a lot MORE money, instead of being a cost-saving. The governor is the one who is breaking laws left and right with his ill-considered budget cuts. The judges are doing their jobs, nothing “activist” about it. GAS is trying to resolve all of the budget problems within one year, and it simply cannot be done. If a family is up to their ears in debt, it cannot be wiped out by eliminating food and healthcare for a year, yet this is what GAS is trying to do. It took years to get into this mess and it’s going to take years to get out of it. We need to start with a REALISTIC budget, which seems to be something GAS can’t comprehend. Oh, and actually, the founding fathers DID mean to have a strong judicial system, to keep politicans from running amuck. — have5cats

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SENIORS, DISABILITY RIGHTS ADVOCATES AND HOME CARE PROVIDERS SEEK PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION TO STOP HOME CARE CUTS TO 130,000 CALIF

(OAKLAND) — Hundreds of home care providers, seniors, and people with disabilities rallied in Oakland today outside the Northern California Federal District Court in support of the lawsuit to stop cuts to essential home care. The rally preceded a hearing at which home care consumers and providers sought a preliminary injunction to stop the Governor’s cuts to vital home care. A decision about whether to grant the preliminary injunction could come as early as today.

“Home care is a lifeline that allows people who rely on it to stay in their homes instead of being forced into more expensive institutions,” said Stacey Leyton, attorney for caregiver plaintiffs. “The cuts violate federal protections for Medicaid recipients and individuals with disabilities, and will cause severe injury to consumers for whom these services are critical to their ability to remain safely in their homes, and in the long run will cost the State’s taxpayers more money.”

Advocates have requested the Court to issue a preliminary injunction as part of a class action lawsuit filed on October 1st on behalf of five low-income Californians who need IHSS to remain safely at home.

“This legal action must be taken and is another example of our commitment to do whatever is necessary to preserve home care in California and protect those it serves,” said Laphonza Butler, Trustee of SEIU-United Long Term Care Workers. “These cuts to the IHSS program are shortsighted, and if not stopped will place the lives of parents, grand parents and children with disabilities in jeopardy.”

“Our state has failed the test of compassion and the test of common sense,” said Mary Harms, a home care worker in Contra Costa County. “These cuts mark a departure down the wrong path, and we are committed to turning this around.”

“A lot of times people who are developmentally disabled tend to be looked down upon and not given choices. But I feel they are people, like you and me, equal in society, and they should not be singled out because of their disabilities,” said John Hernandez, a high school sophomore, whose 11 year-old sister Patricia is developmentally disabled and receives full-time care from their grandmother. “My grandmother takes care of my sister full-time, and I am very worried about what could happen if cuts mean she isn’t able to in the future.”

The home care consumer and provider plaintiffs recently succeeded in stopping the California Department of Social Services from mailing over 130,000 notices informing seniors and people with disabilities statewide that their In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) will be cut or eliminated. The Temporary Restraining Order on the mailings will remain in effect until Judge Wilken reaches a decision on whether to grant a preliminary injunction.

Cuts in IHSS services are scheduled to take effect November 1, 2009. The cuts will result in 40,000 people losing IHSS services entirely and an additional 90,000 having their services slashed. The services to be eliminated are basic human services – such as bathing, dressing, cooking and assistance with transportation to medical appointments – which enable seniors and those with disabilities to live independently. Without these services, many will be forced to move to institutional care that costs taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars more than IHSS.

Plaintiffs’ attorneys argued that the Governor’s cuts violate federal laws, including the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Medicaid Act, and the federal Constitution, because:

  • They will put at risk of institutionalization many individuals who have a right to receive services in the least restrictive setting. This is not only be illegal, it’s far more expensive than receiving care at home.
  • They use an arbitrary measure, the “Functional Index,” which was never designed to measure need or eligibility and which has a particularly discriminatory impact upon children, to disqualify needy consumers from the program
  • They discriminate against people with mental illness and/or cognitive impairments, since the Functional Index score is likely to be lower for them as well.

The lawsuit was filed by Disability Rights California, Disability Rights Legal Center, National Senior Citizens Law Center, and the National Health Law Program on behalf of IHSS consumers, and the unions that represent IHSS home care workers — SEIU/ United Long Term Care Workers; SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West; SEIU Local 521; UDW Homecare Providers Union–AFSCME Local 3930, and California United Homecare Workers (CUHW).

Earlier this year, SEIU and IHSS consumers and providers successfully prevented the state’s attempt to cut IHSS provider wages by $2 per hour. Based on the legal arguments, Federal Judge Claudia Wilken enjoined the State from implementing the state budget law requiring the $2 per-hour reduction in the State’s maximum contribution towards IHSS wages.

SEIU California is a coalition of over 700,000 janitors, social workers, security officers, homecare workers, education workers, nurses and various classifications of city, county and state employees represented by SEIU local unions throughout California. We come together to build a better California by fighting to pass policies and elect candidates that fight for the issues working men and women care about such as affordable healthcare, good wages, a means to a good retirement, a healthy environment, education and stronger communities. We believe that by working together we can build a California that all working families can once again thrive in.

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HOME CARE PROTECTED: SENIORS, ADVOCATES AND PROVIDERS WIN PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION TO STOP HOME CARE CUTS TO 130,000 CALIFORNIANS

(OAKLAND) — Home care providers, seniors, and people with disabilities prevailed in federal court today, securing a preliminary injunction to stop cuts to essential home care for 130,000 Californians. The injunction was welcomed by the hundreds of those affected and their supporters who had come to the federal courthouse this morning to rally and attend the hearing. The cuts were scheduled to take place starting November 1.

“Today’s court ruling is a victory for California seniors, people with disabilities and those who care for them,” said Laphonza Butler, Trustee of SEIU ULTCW-United Long Term Care Workers’ Union. “The judge’s decision marks another step toward protecting this lifeline service our parents, grandparents, and children with disabilities rely on to remain safely in their homes.”

At the request of advocates for home care providers, seniors, and people with disabilities, the Court issued a preliminary injunction as part of a class action lawsuit filed on October 1 on behalf of five low-income Californians who need IHSS to remain safely at home.

“Issuing a preliminary injunction was the compassionate and common sense course of action,” said Mary Harms a home care worker and member of SEIU UHW-United Healthcare Workers West in Contra Costa County. “By halting these cuts, we ensure that California does not go down the wrong path and abandon our most vulnerable populations.”

“A lot of times people who are developmentally disabled tend to be looked down upon and not given choices. But I feel they are people, like you and me, equal in society, and they should not be singled out because of their disabilities,” said John Hernandez, a high school sophomore, whose 11 year-old sister Patricia is developmentally disabled and receives full-time care from their grandmother. “My grandmother takes care of my sister full-time, and I am very worried about what could happen if cuts mean she isn’t able to in the future.”

Cuts in IHSS services were scheduled to take effect November 1, 2009. The cuts would result in 40,000 people losing IHSS services entirely and an additional 90,000 having their services slashed. The services to be eliminated are basic human services – such as bathing, dressing, cooking and assistance with transportation to medical appointments – which enable seniors and those with disabilities to live independently. Without these services, many would be forced to move to institutional care that costs taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars more than IHSS.

The lawsuit was filed by Disability Rights California, Disability Rights Legal Center, National Senior Citizens Law Center, and the National Health Law Program on behalf of IHSS consumers, and the unions that represent IHSS home care workers – SEIU ULTCW-United Long Term Care Workers; SEIU UHW-United Healthcare Workers West; SEIU Local 521; UDW Homecare Providers Union–AFSCME Local 3930, and California United Homecare Workers (CUHW).

Earlier this year, SEIU and IHSS consumers and providers successfully prevented the state’s attempt to cut IHSS provider wages by $2 per hour. Based on the legal arguments, Federal Judge Claudia Wilken enjoined the State from implementing the state budget law requiring the $2 per-hour reduction in the State’s maximum contribution towards IHSS wages.

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SEIU California is a coalition of over 700,000 janitors, social workers, security officers, homecare workers, education workers, nurses and various classifications of city, county and state employees represented by SEIU local unions throughout California. We come together to build a better California by fighting to pass policies and elect candidates that fight for the issues working men and women care about such as affordable healthcare, good wages, a means to a good retirement, a healthy environment, education and stronger communities. We believe that by working together we can build a California that all working families can once again thrive in.

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Members Rally Before Court Hearing to Stop Cuts to IHSS

(OAKLAND) — Hundreds of home care providers, seniors, and people with disabilities rallied in Oakland today outside the Northern California Federal District Court in support of the lawsuit to stop cuts to essential home care. The rally preceded a hearing at which home care consumers and providers sought a preliminary injunction to stop the Governor’s cuts to vital home care. A decision about whether to grant the preliminary injunction could come as early as today.

“Home care is a lifeline that allows people who rely on it to stay in their homes instead of being forced into more expensive institutions,” said Stacey Leyton, attorney for caregiver plaintiffs. “The cuts violate federal protections for Medicaid recipients and individuals with disabilities, and will cause severe injury to consumers for whom these services are critical to their ability to remain safely in their homes, and in the long run will cost the State’s taxpayers more money.”

Advocates have requested the Court to issue a preliminary injunction as part of a class action lawsuit filed on October 1st on behalf of five low-income Californians who need IHSS to remain safely at home.

“This legal action must be taken and is another example of our commitment to do whatever is necessary to preserve home care in California and protect those it serves,” said Laphonza Butler, Trustee of SEIU-United Long Term Care Workers. “These cuts to the IHSS program are shortsighted, and if not stopped will place the lives of parents, grand parents and children with disabilities in jeopardy.”

“Our state has failed the test of compassion and the test of common sense,” said Mary Harms, a home care worker in Contra Costa County. “These cuts mark a departure down the wrong path, and we are committed to turning this around.”

“A lot of times people who are developmentally disabled tend to be looked down upon and not given choices. But I feel they are people, like you and me, equal in society, and they should not be singled out because of their disabilities,” said John Hernandez, a high school sophomore, whose 11 year-old sister Patricia is developmentally disabled and receives full-time care from their grandmother. “My grandmother takes care of my sister full-time, and I am very worried about what could happen if cuts mean she isn’t able to in the future.”

The home care consumer and provider plaintiffs recently succeeded in stopping the California Department of Social Services from mailing over 130,000 notices informing seniors and people with disabilities statewide that their In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) will be cut or eliminated. The Temporary Restraining Order on the mailings will remain in effect until Judge Wilken reaches a decision on whether to grant a preliminary injunction.

Cuts in IHSS services are scheduled to take effect November 1, 2009. The cuts will result in 40,000 people losing IHSS services entirely and an additional 90,000 having their services slashed. The services to be eliminated are basic human services – such as bathing, dressing, cooking and assistance with transportation to medical appointments – which enable seniors and those with disabilities to live independently. Without these services, many will be forced to move to institutional care that costs taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars more than IHSS.

Plaintiffs’ attorneys argued that the Governor’s cuts violate federal laws, including the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Medicaid Act, and the federal Constitution, because:

  • They will put at risk of institutionalization many individuals who have a right to receive services in the least restrictive setting. This is not only be illegal, it’s far more expensive than receiving care at home.
  • They use an arbitrary measure, the “Functional Index,” which was never designed to measure need or eligibility and which has a particularly discriminatory impact upon children, to disqualify needy consumers from the program
  • They discriminate against people with mental illness and/or cognitive impairments, since the Functional Index score is likely to be lower for them as well.

The lawsuit was filed by Disability Rights California, Disability Rights Legal Center, National Senior Citizens Law Center, and the National Health Law Program on behalf of IHSS consumers, and the unions that represent IHSS home care workers — SEIU/ United Long Term Care Workers; SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West; SEIU Local 521; UDW Homecare Providers Union–AFSCME Local 3930, and California United Homecare Workers (CUHW).

Earlier this year, SEIU and IHSS consumers and providers successfully prevented the state’s attempt to cut IHSS provider wages by $2 per hour. Based on the legal arguments, Federal Judge Claudia Wilken enjoined the State from implementing the state budget law requiring the $2 per-hour reduction in the State’s maximum contribution towards IHSS wages.

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This Week’s Featured Video


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US Federal Judge Halts Cuts To IHSS Hours and Services!

(OAKLAND) — Home care providers, seniors, and people with disabilities prevailed in federal court today, securing a preliminary injunction to stop cuts to essential home care for 130,000 Californians. The injunction was welcomed by the hundreds of those affected and their supporters who had come to the federal courthouse this morning to rally and attend the hearing. The cuts were scheduled to take place starting November 1.

“Today’s court ruling is a victory for California seniors, people with disabilities and those who care for them,” said Laphonza Butler, Trustee of SEIU ULTCW-United Long Term Care Workers’ Union. “The judge’s decision marks another step toward protecting this lifeline service our parents, grandparents, and children with disabilities rely on to remain safely in their homes.”

At the request of advocates for home care providers, seniors, and people with disabilities, the Court issued a preliminary injunction as part of a class action lawsuit filed on October 1 on behalf of five low-income Californians who need IHSS to remain safely at home.

“Issuing a preliminary injunction was the compassionate and common sense course of action,” said Mary Harms a home care worker and member of SEIU UHW-United Healthcare Workers West in Contra Costa County. “By halting these cuts, we ensure that California does not go down the wrong path and abandon our most vulnerable populations.”

“A lot of times people who are developmentally disabled tend to be looked down upon and not given choices. But I feel they are people, like you and me, equal in society, and they should not be singled out because of their disabilities,” said John Hernandez, a high school sophomore, whose 11 year-old sister Patricia is developmentally disabled and receives full-time care from their grandmother. “My grandmother takes care of my sister full-time, and I am very worried about what could happen if cuts mean she isn’t able to in the future.”

Cuts in IHSS services were scheduled to take effect November 1, 2009. The cuts would result in 40,000 people losing IHSS services entirely and an additional 90,000 having their services slashed. The services to be eliminated are basic human services – such as bathing, dressing, cooking and assistance with transportation to medical appointments – which enable seniors and those with disabilities to live independently. Without these services, many would be forced to move to institutional care that costs taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars more than IHSS.

The lawsuit was filed by Disability Rights California, Disability Rights Legal Center, National Senior Citizens Law Center, and the National Health Law Program on behalf of IHSS consumers, and the unions that represent IHSS home care workers – SEIU ULTCW-United Long Term Care Workers; SEIU UHW-United Healthcare Workers West; SEIU Local 521; UDW Homecare Providers Union–AFSCME Local 3930, and California United Homecare Workers (CUHW). Earlier this year, SEIU and IHSS consumers and providers successfully prevented the state’s attempt to cut IHSS provider wages by $2 per hour. Based on the legal arguments, Federal Judge Claudia Wilken enjoined the State from implementing the state budget law requiring the $2 per-hour reduction in the State’s maximum contribution towards IHSS wages.

Read press coverage of the injunction

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SEIU and Other Disability Advocates Win Temporary Restraining Order Against the State

(OAKLAND) – On the evening before the state was prepared to send notices to 130,000 home care consumers that the services they rely on would be cut or eliminated, caregivers and consumers won an important first legal victory in a lawsuit to stop the cuts.

The California Department of Social Services was set to mail over 130,000 notices informing seniors and people with disabilities statewide that their In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) will be cut or eliminated, but caregivers and home consumers swiftly objected, and a federal judge hearing the case put a stop to the mailing by issuing a temporary restraining order (TRO). The TRO prohibits the State from mailing the notices until the Court has had a chance to rule, after an October 19 hearing, on whether a longer-term preliminary injunction should be issued.

“We’re pleased that the judge recognized the urgency of the situation and granted the temporary restraining order,” said Laphonza Butler, Trustee of SEIU-ULTCW. “Had these notices been mailed before the judge had the opportunity to rule on the lawsuit, they could have created a lot of unnecessary fear and confusion among the 130,000 seniors and people with disabilities receiving them.”

The TRO is part of a class action lawsuit filed on October 1st on behalf of four low-income Californians who rely on IHSS to remain safely at home.

“You can’t balance the budget by hurting the state’s most vulnerable citizens,” said Dave Regan, Trustee of SEIU-United Healthcare Workers. “We are pleased that these notices have been stopped and we’re confident that the court will see the wisdom and validity of our arguments when the matter is heard.”

Cuts in IHSS services are scheduled to take effect November 1, 2009. The cuts will result in 40,000 people losing IHSS services entirely with an additional 90,000 having their services slashed. The services to be eliminated are basic human services – such as bathing, clothing, cooking and assistance with transportation to medical appointments – which enable seniors and those with disabilities to live independently. Without these services, they will be forced to move to institutional care that cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars more than IHSS.

The lawsuit was filed by Disability Rights California, Disability Rights Legal Center, National Senior Citizens Law Center, the National Health Law Program, and four unions that represent IHSS home care workers — SEIU/ United Long Term Care Workers; SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West; SEIU Local 521; and UDW Homecare Providers Union–AFSCME Local 3930.

Earlier this year, SEIU and IHSS consumers and providers, successfully prevented the state’s attempt to cut IHSS provider wages by $2 hour. Based on the legal arguments Federal Judge Claudia Wilken enjoined the State from implementing the state budget law requiring the $2 per-hour reduction in the State’s maximum contribution towards IHSS wages.

SEIU California is a coalition of over 700,000 janitors, social workers, security officers, homecare workers, education workers, nurses and various classifications of city, county and state employees represented by SEIU local unions throughout California. We come together to build a better California by fighting to pass policies and elect candidates that fight for the issues working men and women care about such as affordable healthcare, good wages, a means to a good retirement, a healthy environment, education and stronger communities. We believe that by working together we can build a California that all working families can once again thrive in.

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SEIU and Other Disability Advocates Win Temporary Restraining Order Against the State

(OAKLAND) – On the evening before the state was prepared to send notices to 130,000 home care consumers that the services they rely on would be cut or eliminated, caregivers and consumers won an important first legal victory in a lawsuit to stop the cuts.

The California Department of Social Services was set to mail over 130,000 notices informing seniors and people with disabilities statewide that their In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) will be cut or eliminated, but caregivers and home consumers swiftly objected, and a federal judge hearing the case put a stop to the mailing by issuing a temporary restraining order (TRO). The TRO prohibits the State from mailing the notices until the Court has had a chance to rule, after an October 19 hearing, on whether a longer-term preliminary injunction should be issued.

“We’re pleased that the judge recognized the urgency of the situation and granted the temporary restraining order,” said Laphonza Butler, Trustee of SEIU-ULTCW. “Had these notices been mailed before the judge had the opportunity to rule on the lawsuit, they could have created a lot of unnecessary fear and confusion among the 130,000 seniors and people with disabilities receiving them.”

The TRO is part of a class action lawsuit filed on October 1st on behalf of four low-income Californians who rely on IHSS to remain safely at home.

“You can’t balance the budget by hurting the state’s most vulnerable citizens,” said Dave Regan, Trustee of SEIU-United Healthcare Workers. “We are pleased that these notices have been stopped and we’re confident that the court will see the wisdom and validity of our arguments when the matter is heard.”

Cuts in IHSS services are scheduled to take effect November 1, 2009. The cuts will result in 40,000 people losing IHSS services entirely with an additional 90,000 having their services slashed. The services to be eliminated are basic human services – such as bathing, clothing, cooking and assistance with transportation to medical appointments – which enable seniors and those with disabilities to live independently. Without these services, they will be forced to move to institutional care that cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars more than IHSS.

The lawsuit was filed by Disability Rights California, Disability Rights Legal Center, National Senior Citizens Law Center, the National Health Law Program, and four unions that represent IHSS home care workers — SEIU/ United Long Term Care Workers; SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West; SEIU Local 521; and UDW Homecare Providers Union–AFSCME Local 3930.

Earlier this year, SEIU and IHSS consumers and providers, successfully prevented the state’s attempt to cut IHSS provider wages by $2 hour. Based on the legal arguments Federal Judge Claudia Wilken enjoined the State from implementing the state budget law requiring the $2 per-hour reduction in the State’s maximum contribution towards IHSS wages.

Twitter Keep posted on the hearing through Twitter by following “seiuULTCW” or visiting www.twitter.com/seiuULTCW

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