March 2014

Caregiver Meets w/ Gov. Brown: Asks Him to Reconsider Cuts to In-Home Supportive Services & Caps on Paid Hours

Take Action: Sign the Petition to Protect Care & Caregivers! #EveryHourCounts #IHSS #homecare

Please <a href=http://everyhrcounts.org/take-action>sign this petition</a> and share it with others, by email, and over Facebook and Twitter, right away!

On Friday, March 21, 2014, California Governor Jerry Brown met with long-term care provider, and SEIU-ULTCW member, Guillermina Mazariego. Guillermina provides 258 hours a month of in-home supportive services (IHSS) to her son, Marvin, and would therefore have her family’s life turned upside down by the current proposal to limit IHSS worker hours to 160 per month.

Just months after President Barack Obama directed the Department of Labor to help bridge the gap of inequality by giving in-home caregivers the same overtime protections other workers receive under the Fair Labor Standards Act, (FLSA) while ensuring the continued delivery of high quality care, Governor Brown’s state budget proposal sought to undermine this effort by proposing a drastic cut in hours for tens of thousands of IHSS caregivers.  These cuts, if enacted, will place workers deeper into poverty and jeopardize the continuity of care seniors and people with disabilities rely on to live safely at home.

Marvin’s continuity of care would be disrupted and his health would suffer, as his low-functioning autism, and other cognitive challenges, are likely to drive declines in his mental and physical health, once his mom is forced to step aside as his primary caregiver, because the Governor’s proposal would force any IHSS provider to hand over care to a stranger once 160 hours of care have been recorded.

Guillermina’s ability to provide for herself and her son economically would suffer tremendously as well. Reducing her IHSS hours from 258 to 160, will reduce her household income by 40%. As a single mom, whose husband abandoned the family because he could not handle Marvin’s condition, she can’t make ends meet with 40% less earnings each month, and can’t guarantee a roof over her son’s head, warm food on the table, or anything else.

Like Guillermina, most caregivers are women who are not paid a respectable wage that allows them to provide for their families on 40 hours of work a week.  Unlike Guillermina, many must piece together several shifts of demanding, but low paying work in order to cover the costs of housing and transportation.  Whether caring for one individual requiring around the clock care, or working with several individuals at a time, Governor Brown’s proposal to prohibit caregivers from working more than 40 hours a week will drastically limit the ability of caregivers to earn a living, and will only widen the gap between the 1% and the rest of us.

A caregiver earning $9 an hour whose hours are cut from 50 to 40 per week, for instance, will be forced below the federal poverty line for a family of three by the Governor’ proposal.

For care recipients, the Governor’s proposal jeopardizes the continuity of high quality care they rely on to live safely at home as it would force those individuals needing more than 40 hours of care per week to bring in short-term caregivers who are unfamiliar with their needs.  This has averse effects on the comfort experienced by consumers of care, but it also limits the choices the recipients of care are able to make when it comes to the day to day healthcare needs.  In cases of dementia, low-functioning autism, and other prognoses that require familiar provider faces to be present at all times for the sake of the well-being of care consumers, the idea of interrupting continuity of care for a non-medical reason is unfathomable.

In sharing her story with Governor Brown, Guillermina worked tirelessly to change his mind about the proposal to cap IHSS hours, cutting pay for caregivers whose hourly wages are their primary source of income, and interrupting the continuity of care for those who need over 160 of support per month, like her son, Marvin.

But Guillermina needs our help in order to make sure that not only the Governor, but everyone in the Assembly and State Senate hear her what a horrible idea it is to cap IHSS hours, especially during a time when the State is running a budget surplus and can afford to fully fund programs like IHSS.   California can afford to do better!

Please add your name to our petition calling on Governor Brown and our state legislators to do right by women, caregivers, and care recipients by rescinding his proposal to cut IHSS hours for tens of thousands of caregivers, and interrupt the continuity of high quality care tens of thousands of Californians currently rely on to survive!

Please <a href=http://everyhrcounts.org/take-action>sign this petition</a> and share it with others, by email, and over Facebook and Twitter, right away!

 

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