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Federal judge stops IHSS cuts in California

Posted Oct 19 2009 10:01pm

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 ).

The IHSS Program will help pay for services provided to you so that you can remain safely in your own home. To be eligible, you must be over 65 years of age, or disabled, or blind. Disabled children are also eligible for IHSS. IHSS is considered an alternative to out-of-home care, such as nursing homes or board and care facilities.

Here is an update from CDCAN, the California Disability Community Action Network.

OAKLAND, CALIF (CDCAN) [Updated 10/19/09 12:10 PM (Pacific Time)- Federal District Court Judge Claudia Wilken in Oakland blocked the state from implementing cuts to eligibility and services under the In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) program,
granting a preliminary injunction requested by attorneys representing persons who receive In-Home Supportive Services, saying from the bench that substantial harm, damage and injury which would result if the cuts went forward.

The judge’s order represented a sweeping major victory for advocates for persons with Disabilities, mental health needs, the blind, low income seniors, their families, IHSS Workers and advocacy groups.

The judge’s order blocks the State from implementing major cuts to eligibility based on a person’s “functional index score” and reductions in domestic and related services based on a person’s “functional index rankings”.

Judge Wilken said that the State’s use of the “functional index rankings” and “functional index scores” were clearly not based on need, that essential services could be withdrawn arbitrarily, and that “people could lose something irreplaceable – the ability to remain safely in their homes.”

The judge issued her injunction that stopped the cuts from going forward as scheduled Because she believed that the plaintiffs – the persons with disabilities and others who filed the lawsuit were likely to win in a the trial that the cuts to services under IHSS using the “functional index score” and “functional index rankings” as the basis to make cuts to eligibility and domestic and related services violated federal law. The judge denied a request (motion) from the State to “stay” (delay effect date of her injunction) until her ruling can be appealed (“staying” her injunction would have allowed the cuts to go forward until the case could be heard in the US 9th Circuit Court of Appeals)

The judge issued her ruling from the bench from a two hour hearing this morning.

More details later today.

In other words—the cuts to IHSS are on hold during the state’s appeal. The alternative, make the cuts while the state appeals, would have surely meant that some people would have lost their ability to stay “in home”.

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