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PRESS RELEASE: Disability Rights California
by sdimc volunteer
Thursday Jun 4th, 2009 1:04 PM
Governor burns California’s safety net: Californians with disabilities
to lose in-home help; medical, therapy, education and transportation
services; and income to cover rent and food

1330 Broadway, Suite 500


Oakland, CA 94612
Tel: (510) 267-1200


TTY: (800) 719-5798
Toll Free: (800) 776-5746
Fax: (510) 267-1201

California’s protection and advocacy system

Evelyn Abouhassan
Senior Legislative Advocate
Legislation & Public Information Unit
Disability Rights California
Phone: (916) 497-0331
E-Mail: Evelyn.Abouhassan [at]

June 3, 2009

Governor burns California’s safety net: Californians with disabilities
to lose in-home help; medical, therapy, education and transportation
services; and income to cover rent and food

In the May revise, Governor Schwarzenegger’s latest round of proposed
cuts to state programs and services are so severe that they would
effectively incinerate California’s safety net to ensure survival of people
with disabilities, including seniors.

Low-income Californians with disabilities are now facing cutbacks in every
aspect of their daily lives—medical and dental services, assistance in
feeding and bathing, mental health services, day therapy programs,
transportation, access to education, and reduction of their already poverty-
level income which must pay for food and rent (SSI). For the estimated
387,000 who will lose their in-home help, the tens of thousands who
depend on the modest subsidies and accessible services, gutting this
system will result in endangerment, forced moves to nursing homes which
will cost 5 times as much, isolation and deterioration of health conditions.

There are numerous serious cuts proposed, some programs have been
targeted for eradication, and most low-income Californians with disabilities
will be facing multiple reductions.

In other words, a 56 year old woman with diabetes, who can only afford her
apartment through SSI, could now: have her monthly SSI check cut by $78;
lose her in-home support service (IHSS) worker who has been helping her
to bathe, pay bills and shop for, prepare and eat her meals for 4 hours each
day; lose her dental coverage, podiatry care and accessible transport to
medical appointments; and watch her supported-work program close,
providing her with regular interaction with people in the community.

Similarly, hundreds of thousands of children or youths with disabilities can
simultaneously face: greatly reduced educational and therapeutic services
supported by their local regional center; loss of eligibility for paratransit
services; complete loss of health coverage under Healthy Families
program; and loss of income for necessities from CalWorks.

“When we look closely at a typical day of a low-income Californian with
significant disability, we can see why these cuts—taken together—could
easily destroy the fabric of countless individual lives, and the larger social
safety-net,” stressed Catherine Blakemore, executive director of Disability
Rights California. “We refuse to go backwards to a time when people with
disabilities could not live safely in the community and their only option was
nursing homes. We have to be more creative about raising revenue and
more humane in defining our bottom lines.”

Cuts will also cause rise in unemployment

Just the proposed cuts in one program alone—IHSS—would result in
hundreds of thousands of people losing their home health care workers.

This cost-effective program would be gutted and it is estimated that
California’s unemployment rate would rise from 11% to 12.8%, as tens of
thousands of workers would lose their jobs providing IHSS services.

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