Winning the Fight to Keep the Elderly Poor at Home

(January 2012)

In two California cases in the news this past month, attorneys from the National Senior Citizens Law Center helped to defend essential programs that assist the state’s elderly poor.

In one of those lawsuits, NSCLC, working with a team of co-counsel representing seniors and person with disabilities, reached a settlement with the state to establish a new version of the state’s adult day health care program for those with Medi-Cal (California’s Medicaid program). Governor Jerry Brown and the legislature had sought to eliminate funding for the popular program.

Over 35,000 people would have lost services. Without the services, many low-income older adults and their families would have been forced into nursing homes. The settlement ensures that those most at risk of nursing home placement can remain in their homes and communities.

Similarly, the Governor and Legislature planned to impose a drastic, 20% across-the-board cut to In Home Supportive Services (IHSS), a program which provides personal care services to hundreds of thousands of low-income seniors and persons with disabilities. The cuts were stopped when NSCLC, again working with a team of co-counsels, filed a lawsuit in federal district court and won a preliminary injunction blocking the reduction.

In addition to harming some of the most vulnerable members of our families and communities, cutting programs that keep people in their homes and communities and out of expensive institutions is penny-wise and pound-foolish. Home and community-based services provide people care in the settings they provide and, in the long run, save states and the federal government money. NSCLC will continue to partner with advocates in California and across the country, to ensure that the nation’s elderly poor maintain their independence, their dignity and their rights.


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