The recently proposed budget cuts, particularly those to the In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) program, will disproportionately affect immigrants and communities of color. Of those people enrolled in IHSS, over 49% of them speak a language other than English at home.
IHSS provides assistance to seniors and individuals with disabilities that enables them to live safely in their home instead of a nursing home. Yet with the proposed budget cuts, over 404,000 seniors and people with disabilities will be cut off from these important benefits. Immigrants and people of color are more likely to live at home and use their IHSS benefits for personal assistance care (such as help with bathing and eating) than live in a nursing home. In contrast, however, the majority of nursing home patients are white. As over 60% of IHSS recipients aged 65 and older are people of color, the state’s proposed cuts will have a greater, more devastating impact on these communities and their families.
As stated in a recent article from the National Senior Citizens Law Center (NSCLC) on the proposed IHSS cuts, no good alternatives exist for ethnic elders affected by these cuts. Most people would rather live at home than be isolated and pay the high cost of a nursing home. Also, statistics show that ethnic elders often receive lower quality care in nursing homes than white elders, further contributing to the gap in health disparities and health care equality. In addition, California does not have enough nursing home beds to house all the people who will be cut off from their IHSS benefits if the proposed cuts go through. This means that people who are not able to pay for or find a nursing home for their required assistance with dressing, bathing, preparing food, etc, will be left to fend for themselves. The results can be devastating to ones health, quality of life, or even their ability to live.
These proposals only offer short-term ‘budget relief’ and would most likely cause a health crisis and undermine the stability of thousands of families who currently care for their vulnerable and elderly immigrant parents and grandparents.
For more information on the proposed cuts, see our recent article:
For updated information on the California budget, see:
- California Department of Finance
- California Disability Community Action Network
- Health Access
- California Budget Project
This article was edited in part from NSCLC’s article, California Budget Cuts Target Ethnic Elders.