More CA families may be affected by casualties

October 1, 2009 7:09:20 PM PDT
Some organizations claim that federal disability rights are being violated under the latest round of state budget cuts to in-home care. A federal lawsuit filed aims to save the homecare program for 130,000 disabled Californians.

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The Rodriguez's are bracing for those November 1st budget cuts to in-home support services.

The state pays Sylvia to help her son Carlos with day-to-day living, but the 11-year-old with muscular dystrophy stands to lose much of that financial and home care assistance.

"She'll have to get another job and I'll have to stay in the house and I won't be able to do that much stuff," said Homecare recipient Carlos Rodriguez.

But in a last ditch effort to save the program, disabled rights groups and home care works filed a federal lawsuit to stop the cuts to 130,000 Californians who'll either see severe reductions in homecare or total elimination.

Getting help will depend on how functional they are on their own.

"People are not getting adequate notice. You're talking about people who maybe are children, or people with Alzheimer's or suffering from dementia," said plaintiff Deb Roth.

People who receive subsidized in-home care tried to prevent the cuts from being included, but the Schwarzenegger administration said they were needed to help close this summer's $24 billion dollar deficit brought on by the recession.

"Whether it is this decision or others in Medi-Cal and the human services area, any number of very difficult decisions were necessary to close a budget gap of this magnitude," said H.D. Palmer from the California Finance Department.

The state hopes to save about $80 million this year, then $140 million every year after that. So the changes appear to be permanent.

Carlos, who had lobbied hard at the Capitol, hopes judges will be sympathetic.

"It's important so people with disabilities can get help," he said.

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