Governor Signs Sen. Dodd’s Emergency In-Home Supportive Services bill
SACRAMENTO – Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation from Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, to improve In-Home Supportive Services for low-income and disabled people hit by natural disasters including wildfires.
“Even when disaster strikes, we must continue to care for our most vulnerable populations,” Sen. Dodd said. “This new law brings a statewide approach to the challenge and will ensure a continuity of care for the disabled and elderly. Kudos to Gov. Brown for recognizing the need for it.”
Senate Bill 1040 follows last year’s devastating fires and mudslides, which prevented people from receiving continuous service while they were evacuated to emergency shelters. At the same time, caregivers, who earn very low wages, were left without paychecks. They provide personal care such as feeding, bathing, housecleaning and cooking.
“We saw that this was a challenge after the October wildfires that ravaged Northern California,” Sen. Dodd said. “We can’t turn our backs on the elderly or infirm and we certainly can’t neglect the people who care for them.”
The bill does several things. It clarifies that social workers may approve more hours for caregivers while prioritizing funds from the Office of Emergency Services for the repair of dwellings that are damaged or destroyed. It also codifies an expedited paycheck replacement policy for caregivers whose paychecks were lost or destroyed in a disaster. And it requires counties at the next update of their emergency response plans to make assessments that will ensure that services will continue to be provided during times of natural disaster.
The governor announced the signing of SB 1040 late Wednesday.
In-Home Supportive Services is the largest long-term care program in the state, helping about 500,000 low-income people with disabilities, including seniors, live safely at home rather than in costly facilities. A majority of them have incomes of less than $1,000 a month and have $2,000 or less in personal assets.
SB 1040 is sponsored by the California Association of Public Authorities for In-Home Supportive Services and is co-sponsored by the United Domestic Workers/AFSCME. Supporters include the California Commission on Aging.
“We are deeply appreciative of the governor’s action in signing SB 1040 by Senator Dodd, and equally appreciative of Senator Dodd’s vision and leadership on this issue,” said Karen Keeslar, executive directive of CAPA. “This important legislation will better ensure that both IHSS consumers and providers get the help and resources they need in natural disasters resulting in a declared state of emergency. This bill will undoubtedly save lives.”
Senator Bill Dodd represents California’s 3rd Senate District, which includes all or portions of Napa, Solano, Sonoma, Yolo, Sacramento, and Contra Costa counties. You can learn more about Senator Dodd at www.sen.ca.gov/dodd.