Support for Caregiver Rights and Disabled Dependent Inheritance Protection

Whereas, 6 in 10 adults (~157M) and 10-20 million children in the U.S. have either a chronic illness or disability and are cared for by 65.7 million caregivers, and, in California, 4.45 million caregivers provide care to 38% of adult Californians (45.8 – 47.8% in Contra Costa County) with one or more chronic conditions.

Whereas, informal caregivers provide a national economic value of $470B annually ($58B in CA), while only being paid $14/hr. in Contra Costa County, 46% of those who provide complex chronic care perform medical and nursing tasks, yet are 2.5 times more likely to live in poverty and, under the Medicaid Estate Recovery Plan (MERP), primary caregivers, who are age 55+ (~ 50%) and often depend on Medicaid, stand to lose any real and personal property and other assets in their probate estate upon deceasing, denying them the ability to leave their disabled and other dependents an inheritance, unless they can afford a lawyer, create a Special Needs Trust, and have a lifelong trustee for the disabled dependent.

Whereas, family caregivers on average lose 10 years of life and 30% die before those they care for due to twice the rate of chronic illness, advanced cellular aging at 6 times the rate of a single parent, 23% higher level stress hormones, 15% reduced antibody responses, 40-70% rate of clinically significant depressive symptoms, 33.3% moderate to severe anxiety, and 1 in 4 commit suicide. Overburdened caregivers inevitably experience declining cognitive function and overall well-being, compromising a recipient’s quality of care. A 2016-17 study found that 13 of 103 deaths among disabled persons were due to treatment delays, neglect, or abuse.

Therefore, to correct this serious injustice, may the California Democratic Party join Home Care Providers in asking for a mandate by 1) the Board of Supervisors to pay caregivers a livable wage equivalent to their level of skilled services and protect their retirement benefits through CalSavers or pension, 2) the state legislature to pay Family Medical Leave and vacation, more accrued paid sick days, and permanently end the 7% cut to consumer hours, and 3) our state and federal representatives to protect dependent inheritance.

Authored by Marisol Rubio

 

Secret Settlement Transparency for Dependent Adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Who Are Victims of Sexual Assault

WHEREAS, there is a sexual assault epidemic among dependent adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). According to National Public Radio (NPR), individuals with I/DD are sexually assaulted at a rate seven times higher than the general population and many of these crimes go unpunished. NPR added, “[victims] are easily manipulated and will have difficulty testifying later. These crimes go mostly unrecognized, unprosecuted, and unpunished. And the abuser is free to abuse again.”
WHEREAS, this is an epidemic among a highly vulnerable population that is largely silent and incapable of self-advocacy, we need data to speak to us about the scope of the problem to inform consumers and to drive and inform policy.
WHEREAS, secret settlements seek to cover a larger issue and prevent advocates from taking on systemic reform and from holding organizations and criminals accountable for human rights violations protected by the Lanterman Act. DisabilityJustice.org found that, “Just 3% of sexual abuses involving people with developmental disabilities are ever reported.” and significantly, “Approximately 80% of women and 30% of men with developmental disabilities have been sexually assaulted – half of these women have been assaulted more than 10 times.”
Therefore, we ask that the California Democratic Party join us in asking our county state and federal representatives to consider legislation that will mandate government agencies that serve dependent individuals to file an annual report that outlines the number of settlements they have entered into and why a claim was brought forth. It would require reports to be filed dating back 10 years so that we can have historical data. Government funded monetary settlements will provide taxpayers with transparency and accountability about how their money is being spent and discourage government agencies from covering up sexual crimes against a largely silent, intellectually disabled population.
Therefore, a percentage of monetary settlements will go towards better care provider screening, research into better protocols to prevent and document incidents of sexual assault and technologies that will enable this vulnerable population to better communicate distress, and installing protective and remedial measures for intellectually disabled individuals who are at risk or victims of sexual assault in nursing homes or being cared for at home by government- employed home care providers.

Authors: Julie Neward and Marisol Rubio