Please take a moment to comple the action alert located below my signature. Here in Illinois, we have worked to ensure a smooth implementation of this rule change, but the funding needed to make it happen has not yet been committed. We will keep you posted on that as our work to make home and community-based services in our state a win-win for consumers AND workers proceeds.
In the meantime, other states are far from being able to implement this rule without seeing dangerous cuts and/or caps that could hurt folks with disabilities and their attendants, and even increase the risk of institutionalization for those consumers. In solidarity with those states, we are asking that you take action (as described below) to ask for a delay in implementation while funding is secured to give personal attendants and other homecare workers access to the full benefits this rule change is intended to confer.
Thanks for all you do,
URGENT DOL RULE ACTION ALERT
We all need to Urge Congress to Delay the FLSA Companionship Changes!
NATIONAL CALL IN DAY THURSDAY, OCTOBER 30, 2014
The Department of Labor ignored the disability community, as well as state Medicaid Directors and Medicaid Home & Community Based (HCBS) providers, and implemented changes that will hurt attendants and people with disabilities if states don’t have more time to prepare!
On October 1, 2013, US Department of Labor (DOL) published changes to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) that will require state Medicaid programs to pay time-and-a-half for overtime and pay for travel time. These rules will go into effect on January 1, 2015, but DOL didn’t release important guidance on critical issues until the summer of 2014. By that time, most states had already established their budgets, and without time for states to develop and fund plans to comply with the rule, they will simply cap the hours attendants can work to avoid overtime and potentially cut services to consumers receiving HCBS services. This will also:
* Undercut the ability of people with disabilities and seniors to live in the community,
* Undermine our ability to decide who comes into our homes and touches our bodies, and
* Hurt attendants by reducing their income.
To avoid this, disability advocates urged DOL to give us more time to secure state funding to pay for the overtime and travel time. To do that, the changes to the Companionship Exemption need to be delayed for at least 18 months, to give advocates and states the time they needed to create an appropriate plan to comply with the changes without harming people with disabilities and attendants!
Some states are already receiving notices about attendant hours being limited to 40 hours per week, cutting attendants’ hourly rate and reducing or eliminating services, such as “sleep cycle support” to HCBS consumers.
NCIL AND APRIL HAVE COME TOGETHER FOR A NATIONAL CALL IN DAY ON THURSDAY, OCTOBER 30, 2014. WE NEED EVERYONE AFFECTED BY THESE NEW RULES TO CONTACT THE FOLLOWING MEMBERS OF CONGRESS AND TELL THEM THEY NEED TO STEP IN NOW!!!
WHO ARE THE TARGETED PEOPLE TO CALL
Senator Lamar Alexander (R –TN) at 202-224-4944
Senator Tom Harkin (D – IA) at 202-224-3254
US Representative John Kline (R – MN) at 202-225-2271
US Representative George Miller (D- CA) at 202-225-2095
Please also call your individual US Senators and Representatives
OUR MESSAGE TO THEM
Changing the Fair Labor Standards Act was supposed to improve the lives of people with disabilities, seniors and attendants, but implementing these rule changes without giving states time to fund them is doing the exact opposite.
Please take a public stand in support of people with disabilities, seniors and the attendants who make our independence possible and WE NEED LEGISLATION TO DELAY THESE RULES FOR AT LEAST 18 MONTHS. Without your help, attendants who currently work more than 40 hours will have their hours capped and lose vital income, and the shortage of attendants will escalate into a crisis and people with disabilities and seniors will be forced into institutions.
If you have any questions about the alert call Kelly Buckland at 202-207-0334 or Billy Altom at 501-753-3400. Please send this alert out to anyone or agency you know that will be affected by these rules.