Sam Spaise is a quadriplegic survivor of an auto accident. His mom, Marcia, gave up her full-time job to help him with daily tasks such as grooming, bathing and eating. This is her only source of income and it may be reduced by one fifth.
After the accident, Sam had severe brain injuries and was not expected to recover completely. Marcia, a truck driver at the time, hired personal care assistants (PCAs) to care for her son.
As time went on, however, her son started to develop bed sores because the PCAs were not available for overnight shifts, leaving Marcia to try and help her son on top of her full-time position. Marcia eventually quit her job and became Sam’s PCA.
Sam now receives efficient and reliable care on a 24-hour basis and Marcia is able to earn a decent wage. Minnesota, along with 46 other states, offers a plan for family members to provide personal care for their loved ones, determined on a case-by-case basis. These plans outline the number of hours and rate of pay for each situation.
This is great, but there are some downfalls.
The maximum amount of hours you can be paid for is 275 hours per month. If you’re providing care for your loved on a round-the-clock basis, this is less than half the amount of time you spend providing care during the month.
If that’s not enough, the rate of pay will be cut 20 percent for each PCA with the proposed all cuts budgeting approach favored by Republicans. Chopping off one fifth of pay will leave families in even more dire economic situations than before.
“The last few years since the Pawlenty administration have been very tough. I took pay cuts; I took hour reductions, and now to imagine another 20% cut…There’s no way we can financially make it,” Marcia admitted.
Not only is the care more efficient and reliable, but according to Dena Belisle, a PCA for her own son and founder of ADENA, LLC:
We are able to do…preventative care, which ultimately costs the state less.
Although the conservative all cuts budgeting approach may seem like it creates savings on paper, we must also look at the human impact of any budget.
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