A federal judge in Oakland has blocked planned state budget cuts in home care services for 133,000 low-income senior citizens and disabled adults and children.
The cuts were due to go into effect on Nov. 1 and were part of an emergency budget package enacted by the Legislature in July in response to the state's financial crisis.
U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken issued a preliminary injunction in a lawsuit filed by five individuals who receive home care and by several unions for workers who provide the care.
The injunction will halt the cuts until there is a full trial on the lawsuit. The trial has not yet been scheduled.
Melinda Bird, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, said, "We are convinced a humanitarian disaster would have resulted from the precipitous and arbitrary withdrawal of essential services approved by the Legislature and the administration in the budget."
Lizelda Lopez, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Social Services, said the agency will challenge the order, but declined to say whether the challenge will occur through an appeal or the future trial.
The federal lawsuit was filed earlier this month by two disabled children, a senior citizen and two disabled adults receiving the home care, which is known as In-Home Support Services.
The lawsuit claims the methods used to determine who will receive the cuts are arbitrary and that the reductions violate the federal Americans with Disabilities Act and the constitutional right to due process.
Lopez said a total of 462,000 low-income senior citizens, disabled and blind adults and disabled and blind children receive the home care services.
The planned reductions would end all services for about 36,000 people who are considered the least needy and would stop certain services, such as housekeeping and food shopping, for about 97,000 others.