Thousands of Massachusetts residents depend on personal care attendants to help with their basic needs, from eating to bathing to household chores.
But for many of these residents, there’s concern they’ll be losing this much-needed help, which could force them to leave their homes and live in nursing homes instead.
New mandates cap hours for personal care attendants to 40 hours a week. Today, a large group of protesters chanted inside the State House while a smaller group gathered outside the governor’s office trying to get his attention on an issue critical to their health care.
“I rely on my PCA to assist me with dressing and bathing,” said Olivia Richard, a Brighton resident who is a paraplegic.
The disabled community says new mandates restricting overtime for personal care attendants will soon be enforced.
The fear is the PCAs will quit their jobs, and find a new line of work where they can count on overtime to help pay their bills.
They say it’s already happening.
“You don’t wait until the day your hours are cut to find a new job,” said rally organizer Bruce Darling. “You start looking now, people are leaving, we’re basically hemorrhaging attendants. “The governor needs to fix this.”
Staffers from Governor Baker’s office did speak with the protesters, and later the office released a statement saying "The administration maintains an open dialogue and regular meetings with all Massachusetts stakeholders and is committed to a sustainable personal care attendant (PCA) program that does not reduce or change authorized individual benefits, working with all parties to achieve the first in the nation $15 per hour minimum wage for PCA's and increasing the program's funding by over $130 million since taking office."