WASHINGTON — Christine McCormack quit her job as a restaurant manager two years ago to care for her 88-year-old mother-in-law. While it doesn't make up for all of her lost income, she's getting some financial help through an innovative program that allows many of California's low-income senior citizens and disabled residents to remain in their home.
McCormack gets paid $11 an hour through the In-Home Supportive Services Program, which pays family members and other caregivers to help about 467,000 enrollees with such things as housecleaning, bathing, grocery shopping and laundry so they can stay at home rather than move to a nursing home or other care facility.
A poll by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research shows that less than one-third of Californians age 40 and over have heard of the program, which dates back to the 1950s.
Participants in the program are eligible for Medi-Cal, the state's Medicaid program. They generally have a monthly income of $877 or below and no more than $2,000 in assets. The program's elderly and disabled participants hire the person who provides their care, and caregivers can be family members or friends.
Those living in poorer California households do seem more aware of the program than others. Forty-two percent of those with household incomes under $50,000 a year say they have heard of the program compared with 22 percent of those with household incomes of more than $50,000.