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Independent Living News & Policy from the National Council on Independent Living

Survey Results: In-Home Support Needs During COVID-19

In June, we reached out to gather input on the changes that COVID-19 has had on access to in-home support workers. Many of you graciously replied, sharing stories of the struggles being faced daily, and your very personal perspectives and unique perspective allow us to continue to advocate for solutions. We are sending this message to provide you with an overview of the 100 responses we received.

Respondents ranged in age from 19 to 87 years old. The majority (64 persons) rely on personal care attendants using Medicaid as a payer. Hours of support authorized varied widely, but almost every respondent hired privately and indicated a new or worsening worker shortage, and delays in receiving services or funds to make payments. Pay ranges reported an average of about $12.50 an hour. Compounding the worker shortage issue was a universal lack of personal protective equipment PPE, and many reports of out-of-pocket costs to supplement workers’ needs. In addition, 4 out of 5 responses recorded a disruption to routine or elective healthcare.  

Many respondents detailed the commitment of attendants during these difficult times. As we search for a means to ease the burden of hiring and onboarding new workers, the majority of respondents believe that, along with greater pay, relaxing some of the background and drug testing restrictions would be useful, as well as creating access for care workers to receive their own health benefits.

In short, the conditions created by the COVID-19 pandemic have been difficult across the board. Please stay tuned as we continue to advocate for legislative and policy relief. We will keep you updated on advocacy opportunities.

Many thanks for assisting us and sharing your experiences.

NCIL, VetsFirst, and United Spinal Association

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