Because California has the highest number of seniors living in poverty of any state in the nation, and has often led the country in crafting innovative progressive policies, our work in California not only impacts millions of lives, but also serves as a laboratory for policy change across the nation. In addition to our extensive work on dual eligible issues, improving the state’s In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) program, and our efforts working in coalition to strengthen SSI in California, we also work with state legislators to craft policy. And whenever budget shortfalls lead to calls for cuts to programs senors rely on, we’re there to educate lawmakers about the impact and stop the cuts from happening. We’re also looking toward and helping to build a future where all California seniors can thrive through our participation and leadership on Governor Newsom’s stakeholder advisory committee for the state’s Master Plan for Aging.
California is growing older and poorer. The state has the highest rate of senior poverty in the nation and its population of older adults is set to nearly double over the next 20 years. The need for a plan to address the unmet economic security, and health and long-term care needs of the state’s older adults is urgent. In 2019, California’s Governor, Gavin Newsom, signed an executive order calling for a Master Plan for Aging and directed the Health and Human Services Agency to convene a cabinet level working group to advise in the development of the plan.
Justice in Aging’s Executive Director, Kevin Prindiville, as well as many of our partners, and Justice in Aging board member Fernando Torres-Gil sit on this committee. We look forward to helping drive aging policy in California, and creating a blueprint other states can follow.
See below for resources with Justice in Aging’s recommendations for ensuring that the Master Plan meets its goals to advance equity, increase economic security and safety, and improve access to quality, affordable health care and LTSS programs for all of us as we age. We will continue to add to this page over time.
Principles: An Equitable, Comprehensive Master Plan for Aging for all Californians, May, 2019
Recommendations: Make Medi-Cal More Accessible and Affordable, December, 2019
Recommendations: Increase Income for Seniors and People with Disabilities who Receive SSI/SSP, February, 2020
Recommendations: Address Senior Hunger by Maximizing CalFresh and the Hold Harmless Food Benefits, February, 2020
Recommendations: Prevent and End Elder Abuse in California, March, 2020
Recommendations: Oral Health, August, 2020
On January 8, 2020, Governor Newsom released his January 2021–22 budget proposal. The proposal represents a good first step towards ensuring the health, safety, and well-being of older Californians. The proposal would make significant one-time investments in this year’s budget. This one-time spending is largely driven by a $26 billion windfall due to improvements in California’s economic outlook since last year’s budget. A portion of these funds are being allocated to kicking off implementation of California’s Master Plan for Aging, as well as making investments in housing and homelessness, health and long-term services and supports, and economic and food security. Justice in Aging will continue to advocate for more long-term investments in programs that improve the lives of low-income older adults and fight back against any future proposed cuts.
Budget Summary: Justice in Aging's Response to the January 2021-22 Budget, January 22, 2021
In states that are hard hit by COVID-19 surges, older adults, people with disabilities, and people of color face a real risk of being denied life-saving medical care during the pandemic. Several states, including California, have issued medical rationing plans that discriminate against older adults and people with disabilities. Justice in Aging has been partnering with disability rights advocates across the country filing complaints with the Office of Civil Rights of the U.S. department of Health and Human Services and working with states to develop better standards. We are proud of our work in California convincing the state to reissue new, non-discriminatory guidelines.
Advocates in other states can use this summary to push their states to issue guidelines that don't illegally discriminate on the basis of age and disability.
Learn more about our work in other states on our COVID-19 Resource page.