Support for Caregiver Rights and Disabled Dependent Inheritance Protection
Whereas, 6 in 10 adults (~157M) and 10-20 million children in the U.S. have either a chronic illness or disability and are cared for by 65.7 million caregivers, and, in California, 4.45 million caregivers provide care to 38% of adult Californians (45.8 – 47.8% in Contra Costa County) with one or more chronic conditions.

Whereas, informal caregivers provide a national economic value of $470B annually ($58B in CA), while only being paid $14/hr. in Contra Costa County, 46% of those who provide complex chronic care perform medical and nursing tasks, yet are 2.5 times more likely to live in poverty and, under the Medicaid Estate Recovery Plan (MERP), primary caregivers, who are age 55+ (~ 50%) and often depend on Medicaid, stand to lose any real and personal property and other assets in their probate estate upon deceasing, denying them the ability to leave their disabled and other dependents an inheritance, unless they can afford a lawyer, create a Special Needs Trust, and have a lifelong trustee for the disabled dependent.

Whereas, family caregivers on average lose 10 years of life and 30% die before those they care for due to twice the rate of chronic illness, advanced cellular aging at 6 times the rate of a single parent, 23% higher level stress hormones, 15% reduced antibody responses, 40-70% rate of clinically significant depressive symptoms, 33.3% moderate to severe anxiety, and 1 in 4 commit suicide. Overburdened caregivers inevitably experience declining cognitive function and overall well-being, compromising a recipient’s quality of care. A 2016-17 study found that 13 of 103 deaths among disabled persons were due to treatment delays, neglect, or abuse.

Therefore, to correct this serious injustice, may the California Democratic Party join Home Care Providers in asking for a mandate by 1) the Board of Supervisors to pay caregivers a livable wage equivalent to their level of skilled services and protect their retirement benefits through CalSavers or pension, 2) the state legislature to pay Family Medical Leave and vacation, more accrued paid sick days, and permanently end the 7% cut to consumer hours, and 3) our state and federal representatives to protect dependent inheritance.

Authored by Marisol Rubio
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