The Obama administration has filed an amicus brief supporting a lawsuit against a state plan to cut or reduce subsidized in-home care to 130,000 seniors and disabled people in California.
Attorneys with the U.S. Justice Department's civil rights division filed the brief Tuesday in the U.S. Court of Appeal for the Ninth District.
An injunction in a lower federal court stopped the state with going forward with its plan pending the outcome of a suit filed by Disabled Rights California, the National Senior Citizens Law Center and others.
The Schwarzenegger administration appealed, saying officials had a right to reform the In-Home Supportive Services program.
The changes were intended to save the state budget $82.1 million this fiscal year by cutting services to certain people based on an index measuring their mental and physical abilities.
Disabled-rights attorneys argued that the index's purpose is to determine what kind of care the disabled require, not whether they could function in their homes without help. Cutting some people off based on scores, they said, would put people's health and safety at risk and could lead to putting them in an institution.
The U.S. Justice Department brief says: "The United States has a direct and substantial interest in this appeal, which involves the proper interpretation and application of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act."
The act, it says, "prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in the provision of public services."
In-home care is financed by federal, state and county dollars with some contributions from individuals who get care.