I am an In-Home Supportive Services provider for the County of Santa Clara. Ten years ago, when my son was diagnosed with schizophrenia, my life was turned upside down.
That is now my primary job, providing care and supervision for my son. But that doesn’t pay enough to make ends meet, so I also work supervising recess for the school district.
But neither job offers a pension. Neither of my employers contributes into a retirement account or a 401K.
I work paycheck to paycheck. I am 52 years old and I don’t have any retirement savings.
This is not uncommon for California home care workers. Many of us, especially those of us who care for a family member, aren’t allocated many hours. Our schedules are often unpredictable, and completely dependent on the needs and health of our clients. For many of us moonlighting is not an option.
That’s why despite making $12.20 an hour, the average annual pay for an IHSS home care worker in Santa Clara County was 65% below a living wage salary last year.
For home care workers and millions of other wageworkers in California, a comfortable retirement is a distant dream. More likely, we’ll work until we are too old or too sick to continue. We’ll work till we drop.
Secure Choice is the light at the end of the tunnel. It is the only hope we currently have for some security in our twilight years. And, I’m asking this committee to help make this program a reality.