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

Information Alert: DOL Home Care Rule Vacated!

NCIL staff members were excited to be at the U.S. District Court for D.C. yesterday to hear Judge Richard Leon’s ruling in Home Care Association of America v. Weil regarding the Department of Labor’s Home Care Rule. On December 22, 2014, Judge Leon vacated the third-party employer regulation, and he issued a temporary restraining order on the entire rule that was set to expire today. Yesterday, Judge Leon vacated the revised definition of companionship services, the other major provision of the rule, thereby canceling both major provisions of the rule before the restraining order expired. Judge Leon stated once again that the DOL’s rule was “trying to do through regulation what must be done through legislation”.

NCIL is extremely supportive of and understands the need for higher wages and benefits for personal care attendants. However, the Home Care Rule was an unfunded mandate that would have resulted in widespread service caps and service disruptions, leading to negative health consequences, decreased independence, and increased risk of institutionalization for millions of consumers with disabilities. Before the rule was set to go into effect, we already heard about attendants receiving notices about hours, and therefore income, being cut.

An email from the Department of Labor expressed their dissatisfaction with the ruling and stated that they are considering their legal options. The DOL can decide to appeal, and they will likely do so. However, NCIL applauds Judge Leon’s decision and hopes that the DOL will engage with the disability community as they make their decisions moving forward.

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