MASSAPEQUA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork)Home health aides are asking New York state for a raise.

They say the current minimum wage is not a living wage for caregivers, and as a result there is a critical shortage, CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported Wednesday.

READ MORE: Home Health Aide Gail Godwin Faces Manslaughter Charges In Death Of 83-Year-Old Patient John Busch

It’s an honorable job, but caregivers say the pay is dishonorable.

One home health aide earns $14 an hour caring for Mirtelina Morales. Her loving husband of six decades can no longer manage to feed her or move her.

“It’s not a job for anybody. Nobody can come out of the street and do work like this. You have to care,” Julio Morales said.

And yet, there is a critical shortage of people who care to be home health aides, because they can’t afford to do the work.

Even getting to the job, often paying multiple bus and train fares, cuts into already meager pay.

Since the pandemic, nearly half of the workforce has vanished.

“Is it really true that we do care about our loved ones, the way that we profess to, if we don’t even pay the people that care for them a living wage? It’s embarrassing. It’s shameful,” home health care mentor Mildred Garcia-Gallery said.

READ MORE: Help Wanted: Home Health Aide Shortage Makes It Hard For Seniors To Find Caregivers

“Fair Pay for Home Care” is a bill in Albany that would raise pay to $22.50 per hour, from minimum wage, which is now as low as $12 in parts of the state.

Advocates are also asking Gov. Kathy Hochul to include the higher Medicaid reimbursements in her upcoming budget.

“You can’t eat on $12 an hour. You can’t feed your own family, but yet you’re expected to go out and take care of someone else’s. The wages don’t equal the job we are asking them to do,” said Dana Arnone, owner of Reliance Home Senior Services.

Kathleen Downes, a Floral Park resident who has cerebral palsy and needs an aide, said she finds it hard to reconcile their wages with the recent raise for fast-food workers.

“An increase for them and not for home care workers sort of gives the impression that human life is not worth as much as a hamburger,” Downes said.

The bill could cost the state $4 billion. A City University of New York report claims it would more than pay for itself by generating new tax revenue and getting workers off of public assistance.

Advocates say the cost of not raising pay is even higher, as aging an ailing loved ones will be forced out of their homes and into more expensive long-term facilities.

MORE NEWS: DA: Home Health Aide Stole Over $260,000 From 98-Year-Old UES Woman

According to the CUNY study, raising wages for home health aides would result in $1.4 billion in gains to the New York economy.

Carolyn Gusoff