Decoding the IHSS timesheet and paycheck process

When 65,000 IHSS timesheets went missing in Los Angeles County this summer and tens of thousands of providers went without pay for over a month, many UDW members were not surprised. In fact, too many of us have experienced issues with late or missing timesheets and paychecks.

The missing LA County timesheets—which were later blamed on a delivery issue by the United States Postal Service—have reinvigorated our efforts to improve the IHSS paycheck and timesheet process. It’s hard to keep our households afloat when we can’t rely on a steady paycheck!

Earlier this month, UDW homecare providers and leaders toured the timesheet processing facility in Chico, CA as a first step to get answers. We learned that, in some cases, there are easy ways that IHSS providers can prevent pay delays. You can learn more about the life cycle of and IHSS paycheck and timesheet here (click here for Vietnamese and Spanish) and more details about the process are below. We are also asking providers to take our survey (click here for Spanish and Vietnamese survey) to help improve the IHSS payroll system.

STEP ONE

Mail your IHSS timesheet to the processing facility in Chico, CA

Each pay period, once your timesheet for the previous pay period has been processed, you should receive a new timesheet in the mail. This timesheet is uniquely barcoded and refers to a specific provider and pay period. That’s why it is so important that we use each timesheet only in the pay period when it is assigned. Otherwise, processing of our timesheets will be delayed.

Once you have filled out your timesheet correctly, mail it to the processing facility in Chico. Depending on the speed of the mail, this can take up to three business days.

To check out our handy information sheet on the timesheet process, click here!

To check out our handy information sheet on the timesheet process, click here!

STEP TWO

The timesheet processing facility receives your timesheet, and it is checked for accuracy

So what happens once your timesheet is received by the processing facility? On the tour, we learned that the facility can process up to 100,000 timesheets per day, and sees as many as 1 million timesheets per month. That’s a lot of timesheets!

The processing facility uses automated machines to open and scan our timesheets. These machines are able to catch envelopes that contain more than one timesheet, extraneous documents, or damaged timesheets. Timesheets with these issues are removed from the automated process and handled manually, which can cause delays.

During the scanning process, all of the colors on our timesheets other than black are scanned out of the timesheet. This is why it’s so important to use black ink when filling out your timesheet—if you use any other color, the computer will not be able to read it.

When our timesheets have been scanned and checked for quality, they move on to people who try and fill in any questionable parts of the timesheet. For example, if the automated system was unable to detect a signature because it was placed below the line, the person processing your timesheet would have the opportunity to confirm that it was there.

Unfortunately, if our handwriting is unreadable to the processor, the timesheet will be sent to our county office as an exception, and the county will work through their own process to resolve the issue, which could also cause delays. We can avoid this by always making sure to print all words and numbers legibly, and sign our names in the correct place.

STEP THREE

Your timesheet finishes processing at a second facility in Roseville, CA

Once the Chico facility is finished with your IHSS timesheet, they forward that information to the case management facility in Roseville, CA. Case management totals and authorizes our hours for the pay period, and sends our timesheet files to the State Controller who has two business days to send back confirmation that our paycheck was mailed to us or our direct deposit credited. At the same time, a second timesheet file is sent to the Employment Development Department (EDD), which then mails us our timesheet for the next pay period.

STEP FOUR

You receive your pay and your new timesheet

Unlike in the past, timesheets for the next pay period now arrive separately in the mail from your IHSS paycheck. However, you should receive your next timesheet around the same time as your paycheck. Keep in mind, if you choose to receive paper checks, this process may take longer as it is subject to the speed of the mail system. There is another option!

IHSS providers enrolled in direct deposit typically receive their paychecks faster than those who opt to receive paper checks. Your timesheet should arrive in the mail shortly after you receive your direct deposit.

CONCLUSION

All in all, it can take up to 10 business days from the date the facility in Chico receives a provider’s timesheet to the day the provider is paid. If there is a holiday and the post office is closed, paychecks and timesheets can take even longer.

Here are just a few things providers can do to prevent delays so that we can get our paychecks in a timely manner:

  • When completing your timesheet: Follow the instructions and reminders included with each timesheet. Press firmly, use black ink only, and make sure both your signature and the homecare recipient’s signature are present and legible. Remember: if your timesheet is not legible to you, it will probably not be readable by the machines at the processing facility!
  • When mailing your timesheet: Detach the top portion of the timesheet, only mail the timesheet that corresponds with the pay period, and make sure nothing else is in the envelope.
  • Even if you finish working before the end of the pay period, mail your timesheet at the end. If you mail it before the end of the pay period, it will not be processed faster. It will be held by the facility until the end of the pay period, which could cause delays.
  • Do not send in your timesheet early with hours you have not yet worked on the timesheet. This timesheet may not be accepted and could cause delays in processing.
  • Enroll in direct deposit to receive your pay faster and avoid late or delayed paychecks in the mail by submitting this form to the state. Spanish and Vietnamese forms can be found here.

NEXT STEPS

The timesheet facility tour is just the first step in our efforts to improve the IHSS payroll system. Now we need to hear your voice! Take our IHSS timesheet and payroll survey here to share your experiences. (You can access the Spanish survey here and the Vietnamese survey here)

Editha Adams and William Reed

UDW President Editha Adams and Placer Chair William Reed outside the Timesheet Facility in Chico, CA.

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Paid for by United Domestic Workers of America Action Fund, sponsored by United Domestic Workers of America. Not authorized by a candidate or a committee controlled by a candidate.

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