Below are some of the questions that are most frequently asked by members. If you have questions that are not answered below, contact your local UDW office or the Member Communications Center at 1-800-621-5016.
Wages and benefits for IHSS providers
Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, free or low-cost health insurance is now available to legal residents of California, including most homecare providers. More information about the health care coverage options that may be available to you and your family can be found here
or you can contact our Member Communications Center at 1-800-621-5016
for more information.
If you work over a specified number of hours each month, you may also be able to get health benefits through your IHSS employment. In some counties there is a waiting list due to limited funding for medical benefits. To find out the exact requirement for your county and to get the forms, contact your local UDW office.
UDW offers an option to all UDW members and our families to purchase a group low-cost dental plan (regardless of how many IHSS hours you work). To sign up or get more information on dental benefits, click here
Unemployment benefits (FICA & SUI) may be available to you if you are not the parent or spouse of your client and you meet certain eligibility requirements. There is no deduction from your paycheck for unemployment insurance. Ultimately, whether or not you eligible for unemployment benefits is up to the EDD–it doesn’t hurt to apply
Notify IHSS immediately by calling your case worker. State Disability Insurance (SDI) benefits may be available to you if you become disabled, are prevented from doing your regular work and you meet certain eligibility requirements. Call the State Division of Workers Compensation at 1-800-736-7401 for more information.
FICA stands for “Federal Insurance Contributions Act” and it includes Social Security as well as other benefits. Social Security and Medicare benefits are available to individual providers who are 18-years-old or older and not the parent, child or spouse of the IHSS client. If you are eligible for these benefits, deductions will be taken out of your paycheck.
The California Paid Family Leave (PFL) program is an enhancement to the State Disability Insurance (SDI) program and is not related to IHSS. Homecare providers who have been paying into State Disability Insurance
and must leave work (their IHSS client) to care for a seriously ill parent, child, spouse, registered domestic partner, or to bond with a new minor child, are eligible. PFL can be used for a maximum of 6 weeks in a 12 month period. The provider will receive partial payment based on the prior quarter’s earnings — approximately 55% of lost wages. You can apply for PFL benefits through SDI online here
or by calling 1-877-238-4378
Your client is called your employer, and he or she has the authority to hire or fire a homecare provider. However, the IHSS Public Authority is your legal “Employer of Record” and the IHSS program pays for wages using county, state, and federal dollars. Your client does not pay your wages unless they have a “share of cost.”
The IHSS program is administered by the county and our union currently negotiates with the county for increased wages and benefits for homecare providers. In 2012, the Coordinated Care Initiative was passed and soon we will negotiate with the state for better wages and benefits.
The “Notice of Action” (NOA) is a legal document that contains an IHSS client’s authorized services and number of hours, according to his or her most recent assessment. After strong advocacy by UDW and our allies, homecare providers are now given written notice of the client’s authorized services, and the full number of authorized hours allotted to each client under that provider’s care. Previously the NOA was only sent to the IHSS client.
The California Independent Provider Training Center (CAIPTC) is now offering free and low-cost classes for UDW homecare providers, including:
• Nutrition and healthy eating
• Family caregiving (2-day class)
• Diabetes prevention program
• Adult & child CPR/first aid and automated external defibrillator (AED)
You can check out the class schedule on the CAIPTC website or contact your local UDW office for trainings scheduled in your county
Timecards and paychecks
Everyone wants to get paid accurately and on time! The new payroll and timecard system CMIPS II is now implemented in all UDW counties. Go to the Your Job & Paycheck
page for help with understanding the new timesheet and payroll system. You can also watch this video
about filling out the timesheets.
Providers should contact the county (IHSS Public Authority payroll department) toll-free at 1-866-376-7066
to ask for a replacement timesheet. Have your client sign the new card after it is filled out and mail it in as soon as possible. Learn more about timesheets and payroll here
Providers should contact the county (IHSS Public Authority payroll department) and have them try to track the lost paycheck at toll-free at 1-866-376-7066. The county will issue a replacement check and also a new timesheet if these documents are lost.
IHSS paychecks are itemized, showing your gross and net pay, as well as other deductions that have been taken out of your check. Not every IHSS provider will have the same deductions or benefits. Also, some deductions are only applied once a month and will therefore not show on every paycheck. To better understand your deductions, you can contact the IHSS Provider Help Desk toll-free at 1-866-376-7066.
Client hours and eligibility
Providers may have more than one client. Often clients are found through family, friends, neighbors, or word of mouth. All counties also have a “registry” that can help you find a client. The registry is a list of homecare providers and clients that is set up by your IHSS Public Authority. Contact
your local UDW office for more information.
The county social worker makes an assessment of your client’s hours, usually during a yearly evaluation. The client or his or her representative may appeal this evaluation when it is made, or ask for an increase in hours when there has been no recent evaluation by the county but the clien’s condition changed. If you need help, contact your local UDW office
to be put in touch with your county’s Advisory Council
, who can assist you in this process.
If your client receives a notice reducing his or her hours and you think it’s wrong, you can ask for a fair hearing. It’s your client’s right.
On the Notice of Action (NOA), there is a phone number and an address to request a hearing. Have your client call or write within 10 days of the date the reduction takes effect. Your client needs to include his or her name and state identification number and say that he or she wants a fair hearing. Your client should ask for ”Aid Paid Pending,” which means his or her hours will remain at their present level until the hearing has taken place. With Aid Paid Pending, even if the judge decides your client’s hours should be reduced, the hours assigned while waiting for the case to be heard will not be considered an overpayment (the client keeps those hours). Aid Paid Pending is usually not automatically granted when you ask for a hearing so the client must be sure to request it either in writing or by phone. If it is a phone call, note the date/time and person who took the call. If it is a written request, certify the letter so that there is proof it was sent, and when. Do not send in your client’s only copy of the (NOA). If you need help, contact your local UDW office to be put in touch with your county’s Advisory Council, who can assist you in this process.
Some IHSS clients and providers are confused by multiple notices about the state budget cuts to IHSS. There is currently one cut in effect — an 8% cut to the total number of the IHSS client’s hours. This cut is applied to the total number of IHSS hours and is in effect until July 2014, when it will be lowered to 7% of the total IHSS hours. Meanwhile, UDW and our allies are working to fully restore these hours. Read more about our advocacy to protect that IHSS program against cuts here
An IHSS client must conform to the Medi-Cal asset and income limitation rules in order to qualify for IHSS. Spousal income is counted in the client’s eligibility assessment. Learn more about client eligibility for IHSS and how to apply here
Background checks & unannounced home visits
As of 2010, all providers–regardless of whether or not your client is a family member–must pass a background check. More information can be found on our Your Job & Paycheck
page in the “Requirements to Become an IHSS Provider”
A provision of the 2009-10 state budget allows for unannounced visits by county or state agents to the homes of IHSS clients. It is important to know your rights. Contact your local UDW office
to get connected to your Advocacy Council, who can help you prepare for an unannounced home visit.
Before IHSS and our union, caregivers made minimum wage and had few rights or benefits. Today, we are united for respect and power. From winning collective bargaining rights to getting direct deposit and health care benefits, we have secured many victories for homecare clients and providers. At the same time, we have fought tooth and nail to stop the IHSS program from drastic cuts and elimination.
Homecare is work, not welfare; but unfortunately some policy makers do not recognize this. With the collective power of our union, homecare workers are able to speak up together as a powerful voice for ourselves and our clients.
We continue to fight each and every day for a better future for our families. You can read more about the accomplishments of united caregivers here.
- To secure better wages and benefits for caregivers. UDW staff works alongside homecare providers member to bargain new and better contracts. Without this process, it is unlikely that we would ever get raises or improvements.
- To protect the IHSS program and working families in Sacramento. We organize rallies, meetings and vigils and bring people to Sacramento to testify on behalf of homecare workers and the IHSS program. UDW staff meets regularly with lawmakers and other officials to ensure the voices of homecare workers and clients are a part of the decision-making process.
- To advocate for IHSS clients. We help homecare clients get the care they need by assisting those who need their hours reinstated or increased.
- To protect and improve America’s social safety net. A portion of dues goes to our powerful national union, AFSCME, which is headquartered in Washington, D.C. Since IHSS is partially funded through federal Medicaid dollars, it is critical that we are able to ensure that the federal government keeps sending money to California to help pay for the wages of IHSS providers.
- To connect and inform caregivers. It takes resources to inform our membership about current issues impacting the IHSS community; including sending out mailers, calling members on the phone, and developing new member leaders. Together, we’re stronger
You need to sign a membership card to become a full member of UDW. All IHSS providers pay a share of the cost to represent homecare workers. Click here to learn how to become a full member today
Becoming a full UDW member won’t cost you anything, and it provides many additional benefits:
Dues are based on hours paid – that means the hours that are authorized to the client through IHSS. Dues are deducted by the state payroll computers, and the process is usually about 2-3 months behind your current actual paid hours. If you had an increase or decrease in your paid hours which will affect your dues, the change will not show for several paychecks. Contact the Member Communications Center at 1-800-621-5016
or your local UDW office
for more information.