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 Resource Center at 1-800-621-5016.
Wages and benefits for IHSS providers
How do I get health benefits?
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 Resource 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.
How do I get dental coverage?
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.
Can I get unemployment benefits if I lose my job?
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 are eligible for unemployment benefits is up to the EDD–it doesn’t hurt to apply!
What if I am injured on the job?
Notify IHSS immediately by calling your local IHSS Public Authority. 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. You can also get more information about State Disability Insurance and Workers’ Compensation online.
Do IHSS providers pay into Social Security?
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.
What if I have to take care of another family member that is not my IHSS client – can I get Paid Family Leave?
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 1-877-238-4373
Who pays my wages?
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.
How can I verify that IHSS will pay for the tasks my client asks me to do?
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.
How can I get more training for CPR and caregiving?
The California Independent Provider Training Center (CAIPTC) is now offering free and low-cost classes for UDW homecare providers, including:
• Bloodborne pathogens
• OSHA Workplace Violence Prevention
• OSHA Safe Patient Training
• Adult & child CPR/first aid and automated external defibrillator (AED)
Timesheets and paychecks
How do I fill out my IHSS timesheet?
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.
My paycheck or timesheet is late. What do I do?
You should receive your paycheck within 10 business days of mailing your timesheet. If you do not receive your next timesheet with your paycheck, it should arrive within three business days from receipt of your paycheck.
If either of these items are late, you can reach out to the IHSS Help Desk in your county. Full list is here.
Butte: 530-538-7538, menu option 1
El Dorado: 530-621-6287 or 530-621-6275
Mariposa: 209-966-2000 – ask for the IHSS unit
Merced: If your last name starts with A-F – 209-722-1738 x3124; G-MAR – 209-722-1739 x3123; MAS-SAES – 209-722-1740 x3110; SAET-Z – 209-722-1741 x3122
Orange: 714-825-3195 or 714-825-3000
San Diego: 1-866-351-7722
San Luis Obispo: North County 805-461-6110; South County 805-474-2103
Santa Barbara: 1-866-313-1353
What happens if my paycheck is lost in the mail?
Providers should contact the county (IHSS Public Authority payroll department) and have them try to track the lost paycheck. The county will issue a replacement check and also a new timesheet if these documents are lost. A toll-free number is also provided by the state at 1-866-376-7066.
I don’t understand some of the deductions on my paycheck. What are they for?
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
How do I get a client? Can I get a second client?
Providers may have more than one client. Often clients are found through family, friends, neighbors, or word of mouth. UDW members can find clients through our FREE matching service UDW Match.
My client doesn’t get enough IHSS hours for their care. How can my client get additional hours authorized?
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 client’s condition changed. Your local UDW office can assist you in this process, contact your local UDW office who can assist you in this process.
How can my client get hours reinstated that were taken away?
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.
If you need help, contact your local UDW office to be put in touch with your county’s, who can assist you in this process.
I know someone who may qualify for IHSS. How do they know if they are eligible? How do they apply?
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
I’ve heard that all IHSS providers need background checks and orientation or they will not get paid. How do I do this?
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 “R
equirements to Become an IHSS Provider” section.
What is an unannounced home visit and what are my rights if my client is visited while I’m at work?
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.
How has our union helped IHSS providers and clients?
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.
What are my dues used for?
- To secure better wages and benefits for caregivers. UDW staff work alongside homecare providers 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
Am I a UDW member? How do I join?
You need to sign a membership card to become a member of UDW. Click here to sign a membership card today.
Union membership is what creates our strength and the ability to stand together. Without union dues, we wouldn’t be able to we stop cuts to IHSS in Sacramento and bargain for better wages and benefits. Membership supports your client and the entire homecare community.
Becoming a UDW member provides many important benefits, view all of them here.
Why are my union dues different this month from last month?
For IHSS caregivers, dues are based on hours paid – that means the hours that are authorized to the client through IHSS. Dues are deducted by the state, 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 Benefits Center at 1-800-621-5016
or your local UDW office for more information.
I’m a UDW member but I am in between clients or they are in the hospital. Do I still have to pay dues?
In order to access your UDW benefits and resources you must remaine a member in good standing. If your client is in the hospital or you lost a client and are waiting for a new one, you can request a six-month Leave of Absence by sending a letter to: UDW Headquarters, 4855 Seminole Dr., San Diego, CA 92115.