Salvador Lopez Segura of Kern County is an IHSS provider for his sons, David and Cesar, who live with rheumatoid arthritis, while also caring for his wife, who is on dialysis. Initially, Salvador retired from his job to support his wife through her treatments, while his eldest son, Cesar, was David’s IHSS provider. But last year, everything changed after Cesar suffered a sudden fall that left him unable to walk.
Salvador stepped up to care for both of his sons while continuing to drive his wife to and from dialysis three times a week. It wasn’t easy, but he pushed through and hoped that Cesar’s symptoms would improve. It took months before the doctors officially diagnosed Cesar with the same illness as David.
Through months of uncertainty, Salvador was paid only for the hours he cared for his youngest son, and with the stress of being the only source of income and primary caregiver to his entire family mounting, Salvador needed help. So he reached out to UDW and successfully submitted an appeal to ask for more hours of care for David. That appeals process earned Salvador an additional 75 paid hours per month and retroactive pay of over $1,000 for the previous months.
It was a huge relief, but there was still work to do: Salvador tried to apply for IHSS hours for his oldest son Cesar but was denied due to an error in the paperwork from his son’s doctors. That’s when UDW stepped in, again. Salvador was more confident this time around because he knew his union had his back, and in May he received incredible news: all those long hours of making phone calls and tracking down the right paperwork resulted in 136 hours per month for Cesar’s care and over $15,000 in back pay!
“It’s been such a big help,” Salvador said. “I can breathe a little bit better.” He and his family were able to pay off a large portion of the debts that had accumulated while he cared for Cesar unpaid, and life is a bit calmer now.
Salvador’s sister-in-law comes in to help his wife with some light cleaning and other home tasks. His wife has transportation to and from her dialysis treatments through her local resources—giving Salvador some breathing room. The family also has some help from qualified nurses who help tend to his sons’ more serious medical needs. It’s been a journey with many obstacles and curve balls, but the Lopez Segura family now has a semblance of normalcy.