Information for IHSS Recipients

The Enrollment Process

As the employer, you can help your providers by reminding them to complete the enrollment process promptly. This will reduce the time it takes for their first paycheck to arrive.  When the IHSS payroll office receives the enrollment form, they will send the provider a timesheet in the mail. Providers will need to complete a timesheet at the end of each pay period. Both the provider and the consumer must sign and date the timesheet, and it must be mailed to the address printed on the timesheet. When a new provider is enrolled, they may receive more than one timesheet initially, representing the pay periods in which they worked while completing the enrollment process. These “catch up” Timesheets cannot be issued until the process is complete including the background clearance from the Department of Justice and the provider Social Security number is verified by Social Security.

Once the timesheet process is initiated your provider should receive their paycheck within 10 business days or 14 calendar days from the date the completed timesheet is received in the Payroll office. This timeline may be affected by holidays which are non business days. A timesheet for the next pay period is attached to each paycheck. IHSS pay periods run from the 1st of the month through the 15th and from the 16th through the last day of the month.

The Consumer’s Timesheet Responsibilities

As the on-site employer, the consumer is responsible for keeping track of the number of hours a provider works each day and checking to make sure that the correct number of hours are entered on timesheets. Maintaining a task grid is one way to keep track of the number of hours worked.  The provider can copy hours directly from the task grid to the timesheet and the consumer can compare the two to make sure they match.  If the consumer has multiple providers, they must also make sure that each provider does not report more than the number of hours they have been assigned. The assigned hours should be written on each provider’s task grid.  This helps the consumer and provider stay within the assigned number of hours and helps the consumer when they are checking the accuracy of the timesheet.  Providers who work more than the assigned number of hours will not be paid for the extra hours. Consumers who allow their providers to work more than the authorized hours are taking advantage of their providers and risk losing them. 

Timesheets should be completed after the first pay period, which ends on the 15th, and after the second pay period, which ends the last day of each month. After you and your provider sign the timesheet, your provider should make a photocopy of the timesheet and mail the original immediately to the address given on the form. You can help your provider receive their paycheck promptly by making sure that the timesheet is filled out correctly, signing it, and encouraging the provider to mail it immediately.  Payroll inputs timesheets the same day or the day after they are received, but incorrect timesheets take longer to process. If a timesheet has errors or is not complete, the provider’s paycheck will be delayed. Incorrect timesheets will be returned to the provider so they can be completed correctly. The consumer and provider can avoid timesheet errors by reading the directions on how to fill out timesheets correctly that Payroll sends with the initial timesheet.  The provider’s paycheck is mailed from the payroll processing facility and should be received within ten business days from the date the timesheet was received. If the provider loses their check or does not receive it within 10 business days from the date the timesheet was received in the payroll office, the provider should call (415) 557-6200.

How to Fill Out a Timesheet

A provider’s regular timesheet is printed by a computer and should already have the following information printed on it:

1.      The consumer’s and provider’s name and address.

2.      The consumer’s and provider’s identification numbers.

3.      The number of service hours authorized for the consumer.  The timesheet for the first half of the month shows the hours for the whole month. The hours shown on the timesheet for the second half of the month are the total hours for the month minus the hours paid in the first half of the month. If a consumer has multiple providers, the hours remaining include those assigned to other caregivers.  It is the consumer’s responsibility to let each provider know how many of the remaining hours are assigned to them. The State has no way to know how individual consumers assign hours to multiple providers.  It is crucial that the consumer assign these hours at the beginning of the two week period, long before the new timesheet arrives.  Otherwise, providers could work more than the remaining number of hours.  In that case, they would not be paid for their work.

4.      The dates of the pay period (including month and year).

5.      The consumer’s Share-of-Cost (if any). This is the maximum amount of money the consumer pays the provider directly for IHSS services during the month.

6.      Any reduction in the check for a prior overpayment.

7.      The IHSS Payroll Address where the provider should mail the completed timesheet.

8.      The employee number of the consumer’s IHSS social worker.  If the timesheet is filled out correctly and submitted on time, the provider will receive their paycheck within 10 business days from the time it was received.  The check will be delayed if the timesheet is torn, unreadable, or incorrectly completed.  It will also be delayed if it is turned in too early – before the end of the pay period – or too late.

Tips to Help You and Your Provider Avoid Timesheet Problems

Use black or blue ink only to write the hours worked.  Numbers must be readable.  Timesheets completed in pencil will not be accepted.

Write the number of hours worked in the boxes under the dates.  The provider should fill in the number of hours s/he worked each day of the pay period on the day worked unless s/he is doing this on a task grid.

Check to make sure the hours reported for the days worked during the pay period are equal to, or less than, the hours authorized for that pay period.

Do not cross out or change provider or consumer names in the identification boxes at the top of the timesheet.  Acceptable timesheets are preprinted with the consumer and provider names.  These can be obtained from the IHSS payroll office.

Cross out mistakes in the hours reported and write in the correct information.  Do not fix mistakes with correction tape or correction fluid.  The consumer and provider must initial the correction.

Sign and date the timesheet in ink at the end of the pay period and not before. Both the provider and the consumer must sign the timesheet after the hours have been worked.

Tear off the “Statement of Earnings and Deductions” before mailing.

Mail completed timesheet to the IHSS Payroll Mailing Address given on the form as soon as possible after the 15th and the last day of each month.

Send questions or inquiries to the IHSS social worker in a separate envelope.

The State asks that providers fill in the number of hours worked each day of the pay period using decimals to designate partial hours. Each tenth (.1) of an hour equals 6 minutes. To convert minutes into tenths of an hour, simply divide the number of minutes worked by 6. For example, 2 hours and 48 minutes would be written 2.8. Or, you can use the conversion table below to find the tenth of an hour that matches the number of minutes worked.

Minutes in tenths of an hour:

1– 6 minutes = .1 31–36 minutes = .6

7–12 minutes = .2 37–42 minutes = .7

13–18 minutes = .3 43–48 minutes = .8

19–24 minutes = .4 49–54 minutes = .9

25–30 minutes = .5 55–60 minutes = .10

Example: If a provider works 1 hour and 42 minutes they should write “1.7”.  For days that the provider does not work, they may leave the box blank or put an “0” or an “x” in the box. Sum up the total hours worked for the pay period and put that number in the far right hand box of the “Hours worked” row.  Or, leave this box blank and IHSS Payroll will write in the total.  If the provider’s address changes, check the “yes” box where indicated on the front of the timesheet and write the new address on the back of the timesheet.  Please note that it is a violation of IHSS regulations for the provider and the consumer to submit a timesheet showing more hours than the provider actually worked.

Common Timesheet Mistakes

·         Information is left out.

·         The timesheet is not signed by both the provider and the consumer.

·         A pencil is used to fill out or sign the timesheet.

·         The numbers cannot be read.

·         A mistake is covered with correction fluid (white out).

·         The number of hours worked in the pay period is not entered correctly.

·         Some of the information on the timesheet was torn off when the pay stub (the upper part of the form) was detached.

·         The timesheet was mailed before the last day worked in the pay period.

·         More hours are claimed than were authorized for payment.

Share-of-Cost (SOC)

Some IHSS consumers pay a share of the cost of their household and personal care directly to their provider.  This happens when an applicant’s age or disability status qualifies them for IHSS, but their income is higher than the Supplemental Security Income level.  The State of California pays the remaining costs.

When you are interviewing a potential provider, you should tell them if you pay a SOC for their services.  The maximum amount of your SOC should be included in your work agreement.  This figure will be the maximum that you would pay directly to the provider.  An IHSS consumer with a Share-of-Cost (SOC) pays the consumer’s share to the provider when the consumer receives an “Explanation of Share-of-Cost Letter” that identifies the amount of the SOC to be paid that pay period.  Typically, consumers will owe most, if not all, of their SOC for the first pay period of the month.  The provider’s paycheck for this period will arrive close to the end of the month. Consumers may need to plan ahead to have monies available if their monthly income arrives after the first of the month.  The State will deduct as much of the SOC as possible from the first pay period check.  If first pay period earnings are greater than the SOC, all of the SOC will be deducted from the first pay period check.  The consumer will pay the provider the full SOC for the month when that check arrives.  If first pay period earnings are less than the SOC, the provider will receive a State paycheck for $0.00 and the remaining SOC will be deducted from the second pay period check.  In this case, the consumer will pay the provider part of the SOC when the first pay period check arrives and part when the second pay period check is received.

The Explanation of Share of Cost Letter will clearly explain how much you need to pay to your provider.  For consumers who receive IHSS as part of their Medi-Cal benefits, the consumer’s total SOC can be applied to both IHSS and Medi-Cal services.  In some months, the consumer may spend all of the SOC on Medi-Cal services.  In that month, the consumer will not pay any of his/her SOC to the provider.  Instead, the State will pay the provider for all the authorized hours the provider worked during that month. Please note that the amount the consumer pays to the provider may change with each paycheck issued, depending upon the amount of medical payments made by the consumer each month.

Here is an example:

Mrs. Smith has a share of cost of $200 for the month of June.  She sees her doctor on the 5th and pays $50 at the doctor’s office.  She fills a prescription on the 6th and pays $60 at the pharmacy.  Her provider submits her time sheet on the 16th.  Mrs. Smith receives a letter stating she needs to pay her IHSS provider $90.

Conlan Claims

There may be a time when you have paid your doctor or your pharmacy and it is not recorded immediately.  If this happens at the same time your provider’s timesheet is being processed, you may find that you have paid your share of cost or part of it, twice.  In order to be reimbursed this amount, you must be able to show proof of payment for both services.  When this happens, you can contact the Department of Health Care Services Center at (916) 403-2007 and request a claims packet be mailed to you.  Fill out the packet and return it as directed in the packet and your claim will be forwarded to the Conlan Claims unit at CDSS.  To request information on the status of your claim you may call (877) 508-1327.  If your claim is denied, you will receive information concerning your right to file for a fair hearing.

Payroll Deductions and Benefits

If you are an IHSS consumer with a family provider, you may be interested in knowing about the payroll deductions and benefits that affect your family member.  This section explains the payroll deductions and the benefits available to all providers.

Deductions

IHSS providers are required to contribute to the federal Social Security system and some are required or may elect to contribute to State Disability Insurance (SDI).  These contributions are deducted from the provider’s paychecks.  Each deduction is described in more detail below.  Social Security benefits are available if the provider becomes totally disabled or retires and meets certain eligibility requirements.  The benefits include a monthly payment to the provider or their dependents from the Social Security system.  The size of the payment depends upon their lifetime earnings and the number of years they contributed to the system.  The provider will also be contributing to Medicare, a federally sponsored health care program.  Medicare benefits will be available to the provider at age 65.  They may qualify for Medicare before age 65 if they are receiving Social Security Disability (SSD) payments.

Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA).  The Social Security deduction is called FICA.  It is deducted from the paychecks of all IHSS providers except the parent provider of a child under 18 who is receiving IHSS.  Your provider or family member may contact your local Social Security Administration Office for more information about Social Security and how to apply for it. 

Medicare Tax.  Medicare is the health and medical benefits that providers will receive along with the Social Security benefits package.  Contributions are based on a percentage of their income.

State Disability Insurance (SDI).  State Disability Insurance benefits are available for people who become disabled and are prevented from doing their regular work, if they meet certain eligibility requirements.  SDI benefits are available for a maximum of 52 weeks.  Contact your local Employment Development Department office for more information about SDI and, if needed, how to apply for it.  Caregivers who are providing IHSS services for a parent, spouse, or child do not have to contribute to SDI.  However, they may choose to participate in the SDI program by applying for Elective State Disability Insurance.  Forms for Elective SDI coverage are available from the county social worker.  If caregivers providing services for a parent, spouse, or child do not elect to participate in SDI, SDI will not be available to them should they become disabled for work.  All other IHSS providers are automatically covered for SDI if they have IHSS quarterly wages in excess of $750.00. SDI contributions are deducted from their paycheck.

Union dues.  California’s homecare workers are represented by three unions: the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), United Domestic Workers/American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (UDW/AFSCME), and California United Homecare Workers Union (CUHWU).  The unions bargain with the IHSS Public Authorities for wages and benefits.  Deductions for union dues are made from the paychecks of providers who have worked 15 or more hours per month. 

Health and Dental Insurance.  In many counties, health and dental insurance are available to homecare providers through the unions.  To be eligible, providers must pay union dues and pay a share of the premium for both types of insurance. The specific plans and entry requirements vary by county.  Call the local union or your social worker to find out more about the coverage in your county.  Health and dental insurance can be terminated when the provider’s hours drop too low.  If provider insurance is terminated, there may be a disqualification period before eligibility for benefits can be reestablished.  If your provider’s health care insurance is terminated, he/she may be eligible for caregiver-paid coverage under COBRA.

·         Is your provider without insurance?

If your provider does not have health insurance and needs assistance while waiting to be enrolled, contact the Health and Human Services Department in your county.  This department has programs for individuals who economically qualify for care under Medi-Cal and the County Medical Services Program (CMSP).

·         Does your provider already have health coverage?

If your provider has coverage now, they should carefully compare the plans, co-payments and costs to decide which plan is best for them.  If, for example, they are covered by Medi-Cal, they may not have any monthly contribution or co-payment when using a service.  This comprehensive health care system may be less expensive than the health insurance offered to IHSS providers through the unions.

·         Can spouses or dependents enroll?

Plans vary by county. Healthy Families offers low cost coverage for dependent children of low-income families. Your provider can contact Healthy Families staff at (800) 880-5305 or at: www.healthyfamilies.ca.gov.

Benefits

Unemployment Insurance (UI).  Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits may be available to IHSS providers if they become unemployed and are able and available to work and meet certain eligibility requirements.  UI benefits are available for a maximum of 26 weeks. Your provider may contact your local California Employment Development Department (EDD) office for information about unemployment insurance and how to apply for it or call 1-800-300-5616.  UI benefits are not available to IHSS caregivers who are the parent or spouse of an IHSS recipient. There is no paycheck deduction for UI. 

Workers’ Compensation.  If your provider is injured on the job or becomes ill as a result of it, the State will pay for their medical care and an income stipend through the State Compensation Insurance Fund (SCIF).  To qualify, they must meet certain eligibility requirements.  There is no deduction from their paycheck for the cost of Workers’ Compensation.  If your provider is hurt on the job:

·         They should seek medical attention immediately. IHSS caregivers can choose their own Primary Care Physician (PCP) for treatment as long as the physician receives reimbursement from SCIF.  This can be confirmed on SCIFs website (http://www.scif.com/MPN/MPNHome.html).

·         Then, notify the IHSS social worker.  Ask the social worker for a claim form to apply for Workers’ Compensation. The provider is required to file a form describing the nature of the injury or illness, when it occurred, and how and where it happened.

·         Complete and return the form immediately to the IHSS office in the return envelope provided.  IHSS will send the form to SCIF.  Then, a representative from SCIF will contact the provider with an explanation of any benefit entitlement or to deny the claim.

Earned Income Credit (EIC).  The Earned Income Credit (EIC), also known as the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), is a federal program that provides a credit or cash supplement to low and moderate-income workers who qualify.  For those who are eligible, the EIC will either lower the amount of tax owed to the federal government for the prior year or provide a refund for taxes already paid.  To qualify for the EIC:

·         The provider (or their spouse) must have a job and file a federal tax return with the IRS.

·         Income limits for this program change from year to year. The provider will need to check on the income ceiling limits for the year in which the provider applies for the EIC.

Claiming the EIC will not affect eligibility for other programs such as:

·         Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF)

·         Medicaid (Medi-Cal)

·         Supplemental Security Income/State Supplementary Payment (SSI/SSP)

·         Food stamps

·         Housing assistance

However, if the provider receives an Earned Income Credit (EIC) payment and fails to spend it in a certain period of time, it might be counted as an asset and affect their eligibility for these other programs.  Immigrants who are legally authorized to work may claim the EIC.

Income Tax Withholding.  Income tax withholding for IHSS homecare providers is strictly voluntary.  If your provider wishes to have state and federal income tax withheld from their paycheck, they should complete the Income Tax Withholding Form (W-4) and mail it to your county welfare department.  All IHSS providers must file a tax return on or before April 15th of each year, whether or not they have state or federal taxes withheld from their paycheck.  They should contact the consumer’s IHSS social worker if they need additional W-4s, or if they need to change their withholding or determine the status of their withholding.  Contact your local California Franchise Tax Board (FTB) office for additional information about state income tax withholding or your local Internal Revenue Service Office (IRS) office for additional information about federal income tax withholding.