The California Department of Social Services has begun mailing $500 bonus checks to more than 500,000 caregivers in the state.
, with the state and federal government splitting the cost. The department says all eligible in-home supportive services providers should get their check by the end of this week. To be eligible, a caregiver must have worked at least two months between March 2020 and March 2021. Both in-home caregivers and those who provide Medi-Cal home and community-based services, such as Programs for All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly, are eligible. More than $280 million will be paid in total for the initiative, and will be split by both the state and federal government. The average reported wage of caregivers in the Sacramento area is $14/ho, the state's minimum wage ceiling for bigger employers. A 2021 state audit found that caregivers make just 58% of a living wage for their counties.
The bonus is not intended to be a long term fix, but is intended to provide immediate financial relief following a year of uncertainty for many working in the caregiving industry following the pandemic.