As COVID-19 continues to take a toll on our communities, we are looking for ways to provide as much relief as possible to homecare and personal support workers and personal care attendants. The Board of Trustees has passed the following benefit enhancements.
COVID-19 Paid Time Off Benefit
The temporary COVID-19 PTO benefit will end on May 31, 2022.
Carewell SEIU 503 began offering this benefit in March 2020 when the pandemic first started to support care providers in times of crisis. Over $2,500,000 was distributed to over 6,000 care providers in Oregon!
Thanks to the collective efforts of many Oregonians, the Oregon Health Authority has announced that the Public Health Emergency declaration has been lifted. We will shift our focus to other Carewell benefits that are in need.
If you still need this benefit and you meet the eligibility criteria (see below), please apply now before this temporary benefit ends on May 31, 2022.
If you submit a request for COVID-19 PTO after May 31, 2022, it will not be processed, and you won’t receive payment. For requests submitted before May 31, 2022, you can expect to receive payment in about four weeks.
To be eligible for this benefit, you must:
- Have lost covered eligible working hours because of one of the five reasons below; and
- Have worked at least 40 covered hours in one of the three months preceding the month that you lost covered hours for one of the below reasons; and
- Have a Form W-9 on file with the Benefits Administrative Office.
Requirement 1: Lost work hours for one of the below reasons:
- You had a confirmed case of COVID-19;
- You were advised by a qualified medical professional* to self-quarantine due to potential exposure to COVID-19;
- You have symptoms of COVID-19 and are actively seeking a medical diagnosis by a qualified medical professional;
- You are providing care for an individual, who you are legally responsible for or live with, and who is subject to a quarantine or isolation order by a qualified medical professional*; and/or
- You are caring for a child who you are legally responsible for whose school or childcare facility has been closed due to COVID-19 precautions and no other qualified individuals** are available to care for your child(ren).
*A qualified medical professional is a medical care provider who is licensed and trained to provide medical services. This includes physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, and registered nurses. For the purposes of this benefit, Contact Tracers working with local public health authorities—like the Oregon Health Authority — are considered qualified professionals.
**A qualified individual for child care is a licensed or unlicensed adult who you trust to provide safe care for your child. This could include your child’s regular care provider, a licensed care center, or a family member.
See the Questions and Answers section for more information about the reasons for missing work hours.
Requirement 2: You have worked at least 40 covered hours in one of the three months preceding the month that you lost covered hours for a qualifying reason.
To be eligible for this benefit, you need to have worked at least 40 hours in one of the three months just before the time period in which you lost those hours.
For example, if you lost hours in February 2021, you need to have worked at least 40 hours in January 2021, December 2020, or November 2020 in order to be eligible.
Requirement 3: Have a Form W-9 on file with the Benefits Administrative Office.
COVID-19 PTO benefits are taxable; therefore, you need to have a Form W-9 on file with the Benefits Administrative Office. If you are unsure whether you have a W-9 on file with the Benefits Administrative Office, we recommend you fill one out to help avoid delay in benefit payment.
Questions and Answers
Read common questions about COVID-19 Paid Time Off.
What are "covered hours?"
Covered hours (also known as eligible working hours or bargaining unit hours) are the hours that you work for your consumer that are paid by Acumen, DHS and/or PPL on behalf of your consumer.
How many COVID-19 PTO benefit hours am I eligible for?
If you meet the eligibility requirements, you can get up to 80 hours of PTO benefits in 2022.
Can I apply for the COVID-19 PTO benefit more than once?
Yes! You can apply as many times as needed, as long as you meet the eligibility requirements, for up 80 hours of PTO in 2022.
Can I apply for hours lost in 2021?
Yes! In 2021, eligible workers could get up to 40 hours of COVID-19 PTO.
Am I eligible for this benefit if I had COVID-19 symptoms and I made the decision to stay home from work?
No. To be eligible, a qualified medical professional or Oregon Health Authority Contact Tracer must have told you to self-quarantine. If you decided on your own to self-quarantine without a medical professional’s order or advice, you would not qualify for this benefit.
Am I eligible for this benefit if my child’s care provider was open/available but I made the decision to keep them home because of concerns about COVID-19?
No. To be eligible, you must have no adequate child care available to you. If you decided on your own to keep your child home without a medical professional’s order or advice, you would not qualify for this benefit.
What if my consumer is high risk and declining work hours?
To be eligible for this benefit in this case, you must have lost hours because your consumer was told to self-quarantine by a medical professional. You would not be eligible for this benefit if your consumer made the decision on their own to self-isolate.
What is a qualified medical professional?
A qualified medical professional is a medical care provider who is licensed and trained to provide medical services. This includes physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, and registered nurses. For the purposes of this benefit, Contact Tracers working with local public health authorities — like the Oregon Health Authority—are considered qualified professionals.
What is a “qualified individual” when it comes to child care?
A qualified individual is a licensed or unlicensed adult who you trust to provide safe care for your child. This could include your child’s school, their regular care provider, a licensed care center, or a family member.
How much will I get paid?
The COVID-19 PTO benefit is calculated the same way your Paid Time Off is normally calculated. Your PTO benefits are determined based on your wages earned in the first month you became eligible — in this case, as early as November 2020. For most care providers, this was $15.77 per hour. As of January 1, 2022, the rate for most care providers is $16.67 per hour.
If I claim COVID-19 PTO benefits, can I still claim other kinds of PTO benefits like regular PTO?
Yes! You can (and should) apply for all the Carewell SEIU 503 PTO benefits you’re eligible for, including regular PTO.
What documentation do I need to send in to prove that I lost hours because of one of the five eligibility criteria?
You do not need to send in any extra documentation. You just need to attest to (in other words, swear to) the fact that you lost covered work hours for the reason that you checked on your benefit request form. Your loss of covered hours will then be verified by the Benefits Administrative Office and the Oregon Home Care Commission by reviewing your timecard/voucher.
What if the Benefits Administrative Office and Oregon Home Care Commission don’t verify my lost covered hours?
If either the covered hours that you worked or the covered hours that you missed can’t be verified, staff from the Benefits Administrative Office will contact you to try and resolve the discrepancy. If lost covered hours can’t be accounted for, the benefit recipient may be responsible for paying the benefit back.
Protect yourself, protect others, and help us beat this pandemic.
The vaccine is now available for all homecare and personal support workers in Oregon. To secure a spot for your first dose of COVID-19 vaccine, please schedule your vaccine appointment as soon as possible!
- The State of Oregon has information about where you can get your vaccine shot. Click here for details.
- Kaiser Permanente offers vaccination for both Kaiser Permanente members and non-members. Click here for more information.
- OHCC (Oregon Home Care Commission), OHA (Oregon Health Authority), and Carewell SEIU 503 Benefits are sponsoring vaccination events. Click here for details.
COVID-19 vaccines have been carefully evaluated in clinical trials and approved by the FDA because they make it substantially less likely you’ll get COVID-19. The combination of getting vaccinated and following CDC’s recommendations to protect yourself and others will offer the best protection from COVID-19 and help us beat this illness.
There are no mandates forcing you to get the vaccine. But our union supports healthcare workers, essential workers, and the general public taking the vaccine to eliminate COVID-19 and begin the process of rebuilding from this pandemic.
Free COVID-19 Tests
Get your free tests through the United States Postal Service
Click below to place your order for Free At-Home COVID-19 Tests. Note: this is a federal program, not a Carewell benefit. If you have questions about this, please contact USPS.
Carewell COVID-19 Testing benefit
As of September 1, 2021, the Carewell COVID-19 Testing benefit is no longer available. This means you can no longer request a testing kit through this benefit. However, if you have received a testing kit from Innovare, you can still use it and send it to Innovare for processing.
How do I send a test to be processed by Innovare?
- Complete the test that was shipped to you to self-administer.
- Return the test back to the lab in the self-addressed mailer provided.
Innovare Contact information
You can reach Innovare’s Helpline at 631-403-0062.
Where can I find a COVID-19 test?
- Go online at govstatus.egov.com/or-oha-covid-19-testing
- Call 211 for help finding a testing site
Essential Worker Letter
Many homecare and personal support workers have asked for a way to document that they are care providers, and therefore essential workers. Click here and complete the form, and you will be automatically emailed a letter verifying you are an essential worker.