Important information just posted from the State of Oregon regarding Personal Support Worker pay and the PPL transition:
“The PSW payroll run for the end of Dec 2016 pay period has generated 10,612 checks/direct deposit payments to PSWs. Of those, 1,332 were direct deposit (13%) and 9,280 were physical paper checks (87%).
Due to Federal Banking Regulations ODDS was unable to transfer previous direct deposit information PSWs had with TNT to PPL. As a result, in order to make direct deposit payments, PPL must have a new direct deposit form on file from the PSW.
PSWs who sent PPL their direct deposit information before 12/22/16 had a bank pre-note test done and will receive direct deposit. For the 1,332 payments made via direct deposit, the funds should start showing in PSW bank accounts today (Wed 1/18/17) by 11:00 am PST and be there by 5:00 pm PST.
If PPL received the direct deposit information from the PSW after 12/22/16, the PSW can expect a paper check for this pay cycle.
The paper checks were mailed by PPL yesterday afternoon (Tue 1/17/17) and should be received in 2-3 business days.”
Source: eXPRS Facebook page
The following notice was emailed to all Personal Support Workers working with INW customers on 12/13/2016:
The state has announced that it is shortening the time you have for submitting your time sheets by one day in the next payroll cycle, due to the changeover between TNT and PPL as state fiscal intermediary. In order to receive payment on time, you must have your time sheets in no later than Monday, December 19th, 2016. Brokerage processing time has been cut as well, pretty much eliminating our flexibility on late submissions.
P.S. – If you haven’t followed up on requests to turn your paperwork in to PPL, please do so now. We continue to be concerned about the low number of PSWs who are considered “good to go” in PPL’s system. If you’re not set up properly in the system, there’s no way to get you paid on time.
Click here for the 2017 PSW Submission and Payment Schedule
Please note that this message applies only to contractors who have current contracts with Independence Northwest customers.
The new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) between The Service Employees United International (SEIU) and The Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS) eliminates independent contractors as a support option for brokerage customers effective 03.31.2016. (IMPORTANT NOTE: Behavior consultants are not subject to the collective bargaining agreement and should disregard this post unless they also provide PSW supports.)
Existing independent contractors have two options:
- Become PSW Specialists: This is a new designation that is limited to currently-qualified independent contractors. ICs who choose this option will become the employees of customers or customer designates.
- Become Provider Organizations: A provider organization is a business licensed and certified by the state or Oregon.
This post addresses only the process for Independent Contractors who are becoming PSW Specialists.
How do we get from here to there? There are number of moving parts to this transition and there isn’t a lot of time to get it done. The state expects all paperwork to be completed and turned in by 02.02.2016. That doesn’t leave us many working days to get things done. The state’s transmittal covers a lot of ground and I recommend you read it carefully, but please note that it contains a significant error as well as an important omission. In a moment we’ll walk through what steps an IC needs to take to make sure he or she is ready to go when we get to 04.01.2016, but first I want to offer a correction and an amendment to the state’s memo. Understanding these is crucial to making the transition smooth.
Correction to the State’s Transmittal
The state’s transmittal says “If PSW’s existing PEAA and CHC expires after June 30, 2016, a new PEAA and CHC is not necessary. The documents for renewing PEAA and CHC must be submitted at least 55 days prior to the current credentials expiring.”
The problem with this statement is that it’s true ONLY if the IC has been operating his or her business using his or her social security number and has used that social security number on his or her Provider Enrollment Agreement (PEAA) with the state. Any IC who has used a federal tax ID number (FEIN) in lieu of a personal social security number MUST fill out a new PEAA regardless of when their current one expires.
Omission in the State’s Transmittal
Because a PSW Specialist will now be an employee rather than a contractor, a federal form I-9 has to be completed for everyone making the transition. This is a huge deal because the feds require a face to face meeting to complete this form. That means every person making the transition has to make an appointment to see us. The appointments will only take a few minutes each but we have to do a lot of them before February 2nd.
What You Need to Do
- Any IC working with our customers need to fill out a TNT employee packet for each customer with whom you work. You can download the packet here or you can request one from Rachel Kroll in our office. The packet contains the following items:
- Demographic page (Name, address, employer name, etc.)
- 2016 W-4 (IRS form for tax withholding)
- Declaration of Relationship (identifies the relationship between the employer – usually the customer- and you as the employee)
- Direct Deposit form (Yes, you’ll be filling out these yet again.)
- Any IC who has used a Federal Tax Identification Number (FEIN) as a contractor will need to fill out a new PEAA (download one by clicking here.) We have no record of who used a Social Security Number and who used an FEIN on their existing PEAAs and neither the state nor TNT has provided us with a list. If you have ANY doubt about it I strongly suggest you fill a new one out using your SSN. I also strongly suggest you turn your PEAA in to us so that we can keep a record of its submission to the state.
- All ICs need to make an appointment to come by our office so that we can fill out an I-9 with you. Unfortunately the feds (The Department of Homeland Security to be exact) require a face to face meeting for this. There is no way around it. When you come to the meeting you will need to bring either:
- An unexpired passport OR
- An unexpired state-issued ID AND your social security card
- Please note: All documents must be originals. No copies please.
We have a lot of work to do on the customer side but that shouldn’t affect you as a provider. However, we may ask for your assistance if we’re having trouble getting paperwork returned by a customer you see regularly. Customer paperwork also has a 02.02.2016 deadline.
The contact for all these paperwork in our office is Rachel Kroll. You can reach her by phone or email starting on December 31st at 503.546.2950 or email@example.com
Rachel will be available to make appointments starting on December 31st. Please do not delay in calling to make an appointment. Time is of the essence on this project. Anyone who does not have their paperwork turned in by February 2nd may have to quit working starting on April 1st. The state has been very clear that there will be no exceptions.
Ron Spence, Operations Director
The State of Oregon Department of Human Services has announced another change planned for disability services in our state.
Starting September 1st, 2015, Personal Support Workers may not be newly authorized to provide more than 50 hours per week of services to a single individual receiving brokerage services. For those currently working more than 50 hours per week, their allowable work hours will be reduced at the time of the customer’s annual ISP. (Note: PSWs may still work more than 50 hours across multiple customers, just not for the same customer. The cap is at the ISP level, not the provider level.)
In a Policy Transmittal released at the end of June, the Oregon Department of Human Services explained that the policy “is being implement to position Oregon for anticipated regulation changes associated with the Fair Labor Standards Act.” Historically, domestic workers have been exempt from overtime. The FLSA changes that.
INW will be contacting affected customers and providers quarterly, prior to the customer’s annual plan renewal.
If you are interested in reading about the changes in the meantime, please read the transmittals listed below.
*This post was updated 09.12.2015 to reflect the most recent information related to the change.
Introducing “Everyone Communicates: A New Training for Personal Support Workers,” from the Oregon Home Care Commission. Learn strategies and techniques to promote communication partnering between individuals (of all ages and stages) who experience intellectual and developmental disabilities and their Personal Support Worker.
- Communication is a basic human right.
- Communication is key to self determination.
- Your role in communication.
- Communication is more than “speech.”
- “Behavior” is communication.
- Communication partner strategies.
- Making it work: a take home activity.
(Note: This class focuses on communication. Use of low tech to high tech strategies is introduced.)
When: Monday, April 27, 2015
Time: 9:00 – 1:00
Where: NW Portland
Holiday Inn Express
2333 NW Vaughn St
Register Online through the Registry (OR-HCC.org).
Or by calling 1-877-867-0077 Option 2
Questions? 877-867-0077 Option 2
Dear Personal Support Workers,
This is just a reminder that all services provided April 1st, 2015 forward must be entered into and paid out of the State of Oregon’s new payment system, eXPRS. You must have both a provider number and an eXPRS login in order to use eXPRS. Additionally, all PSW timesheets and invoices must show time-in and time-out for all hours worked. PSW-Domestic Employees MUST use the state’s new timesheet and new mileage reimbursement form moving forward. PSW-Independent Contractors must ensure that their invoices continue to meet these guidelines developed by the state. (Note: all ICs are already meeting these requirements to be paid, so there are no new expectations listed here.)
Need training on the eXPRS system? We’re hosting several trainings here at INW on April 9th. Click here for details!
Additionally, the state’s payment system creates monthly utilization caps for the number of hours a customer can receive in a given month. Keep an eye on your mailbox this week for details on how this will affect service agreements with your customers.
If you encounter issues or have questions along the way, please communicate with our office. Working together, we will weather this next set of changes to the system. Thank you for the essential work you provide to our community!
The FAQ below was mailed to Personal Support Worker – Domestic Employees in early March.
When do the changes happen?
PSWs working with Independence Northwest customers must start using eXPRS for hours worked starting on April 1st, 2015. Effective this date, ALL brokerages and counties will be operating via eXPRS.
What do I need to make the transition?
All providers need two things:
- A provider number. Without a provider number you will not be able to work starting on April 1st, 2015. There are no exceptions.
- An eXPRS log-in so you can enter your hours.
What if I don’t have a provider number or eXPRS log-in?
If you don’t have a provider number, please call Rachel Kroll at our office immediately at 503.546.2950 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you don’t have an eXPRS log-in, please email email@example.com or call 503.945.5623.
What is this about time-in and time-out on timesheets?
You will no longer be able to show just the number of hours you work in a given day. Instead you will be required to show exactly what time you worked.
How will I submit my hours?
With your log-in you will be able to enter your time-in and time-out directly into eXPRS. It will do the math for you. At the end of the pay period you can print your timesheet from eXPRS and submit it to INW as you have in the past. All timesheets still require your employer’s signature.
What if I don’t have a printer?
PSW – Domestic Employees: If you do not have a way to print your timesheet out of eXPRS, you can copy your eXPRS hours onto the timesheet we mailed to you in early March and submit it to us.
What if I don’t have a computer or internet connection?
PSW – Domestic Employees: If you do not have a computer with an internet connection at your home and don’t have access to a public library, Independence Northwest will have a computer in our office available for you to use. Please contact us if you would like to access this option.
What if I don’t want to use the state’s payment system?
We want PSWs to be empowered to enter and track their own hours. However, if you are unable or unwilling to use eXPRS, an INW Personal Agent is required to perform data entry on your behalf. If you choose this option, you MUST check the box on your timesheets to authorize us to do this work. If you do not enter your own hours and then fail to check the box on the timesheet authorizing INW to do it for you, you will not get paid on time.
INW has set up a webpage just for eXPRS transition resources. Visit www.independencenw.org/psw for links to the following:
- State of Oregon eXPRS Training Video on YouTube
- Copies of state-mandated timesheets with time-in/time-out feature
- Copies of the state-created step-by-step training on how to use eXPRS
- Links to key personnel to contact when you have questions
- Links to payroll calendars
- Links to state transmittals regarding PSW payment and documentation
- A link to the eXPRS log-in page
Brokerages statewide are moving Personal Support Worker payments into the State of Oregon’s payment system, eXPRS, effective this year. Below is a listing of when Portland metro area brokerages will move into eXPRS:
UCP Connections: November 2014 (already active)
Community Pathways: February 2015
Inclusion Inc.: March 2015
Mentor Oregon: March 2015
Independence Northwest: April 2015
SDRI: April 2015
By Ron Spence, Independence Northwest Operations Director
As many of you may have heard, the Oregon Office of Developmental Disabilities (ODDS) has taken a step back from its mandate that all payments to brokerage providers – Personal Support Workers and otherwise – be moved into eXPRS starting in January of 2015. Brokerages have worked closely with ODDS throughout 2014 to help them understand the risks of moving into the eXPRS system before it’s truly ready and we’ve seen real partnership from state leaders in the last couple months on this issue. ODDS has valid reasons for wanting to get this thing launched once and for all (so does Independence Northwest – more on that soon); it’s a tribute to the new leadership that they listened to our concerns and agreed to develop a more sensible plan based on the realities of the situation, a plan that allows a gradual roll out between now and April of 2015. Some brokerages will enroll PSWs in January, some in February, some in March, and some in April.
Based on our evaluation of the current state of eXPRS, Independence Northwest has made the decision not to move its PSW payments into eXPRS until April of 2015.
If you’d like to learn more about our decision, stay tuned. We’ll be posting a more in-depth article on the topic this week. In the meantime, don’t forget to sign up for one of the eXPRS/PSW trainings happening in January 2015 in the Portland metro area.