February 7, 2022
Last year, Salvador Lopez Segura became the primary caregiver for every single member of his immediate family, including his wife and both of his disabled sons, Cesar and David. He struggled to care for everyone’s physical and emotional well-being while also keeping up with bills and other needs and knew he needed help.
Ten years ago, Salvador’s youngest son David was headed to college. Then a diagnosis of Cerebral Tendonitis Rheumatoid changed everything. Salvador kept his job in the Kern oil fields, but his wife was forced to close her business to care for their son.
In 2019, Salvador’s wife was placed on dialysis and could no longer keep up with David’s extensive care needs—in fact, she needed a caregiver herself. So Salvador retired from the oil fields to care for her and their eldest son Cesar stepped in as his little brother’s primary caregiver.
It wasn’t an easy adjustment, but the Lopez Seguras made the best of the situation. Although some days were tough, they were facing the challenges as a family.
Then last year, amid the pandemic and myriad obstacles the family had already faced, things shifted once again. Salvador’s oldest son Cesar lost his ability to walk and was diagnosed with the same illness as his younger brother. Salvador was now the primary caregiver for every person in his family.
With pressure building and a mountain of bills to pay, Salvador knew he needed help increasing his families’ IHSS hours, which were limited to 111 per month. He knew that he had his union to lean on and visited his local UDW office in Bakersfield to talk through his case. His union representative walked him through the appeals process to ask for more hours, including tips on collecting the correct paperwork from David’s doctors and help submitting the paperwork to the correct people to ensure a quick response. Together, they successfully completed the appeals process, earning Salvador an additional 75 paid hours per month to care for David and retroactive pay of over $1,000 for the previous months.
“It’s been a relief to have the additional hours. I don’t have to stress as much about money, and I don’t fall behind on payments anymore. It’s so comforting to know that when there is something I don’t understand, I always have someone to call.”
Salvador and his family still face many challenges, but too few IHSS hours is not one of them. They are hopeful about their future and are happy to have the strength and experience of the union behind them. Having seen how important UDW is for IHSS providers in his community, Salvador helps his fellow union members in any way he can, including collecting signatures in support of our Kern County Term Limits campaign, volunteering at local drives, and more.
“UDW has helped me grow so much,” Salvador says. “Now it’s my turn to give back in the same way they’ve supported me and other providers”.
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