Mae Hochstetler can pay the bills because the state pays her to care for her adult son, with a pandemic pay bump.
In Gov. Jay Inslee’s proposed state budget, home care providers could see pandemic hazard pay raises made permanent and access to improved benefits, like dependent health insurance. At $350 million, it’s enough to bring the minimum wage up to $21 per hour and improve benefits, according to Hochstetler’s union, SEIU 775.
Her job as a parent provider was a pleasant surprise and opportunity for her in 2019, bringing stable income and health insurance for herself.
The legislature approved hazard pay for home care providers during the COVID public health emergency. That increased pay has meant “everything” to Hochstetler. At the beginning of the pandemic, everyone in their household lost their jobs within a week of each other: Joshua, Mae and her daughter Joy.