Mail mys­tery de­layed pay to 40,000

U.S. Postal truck late de­liv­er­ing time­cards of low-earn­ing home-care work­ers.

Los Angeles Times - - THE STATE - By Chris Mege­rian chris.mege­rian@la­times.com Twit­ter: @chris­mege­rian

SACRA­MENTO — Thou­sands of home-care work­ers in Los An­ge­les County weren’t paid on time af­ter a postal truck car­ry­ing their time sheets didn’t make its de­liv­ery for more than two weeks, of­fi­cials said.

The work­ers are part of a state pro­gram that pays them to take care of low-in­come el­derly and dis­abled Cal­i­for­ni­ans, of­ten their rel­a­tives, to avoid nurs­inghome care that would cost tax­pay­ers more.

Ev­ery two weeks, the work­ers sub­mit pa­per time sheets to a pro­cess­ing cen­ter in Chico, but last month, 40,000 of them didn’t show up, said Michael We­ston, a spokesman for the Cal­i­for­nia Depart­ment of So­cial Ser­vices.

Richard Ma­her, a spokesman for the U.S. Postal Serv- ice, said a trac­tor-trailer op­er­ated by a con­trac­tor left Los An­ge­les on May 18 and didn’t make its de­liv­ery un­til June 2. Of­fi­cials are un­sure where the truck was in the mean­time, and the mat­ter is un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

“Every­body is try­ing to fig­ure out what hap­pened here,” said Ma­her, who ex­pressed re­gret for the de­lay.

The state has be­gun pro­cess­ing the over­due pay­checks, but 15,000 still are un­ac­counted for, We­ston said.

The work­ers earn $9.65 an hour and of­ten strug­gle to make ends meet even when paid on time, said Scott Mann, a spokesman for the Ser­vice Em­ploy­ees In­ter­na­tional Union, which rep­re­sents the work­ers.

Work­ers are wor­ried about how much longer they’ll need to wait for their wages.

“I’m hop­ing that the util­i­ties will not start call­ing,” said Gail Wei­land, a Mar Vista res­i­dent who takes care of a son with Down syn­drome.

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