EAP Facts and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)



Description of EAP

State of California employees, and their eligible dependents have access to an Employee Assistance Program (EAP). This program is provided as part of the state’s commitment to promoting employee health and well-being. It is offered at no charge to the employee and provides a valuable resource for support and information during difficult times, as well as consultation on day-to-day concerns. EAP is an assessment, short-term counseling, and referral service designed to aid in managing everyday concerns for a wide range of needs such as family and marital issues, emotional, personal, and stress concerns, financial and legal matters, alcohol, drug abuse, and dependent (elder and child) care. There are three levels of coverage for counseling services. The number of face-to-face clinical counseling sessions available for the employee and their eligible dependents is based upon the employee’s employment category (i.e., collective bargaining identification code).



Governor’s Executive Order B96-82

Government Code 19816.16

CalHR Rule 599.931 - Non-Represented Employees


EAP Established

EAP was established through an Executive Order in 1982 which designated the Department of Personnel Administration (now CalHR) as the agency responsible for coordinating and implementing the program. 



EAP is 100 percent employer paid benefit.  There is no cost to employees.


Level of Counseling Services and Problem Types 

Employees in participating departments regardless of their time base or bargaining unit are eligible.  An employee, their spouse, registered domestic partner, and eligible dependents are eligible.  There are three levels of coverage for EAP counseling services. The level of service and number of sessions for which an employee is eligible depends upon their CBID. Covered state employees are eligible for a specified number of sessions for themselves and their eligible family members, per contract year, for the following four problem types:

  1. Alcohol Abuse
  2. Substance Abuse
  3. Marital and Family Issues
  4. Emotional, Personal, and Stress Concerns


Work Life Services

Work Life Services include the following and do not count against clinical sessions.

  • Legal services
  • Financial Wellness services
  • Child and elder care services
  • Identity theft recovery services
  • Career Assistance and Student Resources



Employees in participating departments who are appointed permanent full-time or part-time, regardless of their bargaining unit, are eligible.  An employee, their spouse, registered domestic partner, and eligible dependents are eligible.  Seasonal employees and retired annuitants are eligible for EAP services during employment.



When both spouses or registered domestic partners are state employees, both partners and family members are entitled to the counseling services under each employee’s employment category. Group counseling sessions of standard duration with one counselor are counted as one session.  There are three benefit categories and three different benefit designs which are determined by bargaining units. These benefits are per fiscal year, July 1 – June 30.


Level 1

Employment Category:

  • Bargaining Units 5 and 7 employees and all exempt, managerial, supervisory, and confidential employees of the California Highway Patrol.
  • Bargaining Unit 6 employees (R06), managers (M06), supervisors (S06), and confidential employees (C06).
  • Bargaining Unit 7 employees (R07), managers (M07), supervisors (S07), and confidential employees (C07) in any other departments.
  • Bargaining Unit 8 employees (R08), managers (M08), supervisors (S08), and confidential employees (C08), including seasonal and intermittent firefighters.


Face-to-face sessions per year (July 1 – June 30):

  • 7 sessions per problem type for employee.
  • 7 sessions per problem type for spouse or registered domestic partner.
  • 7 sessions per problem type total for dependent children, not including the employee and spouse or registered domestic partner


Level 2

Employment Category:

  • All California Highway Patrol, Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (State Fire Marshal), and Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation employees (unless listed in Level 1 above).


Face-to-face sessions per year (July 1 – June 30):

  • 3 sessions per problem type total for employee, spouse or registered domestic partner, and dependent children.


Level 3

Employment Category:

  • All other employees.


Face-to-face sessions per year (July 1 – June 30):

  • 3 sessions total for employee.
  • 3 sessions total for spouse or registered domestic partner, and dependent children.


Types of Referrals

There are three types of referrals: self-referral, suggested self-referral, and formal supervisor referral.


Self-referral – Any employee, and/or eligible dependent, including managers and supervisors, may self-refer confidentially at any time by calling EAP or going to the member website.


Suggested Self-referral – Managers can play a key role in helping an employee get help for personal concerns.  An employee may ask for help, or managers may notice changes and suggest the employee contact EAP.  There does not have to be a performance problem and managers may suggest EAP in a private, supportive manner while supplying the contact information. 


Formal Supervisor Referral – A formal referral can be made by a manager when an employee’s work performance has shown a pattern of decline.  A formal referral is a way to try to address the performance of an employee.  The formal referral is voluntary for the employee, but it can be documented that an attempt was made by the manager to address the issue.  EAP can help assist the employee to address personal problems that may be contributing to the decline in work performance. The formal supervisor referral is a management tool used to improve work performance and resolve work-related problems.  It is not intended as a disciplinary measure, nor does it replace the state’s policies and procedures for dealing with poor performance or conduct.


Formal supervisor referrals are separate from corrective feedback and formal disciplinary actions such adverse actions.  EAP formal supervisor referrals, including contact information, should be done by a separate memo which is not retained in the employee’s official personnel file. 



Enrollment is automatic, there is no open enrollment period.  Employees and eligible dependents are eligible for services on the first day of employment.


Effective Date of Coverage

Effective immediately when hired as a state employee.


COBRA Continuation



Change/Loss of Coverage

Cannot change or cancel coverage.



Coverage cannot be canceled.


SCO Deduction Codes

There are no deduction codes.


Leave of Absence and/or Off Pay Status

No coverage during leave without pay.


Separation of Employee

Employees and their eligible dependents are no longer eligible.


Layoff of Employee

Following layoff from state service, excluded employees and those in Bargaining Units 1, 2, 3, 4, 11, 14, 15, 17, 20, and 21 receive a six-month extension of their EAP services. This extension is for time only and not an increase in services. Services for all other employees end on the last day of the month after the month the layoff occurred.


Retirement of Employee

Employees covered by Level 1 services may use EAP for 90 days after the date of retirement, as may California Highway Patrol employees who are covered by Level 2. Benefits for Employees in Level 3 services will end the month following their retirement.


Seasonal and Retired Annuitants

Seasonal employees and retired annuitants are eligible for EAP services during employment.


Survivor Benefits

Surviving family members of employees who had Level 1 benefits, and family members of CHP employees who had Level 2 benefits may use EAP services for six months after the death of an employee.  Eligibility for EAP services for surviving family members of all other employees' stops at the end of the month after the month the death occurred.



Confidentiality is the hallmark of the program and is essential to the success of EAP. No one besides the person accessing EAP knows they have used the services. No reports are made to departments, except aggregate utilization reports that do not identify individuals. The legal exceptions are the same as those that guide all clinicians: if a member expresses intent to commit child or elder abuse; or expresses plausible suicidal or homicidal intent; or a court order.


Employee Cost

The State of California contracts directly with contractor for EAP services. Provided the employee/department uses the contractor’s clinicians, there is no cost to the employee or their family members for the initial authorized sessions. If, however, there is a need for continued services with contractor providers beyond these sessions, fees and other arrangements need to be discussed with the provider. Whether treatment is sought through an outside provider or with the contractor’s provider, the employee/dependent is responsible for the cost incurred.


Department Monthly Premium Cost

Departments are charged premiums one month in arrears based on the total number of employees for each level of service as follows:

Level 1 - $3.07

Level 2 - $1.31

Level 3 - $0.77


In addition, there is a CalHR administrative fee of $0.15 per employee per month.


Agency Billing

All departments participating in the master agreement are billed for this benefit.  CalHR maintains and negotiates the Master Agreement with the EAP contractor.  SCO draws funds from each agency monthly. Billing is based on the total number of employees for that agency and coverage level.  SCO sends the premium and administration fees to CalHR.  CalHR sends the premium to the contractor monthly.  The California State Fair and Exposition and the Department of Food and Agriculture premiums are billed directly.


Critical Incident Stress Debriefing (CISD)

CISD services and other specialized orientation and training services are arranged directly between each department requiring the services and the contractor. Departments may obtain these services by contracting directly on a fee-for-service basis with the contractor.

Payment Process for CISD Services

CISDs are included in the list of Fee-for-Service (FFS) activities. Magellan will provide services to all departments, even if they do not have a FFS agreement in place. In those cases, payment options, including setting up a FFS agreement or using a Purchase Order, can be discussed after services have been provided. Stacy Richardson, Magellan Senior Account Executive, should be contacted at richardsons3@magellanhealth.com with any questions you may have.

When to utilize CISD services

Critical incidents are abrupt, powerful events that fall outside the range of ordinary human experiences. Some events such as floods, hurricanes, tornadoes or fires can easily be identified as critical incidents with anticipated emotional concerns. Others, such as a sudden suicide or staff member’s death, a shooting at a nearby public place, or a corporate restructuring, may cause unexpected consequences to staff members making it difficult for managers to decide how to react.

There are, however, some indicative signs that a situation needs to be addressed:

  • Declining productivity.
  • Increased absenteeism.
  • Increased concerns about personal safety.
  • Irritability, anger or tearfulness.
  • Expressed feelings of being overwhelmed or uncomfortable.

If any of these signs are present, it’s important to acknowledge and address them in a non-threatening, non-judgmental way by leveraging EAP CISD support.


Accessing CISD Services

As an EAP Coordinator, you may be in a position where managers and employees look to you for guidance and leadership following a traumatic incident. To access CISD services, authorized staff should call the EAP: 866-327-4762 and use prompt #5, any time of the day or night, year-round. A Workplace Support Consultant will complete an intake/consultation.  

The following information will be asked:

  • An overview of what occurred:  Who? What? When? Where? 
  1. Such as:  How many employees were impacted, was the incident onsite or off, any prior history of trauma or grief at this location?
  2. Is there a need for a bilingual counselor or special accommodations?
  3. Identify date, timeframe, point of contacts and site address of requested service. *Name, phone number and email address of primary, coordinating contact

*Name, phone number and email address of onsite contact

CISD services can be delivered virtually or in person and it’s typically recommended that they are set up within 48 to 72 hours after the occurrence of a traumatic event. Information on CISDs can be found in the Supervisor Handbook posted on the EAP Coordinator Resources, https://soceap.magellanascend.com/Content/View/18358, and Manager Support, https://soceap.magellanascend.com/Content/View/11669, tiles.


Departmental Employee Assistance Program Coordinator (DEAPC)

Each state department is required to have a DEAPC.  DEAPC roles and responsibilities include:

  • Plan, develop, implement, and manage department’s EAP program
  • Ensure employees and all levels of management are educated about EAP benefits and services available, and how to access services.
  • Conduct and/or coordinate EAP training and orientation sessions for managers, supervisors, and employees.
  • Protect and maintain the confidentiality of all EAP and employee information.
  • Serve as the liaison between your department, CalHR, and the EAP contractor.
  • Promote EAP within your department, i.e., emails, educational materials, flyers, health fairs, brown bag lunches, etc.
  • Advertise and encourage your employees, managers, and supervisors to attend EAP sessions.
  • Consult with your department’s managers and supervisors on how to appropriately use EAP as a resource tool in addressing job performance issues.
  • Ensure a separate contract (STD. 213) between your department and the contractor is in place for fee-for-services.
  • Contact the contractor to set up CISDs or other special services for your department.
  • Ensure that invoices received from contractor for CISDs and other fee for services are paid timely.
  • Distribute brochures, business cards, monthly updates, and other EAP materials to your department’s employees.
  • Post the EAP posters in highly visible areas to facilitate promotion of EAP services.
  • Follow department’s policies and procedures when distributing EAP information and materials.


Internal Programs

Currently, the State Compensation Insurance Fund is the only entity that administers their own internal program.  Each appointing authority maintaining an internal program must have an approved EAP policy and procedure statement on file with CalHR. This should include, at a minimum, the following information:

  1. A written policy establishing the department's program support and defining types of problems addressed by EAP, including how the internal program best fits department program needs.
  2. Adopted and published procedures including:
  3. How and where records are to be maintained, for what length of time, who will have access, and how and when information will be released and to whom.
  4. Procedures for supervisors to follow when referring employees to the program. This should include the identification of deficiencies in job performance, documentation, work improvement discussion, and subsequent performance evaluations.
  5. Self-referral procedures indicating how individuals may access the services with assurance that confidentiality will be maintained.
  6. A client satisfaction document to be distributed to all users that surveys all phases of program participation including the user's opinion of number of sessions allotted, therapist's help and interest, accessibility of coordinators, management support for time off, confidentiality, etc.
  7. Methods of communication devices to be used in disseminating program information to employees throughout the organization (e.g., orientations, e-mails, brochures, newsletters, articles, paycheck stuffers, etc.).
  8. Method of verification of providers' and clinicians' professional status.
  9. Statistical information regarding the utilization of services.
  10. Details of any other desirable components that enhance the program's effectiveness.




Q1. Where can I find eligibility information?

A1. Eligibility information is included in the Employee Brochure and the Counseling tile on EAP website - https://soceap.magellanascend.com/Content/View/11665 .


Q2. What can be done if an employee is challenged with finding a counseling appointment?

A2. Typically, a counseling provider will respond to a request within a day or two and schedule an appointment. There are times when appointment availability can be a challenge and when that happens, Magellan is here to help. Employees and eligible family members can call and ask for Appointment Assist. EAP staff will take relevant information and will contact providers directly to find appointments. BetterHelp Virtual Therapy is another option since treatment can begin within 2-3 business days and appointments can be scheduled online. For more information, please visit BetterHelp Virtual Therapy tile on EAP website - https://soceap.magellanascend.com/Content/View/16972 .


Q3. When are Single Case Agreements used?

A3. An ad hoc provider screening and referral process is initiated when a network provider, who meets the geographic, clinical, and/or other needs of the member, is not available. In life-threatening situations, the member will be referred immediately to the closest emergency service until stabilized. The ad hoc activities of credentials verification and rate negotiations occur prior to authorization of subsequent care, but do not interfere with obtaining emergency services.

Q4.  Is a code required to access LifeMart Discount Center, BetterHelp Virtual Therapy, and NeuroFlow Digital Emotional Wellbeing Program?

A4. A code and/or payment is not required to use these programs or any EAP program. If employee is being asked for either, it is highly likely that the program app was downloaded prior to creating an account through the website. Once that step is completed, the app can be downloaded and used.


Q5. Where can I find recordings of monthly webinars and Statewide Workshops?

A5. Recordings can be found on Webinars and Workshops page, https://soceap.magellanascend.com/Content/View/11676 on EAP website.


Q6. How does the training request process work?

A6. Investing in your employees’ personal and professional development can lead to greater productivity, enhanced work-life balance, and increased job satisfaction. The EAP Options in Learning Training Guide, which can be found on the EAP Coordinator Resources page, https://soceap.magellanascend.com/Content/View/18358, should be consulted for available trainings. For existing training courses, please submit a Training Request form to Magellan at least 25 days in advance. Custom training courses will require additional time. If you need the Training Request Form or have questions about the training process or most appropriate training course, please contact Stacy Richardson, Magellan Senior Account Executive, at richardsons3@magellanhealth.com.


Q7. How do I set up a Fee for Service (FFS) contract to cover CISDs, trainings, Organizational Development and Conflict Resolution Services?

A7. To set up a FFS contract, please contact Stacy Richardson, Magellan Senior Account Executive, richardsons3@magellanhealth.com. You will need to reference the Master Agreement and its two amendments, but you should not copy or incorporate the terms of this agreement in the FFS agreement.


Q8. If an eligible dependent resides in another state, can they access services?

A8. Magellan has a national network of providers so an eligible dependent can access counseling and work-life services in state they reside.


Q9. If my department needs CISD services but we don’t have a Fee for Service contract, can we still access and how do we do that?

A9. CISDs are included in the list of Fee-for-Service (FFS) activities. Magellan will provide CISD services to all departments with a FFS agreement (that includes CISD services as an available service) in place per the terms of that agreement.  Departments and State Agencies can contact CalHR for direction or assistance should they not have a FFS contract in place.  


Q10. How many Virtual Therapy sessions do I get and can adolescents use this solution?

A10. Regardless of your level of counseling coverage, you’re eligible to have 4 sessions in total, per fiscal year. Adolescents may access with parental permission. For more information, please visit the BetterHelp Virtual Therapy tile, https://soceap.magellanascend.com/Content/View/16972.


Q11. Is NeuroFlow (Digital Emotional Wellbeing Program) available to adolescents?

A11. NeuroFlow is available to individuals 18 years of age or older. Please visit the Digital Emotional Wellbeing Program tile…https://soceap.magellanascend.com/Content/View/18210 , for detailed information.