IHSS (In-Home Supportive Service)
The IHSS Program will help pay for services provided to you so that you can remain safely in your own home.
To be eligible, you must be over 65 years of age, or disabled, or blind. Disabled children are also eligible for IHSS. IHSS is considered an alternative to out-of-home care, such as nursing homes or board and care facilities.
The types of services which can be authorized through IHSS are housecleaning, meal preparation, laundry, grocery shopping, personal care services (such as bowel and bladder care, bathing, grooming and paramedical services), accompaniment to medical appointments, and protective supervision for the mentally impaired. You can check for the eligibility for service using the self-assessment packet.
What are other eligibility criteria for IHSS?
• You must be a citizen of the United States or a qualified alien. You must also be a California resident.
• You must live at home or an abode of your own choosing (acute care hospital, long-term care facilities, and licensed community care facilities are not considered "own home").
• Your personal property may not exceed $2,000 for an individual or $3,000 for a couple.
• Personal property that is considered in determining your resources includes cash on hand, checking and saving accounts, the value of stocks, bonds, trust deeds, real property (other than the home you own and live in), automobiles and recreational vehicles, promissory notes and loans.
• Personal property that is not considered in determining your resources includes the home you own and in which you live, one automobile needed for transportation to medical appointments or work, and all life insurance policies if the combined face value is $1,500 or less.
• If you do not receive SSI/SSP, your income will be used to determine your eligibility for IHSS. Depending on the amount of your income, you may be required to pay for a portion of your IHSS benefits (share of cost).
IHSS recipients are automatically eligible for Medi-Cal for their medical/health care. For most people who qualify for IHSS, the in-home care benefits are paid for under the Personal Care Services Program (PCSP) which is a Medi-Cal benefit. Under certain circumstances, the State of California will have the right to have your estate pay for the cost of some Medi-Cal benefits received after age 55, upon your admission to a skilled Nursing facility.
How does the program work?
IHSS is operated by each county office. For example, if you are living in Los Angeles County, you can log in to the LA county website and apply to IHSS service online. A county social worker will interview you at your home to determine your eligibility and need for IHSS. Based on your ability to safely perform certain tasks for yourself, the social worker will assess the types of services you need and the number of hours the county will authorize for each of these services. This assessment will include information given by you and, if appropriate, by your family, friends, physician or other health practitioner.
You will be notified if IHSS has been approved or denied. If denied, you will be notified of the reason for the denial. If approved, you will be notified of the services and the number of hours per month which have been authorized for you. If you are approved for IHSS, you must hire someone (your individual provider) to perform the authorized services. You are considered your provider's employer and, therefore, it is your responsibility to hire, train, supervise, and fire this individual. If your county has contracted IHSS providers, you may choose to have services provided by the contractor. If your county has homemaker employees, you may receive services from a county homemaker.
How are IHSS payments made?
You may contact the social worker assigned to your case to determine the IHSS hourly rate in your county. Because unions negotiate with the employer of record in each county, the wage rates may vary from county to county. The State issues all checks for individual provider payments. If the provider qualifies, the State withholds the applicable amounts for disability insurance and Social Security taxes.
You and your provider must complete, sign, and submit timesheets verifying the delivery of authorized services for the month. If you receive services under the Personal Care Services Program, you and your provider must complete the PCSP Provider/Enrollment Agreement form. Your provider will not be paid until this form is submitted to the IHSS social worker.