Eligibility and Application

If you are a California resident, live in your own home, and get Medi-Cal benefits, you may be eligible for IHSS if you need the services it provides to stay safely in your own home as an alternative to out-of-home placement. To learn more about qualifying for Medi-Cal, see DB101’s Medi-Cal article.

Note: Starting in 2014, there is a new way to qualify for Medi-Cal with no resource limit. That means that even people with significant resources may qualify for IHSS.

Living in your own home

Your home is the place you choose to live. Some examples of places that could be your own home include a house, an apartment, a mobile home, or a room with board. For IHSS purposes, acute care hospitals, long-term care facilities, and community care facilities are not “your own home.” However, if you live in such a facility, you may be eligible for IHSS if you plan to live in your own home in the future. If you are in this situation, an IHSS social worker can complete a preliminary needs assessment while you are still staying at the facility. Once you move out of the facility and into your own home, the IHSS social worker will complete another assessment in your home.

Applying for IHSS

  1. If you already have Medi-Cal or once you are approved for it, call or visit your county In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) office to complete an IHSS application. Once IHSS gets the application, a caseworker will be assigned to do an in-home needs assessment as part of the application process.
  2. Your caseworker will come to your home to complete the needs assessment: that’s an interview to decide if you qualify for IHSS. The caseworker will ask you a series of questions about your mental and physical abilities and limitations; figure out the tasks you can perform safely on your own and the ones you might need help with; and evaluate your living and social situation.
  3. After the needs assessment, IHSS will contact you to let you know if you have been approved or denied. If you are approved, you will be notified of the services and number of hours authorized. If services are denied or you are not happy with the number of hours IHSS authorized, you have the right to appeal. The appeals procedure is outlined on the back of the notice you get.