In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS)

Frequently Asked Questions

In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) provide people with low income who are blind, disabled, or 65 years old or older with personal assistance and in-home services so they can safely stay in their homes or continue working. Services range from assistance with household chores to personal care and paramedical services. IHSS is often seen as an alternative to assisted living or nursing facilities.

All California residents living in their own homes who get Medi-Cal and need In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS).

IHSS includes:

  • Household chores, such as cooking, cleaning, and laundry
  • Personal care services, such as dressing, bathing, and feeding
  • Transportation and accompaniment to medical appointments
  • Protective supervision, and
  • Paramedical services as ordered by a physician.

Some counties have contracted IHSS care providers. Community care providers, friends, neighbors, and relatives can provide services as well. You are responsible for hiring, firing, and supervising your IHSS caregiver.

In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) are financed by state, county, and federal funds. Depending on your countable income, you may have to pay for a portion of the cost of services. This is known as share of cost.

If you work, you may qualify for no-cost IHSS even if you think you have to pay a share of cost. That’s because if you have a disability, you could sign up for Medi-Cal’s Working Disabled Program (WDP). Read more about WDP in DB101’s article on Medi-Cal.

Depending upon your circumstances, you may be eligible to get up to 283 hours of IHSS each month. The county will do a needs assessment to figure out the services you need and how many hours you qualify for.

You can use up to a quarter of your monthly hours each week. For example, if you get 40 hours per month, you can use 10 per week. IHSS will include your maximum weekly hours when they send you a final approval letter.

Call or visit the local county In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) office to fill out an IHSS application and verify your eligibility for the program. Next, someone from the county IHSS office will come to your home to conduct a needs assessment to figure out the services you need and how many hours you qualify for.

After the needs assessment, IHSS will send you a letter called a Notice of Action that will let you know if you have been approved or denied services. If approved, you will be notified of the services and number of hours authorized for each service. If services are denied or you are not happy with the number of hours authorized, you have the right to appeal by requesting a State Hearing. The back of the Notice of Action has information about how to appeal.

Yes. For example, your care provider cannot spend more than 6 hours per month on domestic services or more than 1 hour per week shopping for food. If you can show that you need more time for a specific service, your county IHSS worker will see if additional hours can be authorized to meet your needs.

People with disabilities must meet Social Security's medical eligibility criteria to qualify for IHSS.

Yes. You can use IHSS hours to help you get, keep, or return to work. To do this, you need to transfer hours that were for in-home services to the workplace. IHSS will not give you more hours than you originally were getting before you started using IHSS in the workplace.

To transfer hours to the workplace, contact your IHSS caseworker and say which services you need and the number of hours you wish to transfer.

No. You cannot use IHSS hours to help you with college courses or vocational training.

No. If you live in a nursing home or other assisted living facility, you do not qualify for IHSS. If you plan to live in your own home in the future, you can apply for IHSS while you are in the facility. An IHSS employee can do a preliminary needs assessment while you are still residing at the facility. Once you move out of the facility and into your own home, IHSS will do another assessment in your home.

You, the recipient of In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS), are responsible for hiring, firing, and supervising your caregiver.

Your IHSS provider will fill out the timesheet and you will approve it, so it is important to work together to come up with a system that makes sure the timesheets are accurate.

IHSS recipients and providers each have their own ways to track hours. Sometimes, providers just enter each day’s work on a timesheet right away, then submit the whole timesheet at the end of the pay period. Some recipients and providers use calendars or spreadsheets to track hours and then fill out everything at the end of the pay period. Your system should also help you make sure you stay within your maximum hours per week and per month.

Yes, you can live in your own home and qualify for IHSS.

Yes. You can hire relatives, friends, neighbors, and other caregivers to provide you with IHSS.

IHSS providers with two or more clients can work a maximum of 12 hours per day and 66 hours per week between all their clients combined. If a provider goes directly from one recipient to another, they can get paid for that travel by filling out a travel timesheet.

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