Workplace Personal Assistance

The Basics

Personal assistance services at work and reasonable accommodations provided by an employer are connected. It is very important to understand both:

  • Reasonable Accommodations are technologies and other help at work that are needed for you to be able to successfully perform the essential functions of your job. In California, all employers with five or more employees must provide reasonable accommodations to employees who need and request them.
    • Examples: Voice-recognition software for an employee who cannot use a keyboard; an ASL interpreter in meetings for a deaf employee.
  • Personal Assistance Services are services designed to help a person with a disability with their daily activities. Personal assistance services can be paid for by Medi-Cal, by your employer, or by you.
    • Examples: Help with microwaving food at lunch time; help putting on a jacket before leaving the office.

If you need personal assistance services at work, your personal assistance services may be considered a reasonable accommodation and be provided by your employer, depending on your situation, the essential functions of your job, and the types of services you need.

Or, they might not be considered a reasonable accommodation. In that case, if you qualify for Medi-Cal’s In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) program, it may let you use some of your authorized IHSS personal assistance service hours at work. To do this, you must get approval from a social worker.

This article explains how and when you may be able to use IHSS hours at work.

More about IHSS

IHSS is a California program that helps people with disabilities or are elderly, so that they can live in their own homes and, if they want to, keep working. If you get IHSS, you are called a “recipient” and you get help with your daily activities from people who are called “providers.”

IHSS is only for people who have Medi-Cal and who need the types of personal assistance services IHSS provides. IHSS will only pay for you to get personal assistance services from providers for a limited number of hours each month, with the exact number of IHSS hours depending on your needs. The most a person can get is 283 hours per month.

This article focuses on using IHSS hours at your work. If you want general information about how to apply for Medi-Cal and IHSS, see DB101’s IHSS article.

Learn more