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All About IHSS

In-Home Supportive Services

The In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) Program helps pay for services provided to low-income elderly, blind or disabled individuals to hire someone to help them with housework, meal preparation, and personal care. With help, individuals who receive IHSS can remain safely in their own home and do not need to move into a care facility or boarding home.

Some of the services that can be authorized through IHSS include: 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.

To be eligible for the IHSS Program a person must;

    • Be 65 years old or older, blind, and/or a disabled as defined by Social Security Administration standards
    • Be a citizen of the United States or a qualified alien
    • Be a Resident of Los Angeles County
    • Live in your own home. Your own home is any place you choose to live (hospitals, nursing homes, and licensed community care facilities are not considered “own home”).
    • Either:
      • Receive or be eligible to receive Supplemental Security Income/State Supplemental Payments (SSI/SSP), OR
      • Meet all SSI/SSP eligibility criteria except for income or citizenship/immigration status.

Other Criteria:

    • Income: If your income is above the SSI/SSP limits, you may be required to pay for a portion of your IHSS benefits. This is called a “Share of Cost”
    • Personal property may not exceed $2,000 for an individual or $3,000 for a couple
    • Property that is not counted in determining your eligibility includes the home you own and live in, one automobile needed for transportation to medical appointments or work, and all life insurance policies if the combined face value is not more than $1,500
    • Property that is counted includes cash on hand, checking and savings accounts, the value of stocks, bonds, trust deeds, real property other than the home you own and live in, additional automobiles and recreational vehicles, and promissory notes and loans

How Does A Person Apply?

IHSS in Los Angeles County is administered by the Department of Public Social Services (DPSS). DPSS is responsible for determining the eligibility of potential IHSS consumers and takes applications for IHSS through the “IHSS Application Hotline,” which can be reached at 888-944-4477 or TTY: 800-735-2922. After the initial call, a county social worker will schedule an in-home interview with the potential IHSS recipient. Using information gathered during the in-home interview, DPSS will complete an assessment of the person’s needs and determine whether or not they qualify to receive IHSS.

In addition, all new IHSS consumer applicants are required to obtain a licensed healthcare professional’s written certification that he or she needs assistance with some activities of daily living to remain safely at home, before services will be approved. A licensed healthcare professional could be a physician, physician’s assistant, regional center clinician or clinician supervisor, occupational therapist, physical therapist, psychiatrist, psychologist, optometrist, ophthalmologist or a public health nurse. The written certification should be submitted to the county by using the IHSS Medical Certification Form (SOC 873), which should be given to the applicant by their social worker. It can also be downloaded by clicking here.

In cases where the consumer applicant is being discharged from a hospital or nursing home, services may be approved prior to receipt of the certification.

What Does A Person Do Once Approved for IHSS?

Once approved for IHSS, it is the responsibility of the recipient, or consumer, to hire his/her own homecare provider and to act as the provider’s employer. This includes all training, supervision, and maintaining or terminating the employment relationship. Wages for the homecare provider will be paid through a combination of Federal, State and County funds. Also, if the recipient or consumer has a Share of Cost, it is his/her responsibility to pay the Share of Cost to the homecare provider once a month.

How are IHSS Payments Made?

There are two ways in which IHSS payments are made: Advanced and arrears. Advanced pay is a payment option available only to IHSS consumers with severe disabilities. Under this option, a check is mailed directly to the IHSS consumer at the beginning of each month and they pay the homecare provider(s). The arrears option is that in which payment is made directly to the homecare provider(s) on a bi-weekly basis.

For more information on IHSS click here.

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