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In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS)
The Human Services Agency helps low-income seniors and people with disabilities (including children) stay in their own homes instead of moving to residential care facilities.  Through In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS), help is available for qualified applicants to pay for support services, including light domestic help, non-medical personal care, and assistance to and from medical appointments.  Clients must be legal residents or citizens and meet financial and disability requirements.

IHSS recipients must be over 65, disabled or blind, a citizen of the United States or a qualified alien.  Children with disabilities are also eligible.  Applicants may be eligible if any of the following are true:

  • Currently receive Supplemental Security Income/State Supplementary Payment (SSI/SSP)
  • Currently eligible for SSI/SSP but income is more than the SSI/SSP eligibility limits
  • Meet all the SSI/SSP requirements, including income limits, but do not receive SSI/SSP
  • Receive Medi-Cal* and meet SSI/SSP disability requirements

*Medi-Cal recipients may be responsible for a share of the cost.

Client Assessment & Services
When a potential client applies for in-home assistance and meets eligibility requirements, a social worker makes a home visit to assess the applicant’s capabilities and determine what services are needed. The social worker asks about and observes the client’s medical and physical condition, living arrangements, and the amount of outside assistance he/she currently receives. The social worker may also consult with the applicant’s family, friends and health care practitioners.

Types of services available include light housecleaning, meal preparation, laundry, grocery shopping, personal care (such as bathing, grooming, and paramedical care), assistance with and attendance at medical appointments, and protective supervision.

Matching Clients with Providers
Once approved for IHSS services, recipients must hire a provider to perform the authorized services.  IHSS recipients are considered to be the provider's employer and, therefore, assume the responsibility to hire, train, supervise, and, when necessary, terminate the provider.  It is important that clients and in-home care providers are comfortable with each other, and that clients take an active role in their own care and household.  Clients are encouraged to interview potential providers about their knowledge of the community, work experience, available working hours, medical expertise, ethics, references, and any other issues that are important to them.  Clients always make the final decision about who to employ.  Most clients select a provider who is a family member or friend.  But if they cannot find a provider, clients are referred to the IHSS Public Authority, which maintains a registry of available caregivers.  All providers must be fingerprinted, undergo a criminal background check and complete mandated orientation and training.

IHSS Public Authority
Recipients of In-Home Supportive Services who do not have a family member, friend, or relative to provide authorized services for them and need help finding a service provider can get help through the IHSS Public Authority.  The Public Authority was established in 2003 to improve the quality of in-home support for both providers and clients, and allows IHSS recipients to remain safely in their own homes and avoid institutionalization.  The role of the IHSS Public Authority is to:

  • Conduct provider recruitment
  • Maintain a Registry of screened providers
  • Refer providers to IHSS recipients
  • Conduct provider training

For information about applying for IHSS call (805) 654-3236.

Current IHSS recipients who need help finding a provider should contact their IHSS Social Worker.

IHSS Public Authority providers needing information may call (805) 654-3416 or click here for online resources.

Forms & Documents

Application for Services (Form SOC295)
Recipient Designation of Provider (Form SOC426A)
How To Report Medi-Cal Fraud
Notice of IHSS Class Action Settlements - English
Notice of IHSS Class Action Settlements - Spanish
Notice About IHSS Settlement of IHSS Lawsuits - English
Notice About IHSS Settlement of IHSS Lawsuits - Spanish

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