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In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) For Minors

Aaron Baker
Spinal Cord Injury Lifestyle Specialist | Shield HealthCare
02/19/24  8:37 AM PST
family caregivers

In-Home Supportive Services Make A Difference

Providing specialized care for children with disabilities takes a mental, emotional, physical and financial toll on families. In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) is a crucial aid that can calm the overwhelming process.

When I was injured in 1999, I was no longer a minor and filed for IHSS services on my own. Thankfully, in the county I was living in at the time, I was able to hire a homemaker as my caregiver. I was fortunate enough to have my mother be my full time caretaker, and the IHSS program was able to supplement the income she had lost. My family and I will forever be grateful to this program as it helped me with my recovery and becoming a productive member of society again.

The IHSS is a Medi-Cal service is designed to “provide in-home assistance to eligible aged, blind, and disabled individuals as an alternative to out-of-home and enables recipients to remain safely in their own homes.” This program allows parents or guardians to be paid as the caregiver of the minor, and in February 2024, IHSS updated the rules that also allow full-time working parents to be eligible.

Here are some eligibility requirements:

  1. California resident
  2. Medi-Cal eligibility determination
  3. Live at home or an abode of your own choosing (acute care hospital, long-term care facilities, and licensed community care facilities are not considered “own home”)
  4. Submit a completed Health Care Certification form (see links below)

https://www.cdss.ca.gov/cdssweb/entres/forms/english/soc873.pdf

https://www.cdss.ca.gov/Portals/9/FMUForms/Q-T/SOC295.pdf

 

Beginning the process:

  1. A county social worker will interview you at your home to determine your eligibility and need for IHSS. Based on the ability to safely perform certain tasks, the social worker will assess the types of services needed and the number of hours the county will authorize for each of these services. This assessment will include information given by the parent and, if appropriate, by family, friends, physician, or other licensed health care professional.
  2. If your county has contracted IHSS providers, you may choose to have services provided by the contractor.
  3. If your county has homemaker employees, you may receive services from a county homemaker.
  4. You will be notified if IHSS has been approved or denied. If denied, you will be notified of the reason for the denial. If approved, you will be notified of the services and the number of hours per month which have been authorized.

And, if for some reason you are denied IHSS services, make sure to ask for the denial in writing and file an appeal, even if for reduction of services as there are annual reassessments.

 

Outside of California

For those who aren’t in California, other states have similar programs under a different name. Here are just a few of the state-specific programs that currently compensate family caregivers:

  1. California: The In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) program.
  2. Illinois: The Community Care Program (CCP).
  3. Michigan: The MI Choice Waiver.
  4. Minnesota: The Consumer Support Grant (CSG) program.
  5. New Jersey: The Personal Preference Program (PPP).
  6. New York: The Consumer-Directed Personal Assistance Program (CDPAP).
  7. Ohio: The PASSPORT program.
  8. Oregon: The Aged and Disabled Medicaid Waiver.
  9. Pennsylvania: The Aging Waiver program.
  10. Washington: The Medicaid Alternative Care (MAC) program.

If you don’t see your state above, search the internet for “waivers” in your state, or explore Medicaid’s waivers list here. The Medicaid waiver program allows states to choose groups of people with particular needs and health conditions to receive tailor-made healthcare options at home or within the community.

Additionally, if you are a Medicaid recipient, you may have additional options. The Community First Choice program, a Medicaid program established under the Affordable Care Act, provides personal attendant and state home services that can allow you to hire a family member as your caregiver.

I hope these resources help improve the quality of life for all those in need. Please reach out with any questions or comments below, or in the “Ask Aaron” link. I would love to hear from you!

My best in health,

Aaron

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