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Can I Get Financial Help for My Child with Autism if I Lost My Job Due to COVID-19?

Can I Get Financial Help for My Child with Autism if I Lost My Job Due to COVID-19?

As a parent of a child who has autism, it is a common situation to struggle financially. There are health services to pay for, as well as therapies and equipment that are necessary for your child with special needs to lead a fulfilling life. And now due to the coronavirus (COVID-19), many parents have lost their full time jobs. But can you get financial help for your child with autism if you lost your job due to COVID-19?

The short answer is yes. You may be eligible to receive benefits such as In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS). This funding can be used to meet your child’s daily needs and can help pay the expenses associated with the disability. In-Home Supportive Services provide crucial benefits for families of children with developmental disabilities, especially now due to COVID-19.

IHSS and Protective Supervision Caregiver Benefits

IHSS is a California government program that provides financial support for in-home caretakers of impaired elders, persons with disabilities, and children with developmental disabilities including autism. While a variety of benefits are available, the most important for families of children with special needs is “Protective Supervision.” When you are approved for Protective Supervision, you will receive an hourly wage to stay home and care for your child as an IHSS provider. This wage is exempt from federal income taxes and can make a difference in your family’s life if you lost your job because of COVID-19.

However, applying for and receiving these benefits are notoriously difficult and many families give up after encountering road block after road block. The application process can be confusing, and you need to adequately prepare all the necessary documentation to become an IHSS provider.

How to Apply to Be an IHSS Caregiver

The IHSS application process generally involves a written application, an in-home interview with a social worker, and medical records. Once approved as an IHSS provider, there will be ongoing assessments. You can get assistance at every stage of this process whether you are a first-time applicant, or your application has been denied.

First time applicants who have lost their job due to COVID-19 can get help to:

  • Determine if you are eligible
  • Create a plan with you to maximize your benefits
  • Perform all necessary research and complete all paperwork
  • Obtain any required medical records
  • Assist you through the interview and all processing

If you applied for IHSS benefits and were rejected, you can get help to:

  • Review your case
  • Check all records and research the reason for your rejection
  • Assist you in appealing your application
  • Represent you at hearings

How Much Does IHSS Pay Caregivers in California?

Recent legislation increased IHSS provider wage and benefit for those taking care of children with autism. Specifically, recent state minimum wage increases and budget-related legislation adopted in 2017‑18 instituted both temporary and permanent changes to how counties can increase IHSS provider wages and benefits with varying effects on state and county costs.

  • On January 1, 2020, the minimum wage increased to $13 per hour.
  • On January 1, 2021, the minimum wage will increase to $14 per hour.
  • On January 1, 2022, the minimum wage will increase to $15 per hour.

Currently, as an IHSS Protective Supervision provider, the maximum number of hours you can claim is 283 per month. That equates to $3,679 per month today.

Every child with special needs deserves full supervised care, and no family should be turned away. If you feel overwhelmed and you need help, please contact us.

American Advocacy Group is on the front lines every day, making positive change happen for people diagnosed with Autism, Down syndrome and a range of diagnoses across the continuum. As a leading advocate for all people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families, and the premier provider of the support and services people want and need, we understand the system and know how to take action in regard to your best interests.


Dial (877) 762-0702 or email us at [email protected].

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