Frequently Asked Questions About IHSS During COVID-19
The state of California provides a helpful program called In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) for parents of children with special needs such as autism, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy or another disability. Especially for those of you who have had to stop working in order to take care of your child, IHSS allows you to get paid every month as your child’s caretaker. And since Governor Newsom declared a State of Emergency in California as a result of the threat of the COVID-19 virus in March of this year, there are many frequently asked questions about IHSS during COVID-19.
Below are answers to FAQs regarding applying for IHSS, appealing your IHSS decision, and your reassessment every year.
How do I apply for IHSS during COVID-19?
Counties throughout California now must focus on applications and approve needed IHSS services during the COVID-19 quarantine. IHSS social workers must make sure new IHSS providers are enrolled. Counties must answer and return phone calls from you as soon as possible.
In order to show that your child is eligible for Protective Supervision and IHSS, you need extensive paperwork proving that your child is at risk of injury if left unsupervised at any time during a twenty-four-hour day. This documentation must give clear examples of things your child will do things to hurt him or herself or that he or she is in harm’s way if left alone. This includes:
- A list of injuries
- Medical documentation
- Third-party letters
- Additional letters from doctors
- Other forms
How can I get my IHSS hours increased?
Please reach out to your social worker or the local county IHSS office to discuss changes to hours. The state has advised the counties to allow flexibility on behalf of their providers when assigning weekly hours.
Will I still have my IHSS assessments and reassessments during this time?
Reassessments of hours will be completed by the social worker over the phone, or they will be canceled. Initial assessments will continue to be conducted in-person by the social worker, while practicing safe social distancing and taking the necessary precautions to limit contact with providers and anyone else in the home. Your social worker will also collect as much information as possible over the phone first to minimize the amount of time spent face-to-face with providers.
What if I have a pending appeals case?
Currently, the counties are focusing their work on activities related to applicants and recipients receiving timely authorization and provision of services.
Is the IHSS timesheet processing center still open, and will checks be paid on their regular schedule?
The IHSS processing center is open and timesheets and paychecks will continue to be distributed on their normal schedule. Providers are encouraged to use the Electronic Timesheet Portal and Direct Deposit to receive their pay even faster, and to cut down on timesheet errors.
What if I become ill with COVID-19 and cannot work as provider while infected?
Individuals who are unable to work due to having or being exposed to COVID-19 (certified by a medical professional) can file a Disability Insurance (DI) claim. Disability Insurance provides short-term benefit payments to eligible workers who have full or partial loss of wages due to a non-work-related illness, injury, or pregnancy. Benefit amounts are approximately 60-70 percent of wages (depending on income) and range from $50 – $1,300 a week.
If you need help with more resources, 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.
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