How to Get a Letter from Your Child’s Doctor for Your IHSS Application
If you are the parent of a child with special needs such as autism, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy or another disability, California State’s In-Home Supportive Services program (IHSS) provides a helpful program to get financial support every month. Especially for those of you who have had to stop working in order to take care of your child. Disability benefits such as IHSS and Protective Supervision allow you to be employed as your child’s in-home caretaker. One of the most important documents to include in your IHSS application is the letter from your child’s doctor stating your child’s diagnosis. But how do you get your child’s doctor to write a great letter for your IHSS application?
A letter from your child’s doctor can make a big difference in your case. But you don’t just want any letter. You want a GREAT one.
Here are a few things you can do:
Talk to Your Child’s Doctor about IHSS
Before you ask for a letter, it’s a great idea to find out if your child’s doctor supports your IHSS application.
If Your Child’s Doctor Doesn’t Like Paperwork
Some doctors have a policy that states they don’t fill out paperwork for IHSS or disability benefits. If your child’s doctor has said this to you, do not give up hope! There are many things you can do that may help you still get a good letter.
Ask More than One Doctor
If you have seen only one doctor, try asking others! You never know who will write a great letter. Ask your community for references to great doctors in your area. It also looks good when multiple doctors have a similar viewpoint on your child’s functioning, so if you were able to get letters from multiple doctors, that can be a great help. I
Make Sure You Are Seeing the Right Kind of Doctor
IHSS has specific rules about who should sign letters and forms. If your doctor is not an MD, learn more about the acceptable medical source rules.
Documents That Can Help Your Child’s Doctor
Your child’s doctor isn’t going to want to spend 10 hours collecting and combing through every medical record your child ever had. And you are not going to want your child’s doctor to write a letter that leaves really important things out! Some of our readers reported that their doctors were grateful and did a better job when they brought a list of documents such as any medical tests your child has had, an overview of your child’s medical history, and even sample letters that your doctor can use.
Your Dream Letter
Many doctors know a lot about treatment but know very little about IHSS policy and what information needs to be included in a letter. Your ideal letter will also include these things:
- Basic Medical Information – Information on your diagnosis, symptoms, treatment and medical history. Most doctors will include this automatically.
- Information on Functioning – Your doctor’s medical opinion about how long and how well your child can to walk, sit, stand, bend, and other functioning activities. Functioning may also include your child’s ability to focus, concentrate and remember.
- Objective Medical Evidence – Ideally, your letter will reference one or more abnormal results on a lab test, assessment test by a specialist, or a medical sign your doctor finds while examining your child.
- The Right Signature – Signed by an MD or another kind of acceptable medical source. For mental health, signed by a licensed psychologist or psychiatrist.
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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