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What Is In-Home Support Services (IHSS)?

Sometimes, we need financial help as we are trying to work, pay bills, and raise a child with a disability like autism, cerebral palsy, or Down syndrome. Not only does it ease the constant worrying about money, these benefits can help pay for therapies and other treatments, or simply daily expenses that become difficult if you have to take time off or you are unable to work completely.

This is where In-Home Support Services (IHSS) comes in. IHSS is a California government program that provides financial support for in-home caretakers of 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. This wage is exempt from federal income taxes.
Are you eligible for IHSS?
If you are a California resident, you are eligible for IHSS if your child:

  • Is eligible for SSI/SSP or Medi–Cal
  • Is blind or disabled
  • Is living in a home, apartment or abode of his or her choosing (not including a hospital, nursing home, assisted living or licensed care facility)
  • Is unable to live safely at home without care

How much money can I get for IHSS?
Payments are calculated by the hours of service needed for your child. The County Social Services Agency is responsible for doing a needs assessment for each family at the time of application, every twelve months thereafter, and whenever the county has information that the recipient’s physical/mental condition or living/social condition has changed. The number of hours authorized may change with each evaluation.
The assessment evaluates:

  • Your child’s physical/mental condition, living/social situation, and ability to perform various functions of daily life
  • Your statement of need
  • Medical records/physicians’ documents
  • Other information the case manager may consider necessary and appropriate to assess the need

The State allocates monthly services hours to a maximum of 195 hours per month for non–severely impaired applicants and 283 hours per month for the severely impaired. This can translate to up to $3,000 a month, if eligible.
Few things can make such a big difference in the lives of a family as the ability to give your child with special needs the full care he or she deserves, without endangering your family finances. If your child has been diagnosed with autism or another development disability, you could be eligible for Protective Supervision.
But the application process can be confusing, and at present only 10% of eligible families receive this credit.
If this process sounds daunting and you need help, you can always reach out to us. Our advocates can lead you through everything, as well as provide resources to better assist you and your child with special needs.
Go to or call us directly at (877) 762-0702, and we will assist you in getting your child the funding he or she deserves.

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