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I Can’t Work Because of COVID-19. How Can I Financially Support My Child with Special Needs?

Parents are increasingly worried about how they are going to pay their bills as coronavirus COVID-19 forces businesses to close and millions of people lose their jobs. And if you are the parent of a child with special needs such as autism, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy or another disability, it’s even more stressful. Even with stimulus checks and unemployment insurance, these funds are temporary. If you lost your job or you can’t work because of COVID-19, you may qualify for other financial support so you can raise your child with special needs.

Financial Support with IHSS

California State’s In-Home Supportive Services program (IHSS) provides a helpful program to get financial support every month if you are the parent of a child with special needs. And if you have lost your job during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic and now take care of your child full time, disability benefits such as IHSS and Protective Supervision allow you to be employed as your child’s in-home caretaker.
Protective Supervision is part of the IHSS program in California. It is for children and adults with a mental impairment that have self-harming and/or dangerous behaviors that they engage in without regard to consequences. These behaviors must be regularly occurring and random. That is why they need someone to supervise them 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to minimize injury to themselves. 

How to Qualify for IHSS Financial Support

If you quit your job or can’t get a job because you must care for your disabled child, AND

  • If no other suitable care provider is available (willing and able), AND
  • If the child is at risk of out-of-home placement or inadequate care.
  • If both parents live in the home, one parent may get paid when the other parent is working, in school, sleeping, or disabled.

However, IHSS parent providers will no longer be allowed to work as of July 1, 2020, if the second parent is still out of work or is not in an educational or vocational program or conducting job searches or is not prevented from providing the child with IHSS due to a physical or mental disability by June 30, 2020.
Counties throughout California now must focus on applications and approve needed IHSS services during COVID-19. IHSS social workers must make sure new IHSS providers are enrolled. Counties must answer and return phone calls from you and your providers as soon as possible so you can get financial support.
IHSS may not stop or decrease your IHSS financial support until after June 30, 2020.

Documentation During COVID-19

Even though IHSS applicants must get a Health Care Certification (SOC 873) form from their doctor and give it to the IHSS program before IHSS services can be provided, right now due to COVID-19 quarantine, you can get IHSS without the SOC 873 form.
If you cannot get your doctor to fill in the SOC 873 form because of COVID-19 quarantine, you can get up to 90 days to submit a SOC 873 form to IHSS to obtain financial support.
When doing this, first the county will give you IHSS services and 45 days for the SOC 873 form to be completed and returned.
If you need more time, you should call the county and ask for another 45 days. You should explain to the county why your doctor cannot complete the SOC 873 form yet.

IHSS Hearings

All IHSS and Medi-Cal hearings will be by phone until at least May 15, 2020. You can still ask for an in-person hearing. In-person hearings will be postponed until hearings stop being conducted by phone.
Face-to-face home assessments still must be done when processing an IHSS application. Counties must collect as much information as possible over the phone when a face-to-face assessment is needed. IHSS social workers may also ask you if you have been exposed to COVID-19 before coming to your home. Your IHSS social worker cannot complete an in-home assessment if he/she has COVID-19 symptoms or may have been exposed to COVID-19.
If you are overwhelmed and you feel you need help, you can always reach out to 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

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