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What Is In-Home Support Services (IHSS)?

Financial help is sometimes needed 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, In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) benefits in California 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. But exactly what is IHSS?

IHSS is a California 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.

Qualifications 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 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 does IHSS pay?

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 your child’s physical, mental, living, or social condition has changed. The number of hours authorized may change with each evaluation.
The assessment evaluates:

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

The State allocates monthly service 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 approximately $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 IHSS Protective Supervision.
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.
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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