In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS)

In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) is the largest publicly funded home care program in the United States. IHSS helps to pay for services to eligible aged, blind and disabled individuals who are unable to remain safely in their own homes without assistance. Disabled children are also potentially eligible for IHSS. IHSS is an alternative to out-of-home care such as skilled nursing facilities, assisted living or board and care facilities.

What kind of help is available?

IHSS covers the most common activities of daily living needed by those with disabilities. The different chores are assessed according to the needs of the individual. They may include, but are not limited to:

  • Housekeeping
  • Grocery shopping
  • Meal preparation and clean up
  • Transportation to medical appointments
  • Spoon feeding
  • Help with breathing equipment
  • Toileting or incontinence-related needs
  • Bathing and hygiene tasks
  • Dressing assistance
  • Medication management
  • Tooth, nail and hair care

Who is entitled?

An IHSS Recipient must be 65 or older, blind, or long-term disabled. They must also meet all of the following conditions:

  • Must be a California resident
  • Must have a MediCal eligibility determination
  • Must live in their own home, or other dwelling in which they choose to reside (residents of acute care hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, and intermediate care facilities are not eligible.)
  • Must submit a completed Health Certification form

How does it work?

To apply for IHSS in Contra Costa County, contact an IHSS office of the Employment & Human Services department. It is best to telephone. There is no need to come to the office as staff will come to your home. Below are the telephone numbers of our application lines:

East County Central County West County
(925) 522-7673  (925) 363-3677 (510) 231-8299

These numbers are staffed during business hours, but all have message machines for night or weekend calls. Please be sure to leave a message with your phone number so we can respond to you.

Where to find a caregiver?

The Contra Costa Public Authority is a public agency whose purpose is to provide consumer input to the IHSS program. The Public Authority operates a Registry that recruits and checks references for home care workers, maintains a database of providers, and then supplies a list to consumers.

The Registry computer will search for potential workers to match your needs, hours and location. The Registry staff will send you a list of three to six names of potential workers. You call the names on the list to discuss the job and set up interviews. The care provider is in the employ of the consumer, not the County.

You may call the Registry at (800) 333-1081 to let them know what services you need and which hours you need a worker.

What to expect when you apply:

  • A completed Health Care Certification (SOC 873) must be received by the county prior to authorization of services.
  • A county social worker will interview you at your home to determine your eligibility and need for IHSS. Based on your ability to safely perform certain tasks for yourself, the social worker will assess the types of services you need and the number of hours the county will authorize for each of these services. This assessment will include information given by you and, if appropriate, by your family, friends, physician or other licensed health care professionals.
  • You will be notified if IHSS has been approved or denied. If denied, you will be notified of the reason for the denial. If approved, you will be notified of the services and the number of hours per month which have been authorized for you.
  • If you are approved for IHSS, you must hire someone (your individual provider) to perform the authorized services. You are considered your provider’s employer and, therefore, it is your responsibility to hire, train, supervise, and as may be necessary, dismiss this individual.

How does Program Work?

The IHSS Program pays the wages of a caregiver (called an IHSS provider) to work in the client’s home. Recipients of IHSS may hire any person of their choosing to be the in-home care provider. The provider may be a relative or friend if desired. The provider’s wages are paid twice per month after the work has been performed. The pay rate in Contra Costa is presently $11.50 per hour. Providers are covered by government-paid Workers’ Compensation insurance, by FICA and SDI. They are required to be fingerprinted and attend a Provider Orientation conducted by the Contra Costa Public Authority (see below).

Where to find an Individual in-home care Provider?

Recipients of IHSS may hire any person of their choosing to be the in-home care provider. The person hired must be of eligible age to work and legally able to be employed in the US.

For those recipients looking for an appropriate care provider, they may contact the Contra Costa County Public Authority. The Public Authority operates a Registry that recruits, checks references for home care workers, maintains names and information in a database, and then supplies a list of names to consumers.

The Registry computer will search for potential workers to match your needs, hours and location. The Registry staff will send you a list of three to six names of potential workers. You call the names on the list to discuss the job and set up interviews. You may call the Registry at (800) 333-1081 to let them know what services you need and which hours you need a worker.