During the COVID-19 pandemic, the In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) program is still operating, thankfully, but with some changes. Governor Gavin Newsom instructed the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) on how to maintain the IHSS program during the COVID-19 pandemic. All County Letter (ACL) 20-75 provides the most recent update about IHSS guidelines during the pandemic, as of the date of this blog post.
ACL 20-75 stated that until we are no longer in a state of national emergency, as determined by the federal government, California counties are permitted to conduct initial IHSS assessments via videoconferencing (e.g. Zoom or FaceTime). This applies only to the extent that anyone in the applicant’s household has been infected with COVID-19, has symptoms of COVID-19, or has been exposed to COVID-19 within the previous two weeks of the scheduled assessment.
Counties are no longer permitted to suspend reassessments and must immediately begin conducting reassessments. Until the end of the pandemic, counties may conduct reassessments by telephone or videoconference to avoid any unnecessary in-person contact. However, counties may continue to conduct in-person reassessments when deemed appropriate. If the county chooses to conduct an in-person reassessment, the county social worker should minimize the amount of assessment time spent in the applicant’s home by collecting as much relevant information as possible over the phone prior to the home visit.
IHSS Forms Can Be Self-Attested
Until December 31, 2020, county staff may accept self-attestations (documents verified by yourself) from applicants, recipients, and/or their authorized representatives in lieu of original signatures on most required forms typically signed during assessments and reassessments. This temporary accommodation applies when assessments and reassessments are conducted via telephone or videoconference. However, this leniency does not apply to the following IHSS forms, which still require an original signature:
- Request for Order and Consent – Paramedical Services (SOC 321)
- IHSS Designation of Authorized Representative (SOC 839)
- IHSS Recipient’s Request for Provider Waiver (SOC 862)
For any forms that the applicant or the applicant’s authorized representative have self-attested, the applicant must submit signed forms to the county at the next annual reassessment.
Health Care Certification Forms (SOC 873)
Until the end of the calendar year, the CDSS will allow counties to authorize supportive services for new IHSS applicants who are unable to obtain a SOC 873 from his/her licensed health care provider. This measure will ensure that IHSS applicants are not penalized for delays in their ability to complete an SOC 873 due to the pandemic. In addition, counties should determine that IHSS applicants have “good cause” for any delay in completing the SOC 873, so that applicants are afforded an additional 45 days to submit this form, from the date of the county’s request.
IHSS applicants and recipients continue to have the right to appeal a denial or reduction in services. All IHSS hearings will be conducted via telephone until further notice.
Other IHSS Issues
For information on paid parent provider reevaluations, paid sick leave for providers, and provider enrollment requirements, click here.