Families frequently ask me how to get more IHSS hours. This is an important question because it helps IHSS recipients qualify for all the in-home supportive services (IHSS) they deserve.
In order to get more IHSS hours, you should first become familiar with the various in-home supportive services that California offers. These services include domestic services, paramedical services, protective supervision, and more. Once you find out which supportive services are included in IHSS, the next step is to identify which services your loved one needs.
After that, you should use the California Department of Social Services’ (CDSS) Functional Index Rankings and Hourly Task Guidelines to help you estimate how much time your loved one requires for each service. For example, if your loved one can only dress him/herself with substantial assistance, then your loved one’s need for dressing assistance would likely be rated as Rank 4. The Hourly Task Guidelines for Rank 4 in dressing provide a low of 1:30 hours per week and a high of 2:20 hours per week. If you need more time than the guidelines provide, you should request an exception and be prepared to explain and prove the extraordinary circumstances. Continuing the example, if your loved one is currently receiving 1 hour per week for dressing, and you determine that he/she requires 1:30 hours per week, then you’ll know that he/she requires 30 minutes more per week for dressing assistance.
If you’re seeking more IHSS hours for your loved one who is under 18 years old, be sure to review CDSS’ Age Appropriate Guideline Tool. This will tell you when children are eligible for the various IHSS services, as CDSS expects neurotypical children to require assistance in most tasks of daily living until a certain age. For example, CDSS expects all children under the age of 8 to require assistance with feeding. However, that doesn’t mean that it’s impossible for a child under 8 to qualify for feeding assistance; but you would need to demonstrate that the child has an extraordinary need for feeding assistance, well beyond that of a neurotypical child. For example, if a 3-year-old child is fed through a G-tube (gastrostomy tube), this would likely qualify as an extraordinary need that requires much more time than feeding a neurotypical child.
You can request additional hours at your annual IHSS assessment, or by submitting an IHSS appeal if you received a Notice of Action from the county within 90 days. The more specific you are in requesting additional IHSS hours – including identifying the service area, calculating how much more time is needed, and explaining why the recipient needs additional time – the more likely it is for you to help your loved one get the IHSS serves he/she deserves. This detailed explanation should be much more effective than telling the county’s social worker at the annual assessment, or administrative law judge at the appeal hearing, that your loved one simply needs more IHSS hours.
If you think your loved one requires protective supervision, then check out our guide for How to Secure IHSS Protective Supervision.
The information in this post is not legal advice, nor is it intended to be. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation.