In Home Supportive Services & Public Authority Overview


Comprehensive Services for Older AdultsHealth and Human Services Agency



 In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS)

What is IHSS?

In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) is a Medi-Cal program that is funded by county, state and federal dollars. The goal of the IHSS program is to allow low income aged, blind, and disabled persons, who are at risk for out-of-home placement, to remain safely at home by providing payment for care provider services.

IHSS care providers may provide personal care services such as bathing and grooming, dressing, and toileting. Care providers may also provide domestic services such as house cleaning, meal preparation/cleanup, shopping, and laundry. Services are authorized based on the functional needs of the client and in accordance with program rules and regulations.

Who Qualifies for IHSS?

An applicant must:

  • Be a US citizen or qualified alien and a California resident.
  • Be aged, blind or have a permanent disability expected to last 12 months or more.
  • Receive Medi-Cal (with or without share of cost) or SSI/SSP benefits.
  • Be living at home. Home is any place the applicant chooses to live and could be a house, apartment, hotel or the home of a relative.
  • Be 'at risk' of out of home placement, such as a skilled nursing facility or board and care, if they do not receive IHSS.
  • Have a licensed health care professional complete a Health Care Certification form verifying the applicant needs IHSS (

How do I apply for IHSS?

Referrals can be made by the applicant or on their behalf with the applicant’s knowledge and agreement. The easiest way to apply for services is to call Comprehensive Services for Older Adults at 253-6272 and ask to make an IHSS referral. You may also come into the office and apply in person. We are located at 650 Imperial Way, Suite 101, Napa, CA 94559. When making a referral, be prepared with the following information:

A. Applicant's date of birth

B. Social security number

C. Address

D. Telephone number

E. Primary care doctor

F. Diagnosis/disability information

What happens after I apply for IHSS?

Once a referral is received, the referral will be assigned to an IHSS social worker.

The social worker will contact the applicant to schedule a home visit. This may take up to 30 days. At the home visit the social worker will conduct an assessment to determine if the applicant meets the eligibility criteria, what services the applicant needs assistance with and the amount of timed needed to perform the services. This assessment will take into consideration the applicant’s medical condition, living arrangement and resources that may already be available.

The applicant will be notified regarding the approval / denial of the IHSS application via mail. If denied, a notice will be sent explaining the reason for the denial. If approved, the client will be notified of the services and amount of hours per month that have been authorized. Depending on the amount of the client’s monthly income, they may be required to pay a share of cost for these services.

How do I find a care provider?

If approved for IHSS, the client must hire an IHSS care provider to perform the authorized services. IHSS clients are considered the care provider’s employer and are responsible for all aspects of provider management, including: interviewing, hiring, training, scheduling, and terminating a provider. IHSS pays the wages of a care provider once the care provider has completed the IHSS provider enrollment requirements and has been approved to provide services. Care providers can be:

  • A family member
  • A friend
  • A neighbor
  • A care provider selected from the Napa County Public Authority Care Provider Registry

Important things to know about IHSS:

  • IHSS is intended to prevent premature placement outside of the home, but it may not provide for all the care a client requires.
  • IHSS is not an emergency response program.
  • Time is authorized based on the client's needs, not the care provider's work schedule.
  • Time is not authorized in anticipation of a medical emergency such as supervising someone in case they fall.
  • Time is not authorized for visiting, waiting for you at the doctor's office, gardening, moving, packing/unpacking, lifting heavy furniture, pet care, or bill paying.
  • IHSS does not pay for 24 hour care, regardless of the needs of the client.
  • IHSS is a safety/needs program, not a comfort/want program.

If you suspect fraud in the IHSS program, please contact the Department of Health Care Services IHSS fraud hotline at 1-888-717-8302. 


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