California Ends Unlawful Policy Denying Access to In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) for Many Immigrants with Sponsors

Press Release

California Ends Unlawful Policy Denying Access to In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) for Many Immigrants with Sponsors

An older hispanic woman in a wheelchair being taken care at home by her adult daughter.
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(Sacramento, CA) On June 1, 2022, the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) released new guidance regarding In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) sponsor deeming rules, eligibility for individuals under the IHSS Residual (IHSS-R) program, and AB 135.

The new guidance makes it clear that immigrants with sponsors should not be denied IHSS benefits because of their sponsor’s income, as long as they are Medi-Cal recipients and meet all other eligibility criteria.

The new guidance further makes it clear that undocumented immigrants receiving state-funded Medi-Cal are eligible for IHSS, regardless of status.  This includes undocumented immigrants 50 and older who are newly eligible for Medi-Cal, beginning May 1, 2022, as part of the Older Adult Expansion group pursuant to Assembly Bill (AB) 133 (Chapter 143, Statutes of 2021).

“Because of these critical updates, many immigrants with disabilities who had previously been barred from accessing IHSS will now be able to get the care and support they need in the home and community,” said Nicholas Levenhagen, Litigation Counsel with Disability Rights California.

This important new guidance is the result of months of negotiations led by Disability Rights California that ends unlawful state policies preventing immigrants with sponsors on state-funded Medi-Cal — often Legal Permanent Residents during the first five years of residency — from accessing needed IHSS benefits, allowing them to be cared for in the home rather than an institution. This includes DRC clients who required in-home caregiving due to advancing dementia, renal failure, and other disabling conditions, but who were denied IHSS due to their sponsor’s income.

If you or someone you know is having a problem with accessing IHSS because of a sponsor’s income, please contact DRC at 1-800-776-5746 or TTY 1-800-719-5798.

DRC was supported in these efforts by Bet Tzedek and Justice in Aging. The new state guidance, All County Letter No. 22-44, can be viewed in full here:


Media Contacts

Melody Pomraning
Communications Director
Disability Rights California
(916) 504-5938


Disability Rights California (DRC) – Is the agency designated under federal law to protect and advocate for the rights of Californians with disabilities. The mission of DRC is to defend, advance, and strengthen the rights and opportunities of people with disabilities. For more information visit: