COVID-19 (Coronavirus) - Rights of People who get IHSS and Caregivers


This is for people who get in-home care, like In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS), to help you plan if your providers cannot come to your home.

*More information on COVID-19 is available here: and here


In this fact sheet, you will learn about:

  • How to make an action plan if your caregivers cannot help you.
  • How to find back-up workers
  • COVID-19 Changes to IHSS
  • Tips for dealing with other issues such as access to food and medications
  • Other resources.

This is for people who need help at home and get In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS).

Making a Plan

Make a back-up plan now. Here are tips:

  1. List things you need, like medication, medical equipment, service animals, and support services. Write them down.
  2. Think about ways to meet your needs if there are no services.
  3. Here is a sheet to help you create your own backup plan -

You may have already planned for an emergency with your social worker during your assessment.  Look at your assessment paperwork or call the county to get a copy of it.  Here is a list of social services offices:

If you get services through a different agency, call that agency for more information. For example, if you also receive Waiver Personal Care Services (WPCS), then you can call your waiver agency or the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) for more information.

This is also a good time to call your health plan and find out what services are covered and how to get them during an emergency.

Emergency Back-Up IHSS Provider Program

Counties have been told to create a back-up IHSS provider system.  The emergency back-up IHSS provider program is available now through June 30, 2020.  (All County Letter (ACL) No. 20-29):

You can get an emergency back-up IHSS provider when your regular IHSS provider cannot work because of COVID-19. 

Since this is new, it may take some counties awhile to figure out how it will work and make sure people can get emergency back-up IHSS providers. 

Contact your IHSS county office for more information about the IHSS emergency back-up system in your area.  Here is a link for IHSS county offices:

If you get services from a family member, talk to your family about backup IHSS provider plans.  

Provider Enrollment

If you know someone who wants to be a backup provider, they can become one right now.  Here is information on becoming an IHSS provider:    

Required provider enrollment orientation can be completed online.  Photocopying original provider identification documents can be submitted by mail.  IHSS Providers can be enrolled while county waits to receive identifying documents and a provider attends an online orientation.  IHSS recipients are still required to complete Recipient Designation of Provider Form SOC 426A:

Here is more information about how it is easier to become an IHSS provider during COVID (ACL 20-32):

Criminal Background Check Temporary Suspension

As part of the IHSS provider enrollment process, new providers are required to complete a Department of Justice (DOJ) fingerprinting background check.  These background checks are provided by approved live scan facilities.  IHSS is temporarily suspending required DOJ fingerprinting background checks provided at live scan facilities for providers who are unable to get fingerprinted because the live scan facility in their area is closed due to COVID-19.  (ACL 20-50)

If a provider is unable to get fingerprinted at a live scan facility because it is closed, the provider will have to complete the “Applicant Information” part of a COVID-19 Request for Department of Justice Name Check form.  You can find the form here:  Once the “Applicant Information” part of the form has been completed by the IHSS provider the county will complete the form and forward it to the DOJ. 

IHSS providers must still complete the fingerprinting background check by July 31, 2020.  If an IHSS provider does not complete the fingerprinting background check by June 31, 2020, the provider will no longer be an eligible IHSS provider until they complete the DOJ fingerprinting background check. (ACL 20-67)

IHSS recipients will still be required to complete Recipient Designation of Provider Form SOC 426A:  IHSS recipients will also be required to complete and sign a “TEMP 3019” form.  You can find the form here:  This form acknowledges an IHSS recipient’s decision to hire an IHSS caregiver who has not completed a DOJ fingerprinting background check.  IHSS may also ask an IHSS recipient if they are aware that the provider who is being enrolled has not been fingerprinted and note the response in the county case management system.

Parent Provider in Two Parent Households for Children under 18

If a parent leaves a full-time job or cannot work full time because the parent must care for their child and there is no one else who can care for the child and without the parent’s care the child is at risk of institutionalization, then the parent may be an IHSS parent provider.

Generally, in a two-parent household, a parent may only be an IHSS provider if they meet the criteria and the second parent is considered “unavailable” because the second parent works, attends an education or vocational program, is conducting employment searches or has a mental or physical disability which prevents them from providing IHSS services.

Effective from April 23, 2020 until June 30, 2020, IHSS parent providers in a two-parent household can continue to be a paid IHSS provider if the second parent is no longer “unavailable” because the parent is not working or attending a school or vocational program due to COVID-19. 

IHSS parent providers will no longer be allowed to work as of July 1, 2020, if the second parent is still out of work or is not in an educational or vocational program or conducting job searches or is not prevented from providing the child with IHSS due to a physical or mental disability by June 30, 2020.

IHSS Provider Sick Leave

IHSS providers can get COVID-19 sick leave through December 31, 2020.  Providers who work 40 hours or more per week can get 80 hours of sick leave.  Providers who work less than 40 hours per week can get the average number of hours worked over a two-week period.  COVID-19 sick leave is available to employees who cannot work for one of the following reasons:

  • Provider is in quarantine,
  • Provider has been told by doctor to quarantine,
  • Provider has symptoms and is seeking doctor’s help,
  • Provider is caring for person who is in quarantine or has been told by doctor to quarantine,
  • Provider is caring for his/her child whose school or child care has closed or childcare provider is not available because of COVID-19 or, has another COVID-19 related problem.

To claim sick time, providers must complete a COVID-19 Provider Sick Leave (TEMP 3021) Form: (ACL 20-40)

COVID-19 IHSS Assessments and Services

Counties now must focus on applications and approve needed IHSS services. IHSS social workers must make sure new IHSS providers are enrolled. Counties must answer and return phone calls from you and your providers as soon as possible.

IHSS may not stop or decrease your IHSS services until after June 30, 2020.

Most IHSS assessments will be done by video call through June 30, 2020.  Face to face assessments and home visits may be done when needed.  Counties must collect as much information as possible over the phone when a face to face assessment is needed.  IHSS social workers may also ask you if you have been exposed to COVID-19 before coming to your home.  Your IHSS social worker cannot complete an in-home assessment if he/she has COVID-19 symptoms or may have been exposed to COVID-19. 

Social workers must take precautions during home visits.  This includes maintaining a six-foot distance between you and other people in your home and using Personal Protective Equipment, when needed.  (ACL 20-26: and ACL 20-42:

Disability Rights California is asking the state to stop face-to-face assessments for now.

IHSS Applications

IHSS applicants must get a Health Care Certification (SOC 873) form from their doctor and give it to the IHSS program before IHSS services can be provided.  Right now, you can get IHSS without the SOC 873 form.  All County Information Notice (ACIN) I-28-20:

Here is how it will work.  If you cannot get your doctor to fill in the SOC 873 form because of COVID-19, you can get up to 90 days to submit a SOC 873 form to IHSS.   

When doing this, first the county will give you IHSS services and 45 days for the SOC 873 form to be completed and returned. 

If you need more time, you should call county and ask for another 45 days.  You should explain to the county why your doctor cannot complete the SOC 873 form yet. 

Additional IHSS Services Because of Loss of Alternative Resources

Alternative resources are basically IHSS services provided outside the IHSS program.  Alternative resources can reduce IHSS hours. Some people may receive alternative resources through school or a day program, such as Community Based Adult Services.  You may get alternative resources from a person as well. You may be getting services through an alternative resource and may not know it. 

Many alternative resources are not currently available because schools and day programs are closed, or people are not available.  Contact your social worker if you need additional IHSS hours because alternative resources are not available.  If you cannot reach your worker, you should document the request, and adjust your hours. (March 16, 2020 Program Managers Letter,; ACL 20-26, 

Follow these steps to find which alternative resources you are no longer receiving and what additional IHSS services you may need:

  1. Identify the alternative resource (day program, school, person, CBAS, regional center program/services, etc.) you are no longer attending.
  2. Identify IHSS tasks reduced in your NOA because of alternative resources.  This is under the column “SERVICES YOU REFUSED OR YOU GET FROM OTHERS”, because you get services from an alternative resource.
  3. Identify IHSS tasks you now need help with because of an elimination of an alternative resource.  This should include both alternative resources identified in your IHSS NOA and alternative resources the county did not identify. 

Some examples of IHSS tasks you may need help with because of the loss of an alternative resource include: assistance with feeding, meal prep/cleanup, diaper changes, assistance with ambulation, help with prosthesis, increased unmet need for those who need protective supervision, assistance with medications, paramedical services (such as range of motion exercises no longer being provided by a physical therapist (PT) or IHSS tasks provided as part of the receipt of nursing services which you are no longer getting due to a nursing shortage), time your IHSS provider spends ordering your food online because you can no longer shop for yourself because paratransit is no longer available to you, etc. 

Remember, counties may not always identify and document alternative resources during an assessment and as part of your IHSS assessment/NOA.

It is also a good idea to document your request for the additional time and provide an explanation as to why more time is needed.  A sample letter of what a request for more time due to the elimination of alternative resources might look like is below.

No IHSS Overtime Violations

Counties must allow IHSS providers more flexibility to provide needed services.  This gives you flexibility to assign hours to providers for services that are a “critical need.”  If your provider gets an overtime violation because your provider was providing you with IHSS services that are a “critical need,” your provider’s violation can be removed through June 30, 2020.  (Program Manager Letter, March 19, 2020: and ACL 20-32:

COVID-19 Personal Protective Equipment for IHSS Providers

IHSS Public Authority offices are now distributing a face mask and a pair of gloves to any IHSS providers who request it.  ACL 20-57:

Contact your IHSS county office for more information about how to contact the public authority in your county.  Here is a link for IHSS county offices:


You may be wondering how to get food and other things if you cannot leave your house.  Some meal delivery services who accepts EBT include:

Meals on Wheels:

Insta Cart:

Some grocery stores have special hours for people who are elderly or have weak immune systems. Call your local grocery stores for more information.

You can find more information about food here:


Many pharmacies deliver medication.  Call your medical provider or pharmacy to find out if you can have medicine delivered.

Other COVID resources

IHSS Hearings

All IHSS and Medi-Cal hearings will be by phone until further notice.  You can still ask for an in-person hearing.  In-person hearings will be postponed until hearings stop being by phone.  If you are receiving Aid Paid Pending (APP) and have requested an in-person hearing, your APP will continue until your in-person hearing is held.  You can find more information online:

How to Get More Information About Your Rights

If you have a question about your legal rights:

  • Call DRC’s intake line at: 1-800-776-5746.
  • Call DRC’s Office of Clients’ Rights Advocacy (OCRA) at:
    • Northern California 1-800-390-7032 (TTY 877-669-6023)
    • Southern California 1-866-833-6712 (TTY 877-669-6023)


Sample Letter - Requesting More IHSS Services Because of a Loss of Alternative Resources


County IHSS Program
Address or Email:
Attention: IHSS Social Worker

Name of IHSS Recipient:
Case No.:

Dear IHSS Social Worker:

I am sending you this letter to request approval and to document my child’s need for more IHSS hours because of a loss of alternative resources.  I am my child’s parent provider.

Before Covid-19 social distancing requirements, my child had been attending a school program for five hours during the day.  My child’s school program is no longer available because of COVID-19.

At my child’s school program, my child received assistance with the following IHSS tasks:

  1. XX hours: Meal preparation, feeding and meal clean up. Lunch which takes approximately 20 minutes to complete all tasks. 
  2. XX hours: Paramedical services. Physical therapy (PT) session at school twice per week for a ½ hour each session. I have been training by my child’s PT to provide my child with this service at home. I am in the process of obtaining an SOC 321 form completed by child’s PT.
  3. XX hours: Assistance with diaper changes approximately twice per day. Each diaper change takes approximately 15 minutes to complete.
  4. XX hours: Repositioning in wheelchair. My child needs to be repositioned in their wheelchair once per hour about five times per day. It takes about 3 minutes each time they are repositioned. 

Since my child’s school program ended on XX, 2020, I have been providing my child with the IHSS tasks above. I am asking that IHSS grant my child approval of the XX hours of IHSS tasks my child now needs because of COVID-19 related loss of their educational program as required in All County Letter 20-26,  This is in addition to the other IHSS services they are currently getting.

Thank you,