Detail of Current Changes to IHSS and Updates on Litigation

The Governor's proposed budget would reduce In-Home Supportive Services for 254,000 low-income seniors and people with Disabilities

The In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) Program helps more than 425,000 low-income seniors and people with disabilities live safely in their own homes, thereby preventing their placement in more costly out-of-home care. Most IHSS participants receive domestic and related care services, including laundry, shopping for food, cooking and cleaning up after meals, and general housework. Individuals who are less able to perform these activities are eligible for higher levels of assistance. Governor Brown proposes to eliminate domestic and related care services for most IHSS participants living with others, a change that would affect approximately 254,000 individuals. According to the Legislative Analyst’s Office, those affected by the Governor’s proposal would lose an average of between nine and 14 IHSS service hours per month. This cut would not apply to households in which an individual lives only with other IHSS participants, or where other members of the household are unable to perform the needed tasks due to a medical condition. However, the cut would apply even in cases in which the IHSS participant lives with an unrelated individual who is not willing or able to do these domestic tasks. The Governor’s proposal would cut state spending on IHSS by $207 million in 2012-13 and result in the loss of $424 million in county and federal funds, for a total reduction of $631 million. The Governor’s proposed reduction to domestic and related care services would be in addition to IHSS cuts made since 2009-10. The Legislature, for example, reduced hours for all participants by 3.6 percent beginning in 2010-11 and cut hours by an additional 20 percent in 2011-12, although the latter reduction was recently blocked by a federal court injunction.

  1. Under Litigation - Functional Index Cuts

    These are cuts to consumer’s eligibility or authorized hours based on their Functional Index Score, and were proposed in last year’s 2009-10 budget. Although the administration is still proposing a 50% cut to IHSS in his May 2010 revise, it is not clear at this time how the cuts would be applied.

    This issue is presently under litigation. V.L. et al v. Wagner U.S. District Court Judge Claudia Wilken declared that the state cannot go forward with cuts planned last year, because they would result in "substantial harm, damage and injury and likely violate federal law". This particular injunction relates only to the functional index cuts, and must be considered temporary. Check back for updates.

    The state has set up a Toll Free number to help providers that have been cut from the program in error. The number is: (866) 513-5103

  2. Under Litigation - Share of Cost Buyout Program

    This program was eliminated as of October 1, 2009, through enactment of the 2009-10 state budget mandate. See litigation notes below.

    The state had a program which helped certain clients pay for a “share of cost” of the IHSS services they receive, based on income. This share of cost program was eliminated due to last year’s budget cuts. Client’s that have a share of cost are now responsible for paying the entire share of cost. This can affect the provider’s paycheck, as “share of cost” can be deducted from the home care worker’s paycheck. If the client has a share of cost, you need to make arrangements to get paid for any deductions from your paycheck.

    Under Litigation The elimination of SHARE OF COST can not be appealed on an individual basis through a hearing; this change in state law has been enacted and the share of cost buyout has been eliminated at this time.Nevertheless, litigation challenging the reductions have been initiated. Rulings so far have not succeeded in bringing about an injunction to stop the cuts.

    Northern California ADAPT (Bay Area) ET AL v. Wagner

  3. Provider Fingerprinting and Criminal Background Checks

    Enacted. See Action Steps

    Litigation and Important Note: It has come to our attention that some counties are asking providers to sign a new form SOC 426 (Provider Enrollment Form) that includes a question about whether the provider “has ever been convicted of a serious crime or misdemeanor.” COUNTIES SHOULD NOT BE USING THIS FORM.

    If you are asked to sign a Form 426, which includes the question about whether you have ever been convicted “of a serious crime or misdemeanor” respectfully refuse to sign the document and refer the county official to All County Letter No. 09-78

    More Information and copy of All County Letter (ACL) that pertains to the above issue

    FEBRUARY 17th LETTER (ACL) WITH QUESTIONS & ANSWERS ON CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECKS FOR IHSS PROVIDERS

    This issue is under litigation. See Beckworth v. Wagner

  4. Revised Provider Enrollment Form

    Enacted. See Action Steps

    Impacted by litigation on felonies and misdemeanors. See above

    • A revised Provider Enrollment Form must be submitted in-person by all currently employed and new IHSS providers and must include a photocopy made by the county of the original documentation of the provider’s identity.
    • The new form will require the signature of the provider, after having viewed the mandatory provider orientation materials below.
    • The type of form used has been changed due to litigation on the issue of what type of felony or misdemeanor would disqualify a provider. See item #3 above.
  5. Mandatory Provider Orienation

    Enacted. See Action Steps

    All currently employed providers must complete a mandatory provider orientation that will include information on IHSS requirements, rules and regulations as well as the consequences of committing fraud in the program and reporting fraud and abuse.

    -- NOTE –Current providers (those already employed under the IHSS program) are NOT required to attend orientation meetings in person. As a current provider you have the right to receive the orientation materials by mail.After reviewing all the materials providers must still go to their county office to sign and return the acknowledgment form and present their original ID documents in person.

    The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) video that is used in the orientation process required for all providers is now available online, courtesy of the IHSS Coalition Website: IHSS Orientation Video

  6. Unannounced Home Visits

    Social services will be required to make unannounced home visits “as appropriate, in targeted cases” to verify that IHSS services are being provided. No dates for implementation have been announced, and no regulations or policies governing the visits have been formalized at this time.

    It has come to our attention that some counties are conducting inappropriate and unregulated home visits, apparently stemming from this new requirement.

    IHSS RECIPIENTS AND PROVIDERS MUST PROTECT THEMSELVES AND THEIR RIGHTS. A toll free number is available to report any questionable visits:1-800-822-6222 Also you can contact IHSS ADVOCATE

  7. Changes to Client Requirement, Timesheets, and Provider Notifications

    2009-10 Budget called for changes to the timesheets that would require both provider and consumer fingerprints Recent votes in the Assembly have indicated this mandate may be overruled, however the issue is still unresolved.

  8. Under Litigation - Update to the Proposed Wage Cuts

    • All IHSS providers earning over $9.50 per hour were to have had their wages rolled back to $9.50 on July 1, 2009, as per the 2009 changes in state legislation that were voted in.
    • At this time it is unknown how litigation and budget mandates will impact provider wages. Check back for updates.

    Currently under litigation Dominguez et al v. Schwarzenegger et al. A lawsuit filed on behalf of California IHSS providers has temporarily stopped the implementation of these cuts. Although the injunction is temporary, on March 3 it was upheld by a second judge. Although the governor’s May revise did not include the reductions to minimum wage, the state has petitioned the supreme court to hear their case and overrule the earlier injunctions The lawsuit is still in the court system and the final outcome is unknown.

  9. Under Litigation- Reduced Funding To Public Authorities

    Has been enacted.Governor Schwarzenegger struck $13 million – 57 percent – in General Fund support for operation of the IHSS Public Authorities. This cut also affects consumers and providers as it may result in delays in screening potential providers for consumers seeking referrals, poorer provider referral for consumers elimination of critical although non-mandated services and training’s, and a loss of oversight as Public Authorities slash hours and staffing.