Provider Change for IHSS-2024

On December 21st, 2023 an All County Letter (ACL) was published regarding In Home Supportive Services (IHSS). The State of California passed Assembly Bill 120 which eliminated provider eligibility requirements for minor recipients of IHSS. In order to comply with the new Bill, ACL 23-106 was published to instruct counties in how best to implement the new change.

Background Information

Unlike adult recipients of IHSS, there were strict restrictions on the home situation that would allow for a minor to receive IHSS. Only a parent who was unable to work a full time job because of the child’s needs was allowed to be a provider. In addition, if there was another parent in the home, that parent would be required to work a full time job, or be unable to care for the child due to another full time commitment or their own disability. If both parents either worked full time, or they both worked less than full time, they could not be a provider for their child. 

This was a never ending challenge for social workers to assess. What is full time? 40 hours? What about nurses who work 36 hour shifts? That’s considered full time for their profession. What about teachers who have 3 summer months off? What if a family loses their medical coverage if they go to part time? Can they work full time until the IHSS hours are awarded and then see if they can live on that amount? Or do they go part time and chance that they might get denied?

The confusion was endless. And unfortunately minority groups, single parent families and undocumented parents, who were already at the poverty level, were being hit the hardest by this rule.

What is being changed?

In short, the restriction is going away.

The parent’s work status will no longer be a barrier to IHSS for minor recipients. Minor recipients will have “the same access to IHSS providers that is currently available to adult recipients.” This means that the child receiving IHSS, or their legal representative, will be able to choose any qualified provider of IHSS regardless of whether the parents work or not. 

For families that already get IHSS, they will now be able to be more flexible with their work hours, or even split the IHSS between multiple family members if they wish to. 

A family with a parent who is unable to work, for instance due to undocumented status, will now be able to hire a provider when they would not have been able to before. 

In addition, a non-parent provider for a minor recipient used to only be allowed to claim hours for the time when both parents were at work. Now, a non-parent provider will be able to claim any appropriate IHSS hours without regard to the parents work. 

What isn’t changing?

Minors will still be assessed with consideration to their age and their hours may be adjusted accordingly. The process for becoming a provider is also remaining unchanged. Parents will still have to go through the enrollment process to become IHSS providers. A parent who was ineligible to be an IHSS provider for other reasons- I.e. undocumented residents or those with legal issues, will still be ineligible under the new rules. 

How will this work?

This change will give families many more options for how to handle the distribution of hours. To give a few examples: A parent provider who was not allowed to work full time will now be able to. A second parent who had to work full time can now lower their hours to help care for the child. Two parents can choose to split their IHSS evenly. A parent can choose to hire another family member like an Aunt, Uncle, or Grandparent to be the provider. An undocumented parent can choose any eligible provider to provide for their child. 

These are just a few examples of the ways in which this new law will allow families to care for their children in whatever way is best for them.

When will this change take place?

The ACL states that these changes will go into effect 60 days from the date of publication. Since the date of publication is December 21st, that puts the effective date somewhere between February 19th-22nd depending on how it’s counted. From that time on, all new cases should be handled in accordance with this new policy. 

However, if you have an ongoing case, they may not update your situation until you ask them to. Otherwise they will wait until your next reassessment to make any changes. Although it appears none of these changes to the law will be applied retroactively, we have yet to see the new policy in action. We will watch to see as it unfolds.