Extension of IHSS medical accompaniment for COVID vaccines and reinstatement of emergency back-up

The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) has issued information to counties about Extension of In Home Supportive Services (IHSS) medical accompaniment for COVID vaccines and reinstatement of COVID emergency back-up providers.

IHSS recipients who have hours for medical accompaniment can use them to get COVID-19 vaccines.  IHSS recipients who do not have medical accompaniment hours can get a one-time provider payment for up to two hours for accompaniment to get a COVID-19 vaccine.  This can be applied retroactively to January 1, 2022 and is available until June 30, 2022.  To get this payment, providers must complete and submit the COVID-19 Medical Accompaniment Claim Form and have the recipient sign the form.  This medical accompaniment time cannot increase IHSS hours above the statutory maximum.

The emergency back-up provider pay rate differential is reinstated retroactive to February 1, 2022 and will be available through June 30, 2022.  (ACL 22-25, March 18, 2022.)

Reinstatement of COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave for IHSS providers

The California Department of Social Services has issued instructions reinstating supplemental paid sick leave for In Home Supportive Services (IHSS) providers.  IHSS providers who are impacted by COVID-19 now have up to 40 hours of supplemental sick leave for circumstances related to COVID-19.  This includes two hours of leave per dose of vaccine, and caring for a child whose school or child care is closed because of COVID-19.  IHSS providers can get an additional 40 hours of sick leave if the provider or a family member for whom they are providing care has a positive COVID-19 test.

COVID-19 sick leave will not impact the 16 hours of sick leave IHSS providers currently receive.

If the provider works full time, they will get 40 hours of sick leave.  If the provider works less than full time, the provider will get the total number of hours per week that they are scheduled to work as sick leave.

The COVID-19 supplemental sick leave is available retroactive to January 1, 2022 until September 30, 2022.  (ACL 22-18, March 9, 2022.)

IHSS Electronic Services Portal Text Messages

Beginning March 28th, 2022, new enhancements were made to the Electronic Services Portal (ESP) for recipients and providers in In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) and Wavier Personal Care services (WPCS) to allow recipients and providers to choose text messages as a notification preference. This allows users to get messages by text message, email or both.  If there is no preference, the recipient/provider will continue to receive notifications by email.

These notifications will come from the same IHSS program that receives payroll processing messages via email from a secure IHSS text message portal.

Text messages notifications will be sent in the recipient and provider’s preferred written languages about the following information:

Providers will get text message notifications about:

  •     Time Sheet Approval
  •     Timesheet Rejection
  •     Payment
  •     No Recipient Action on Submitted Timesheet
  •     No Payment for Travel Claim
  •     Preference Change of Notification Delivery Methods

 Recipients will get text message notifications about:

  •     Timesheet for review
  •     Preference Change of Notification Delivery Methods

Recipients and providers can go to the ESP website at www.etimesheets.ihss.ca.gov/login and log into the Provider Home screen to sign up for this service. Once there, locate your name on the drop-down menu and select Account Information. From Account Information, select ‘My Preferences’ link. Under My Preferences, select the option under Notification Preference. This allows users to choose how they want their notifications to be delivered. If no preferences are selected, notifications will continue to be sent via email. Under Notification Preference, listed under ‘Text Messages.’ If the phone number is not on file, users must add or edit their information and click Verify before they start receiving text messages. A 6-digit code will be sent to that cell phone number, and a pop-up box will ask the reliever to enter the verification code. (ACIN I-17-22, March 7, 2022.)

Eligibility for Waiver Personal Care Services

The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) has provided information regarding Medi-Cal Home and Community Based Alternative (HCBA) Waiver through the Waiver Personal Care Services (WPCS) program. CDSS also clarifies new roles that the counties must adhere to regarding information sharing and referrals through the waiver program.

The HCBA Waiver provides care management assistance to people at risk for institutional or nursing home placement. With HCBA, a multidisciplinary team of registered nurses and social workers provide care management services to waiver beneficiaries. The waiver covers direct and indirect care services, including WPCS. Under the HCBA waiver, recipients may get up to 24 hours of direct care. The Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) administers the HCBA waiver program by contacting the HCBA Waiver agencies.

HCBA Waiver Services include:

  •     Private home health services/nursing
  •     Case management
  •     Habilitation
  •     Home and Family respite
  •     Community transition services
  •     Environmental accessibility adaptations
  •     Waiver Personal Care Services (WPCS) 

County In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) Staff must:

-Notify DHCS/Waiver Agency staff of services hours approved by the recipient, and

-Determine eligibility for IHSS hours for those not authorized for WPCS services.

County staff must also share case file information to help DHCS/Waiver Agencies determine the number of WPCS hours to approve. County staff may request that the Waiver Agency supplies a list of mutual recipients in their county.

To be considered for the Waiver Personal Care Services Program candidates apply for enrollment in the HCBA waiver. A receipt will be sent for the candidate’s application. Then a representative from DHCS or relevant HCBA waiver agency will schedule a first in-home assessment to see if the candidate qualifies. Individuals must be currently receiving IHSS and have a maximum of 283 IHSS hours to be eligible for WPCS for specific tasks not covered by IHSS hours.

County IHSS staff will assess the recipient annually to determine IHSS service needs. This reassessment must include updating DHCS/Waiver Agency staff regarding any changes in services to the recipient.  (ACL 21-154, December 30, 2021.)


COVID-19 updated information regarding submitting SOC 873

The California Department of Social Services has provided information about completion of the In Home Supportive Services (IHSS) SOC 873 form.

Counties can allow a good cause extension for failure to submit the IHSS SOC 873 form within 45 days of application when they were unable to do so because their health care provider was unavailable because of work related to COVID-19.  The option for that good cause extension is extended through the end of the COVID-19 state of emergency in California.  Counties can determine on a case-by-case basis when good cause exists. This evaluation should consider various factors including the applicant being in the hospital, the health care professional scheduling appointments more than 45 days out, the SOC 873 being lost in the mail, and the applicant’s primary health care provider being unavailable because of the Omicron variant.  (ACL 22-11, February 9, 2022.)