COVID-19 vaccination requirement for In-Home Supportive Services workers

The State Public Health Officer has ordered that all In Home Supportive Services (IHSS) providers be vaccinated by November 30th 2021.  This requirement does not apply to IHSS providers who live with or are family members of the recipient.

To be eligible for these exemptions, the provider must only provide to a single household. If a provider services multiple households, the exemption does not apply and the provider must adhere to the vaccination requirement.

Providers may also be granted an exemption if they provide the recipient with a COVID-19 Vaccination Exemption Form signed by the provider either stating:

  • The provider is declining the vaccination based on religious beliefs; or
  • The provider is excused from receiving the vaccine due to an eligible medical reason (with an exemption form signed by a physician, nurse practitioner, or other licensed medical professional).

The recipient’s responsibilities include requesting documentation showing that the provider has been vaccinated or can provide an exemption form. The recipient is responsible for reviewing the exemption form and determining if the provider has met the criteria to meet one of the exemptions listed above.  A recipient may not enforce the vaccination requirement.

Once the recipient determines that the exemption is met, the unvaccinated provider must meet the requirements when entering or working in the recipient’s residence:

  • The unvaccinated provider must be tested weekly for Covid-19 with either an authentic PCR or antigen test.


  • The unvaccinated provider must always wear a surgical mask or respirator while in the home. Each county can distribute Essential Protective Gear to any IHSS recipient or provider who requests it.

The provider’s responsibilities include maintaining all records regarding their vaccination status, vaccination records, or documents showing their medical exemption status. If the provider is exempt, they are responsible for keeping records of their weekly testing results.  Providers who are not currently working with a recipient must show proof of their vaccination or their exemption when they are hired.  Providers may use their annual State sick leave, if eligible, to take time away from work to get vaccinated or tested for COVID-19 infection.

Notices to inform all IHSS providers who are not live-in providers or provide services to nonfamily members have been sent on October 2021 stating the new vaccination/exemption requirements.  (ACIN I-81-20, October 11, 2021.)


Emergency Broadband Benefit

The Federal Communications Commission has announced the Emergency Broadband Benefit to help families struggling to afford internet service because of COVID-19.  The Emergency Broadband Benefit will provide a discount of up to $50 for broadband service for eligible households and $75 per month on qualifying Tribal Lands.  Eligible household can also get a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer or tablet if they contribute between $10 and $50 toward the purchase price.

A household is eligible if a member of the household meets one of these criteria:

  • Has an income that is at or below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines or participates in certain assistance programs, such as SNAP, Medicaid, or Lifeline;
  • Approved to receive benefits under the free and reduced-price school lunch program or the school breakfast program;
  • Received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year;
  • Experienced a substantial loss of income due to job loss or furlough because of COVID-19, and the household had a total income in 2020 at or below $99,000 for single tax filers and $198,000 for joint tax filers; or
  • Meets the eligibility criteria for a participating provider’s existing low-income or COVID-19 program.

The providers participating in the program are listed here.

Eligible providers can enroll on the program here.  (, May 7, 2021.)

COVID-19 federal stimulus belongs to recipient

The Internal Revenue Service has issued an alert that the federal stimulus payment belongs to the recipient and not to a nursing home or other care facility.  The stimulus payment is intended for the recipient even if a nursing home or other care facility receives the payment.  The stimulus payment is not a resource that must be turned over to a nursing home or other care facility.

The stimulus payment does not count as income Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.  The stimulus payment does not count as a resource for 12 months for any of those programs.

Social Security representative payees are not responsible for managing the stimulus because the stimulus money belongs to the recipient.  Representative payees should talk to the recipient about the stimulus money. If the recipient wants to use the stimulus money independently, the representative payee should give the stimulus money to the recipient.  (IR 2020-21, June 16, 2020.)

COVID-19 federal stimulus portal open until October 15

The Internal Revenue Service has announced that the non-filer tool for people who to not need to file a tax return to get the federal stimulus money will be available until October 15, 2020. The non-filer tool is available to people who do not need to file a tax return because their income is under $12,200 for a single person and $24,400 for married couples. (IR 2020-111, June 3, 2020.)

COVID-19 Disaster Relief Assistance for Immigrants

Disaster Relief for Immigrants will provide $500 per undocumented person with a maximum $1,000 per family to undocumented persons in California.  The program will be administered by nonprofit organizations.  The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) has released the list of nonprofit organizations administering the program and the counties each organization will cover.

The nonprofit organizations will accept applications for the program from May 18, 2020 to June 30, 2020 or earlier if funding is exhausted.

To be eligible, a person must be an undocumented adult who is not eligible for federal COVID-19 related assistance and has experienced a hardship because of COVID-19.

CSSS also issued a series of FAQs about the program.  (Coronavirus (COVID-19) Disaster Relief Assistance for Immigrants.)

COVID-19 CDSS waivers of background check requirements

The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) has issued a statewide waiver for certain background checks for Adult and Senior Care (ASC) licensees.  ASCs can use the waiver if the licensee experiencing a staff shortage and live scan services are limited because of COVID-19.

Newly hired ASC staff may start working immediately upon submission of a request to transfer a current CDSS criminal records clearance or exemption.  If newly hired staff do not have an existing CDSS criminal records clearance or exemption, they must make every effort to complete live scan within 5 days of starting employment.

If live scan services are available, newly hired staff without an existing CDSS criminal records clearance or exemption may start working immediately upon submitting to the licensee a complete criminal record statement (LIC 508) and request for live scan services (LIC 9163) to the ASC.  Within 5 days of starting work, newly hired staff must complete live scan.

If live scan services are not available, newly hired staff without an existing CDSS criminal records clearance or exemption may start working immediately upon submitting to the licensee a complete criminal record statement (LIC 508) and a complete DOJ Bureau of Criminal Records Information and Analysis Name-Check Form.

If new staff are unable to complete live scan within 5 days because of COVID-19 closures, the licensee can do a Department of Justice background search based on identifying information other than fingerprints.  CDSS has a new background check system call Guardian for name based searches with the Department of Justice.

New staff must complete live scan no later than June 15, 2020 unless that deadline is extended by CDSS.

The background check waiver for Home Care Organization (HCO) licensees and Home Care Aids (HCA) is rescinded and all statutory background check requirements now apply except newly hired HCO staff or applicants for the HCA registry may begin working immediately upon submitting a request to transfer a current CDSS criminal records clearance or exemption.  New HCO staff or HCA applicants without a current CDSS criminal records clearance or exemption can request an individual waiver which will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.  (PIN 20-12-CCLD, May 8, 2020.)