Monday, July 22, 2013

Can I get help paying for someone to take care of me?

(Please note:  This is a California specific post.)

Yes, you can if you qualify.  In California, there is a program called “In-Home Supportive Services” for people with low income who need help paying for a personal assistant in their homes.

In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) provide people with low-income who are blind, disabled, or 65 years old or older with personal assistance and other services so they can live safely in their homes.  (Notice that I highlighted “blind” and “disabled,” that is because in public benefits world everything must be exactly defined — clicking on the links should give you the definitions.)  

Services range from assistance with household chores to personal care, such as dressing, bathing, and paramedical services (like if you need someone to administer a shot).  Some IHSS can also be used in the workplace. 

For many people, IHSS is a great alternative to assisted living or nursing facilities. (Did I mention that a client of mine recently told me that she’d rather be given a dose of opium and be pushed off a cliff than go to a nursing home?)  The program is funded by a mix of state, county, and federal dollars, but it is administered through your county (which, by the way, may have its own interpretations of how to apply the law so it is a good idea to have local counsel advising you.)

When the county gets your application for IHSS, a county social worker will contact you to schedule a home visit. During the home visit, the social worker will complete a needs assessment to see what types of services you require to stay safely in your own home and the number of hours that will be paid for by the program.

Obviously, there is a ton more to know about this topic than I can cover here.  Eligibility is a whole series of posts in itself so I didn’t attempt to attack it here.  If you want to do more research check out this site.  Also, if you want to know how budget cuts have affected this program you should read this.

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