In Santa Clara County nearly 17,000 IHSS providers assist frail elderly and disabled clients to allow them to remain safely in their own homes and avoid the need for out of home care. Currently, Santa Clara County pays IHSS providers an hourly rate of $12.20 for IHSS services performed. To qualify for benefits a provider must be paid by Santa Clara IHSS for at least 35 hours per month for the two most recent months and submit a completed benefits enrollment form to the Council on Aging Public Authority Services. IHSS providers in Santa Clara County are also union members represented by SEIU Local 521 and monthly membership dues are collected.
The IHSS program allows low income elderly, blind or disabled people to hire someone to help them with housework, meal preparation, and personal care. With help, people who receive IHSS can remain safely in their own home and do not need to move into a care facility or institution. The IHSS program is supported by federal, state, and county funds. These funds are used to pay homecare providers to provide specific services. These services are authorized by the county for someone who they determine is eligible to receive IHSS. The consumer (also called recipient or client) chooses the care provider, supervises the provider’s work, defines how tasks will be done, and can fire the provider if the consumer wishes. The IHSS consumer signs the care provider’s timesheet twice a month and a corresponding paycheck is issued by the State. IHSS pays providers to provide personal care, such as feeding and bathing; household tasks such as laundry, shopping, meal preparation and light housecleaning; transportation; protective supervision; and certain paramedical services ordered by a physician. However, the IHSS program cannot pay for all the things that are necessary for someone to live independently in his/her own home.
IHSS does not pay for the following services:
- General gardening or yard clean-up that does not present a hazard
- Feeding; cleaning up after, or exercising a pet
- Moving or lifting heavy furniture, boxes, etc.
- Washing windows
- Transporting anyone but the consumer
- Paying bills
The provider should only perform those tasks that a social worker has assigned for a particular consumer. The provider does not have to do anything else for this consumer other than the assigned tasks. Moreover, the provider should not work more than the maximum number of hours the social worker has authorized for the consumer. If the provider does this, they will not be paid for the extra hours unless the county determines that the extra time was necessary due to extenuating circumstances. Finally, consumers with more than 173 authorized hours per month should employ two or more providers so that no single provider works more than 40 hours per week. Individual providers may choose to work more than 40 hours per week if they work for multiple consumers. However, all hours will be paid at the regular hourly rate. No consumer can receive more than 283 hours per month of authorized services. The IHSS program does not provide 24-hour assistance.
For information regarding CMIPS II and associated materials visit the IHSS CMIPS II page.