"How to become an IHSS provider in California"

How to Become an IHSS Provider (2022 Guide)

If you are interested in becoming an In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) care provider, California state laws require that all IHSS providers go through an enrollment process and pass a background check before they are eligible for payment through the IHSS program. In this post, we will walk you through the IHSS provider enrollment process and everything you need to know to complete the application process in your county of residence.

To enroll as an IHSS care provider, and to get paid as an IHSS care provider, you must complete the steps below:

"How to Become an IHSS Provider"

Table of Contents:

  • How to Become an IHSS Provider
  • What are the maximum hours for IHSS 2022?
  • How much will IHSS pay in 2022?
  • How do I appeal an IHSS Provider Denial?
  • FAQs on How to Become an IHSS Provider

How to Become an IHSS Provider

Here are the steps you need to take to complete the enrollment process and be approved as an IHSS provider.

Step 1 – Complete and sign the IHSS Provider Enrollment Form

The first step in the process is to complete and sign the IHSS Program Provider Enrollment Form (SOC 426) and return it in person to the County IHSS Office or IHSS Public Authority.

You can get a co a blank copy of the SOC 426 from the County IHSS Office or Public Authority.

Complete the SOC 426 form and answer all questions completely and truthfully. You must report if you have been convicted of any crimes that would not allow you to provide services.

The information you provide on the SOC 426 will be verified by a criminal background check by the California Department of Justice (DOJ).

Step 2 – Get Fingerprinted

The next step is to complete the background check process by getting fingerprinted.

Here’s how it works:

The County IHSS Office or Public Authority will give you instructions on how to get fingerprinted.

Do not try to be fingerprinted until you have received instructions from the county.

You can get fingerprinted at some local law enforcement agencies (Police or Sheriff Department) or at a business that offers digitally scanned fingerprinting (Live Scan) services.

The County IHSS Office or Public Authority can give you a list of nearby locations.

California state law requires that you pay the costs for fingerprinting and the criminal background check.

The cost to get fingerprinted varies from $40 to $90.

Step 3 – Attend an IHSS Provider Orientation given by the county

The County IHSS Office or Public Authority will tell you when and where you can attend an orientation session.

Some orientation sessions may be done online, depending on your county of residence.

The orientation will give you important information about the IHSS Program and the rules and requirements you must follow as a provider.

Step 4 -Sign an IHSS Provider Enrollment Agreement

Once you have completed the orientation, you will be asked to sign an IHSS Program Provider Enrollment Agreement (SOC 846).

By signing the SOC 846, you are saying that you understand and agree to the rules and requirements for being a provider in the IHSS Program.

You should maintain copies of all documents you submitted and any that you have received from the county for your records.

Once you have successfully completed the four steps above here’s what happens next:

IHSS Provider Status

If you are approved by the county or Public Authority to be an IHSS provider, here’s what happens next:

As long as you are an active provider and your criminal background check remains clear, you will continue to be eligible to provide services for any IHSS recipient.

90 Day Requirement for Enrollment

The four steps above must be completed within 90 days after you began the provider enrollment process

If you do not complete the enrollment process within 90 days, you will be found ineligible to work and be paid as an IHSS provider.

Also, if you are found ineligible to work, you will need to begin the process over again in order to be enrolled as an IHSS provider.

If you have any questions about these provider enrollment requirements, contact your County IHSS Office or IHSS Public Authority

Step 5: Register Online as IHSS Provider

Once you are approved by your county as an IHSS provider, you should create an online account in the State’s Electronic Services Portal (ESP).

Click here to be taken to the ESP website.

The ESP portal allows you to:

  • Receive notifications as to the status of your checks
  • Submit Sick Leave claims
  • Sign up for Direct Deposit
  • Sign up for electronic timesheets, which allow you to retrieve and submit your timesheets online. This option will also give you warnings if you complete your timesheet incorrectly and you are in danger of receiving a violation. In order to use electronic timesheets, your client must be willing to approve your timesheets either electronically or by telephone.

Here are IHSS Provider Application Guides by County:

What are the maximum hours for IHSS 2022?

There are four IHSS programs. Each program has different eligibility criteria and maximum monthly hours available.

The maximum number of hours allowable depends on whether the person receiving care is considered Severely Impaired or Non-Severely Impaired.

The four IHSS programs are:

  • Personal Care Services Program (PCSP);
  • IHSS Plus Option (IPO);
  • In-Home Supportive Services Residual (IHSS-R); and
  • Community First Choice Option (CFCO)

The following chart lists the programs and the maximum available monthly IHSS hours:

Program If you are considered Severely Impaired (SI) – up to: If you are considered Non-Severely Impaired (NSI) – up to:
PCSP 283 hrs/mth 283 hrs/mth
IPO 283 hrs/mth 195 hrs/mth
IHSS-R 283 hrs/mth 195 hrs/mth
CFCO 283 hrs/mth Up to 283 hrs/mth

How does IHSS calculate hours?

When determining maximum weekly hours, the state recommends dividing monthly authorized hours by 4 weeks.

This will give you the number of hours you can work per week AND determine your maximum allowable overtime hours.

Be sure to look at the entire month when determining your schedule with your recipient.

Overtime Rules in IHSS

Here are the overtime rules that apply to the IHSS Provider program:

  1. IHSS Providers Can receive payment for:
  • Hours worked over 40 hours in a workweek as overtime (OT);
  • Wait time at medical appointments under certain conditions;
  • Time needed for traveling directly from one recipient to another on the same day, up to seven hours per workweek; and
  • Attending mandatory State training after you start working.

2. Can’t work more than 66 hours per workweek unless granted an exemption;
3. Can work up to a maximum of 90 hours per workweek, if granted an exemption; and
4. Will receive a violation whenever the maximum workweek limits for OT or travel time are exceeded.

How much will IHSS pay in 2022?

How much IHSS pays per hour varies by county. In 2022, the minimum hourly wage for an IHSS provider is $15 and the maximum is $18.

For a list of IHSS hourly wages for 2022 by county, click here.

How do I appeal an IHSS Provider Denial?

If your application to become an IHSS Provider has been denied by the county IHSS Office or IHSS Public Authority Office, you can appeal the decision.

The most common reason for denial is a conviction for an exclusionary crime.

However, regardless of the reason for denial, you have the option to ask for an appeal of the denial with the California Department of Social Services (CDSS).

To ask for an appeal, you must complete the following within 60 days of the day the county tells you that you are not eligible to be an IHSS provider:

  1. Fill out and sign the “Ask for an Appeal Form (SOC 856)”. Click here to download the form.
  2. Make a copy of the completed appeal form for your records.
  3. Mail the completed appeal form to:

California Department of Social Services
Fiscal, Appeals, and Benefit Programs Branch
Appeals, Administrative Review & Reimbursement Bureau
Attn: AARU, MS 9-11-04
P.O. Box 944243
Sacramento, CA 94244-2430

Once an appeal is received by CDSS, here’s what you can expect.

Your application will be processed by the Appeals and Administrative Review Unit (AARU), a division of the CDSS.

The AAR will review the information contained in the appeal to make the decision regarding your eligibility.

According to state law, the AARU must make its decision within 180 days. You will be notified in writing about the decision.

FAQs on How to Become an IHSS Provider

Here are the most frequently asked questions about How to Become an IHSS Provider:

What documents do I need to apply for IHSS Provider?

Here are the documents you need to bring to your in-person appointment with the county:

  • Social Security Card – the county will not accept a copy – only the actual card.
  • Current valid driver’s license or another US government-issued photo ID.

Your name on the Social Security Card and on the ID must match.

I already had a background check done for another job – do I need to do it again?

Yes. Everyone applying to be an IHSS Independent Provider must have a background check done through the county according to state guidelines.

What disqualifies someone from becoming an IHSS Provider?

If an individual has a Tier 1 conviction in the last 10 years, they are barred from being an IHSS provider.

Tier 1 offenses are:

  • Specified abuse of a child
  • Abuse of an elder or dependent adult, and
  • Fraud against a government health care program or supportive services program.

Additionally, Tier 2 crimes also bar an individual from being an IHSS provider for 10 years, but the prospective provider can apply for a waiver.

Tier 2 crimes are:

  • A violent or serious felony
  • A felony for which a person is required to register as a sex offender
  • Felony fraud against a public social services program.

How to Become an IHSS Provider Summary

We hope this post on How to Become an IHSS Provider was helpful.


If you have further questions about California IHSS Program or Medi-Cal, please let us know in the comments section below.

Be sure to check out our other articles about Medi-Cal in California, including:

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