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Is My Child Is Too Young to be Eligible for IHSS?

Is My Child Is Too Young to be Eligible for IHSS?If you are raising a child with a disability such as autism, Down syndrome, or cerebral palsy, you could be eligible for financial benefits as an In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) provider. In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) is a California government program that provides monetary support for in-home caretakers of children with developmental disabilities. But is your child is too young to be eligible for IHSS?

Experts say that caring for a child with autism or Down syndrome is like running a fulltime business—it requires at least one person who is dedicating a continual effort. And while some of you have been able to return to the workforce, most of the time, it’s not possible.

And so, you may wonder if your child is too young to be eligible for IHSS. Can you get paid to stay at home to care for your child?

What is IHSS Protective Supervision?

While a variety of benefits are available, the most important for families of children with special needs is Protective Supervision. As an IHSS provider, you may receive an hourly wage to take care of your child with special needs if he or she needs 24-hour supervision and can continue to safely stay at home. You can earn up to $3,000 a month and this wage is also exempt from federal income taxes.

Is Your Child Too Young to be Eligible for IHSS?

Your child is not too young to qualify for IHSS. Age cannot be a controlling factor in determining whether a particular personal care or related service should be authorized. Protective Supervision can be limited, however, since it is based on an evaluation of need.

To make sure you are not limited, you must prove the need for IHSS services. This includes a social worker visiting your home to perform an assessment.

To be eligible for Protective Supervision, your child must have:

  • A mental impairment or mental illness that causes functional limitations in:
    • Memory (e.g. forgetting things, people, places, to start or finish a task, etc.)
    • Orientation (e.g. inability to recognize and adapt to time, people, places, environment, surroundings etc., needed to live and complete tasks.)
    • Judgment (e.g. making decisions which put the individuals’ health and/or safety at risk),


  • The impairments must cause your child to experience confusion and an inability to self-direct his or her behaviors so as to keep himself or herself safe and free from harm or injury.


  • The county must also determine that your child needs to be observed twenty-four-hours-a-day in order for him or her to safely remain at home. This does not mean that the provider has to be present and watching the individual at all times. It can include observing your child in some alternative way while he or she is left alone for a fixed period of time.

County staff are also required to explain the availability and need for Protective Supervision services and whether or not out-of-home care would be an appropriate alternative to Protective Supervision.

To apply as an In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) provider, you must fill out an application and submit it to your local county IHSS office. The IHSS office may try to tell you that your child is too young, and Protective Supervision services can be difficult to obtain. Clear documentation is required to prove the need for financial benefits.

If this process sounds overwhelming and you feel you need help, you can always reach out to us.

American Disability Association is dedicated to the wellbeing and protection of children with disabilities and actively provides support to enhance their quality of life. Whether you are dealing with federal or state benefits or struggling with a school district to get proper education for your child, we have the resources to help you. Many individuals and families managing a disability are not aware of the wide array of services available to them, or they do not know how to apply for these benefits in a way that is likely to succeed.

Contact us for help. Dial (877) 283-4807 or email us at [email protected]