I Was Denied IHSS. How Do I Appeal?

If you are the parent of a child who has autism, Down Syndrome, or another type of developmental disability, you may qualify for financial assistance, including IHSS. This program in California can allow you to be paid up to $3,000 a month as your child’s caregiver. But what if you’ve applied and have been denied IHSS? How do you appeal the decision?

What is IHSS?

IHSS stands for In-Home Supportive Services. IHSS provides financial assistance to adults and children with developmental disabilities so they can remain at home safely.

For caretakers, including parents of children with autism, Down Syndrome, and other developmental disabilities, Protective Supervision, part of the IHSS program, can provide payments every month so you can stay home and properly care for your child.

However, the application process is lengthy, and can be frustrating and confusing. For those who are trying to receive benefits for IHSS, a denial can be stressful.

How to appeal after you’re denied IHSS

When you are denied IHSS and want to appeal the decision, you will receive a hearing date in the mail, as well as a letter from an Appeals Officer for the county you live in. Here is what to do:

  1. Send them a Position Statement that tells them why you think the decision was wrong and what you wish to change. You also need to send them as much supporting evidence as possible to back up your child’s need for funding. This includes all IEPs, IPPs, evaluations, and documents from your doctor, therapist, etc.
  2. Send all this information as soon as possible; it needs to get to them at least one week before your hearing date.
  3. Pick up their Position Statement two days before the hearing. You want to know exactly why they denied you IHSS so you can make clear arguments against the decision during the hearing. Sometimes, based on what you send them, you can work out a settlement before going to the hearing. It may seem unfair that you must tell them what you have ahead, but that is what helps them to decide if they should just settle with you and agree to what you want.
  4. Be ready for your hearing and get there a little early. When you go, you might have to sit and wait for a while. This is a good moment to go over all your information: their reason for denial, your reason to appeal, and all the documentation you have to back up your argument. They take cases in the order that they are there and ready to present to the judge.
  5. When you are called in, you go into a small room with a couple of tables. The judge sits at the front. The county people sit on one side and you and your people sit across from them. Sometimes the county social worker attends the meetings as well. Each judge does things differently, but most start by asking you questions. You must present your case calmly and confidently, without questioning the judge or becoming upset or angry. Let the judge listen to you as you give the facts without being confrontational.
  6. This will all take about 45 – 90 minutes, depending on how many witnesses you have. Remember to only call upon witnesses who will help the judge make a positive decision: doctors, specialists, etc., not your favorite aunt or sister.
  7. After the hearing is over, the judge will have 2-4 weeks to make a decision. This will also come to you as a letter in the mail.

If this process sounds overwhelming and you feel you need help, you can always reach out to us. Our advocates can lead you through everything, as well as attend the hearing with you.

American Advocacy Group is on the front lines every day, making positive change happen for people diagnosed with Autism, Down syndrome, and a range of diagnoses across the continuum. As a leading advocate for all people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families, and the premier provider of the support and services people want and need, we understand the system and know how to take action in regard to your best interests.


Dial (877) 762-0702 or email us at info@americanadvocacygroup.com.

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