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How to Appeal If You Are Denied IHSS

How to Appeal If You Are Denied IHSS

Published: Jul. 6, 2021Updated: Jan. 25, 2024

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It is very common to be denied for In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) the first time around, but many families succeed after appealing by requesting a state hearing.

The California Department of Social Services offers multiple methods for submitting a hearing request. You can request a hearing online or by calling the CDSS state hearings division at (800) 743-8525. You may also fill out the Request for State Hearing form included with your Notice of Action (NOA) — which is the form you get from IHSS that explains whether or not you were awarded hours, how many hours, and for which tasks — and mail it to:

California Department of Social Services State Hearings Division P.O. Box 944243, Mail Station 9-17-37 Sacramento, California 94244-2430

You can also fax it to (833) 281-0905.

Be aware that if you are appealing because you feel your child needs more hours than what IHSS awarded, the county may either increase or decrease hours on appeal.

Tip: If you have filed a request but have not yet received notice of your hearing, you can try calling the CDSS state hearings division at (800) 743-8525 to confirm that it’s in progress.

Reassessments and Conditional Withdrawals

Sometimes the county will offer you a reassessment in exchange for a conditional withdrawal. This might occur if you appeal because you think the initial assessment was incomplete or your concerns were disregarded by the caseworker. If you agree to a conditional withdrawal, you should review carefully anything you sign, in order to make sure that the appeal will pick up where it left off  — with the same protected date of application — if you disagree with the reassessment.

If you agree to a conditional withdrawal, it may be worthwhile to ask an advocate or attorney to review the agreement first to ensure that your original appeal rights are preserved if you disagree with the reassessment.

Hiring an Advocate or Attorney for an IHSS Appeal

Sometimes it’s helpful to have an advocate help you prepare for and present at the hearing. Professional IHSS advocacy organizations usually take a percentage of the retroactive payment, but have a lot of practical experience in responding to the county’s specific objections. Your advocate may be an attorney, but it is not required. Any experienced advocate can assist at hearing.

You can also contact non-profit legal organizations such as Disability Rights California (DRC), the Office of Clients’ Rights Advocacy (a subset of DRC), Disability Rights Legal Center, Public Counsel, or others. Be aware that some non-profit organizations have a need-based income requirement in order to provide direct assistance. If they cannot assist you, they may refer you to a professional advocacy organization. If your child is a Regional Center client, you may wish to begin with the Office of Clients’ Rights Advocacy, as they specifically serve Regional Center consumers.

Consult with Our Public Benefits Specialist

You can also request a consultation with our Public Benefits Specialist if you need help preparing for your hearing. Our Benefits Specialist cannot give you legal advice or assess the strength of your case but can provide useful information and materials to help you prepare for your hearing. You should speak with an attorney if you require legal advice.

Further Reading About IHSS Appeals

For further reading on preparing for a fair hearing, see Disability Rights California’s publication “IHSS Self-Assessment and Fair Hearing Guide.”

Tip: If your child already has IHSS and you receive a Notice of Action (NOA) reducing or terminating hours, you should appeal in writing within 10 days and request “aid paid pending appeal” so that the existing benefit level will continue during the appeal process. You have 90 days to appeal the NOA, but you must appeal within the first 10 days in order for the current services to continue during the appeal process. For further reading, see Disability Rights California’s publication, “Prepare for Hearing: IHSS Terminations or Reductions in Hours.”



Reassessments and Conditional Withdrawals

Hiring an Advocate or Attorney for an IHSS Appeal

Consult with Our Public Benefits Specialist

Further Reading About IHSS Appeals

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