Public Authority Services by Sourcewise

Frequently Asked Questions

Provider Enrollment

Q: How do I enroll as an IHSS Independent Provider?
A: Review the instructions on this web page: Enrollment is handled online at the website and one of the steps is to make your appointment.

Q: Do I need to bring my Social Security Card to my enrollment appointment even if I have the number?
A: Yes. You must bring the Social Security Card. It must be the original, not a copy, and the name must match the Photo ID that you also must provide. We can not process your enrollment without the card.

Q: I can’t find my Social Security Card, what can I do?
A: Visit the Social Security Office and apply for your replacement card. They will provide you with a replacement card within 7 to 14 days. DO NOT schedule an appointment until you have your original Social Security Card.

Q: How do I get an appointment to enroll as an IHSS Independent Provider?
A: Review the instructions on this web page: Enrollment is handled online at the website and one of the steps is to make your appointment.

Q: I already had a background check done for another job – do I need to do it again?
A: Yes. Everyone applying to be an IHSS Independent Provider must have a background check done using the forms we provide.


Q: Are these classes mandatory?
A: No, these classes are optional.

Q: Is there a cost for these classes?
A: No, there is no cost for these classes if you are currently working as an IHSS Independent Provider.

Q: Are there limits on how many classes I can take?
A: Yes.  Due to the ever growing number of IHSS care providers in Santa Clara County, each provider is limited to taking no more than 9 classes each semester, and must wait 3 years before retaking a class, with the exception of CPR and First Aid which can be retaken every 2 years to keep those certificates current.

Q: Are these classes available to everyone?
A: No, these classes are offered to IHSS Independent Providers only, who are currently working with a consumer(s), in an Active status with IHSS.

Q: Do I have to complete all of the classes?
A: No, you do not have to take all the classes offered, but the advantage of doing so is the receipt of Certificates of Completion once you have completed each series of classes.

Q: I have completed all classes in one of the series', when do I get my certificate?
A: You will receive your certificate in the mail approximately one month after the end of the semester in which you completed your final class of that series. (usually January or July)

Q: Can you register for these classes on-line?
A: No, not at this time. You can register by calling the Public Authority Services at 408-350-3220.

Q: What are my chances of attending class when my name is on the wait list?
A: It depends on how many IPs call to cancel a class, you may or may not get the opportunity to attend. There are many instances where an IP was able to attend classes even though their name was on the wait list.

Q: Do I have to take all classes in a series in one semester?
A: No, you can complete the classes at your own pace. If you do not finish them in one semester, take the rest on the next class schedule offered.

Q: Do I need to take the classes in a certain order?
A: No, you can take the classes in any order that works best for your schedule.  You can also take classes from both series in one semester.  Once you take a class it counts toward your certificates forever, with the exception of CPR and First Aid which need to be taken every 2 years to be considered current.

Q: Where are the classes held?
A: Classes are held in several areas around Santa Clara County. Check the class schedule or your confirmation letter for exact location of each class.

Q: Why do the classes fill up so fast?
A: The certificate class schedule is mailed out to over 24,000 Independent Providers and registration is on a first come-first served basis. Space is limited. As soon as you receive the class schedule you should call to register.

Q: Is there any training available for IHSS consumers (recipients)?
A: Training materials are available on our Training page here.  No training classes or webinars are available at this time.


Q: Is my Independent Provider (IP) required to work on holidays?
A: The IP is not required to work on holidays but can if they choose to do so. If they do work, the hourly rate is the same. There is no time and a half pay. If the IP chooses not to work, they will not be paid for those hours.

Q: What can I do if the IP is not doing a satisfactory job or if there is a personality conflict?
A: Speak to your IP about your concerns in a respectful manner. Remember, you are the employer and are responsible for supervising the work. If things do not change, call the Public Authority Registry at (408) 350-3251 and ask for assistance.

Q: Is it okay for an IP to ask to be reimbursed for gas when doing grocery shopping and taking me to medical appointments?
A: No, the IPs should never ask for money from the IHSS consumer.

Q: Is my IP allowed to check my blood sugar level and give me my insulin shot?
A: No, it is a practice that is strongly discouraged unless the IP is trained by a licensed professional. The IPs should not be administering any medication because of liability issues.

Q: If my IP cannot work all of her hours during one month, can it be made up in the following month?
A: No. Monthly authorized hours cannot be carried over into the following month. Make sure the time sheet is completed with the total number of hours actually worked.

Q: What should I do if the IP asks me to sign an incomplete or incorrect timesheet?
A: The IHSS consumer should never sign an incomplete or incorrect timesheet. To avoid any problems at the end of the pay period, the consumer should keep a record of the times the IP works. Call the Public Authority Registry for a copy of a time log. Signing a timesheet for hours not worked is considered fraud.

Q: What can I do if my IP is suddenly unable to come to work?
A: IHSS consumers with 50 hours or more per month of IHSS authorized hours can call the Urgent Care Registry (UCR) at (408) 590-0834 to request assistance with personal care needs. The UCR is available 7 days a week from 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM. The UCR will not provide services to cover times the IP is on vacation. If the IP is planning a vacation, call the Public Authority Registry and ask for help locating a short term replacement.

Q: What services are available through the Urgent Care Registry?
A: The UCR is there to provide assistance primarily for an IHSS consumer’s personal care needs. General house cleaning will not be authorized in most circumstances.

Q: Is tipping or gift giving appropriate for satisfactory work?
A: No, a simple “Thank you” goes a long way and means so much. It is best not to establish expectations for gifts or tips for future work performance. Expressing your appreciation verbally is always a good idea and fosters a good working relationship.

Provider Benefits

Q: I am an IP (Independent Provider) with IHSS, do I have medical benefits?
A: IHSS IPs working in Santa Clara County and paid on time for at least 35 hours each month for the most recent two months can apply for Medical, Dental, and Vision Insurance benefits. To get these benefits you must submit an application form. Call 408-350-3290 to request the application form.

Q: Do my benefits start right away when I am working as an IHSS IP?
A: No. To get medical benefits you must submit an application to Public Authority Services. Generally benefits will start the 1st day of the fourth month after you start working if you are paid on time for at least 35 hours each month and submitted a completed application.

Q: Can I get a FREE bus pass?
A: All IHSS providers working in Santa Clara County (no matter how many hours) are eligible for a FREE bus pass. It is called a VTA SmartPass. The SmartPass is good for free transportation on all regular Santa Clara County VTA buses, and the light rail. Call 408-350-3290 for more information.

Q: Why did I get a bill from Public Authority Services for my benefits? Don’t they deduct it from my paycheck?
A: Usually deductions are taken from your paycheck – but not always. If a deduction is missed it may not be taken from a later paycheck and the provider remains responsible for their portion of the insurance premium. If you receive a bill the accompanying letter will explain the reasons.

Q: Why did I get a “Health Insurance Termination Warning” letter from your office? I am working and should keep my insurance.
A: You keep your insurance only if you are paid on time for at least 35 hours each month. It is not enough to be working, or to have authorized hours, or to send in the timesheet in to IHSS – you must get paid on time each month. If your paychecks are late, your insurance is at risk. There is a grace period and Public Authority Services will try to warn you with a letter when it is evident your pay is behind, but don’t wait for our letters. If your paychecks are more than 2 weeks late call IHSS at 408-792-1600 to find out why they are late and to correct the problem.

Q: I stopped working for IHSS, or my consumer (client) is in the hospital and I’m not getting paid, how long will my insurance last?
A: If you stop working or your paid hours drop below 35 per month for any reason you will not lose insurance right away. It will continue for at least one month and Public Authority Services will notify you by letter explaining when the insurance will stop. The provider is responsible to pay the $25 per month portion of the insurance premium until the insurance stops. Call Public Authority Benefits at (408) 350-3290 for questions or more detailed information.

Q: I’m missing a timesheet or my paycheck is late can Public Authority Services help me?
A: For all questions about timesheets or paychecks please call 408-792-1600. Public Authority Services does not handle these items. It is very important to be paid on time every month to keep your IHSS medical insurance benefits safe – please call IHSS if your pay is late. Call the county In-Home Supportive Services office at 408-792-1600.

Advisory Board

Q: What does the Advisory Board do?
A: The Advisory Board reviews the IHSS program and makes recommendations to the Public Authority Governing Body (Santa Clara Board of Supervisors), IHSS Administrative staff and Public Authority Services staff.

Q: How many people are on the Advisory Board?
A: The Advisory Board is made up of 11 members appointed by the Board of Supervisors. At least 50% must be current or past users of personal care assistance/IHSS.

Q: Can I attend their meetings?
A: Yes, the meetings are open to the public. The Advisory Board generally meets the third Tuesday of every month from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm at Sourcewise, 2115 The Alameda, San Jose, CA 95126. Exceptions to this schedule are rare but do occur so contact Public Authority Services for date and location confirmation at (408) 350-3286.

Q: How can I join the Advisory Board as a member?
A: The Board of Supervisors appoint individuals as vacancies arise on the Advisory Board. If you are interested in becoming a member of the Advisory Board it is recommended that you let Public Authority Services staff know of your interest and they will assist you in the process if/when a vacancy is available. There are other stipulations for membership that are required by statute that can be provided upon request.

Q: If I have a complaint or a concern about IHSS in Santa Clara County is this the appropriate group to bring it to?
A: Yes, it is the most appropriate body to bring your concerns about IHSS within our community to. The Advisory Board has a regular agenda item for public comments at the beginning of their meetings where your comments would be welcomed. It is the responsibility of the group to receive comments/concerns about the program and to make recommendations to the governing body when appropriate.