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.


IHSS Care Provider Training Classes

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 to you 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. For example, if you took Safe Lifting & Transferring in April 2019, which is in the spring semester, you can retake the class any month during the spring semester of 2022.

Q: How do I know what training classes are available?
A: Active IHSS care providers will receive a schedule of available classes in the mail before each semester begins. You can also view the most current schedule on the Training webpage.

Q: What if there aren’t any future classes listed on the schedule?
A: This means we are between semesters. We offer classes in the fall and spring each year. Active providers will be mailed a schedule of upcoming classes before the next semester begins.

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

Q: Can I bring my consumer or my children with me to the classes?
A: No. No guests are allowed in the classes. If you bring anyone with you, other than another care provider who is registered and confirmed for the class, you will not be allowed to stay for the class.

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: How do I register for training classes?
A: Registration is done online from a link on the Training webpage. If you do not have access to the internet, registration can be done via telephone:

  • Review the current class schedule and choose the classes that will work for you.
  • Call the training department at (408) 350-3220 and leave one voicemail containing:
    • Your name; and
    • Your telephone number; and
    • Your provider ID number; and
    • The name, date, and location (Cupertino, Morgan Hill, Milpitas, San Jose) of each class you want to register for.

Q: Can you register for these classes on-line?
A: Yes. This is the best way to register for classes as you can see which classes are already full and check your training class history, among other things. Visit the Training webpage to find the class registration portal.

Q: What should I do if I need to cancel one of the classes I have registered for?
A: Call the Public Authority Services Training Department at (408) 350-3220 at least 2 days prior to the class date, or as soon as reasonably possible.

Q: What if I miss one of my classes but did not call to cancel ahead of time?
A: We understand that unexpected circumstances may keep you from attending one of your classes, but if this happens too many times you will be prohibited from registering for additional classes for an entire year.

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 or onlive via Zoom. 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 29,000 IHSS Independent Providers and registration is on a first-come, first-served basis. Space is limited. As soon as you receive and have reviewed the class schedule you should go online to register.

Care Provider Training Incentive Payment

Q: How does the training incentive payment work?

  • An eligible provider registers for up to 9 classes per semester.
  • The provider arrives for the class on time, follows the student guidelines at all times during the class, and stays for the entire class period. Both the sign-in and sign-out sheets must be signed by the provider, or the provider must be marked as "present" during all three role calls in online classes, to receive credit.
  • If the class is an online class, the provider must be marked as "present" during all attendance checks and any required quizzes must be completed within 48 hours.
  • Monthly, Public Authority Services tracks class completion and a check is mailed from Sourcewise for the classes completed during the month, if the Incentive Payment Budget has not yet been exhausted.  Checks will be received by care providers two and a half to three weeks after the month's end.

Q: How do I know if I’m eligible for the training incentive payment?
A: You are eligible if:

  • You are an actively working IHSS care provider or you are active on the Registry; and
  • You have not already completed the class within the past three years; two years for CPR and First Aid classes; and
  • You received confirmation that you are registered for the class you are attending; and
  • The budget set aside by the county for the Incentive Payments has not been exhausted. We will post on the Public Authority website if/when the budget has been exhausted.

Q: What if the Training incentive budget has been exhausted?
A: This simply means you will not receive the $25 incentive payment. The classes are still free of charge for you to attend and still count toward earning your certificates of completion. There will be no retroactive payments for classes completed after the budget has been exhausted.

Life Enhancement Fund

Q: What types of classes can I be reimbursed for taking under the Life Enhancement Fund?
A: Classes must enhance the wellness or effectiveness of the In-home care provider in providing value to the care of the consumer. Appropriate classes include, but are not limited to, learning a second language, nutrition for seniors, or Home Health Aid courses.

Q: How many classes can I be reimbursed for?
A: There is no limit on the number of classes you can apply to be reimbursed for. The limit is based on cost. Care providers are eligible to be reimbursed up to $500 per calendar year.

Q: If I am reimbursed the full $500 in one calendar year, can I apply for the fund and take more classes the following year?
A: Yes. 

Q: Can I be reimbursed for materials needed for the class?
A: No. The fund only reimburses the cost of tuition and required textbooks for the classes, up to $500 per year.

Q: I am already taking a class that I think qualifies for the Life Enhancement Fund. Can I be reimbursed for it?
A: No. Providers must apply for the fund at least one month before the class begins. Approval of your application is at the discretion of Public Authority Services.

Q: How do I apply for the Life Enhancement Fund?
A: You must submit the application at least 30 days before the class is scheduled to begin. Access the Application here. You must also complete and return a W-9, which will be mailed to you.

IHSS Consumer Training Opportunities

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. IPs are paid for their time when performing these tasks.

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 approve an incomplete or incorrect timesheet?
A: The IHSS consumer should never approve 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. Approving 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.