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Personal Care Assistance

A Personal Assistant (PA, sometimes called a personal care attendant or PCA) supports people with disabilities to live more independent lives. A PA works directly for and is employed by the individual with a disability. 

The role of a personal assistant is to fill in the gaps so that the person with a disability can do what everyone else does.  They can provide you assistance with the dressing, transferring, preparing meals, bathing, running errands, etc.

You can also use your personal assistance in the workplace:

  • Personal care-related assistance, such as help in the restroom or at lunch breaks.
  • Job-related assistance includes tasks such as help with reading, interpreting, lifting or reaching work materials, and travel assistance between work sites.

Paying for Personal Assistance

The In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) Program provides funding for personal assistance services to help people with disabilities live safely in their own home. To qualify for IHSS, you must also be eligible for Medi-Cal. To apply for In-Home Supportive Services, you can request an application from your local county welfare office.  To find the office nearest you, please go to the following website and click on county offices:

Finding PA’s

Some people with disabilities rely on their family or friends for the personal care assistance. Some people with disabilities decide to hire individuals who are not their family or friends.  You can find good PAs a number of different ways, including Centers for Independent Living, IHSS registries, placing an advertisement in your local paper, or posting an advertisement on an online bulletin board (such as Since you will likely be the main person hiring, training, and managing your PA, it is important to have good communication with your PA.

Personal Assistance Services (PAS) can be crucial to your ability to live independently. Whether you are new to PAS or have been using them for years, you may have questions or need more information. For more information on how to have good communication, tips on how to hire a personal assistant, and much more, take a look at the following resources:

The Personal Assistance Informational Manual is a useful guide for both users of personal assistance and for those providing personal assistance. You can download the manual by going to the following website:

For more information on personal assistance services including personal assistance in the workplace, assistive technology, independent living, disability rights and much more; Please visit the following website:

You can find a list of IHSS providers in your area by visiting the IHSS public authority website at:

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