How to Get Extra Help if You Are in a Medicaid Waiver Program

This page is for people in Medicaid waiver home care programs. Medicaid Waivers may also be called “Home and Community Based Care” or “IHSS” or “Medicaid Long Term Care.” These programs are run by the state and provide home attendants to people with severe needs.

🎀 If you have an unpaid attendant, and you were recently approved for your attendant to get paid, your attendant may be able to submit timesheets back to the approval date. Look at your paperwork to see when that is. Please don’t look at the date the letter was written, look at the date that is actually listed as approved for services (it may be several weeks or several months earlier than you realize).

🎀 If you are already on services, but recently got an increase in approved home attendant hours, these same rules apply. You may be able to submit timesheets back to the original eligibility date. If your decision was an appeal, this may be many months. If it was not an appeal, it may still be several weeks.

🎀 If your caregiver lives with you, they do not have to pay any taxes if they file for a  difficulty of care income tax exclusion.

🎀 Many waiver programs have other types of services and benefits available. Ask your caseworker for a list of other benefits that are possible through the program you are in. For example: Pest control, wheelchair ramps, home modifications, transportation, or home delivered meals.

🎀  If you are in need of more caregiver hours, and your request is denied, you have the right to appeal and many appeals are successful. Here’s a guidebook on appealing to get more home care hours. This book is for California, but some of the info in it would be helpful for any location.

🎀 If you are in a waiver program, you are given a choice: Select your own home aide, or hire someone through an agency. There are a whole bunch of advantages and disadvantages both ways: How to Decide: Agency Care or Self-Directed Care

🎀 In some states your caregiver may get a higher salary and you may get more caregiver hours if you choose Self-Directed care.

🎀 If your caregiver lives with you, please see this list of How to Get Extra Help if You Have a Live-In Caregiver

🎀 California only. You may find this helpful: How to Qualify for IHSS Protective Supervision

🎀 If you have a large share of cost or out-of-pocket payment for this program:

For adults: Look into medicaid for working adults. In some states you only have to work a few hours to qualify. It may eliminate your out-of-pocket costs.

For children: Look into programs in your state that allow your child to apply and without considering the parent’s income these may be called “TEFRA” or “Katie Beckett option” or “institutional deeming waiver” or something else.

For everyone: Look into avoiding a share-of-cost program and applying for a different type of medicaid program. For example, many people are able to purchase dental and vision supplemental insurance, this brought down their countable income, and suddenly they became eligible to apply for Medicaid without having to use a share-of-cost program.

For children or adults collecting child support: If child support is making you ineligible or giving you a high share of cost, look into getting the child support directed into an ABLE account or Special Needs Trust. This must be done through a court order or a court-approved change to your child support agreement.


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