Disability home aide programs are designed to help people with disabilities stay in their own homes, and stay out of nursing homes. This program provides free or low-cost home care attendants, along with a variety of other services. If someone is already caring for you, and this care is helping you stay in your home and out of a nursing home, the program may provide a small salary for that person.
Step One: Learn About the Process (Optional)
How does it work? What services will I get? Who will be my home aide? Can I hire my friend? Can I hire my spouse? Will I get approved? What do I do if the Medicaid office says I’m not eligible? Frequently Asked Questions.
Reader’s survey: How Does The Home Aide Program Work in Your State?
Reader’s stories: “How I Got Approved for a Home Aide”
Step Two: Find a Program
Disability home aide programs are called different things in different states. They may be called “Medicaid Waiver” or “IHSS” or “Home and Community Based Services” or something else. How to Find Programs in Your State.
Step Three: Contact the Program
Let them know you would like to schedule a home visit for an assessment for home care. If you know the name of the program you are interested in, let them know the name.
Tip: If You Cannot Call
If you cannot call, or calling will worsen your mental health symptoms, you can try sending an email. Let them know that phone calls are difficult because of your disabilities and ask if you can communicate by email. Another option is to ask a friend or family member to call for you. Make sure it’s someone who is comfortable answering a few questions about your needs.
Step Four: Short Phone Screening
When you first call, some programs will ask you a few questions right away. This is a short (five minute) phone screening where they ask basic “yes” or “no” questions: How to Have an Initial Phone Screening.
Step Five: If Something Went Wrong
If they told you that you aren’t eligible or another problem came up, take a look here: Five Ways to Mess Up Your Application for Medicaid Home Care. If no problems came up, skip step three.
Step Six: Financial Screening
If you are already on Medicaid, you can skip this step. If you are not already on Medicaid and you are told you won’t qualify: How to Apply When You Have Too Much Money. Reader’s Tip: Many of our readers report being given misinformation by their local Medicaid office. If you get turned down, don’t give up hope.
Step Seven: Being Declared Disabled
If you are already on Social Security disability, you can skip this step. If you are not on disability, in most states, you can still apply. If someone at Medicaid tells you that you are required to be on disability, double check. It may not be true. Do I Need to Be On Disability to Get Medicaid Home Care?
Step Eight: Scheduling a Home Assessment
The most important questions in the home assessment are the personal care questions. It can help a lot of you take some time to think about these questions ahead of time. 21 Questions To Ask Yourself About Personal Care
Step Nine: Assessment
The assessment is usually 1-2 hours and will be more details on your care needs. The assessment is done over the phone, or they will send someone to visit you in your home: How to Have a Full Assessment
Step Ten: Doctor Form
In some states, they will have a form for your doctor to fill out. There are a few important things you need to know about: Doctor’s Forms When Applying
Step Eleven: Decision is Made
The case worker will decide if you meet the criteria for this program. She may tell you right away, or you may find out in a letter afterwards. How Do I Know if I Will Get Approved?
Sample policies and assessment tools: Sample Policies for Medicaid Waivers in WA, VA, OR, NE, MI, and CO
Step Twelve: Approved!
After you get approved, they will decide how many home aide hours you get and what other services you can get. Most readers report getting approved for between 10 and 30 hours per week.
If step twelve did not work out the way you wanted, don’t panic. Some of our readers report that they had to apply more than one time. See ideas below.
- Teri Gets Approved for a Home Aide for Lyme
- Dianthus Gets Approved for a Home Aide for POTs
- Juniper Gets Approved for a Home Aide for ME/CFS
- Bougainvillea Gets Approved for Mast Cell Activation
If you got turned down, or got told you can’t apply: Having Problems Applying for a State Home Aide?
You can always appeal or apply again! Dianella applied, got denied, applied again a few months later, and got approved! How I Got Denied (and then approved!) For Medicaid Home Aides
A bunch more things it might help you to know: The Sleepy Girl Guide to State Home Aides
Don’t Give Up Too Easily
Don’t give up too easily! Our readers report that the state waiver programs are much, much better than anything else out there. Please don’t give up just because you have been denied once or someone has told you that you are not eligible. If you are completely sure a state home aide program is not for you, you can see if there are any other options available in your area: How to Get a Caregiver.
Where Can I Get Help Applying?
- Area Agency on Aging – Call them even if you are young!
- Centers for Independent Living – Run by people with disabilities
- Disability Rights Organizations – Legal issues and problems
- The Sleepy Girl Guide to State Home Aides
Great article by Karin Willison How to Get Medicaid Personal Care Attendant Services if You Have a Disability
What Do You Think?
Please comment below with stories, ideas, questions or suggestions. Please let us know if any links on this page stop working. Updated January 2019. If you found this page helpful, please share it with others by pressing one of these magic little buttons: