Frequently Asked Questions About Medicaid Waivers & State Home Aides

What Services are Available? 

  • The primary service is personal care (help with mobility, bathing, dressing, feeding, etc).
  • Programs may also provide help in the home (laundry, cooking, housekeeping, etc)
  • Programs may also provide help outside the home (shopping, errands, driving to doctor appointments, etc)
  • This program also covers the cost of premiums and co-pays for your medical care and prescriptions.
  • Some programs give other benefits, such as meals-on-wheels, disability home modifications, purchasing disability equipment, or assistive technology.

Who Qualifies?

If anyone is assisting you with personal care (like bathing, dressing, or mobility) you might qualify. If no one is assisting you, but you could use help in some of these areas, you might qualify. In some states, you can still qualify if you need only partial help, or help some days and not others.

What Do I Do If Someone Said I Don’t Qualify?

Maybe this is true. Maybe it’s not. It is very common for people to be told wrong information. Many (many many) of our readers report that Medicaid workers told them that they could not qualify when this was not true. Please keep reading below if you were told you cannot qualify because:

  • You have too much money for Medicaid
  • You are not sick enough / disabled enough
  • You haven’t been approved for Social Security disability

What If I’m Too Sick to Apply?

You do not need to leave your home to apply. Everything is done on the phone or they will visit you. If you are too sick to sit up and answer questions, your friend, family member or caregiver can answer the questions for you.

If you have difficulty speaking on the phone, you can also request that all communications be done by email.

How Much Does it Cost?

💠 This program is usually free. Salary for aides is paid by the state.

💠 Some states have a patient pay fee, which may be reasonable. Some states have a share-of-cost or spenddown option which may be extreme.

💠 If you have a fee, there may be some solutions! How to Eliminate Share of Cost and Spend Downs

Will I Qualify?

There are three criteria:

🎀 Your care needs – You must have a certain level of care needs to qualify. Learn more here: How Do They Decide if I Will Be Approved for a Home Aide?

🎀 Your finances – Don’t be scared off by anyone who tells you that you must qualify for Medicaid. Even the people who work at the Medicaid office often do not always know and understand the rules for this program. It is not possible in all cases, but for many people, here’s How to Apply for a Medicaid Waiver When You Have Too Much Money

🎀 Your disability – Some states require that you officially be declared disabled before you are eligible. Other states do not require this. Some of our readers report being told wrong information by Medicaid worker about this topic: Do I Need to Be On Disability to Get Medicaid Home Care?

Can they provide childcare or help for my family?

No. They cannot care for your kids. They cannot shop, cook or clean for anyone else in your home. The services are only for you. If your child is disabled, in some states your child can get his or her own home aides. See http://www.kidswaivers.org

Who will be my caregiver?

You have a choice: Agency care (they send an aide from an agency) or Self-Directed care (you choose and hire the person you want). There are pros and cons both ways. Learn more: How to Decide: Agency Care or Self-Directed Care

What are other people doing? What works and what doesn’t? Great stories and great advice: Do You Hire Your Own Home Aides? Or Use an Agency?

Some states allow spouses to be aides. Here’s a list of States That Allow Spouses as Aides

Parents are allowed to be aides for adult children. A few states allow parents to be aides for minor children. This is common in California and some parents of children with disabilities relocate to California for this reason.

Where Can I Get Help Applying?

“I Have More Questions”

The Sleepy Girl Guide to State Home Aides