Question: Our Mother may need some help. Our Father passed away a few years ago and our Mother needs help with getting dressed,
bathing, preparing food, etc. Right now we have a friend who helps her out a few hours a week but she is going to need more help than she’s getting. She still lives in her home and we want to keep her there as long as possible. She does not have a lot of money and cannot afford to pay for help. Does she have any options?
Answer: Maybe. She may qualify for the MI Choice Waiver Program. The MI Choice Waiver Program is a Medicaid program that is
designed to provide nursing home level care to persons in their home so they can continue to live there. It’s part of the Medicaid Program at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS).
The qualifications for the program are basically the same as they are for Medicaid in a nursing home; with the exception of the income limit. A nurse and a social worker will visit the applicant (your Mother) at her home. They will assesses the amount of assistance she needs and if it can be provided 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The maximum amount of home assistance that can be provided by the MI Choice Waiver Program is eight hours a day, seven days a week. As such, there must be someone there to provide assistance the other 16 hours a day.
The asset limit is the same as a nursing home; you cannot have more than $2,000 in countable assets (your home, contents, one vehicle, etc., are not counted- just like qualifying for the nursing home). However, the income limit for the MI Choice Waiver is different than a nursing home. The income limit for the MI Choice Waiver is $2,382 per month. If the applicant’s income is higher than that, they cannot qualify for the program.
What services do they provide? They provide: adult day care, chore services, home delivered meals, nursing services, private duty nursing/respiratory care, respite services, and a variety of others. I would advise you to speak to an Elder Law attorney who specializes in Medicaid for long-term care and see if this is an option for your Mother.
Michael B. Walling is an Elder Law attorney with an advance Master of Laws degree. He manages The Elder Law Center and the law firm of Michael B. Walling, PLC. Mr. Walling is also a part-time Professor at Western Michigan University. Please email any questions you would like addressed to: firstname.lastname@example.org. This column is intended for general information purposes only and should not be considered as legal advice to any particular person.