Care within a Caring Community
One of the first questions
people ask when faced with the realization a loved one, family
member or friend needs to live in a care facility is “where
do I even begin my search?” Searching for a facility through
this site (see Assisted Living Directory's Georgia Facilities page)
can make the process a little easier.
Of course, figuring
out how to pay for an assisted living facility can be a daunting
task as well. It may even be difficult to come to the realization
that relying on social services programs may be necessary. However,
you are not alone in needing help. Nationwide, over 50% of residents
use some form of Medicaid to pay for nursing home or assisted
* Tip: Get a .PDF copy of Georgia's Community
Care Services Program Brochure
Programs exist to be
used but they may be difficult to find. It isn’t simple
to qualify either, but it will be worth the effort.
Each state has their
own maze of paperwork to navigate as many states have created
their own specific waiver programs to help defray the extraordinary
cost of long term care. Some states do not have separate waiver
programs but have instituted other programs to help cover the
costs of skilled or assisted living facilities (or home health
care) through their Medicaid program.
Georgia is one
of many states with a Medicaid program flexible enough to assist
both the elderly and disabled find and pay for (or share in
the cost of) suitable housing or to help coordinate in home
services. Georgia’s Community Care Services Program
(CCSP) provides Adult Day Programs, Alternative Living Services,
home delivered meals or other personal support systems to eligible
What is CCSP?
Care Services Program has been created for individuals to help
with alternatives to nursing home placement. A care coordinator
works with consumers to create a plan of services which fits
the individual’s needs. Additional Community Care Services
Program information can be found at the Georgia Department of
Human Services, Division of Aging Services (www.aging.dhs.georgia.gov).
Who is Eligible?
To be eligible for the
Georgia Community Care Services Program, the applicant must
have a “functional impairment caused by physical limitations.”
(This includes Alzheimer’s
or other types of dementia). The
applicant needs to be Medicaid eligible and can only participate
in one waiver program at a time. If you haven’t yet applied
for Medicaid, contact the county Division of Family and Children
Services. One way to check eligibility for Medicaid benefits
is to visit “Compass” which is a central point of
access for benefits. (https://compass.ga.gov/selfservice/)
A Durable Power of Attorney is not recognized by Social Security
which can be a frustrating realization for a caregiver. If the
applicant needs assistance with financial matters, the local
Medicaid system will have their own form to complete in order
to appoint a representative. If assistance is needed with financial
matters at Social Security, it is possible to appoint a Representative
Contact the local Social Security office in order to apply to
become appointed. As a caregiver, these are invaluable tools
when navigating the various programs available through Social
Security or Medicaid.
How Do I Apply
The first step is to
contact the local Area Agency on Aging (AAA). At the Division
of Aging Services website through the Georgia Department of
Human Services (http://aging.dhs.georgia.gov/access-services)
use the directory to check for the AAA office servicing your
county. Calling 866-55-AGING is another option. The customer
representatives will let you know what programs are available
to you and will assign a care coordinator to your case.
if I am Denied?
There is always an appeals
process. However, please note these programs have limited funding
which is set by the state legislature and, unfortunately, not
everyone who applies and meets eligibility requirements will
be accepted into the program. The CCSP program gives priority
to those most in need. Appealing a denial is still strongly
Keep in mind, there
are always a specific set of rules for the appeals process which
can bring a reversal of the denial. It is important to know
the appeal process and to follow the instructions and timeline
carefully. Contact the Georgia Department of Human Services,
Division of Aging Services (www.aging.dhs.georgia.gov)
for specific instructions on how to appeal.
Once approved by the
CCSP, you will be able to choose from a list of care facilities
which would be an appropriate fit. Then, with this useful checklist
in hand, finding the best fit will be just peachy! (Sorry, this
author couldn’t resist!) (http://www.assisted-living-directory.com/pdf/questionnaire.pdf).
In order to keep this
information as current and informative as possible, I’d
love to hear from you if you’ve gone through this process
or have other helpful tips and tricks for navigating the system.
- Article by Trish
Hughes Kreis exclusively for Assisted Living Directory