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 living care.
* 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 isnt 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 consumers.What is CCSP?
Georgia's Community 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 individualneeds. 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 Alzheimeror other types of dementia). The applicant needs to be Medicaid eligible and can only participate in one waiver program at a time. If you havent yet applied for Medicaid, contact the county Division of Family and Children Services. One way to check eligibility for Medicaid benefits is to visit which is a central point of access for benefits. (https://compass.ga.gov/selfservice/)
Bonus Tip: 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 Payee (http://www.ssa.gov/payee/faqrep.htm). 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 for CCSP?
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.What Happens 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 encouraged.
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 (/pdf/questionnaire.pdf) 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 couldnt resist!) (/pdf/questionnaire.pdf)
In order to keep this information as current and informative as possible, Id love to hear from you if youve 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
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