Texas: Living Up To Its Tough Reputation With Senior Housing and Financial Assistance
Summary:An overview of the programs available through the State of Texas to help it's seniors to find housing, funding for long-term housing including assisted living, and other assistance through waivers and Veterans assistance. Although Texas has a number of programs available, unfortunately, it is not as 'generous' as many other states in terms of helping it's senior population.
Author:Trish Hughes Kreis exclusively for Assisted Living Directory
Texas has a reputation for being two things: tough and big. Driving through Texas in the mid-eighties also showed me something else the people are friendly, caring and helpful (even to this California traveler just passing through).
So how do these tough yet compassionate people take care of their seniors? What programs are available to help find housing Tough Texas Senior not happy about the State's assistance programs(and funding) for those who need an Assisted Living Facility? Although Texas does have some programs available to assist seniors and the disabled, the fact of the matter is that the programs found are not as generous as offered in other states.
However, there is help available which cannot be dismissed or minimized. In Texas, the Community Based Alternatives Waiver (CBA) will pay for services associated with Assisted Living Facilities. (Unfortunately, the CBA does not pay the actual room and board costs). The Star+Plus Waiver is another option available, although not yet statewide. Another program called Money Follows the Person (MFP) helps residents of nursing facilities transition to community based services once moved out of the nursing facility.
Searching for an assisted living facility through the Texas section of the Assisted Living Directory (/content/texas.htm) can make the process of finding a facility itself a little easier. The Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS) is also a great place to start to see what programs are available for a variety of situations. Check out their website at http://www.dads.state.tx.us/services/listofservices.html#older.
Texas also has programs available to help veterans as well caregivers. Veterans can visit the website of the Texas Veterans Commission at http://www.tvc.state.tx.us/Home.aspx and caregivers can find support through the DADS website at http://www.dads.state.tx.us/services/caregiver.html.
Sorting through the various programs isnt always easy but Assisted Living Directory has partnered with the qualified and experienced consultants working with the Texas Assisted Living Locator service to provide an additional resource to help in the search. Find more information about this service on Assisted Living Directory's Texas page.
What is CBA? The Community Based Alternatives Waiver in Texas (https://www.dads.state.tx.us/providers/CBA/) has been created for individuals to help with alternatives to nursing home placement. The care can be self-directed or the recipient can allow state administrators to direct their care. Some of the services associated with the CBA are payment for durable medical equipment and services; home delivered meals; respite care, as well as other services for people choosing to live in their own home or in an Assisted Living Facility. As a reminder, this program does not pay for room and board at an Assisted Living Facility.
What is Star+Plus Waiver? The Star+Plus Waiver (http://www.dads.state.tx.us/services/listofservices.html) is available in certain areas of Texas but does not allow the self-directed care option available under the Community Based Alternative Waiver. Medical care and personal care costs are a couple of the services paid for under the Star+Plus Waiver.
What is Money Follows the Person (MFP)? MFP allows certain qualified people receiving Medicaid and living in a nursing facility to receive community support upon leaving the nursing facility. It is important to note that in order to receive these services approval must be obtained prior to leaving the nursing facility. For more information, visit http://www.dads.state.tx.us/news_info/publications/brochures/DADS262_KnowYourOptions.pdf which explains many of the frequently asked questions about the program.
Who is Eligible? To be eligible for the Texas CBA, Star+Plus Waiver or the MFP, the applicant must be Medicaid eligible. There may also be functional or geographic restrictions and requirements for each of the programs. If you havent yet applied for Medicaid, contact the Texas Health and Human Services Commission for more information. The Your Texas Benefits website (https://www.yourtexasbenefits.com/ssp/SSPHome/ssphome.jsp) also has links available to start the application process. Once approved by Medicaid, it is necessary to call the local DADS office (1-855- 937-2372) in order to start the application process for the various programs.
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.
What Happens if I am Denied?There is always an appeals process and appealing a denial is always strongly encouraged. Keep in mind, there are specific rules and deadlines 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 Texas Health and Human Services Commission (http://www.hhsc.state.tx.us/1115-Waiver-Overview.shtml) for instructions on the appeals process.
Nationwide, over 50% of residents use some form of Medicaid to pay for nursing home or assisted living care. Currently, 44 states have Medicaid or waiver programs designed to assist with the costs associated with Assisted Living Facilities. It is important to keep in mind more states are developing waiver programs or are revising their programs so the information about them changes frequently. It is entirely possible Texas could expand their programs in the future to include payment for more of the costs incurred at Assisted Living Facilities.
In the meantime, take advantage of the programs that are available now that could be of help to you or your family.
In the meantime, we, as her family, are burdened with the stress, guilt, and anxiety of not knowing each day if she has groceries, if she has managed another day without a fall, if she's made it to her appointments, and what the true story and reality is of her condition - an position that is unfortunate, unnecessary, and unfair for anyone to find themselves in, especially if local help is readily available.
Asking for help should not be a source of shame or embarrasment, or a forfeit of independence. Regardless of age, we all need help from time-to-time, and we should all be thankful that we live in a country where federal (largely started with the Older Americans Act of 1965), state, local and private resources that are geared specifically to help the elderly (and to offer relief to family caregivers) are readily available.