Resources for Long-Term Care

Resources for Long-Term Care
by Alex Snell, MSW

One topic that has come up frequently in our Roundtable conversations is long-term care. How will my needs be met if I become unable to fully care for myself? Will I be able to receive care at home? How will I pay for it? What planning do I need to start now?

Senior Advocates of the Desert (SAOTD) is a local non-profit that helps older adults determine eligibility and apply for programs that offer resources for long-term care, among other needs, as we age. Each year SAOTD publishes an extremely useful directory of these programs, including how to qualify, which you can download here.

Chris O’Hanlan, the founder of SAOTD, and Rob Warren, one of its advocates, recently shared
with LKAPS a wealth of information about long-term care options:

  • Medi-Cal’s In Home Services & Support (IHSS) program, which provides up to 190 hours of home care per month at no cost. The person receiving care can choose their caregiver – so a spouse or friend who is caring for you can be paid. While the income limit to receive IHSS is 138% of the poverty level (currently $1,564/month), there are ways to qualify even if your gross income is higher.
  • The Working Disabled Medi-Cal Program provides IHSS for people who have any amount of income from work and who receive (or have ever received) Social Security Disability Insurance payments. SSDI income does not count toward the income limit of this program.
  • For married couples, the Medi-Cal Home & Community Based Services (HCBS) program significantly raises the income limit to qualify for IHSS. The goal of HCBS is to protect the spouse of someone needing home care from impoverishment. This program requires a doctor’s certification.
  • A Medi-Cal Assisted Living Waiver is a possibility for people who require more than 190 hours/month of care at home, typically people with dementia. A Board & Care home is a good option for assisted living funded by Medi-Cal.
  • For veterans, there are two programs that can support in-home care. The Veterans Aid & Assistance program supplements pensions for veterans who served during wartime and have insufficient assets to pay for long-term care. The Veteran’s Service-Connected Disability increases the pension amount for people who are disabled as a result of their military service. The disability can be physical or mental, and disabilities that develop after military service can qualify you as well.

There’s no time like the present to start planning for how you might qualify for these programs if a need for long-term care arises. Chris, Rob and other SAOTD advocates are happy to be a resource for LKAPS members – call 760-202-1024 or email Chris at to get started.


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