Saturday, November 1, 2014

Income Cap Increasing for Aging Waiver and LIFE Programs



Pennsylvania’s Aging Waiver and LIFE programs provide support and services that allow frail older adults to continue to live in their homes. Both programs are financed with Medicaid funding which requires applicants to be financially eligible. 
The Medicaid eligibility income limits are going to increase on January 1, 2015.   
In October, the Social Security Administration announced a 1.7% cost of living adjustment for the SSI program. With this increase the maximum federal SSI benefit for an individual will rise from $721 per month (2014) to $733 (2015).
Income Cap Increasing to $2,199 per Month
The federal maximum SSI benefit amount (see above) is sometimes referred to as the Federal Benefit Rate (FBR). 
The FBR is used as a base to determine income eligibility for a number of Medicaid funded public benefit programs including Pennsylvania’s Aging Waiver Program and Life Program. These programs are important supports for frail seniors who want to receive needed long term care services at home rather than an institution.
Medicaid’s income limit for the Aging Waiver and LIFE programs is equal to 300% of the SSI Federal Benefit rate for an individual. This means that effective January 1, 2015 the new income ceiling (or “income cap”) will be $2199 per month. 
Otherwise qualified individuals with incomes above this ceiling will be denied Medicaid funding for Aging Waiver or LIFE services. 
Care recipients and their families should consult with an experienced elder law attorney for further information and assistance with qualification for these important home care programs.  
Related Reading
Social Security Changes (Social Security Administration)

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