Page Reviewed / Updated - May 2014
This program, abbreviated as OSS, is offered by the Florida Department of Children & Families. It provides financial assistance to low income seniors that cannot live independently and therefore require residential care, either in a adult family care home, assisted living residence or a mental health treatment center. Financial assistance comes in the form of a cash payment made directly to the individual that requires care or their legal guardian. It is intended for the room and board portion of the fees charged by the residence.
This cash benefit is available to US Citizens who are legal Florida residents and aged 65 and older (or younger if blind or disabled). Residents must meet both the functional and financial eligibility guidelines. Functionally, individuals must by assessed and certified as requiring placement in residential care by an Adult Services or Mental Health case manager.
Financially, the eligibility requirements are similar to Medicaid however this is not a Medicaid program. The monthly income limit depends on the type of residential care into which the individual is placed. For 2014, for seniors in family care homes or assisted living, the limit is $788.40. Couples, if both are residing in the care facility, can have monthly income of up to $1576.80. If the residential care facility is for mental health, the income limits are slightly higher, $895.00 and $1790.00 for an individual and couple, respectively.
There are also assets limits and the rules here are similar to Medicaid. Individuals can have up to $2,000 in resources and couples up to $3,000.
The program offers a direct cash payment to individuals up to a maximum of $700 - $900 / month to be used towards the cost of assisted living, family care or mental health residential care. The exact benefit amount is determined on a case-by-case basis and takes into consideration the cost of care at the individual's selected residential care facility, their income and marital status.
Spouses who live independently (separate from their spouse in residential care) will be allocated sufficient resources to continue to do so.
This program is available across Florida. One can apply online at Florida's Department of Children and Families website. The Department of Elder Affairs maintains a webpage about this program but, at the time of writing, the page was publishing outdated information.