Arkansas Medicaid DAAS ElderChoices Waiver – Eligibility and Benefits

Page Reviewed / Updated - Feb. 2014

What is a Medicaid Waiver?
For persons with limited financial resources, Medicaid pays for nursing home care. For those who wish to live at home or in assisted living, sometimes Medicaid will pay for care in those locations if it can be obtained at a lower cost than in a nursing home. It does this through "Medicaid Waivers" which are also called Home and Community Based Services (HCBS Waivers) or Waiver Funded Services.

Waiver Description

 Services are specifically chosen to increase the beneficiary's ability to live on their own or with family caregivers. 

This Arkansas Medicaid waiver program is administered by the Division of Aging and Adults Services (DAAS).  Its intended audience is elderly state residents that require nursing home level care.  It allows individuals to receive care at home, in the homes of their family or in their community instead of in a nursing home. 

The type of services permitted under the ElderChoices Waiver are specifically chosen to increase the ability of the recipient to live on their own or with family caregivers.  Services such as adult day care and respite care enable the primary caregivers to work and avoid burn-out.  Services such as chore and homemaker decreases the individual's dependence on family members.

Program beneficiaries are given a degree of flexibility in the selection of their care providers.  While not nearly as much flexibility as in some states, in Arkansas, one may choose from a set of pre-approved providers rather than the state simply sending a caregiver without regards to the individual's personal preferences. 

 Arkansas offers two other Medicaid programs of relevance to aging state residents; these are Living Choices and Independent Choices

 

Eligibility Guidelines

In addition to being at least 65 years old and an Arkansas state resident, applicants must require nursing home care and be willing to live at home and receive care and support there.  There are also financial considerations with regards to eligibility.  This is a Medicaid waiver and as such persons interested in ElderChoices must be eligible for Arkansas long term care Medicaid.

Arkansas Medicaid Income Limits - In 2014, the monthly income limit for unmarried or widowed applicants is $2,163.  Married applicants can distribute a certain portion of their joint income which is over that amount to their spouse provided they are not applying for Medicaid as well.  

Arkansas Medicaid Asset Limits - The 2014 asset limit is $2,000 for an individual.  For a married couple with a single applicant, the non-applicant can have up to $117,240 in addition to the applicant's $2,000.   Certain assets are not included when placing a value on their total resources, such as the home and vehicle.

Asset Transfers Considerations - under-market value asset transfers are reviewed and the applicant may be penalized if these occurred within 5 years of the date of application.  This review was instigated to disincentivize individuals from giving away resources for the express purpose of Medicaid qualification.

Persons whose are financially ineligible to receive Arkansas Medicaid but cannot afford their cost of care might consider retaining a Medicaid planning professional to help them re-allocate their financial resources into trusts and non-countable assets to allow them to qualify for services. 

 

Benefits and Services
  • Adult Companion
  • Adult Day Care
  • Adult Day Health Care
  • Adult Family Homes
  • Chore Services
  • Home-Delivered Meals
  • Homemaker (such as laundry and housekeeping)
  • Personal Emergency Response System (PERS)
  • Personal Care
  • Respite Care for the Caregivers

 

How to Apply / Learn More

This waiver is available statewide throughout Arkansas.   To learn more or apply, one can download a brochure, visit the state website or call 1-501-682-2441.  

Waiting lists may exist as it is estimated that the waiver has been approved to provide assistance to a maximum of 5,600 recipients concurrently.