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Elderly Minnesota residents at risk of being placed in a nursing home and yet who are ineligible for Medicaid supports can look to the Group Residential Housing (GRH) program as an option for financial assistance. The Minnesota Department of Human Services has established relationships with approximately 6,000 group living residences throughout the state. While the majority are adult foster care homes, these residences also include assisted living and supervised senior living communities. Unusual in the world of elder care programs, the GRH Program pays for the cost of room and board. Payments are made directly to the group residences; program participants do not receive financial assistance.
It should be emphasized that the GRH program covers the cost of room and board—not care services in the group residences. However, in some cases, there is an special allowance that pays for care for certain qualified participants at some residences. This allowance is referred to as Supplemental Services.
In order to be eligible for this program, applicants must be residents of Minnesota and at least 18 years of age and blind or disabled or 65 years of age and unable to live independently. In addition to the functional eligibility requirements, because this program is intended for low-income families, there are also financial limits.
Applicants must meet the resource limit set forth for Supplemental Security Income. As of 2017, this means an individual's countable resources, not including the value of their home equity, cannot exceed $2,000, and a married couples resources cannot exceed $3,000.
The income limit is somewhat more complicated to calculate. Individuals are permitted monthly incomes up to $735 and couples up to $1,103 (in 2017). However, should they have recurring medical costs, those expenses can be deducted from their monthly income. Should a spouse continue to live independently, a certain amount of joint income can be allocated towards his or her cost of living, which can further reduce the applicant's countable income. For final income eligibility determination, applicants should contact the program's administrators.
*Individuals who are residing in adult foster care homes are not eligible to receive Supplemental Services.
The actual benefits and the associated dollar amount of the GRH program change from year to year. As of 2017, the GRH program will pay for room and board (rent, utilities, household supplies, and food) at licensed adult foster care homes and assisted living communities up to a monthly maximum of $891. Supplemental Services may include case management, 24-hour supervision, medication reminders, and transportation, and is available at certain approved residences. This can augment the monthly payment by approximately $482.84. (Providers of this service must be approved service providers with Minnesota Health Care Programs.) The maximum financial assistance any individual participating in the GRH program can receive is approximately $1,373 per month.
Because of the state budget calendar, Minnesota state programs' benefits and eligibility may change July 1, not on January 1.
The GRH program provides financial assistance for housing for approximately 20,000 Minnesota residents, 5,000 of which are elderly. To learn more, visit the program's website. To apply for the program, interested parties should contact their local Minnesota county human services office.