Page Reviewed / Updated - June 05, 2020
Colorado’s Old Age Pension (OAP) program provides financial assistance to elderly, low-income Colorado residents (60 years of age and older) to help them attain a minimum monthly income. To be clear, this program does not provide a consistent lump sum of financial assistance, but rather the amount varies and is the difference between the participant's current income and what is determined to be the minimum acceptable level of income for a particular year.
In addition to financial assistance, the OAP program provides some individuals, who do not qualify for Medicaid, which in Colorado is called Health First Colorado, with dental and health care benefits. This part of the program is referred to as the OAP Health and Medical Care Program. One might also hear it referred to as the State Medical Program, the Modified Medical Program, OAP State Only Program, OAP-B, or Limited Health First Colorado.
To be eligible for the Old Age Pension (also referred to as OAP-A), applicants must be 60 years of age or older, a U.S. citizen or a legal alien, and a Colorado resident. The period of time for which one has been a Colorado resident is not a factor. In other words, newcomers to the state are eligible. However, beneficiaries must have been a legal US resident for the 5 years preceding application.
As an individual, one may have resources valued at up to $2,000, or as a married couple, up to $3,000. As of January 2020, an applicant's monthly income cannot exceed $821 (which is also the maximum benefit amount).
There are additional qualifications for the health care benefits portion of the program (OAP Health Care Program, also referred to as OAP-B). First, an applicant must be between 60 and 64 years of age. This rule exists because at the age of 65, other health insurance programs become available, specifically Medicare. In addition, applicants must receive Old Age Pension, and as mentioned previously, applicants cannot qualify for Health First Colorado.
In 2020, individuals may receive up to $821 a month, but this amount may be reduced by other income such as Social Security, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), or Veteran's Assistance. The annual maximum benefit is $9,852.
Make note, OAP-A includes Medicaid coverage. Individuals receiving Old Age Pension grants that don’t qualify for Medicaid also may receive medical benefits via OAP-B, although these benefits focus more on immediate medical needs instead of long-term care. Via the OAP Health Care Program, services may include emergency transportation, home health, hospice, outpatient care, inpatient hospitalization, lab work, pharmacy, medical supplies, and durable equipment, and more.
One can learn more about the OAP or apply for benefits through their County Department of Social Services. Contact information can be found here. Make note, those who are not currently receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI), but are eligible to do so, may be required to apply.
Colorado provides very limited information about the program on their website.