The Florida Optional State Supplementation program, abbreviated as OSS, is offered by the Florida Department of Children & Families. It provides financial assistance to low-income seniors who cannot live independently and require residential care. This care may be provided in an adult family care home (traditionally what most people think of as an adult foster care home), an assisted living residence, or a mental health treatment center.
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 part of the fees charged by the residence. Other assistance is available for care services.
This cash benefit is available to U.S. citizens who are legal Florida residents age 65 and older (or younger if blind or disabled). Functionally, individuals must be assessed and certified as requiring placement in residential care by an Adult Services or Mental Health case manager. This must be demonstrated by the need for assistance with daily living activities, such as bathing, dressing, and eating.
Participants must also meet financial requirements. As of 2023, for seniors residing in family care homes or assisted living, the monthly income limit is $992.40. Couples, if both are residing in the care facility, may have monthly income up to $1,911.80. If the residential care facility is for mental health, the income limits are slightly higher: $1,099 and $2,125 for an individual and couple, respectively.
There are also asset limits and the rules here are similar to Medicaid. Individuals may have up to $2,000 in resources and couples up to $3,000.
Individuals receiving this benefit cannot concurrently be receiving Medicaid assistance for assisted living.
The Optional State Supplementation program offers a direct cash payment to individuals up to a maximum of $239 / month and $478 / month for couples. However, the payment amount differs based on where the individual or couple resides. The amounts listed above are for those residing in a residential care facility for mental health. For those residing in an assisted living facility or adult foster care home, the maximum cash payment is less: $78.40 / month for an individual and $156.80 / month for a couple.
Regardless of the payment amount, these funds are to be used toward the cost of room and board in an assisted living, family care home, or mental health residential care facility. The exact benefit amount is determined on a case-by-case basis. It 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.
As of 2023, individuals are also allowed a personal needs allowance of $54 / month. A married couple with both spouses receiving OSS are permitted a personal needs allowance of $108 / month.
This program is available across Florida. One can apply online at Florida’s Department of Children and Families website.
Limited, but fairly current information, about the Optional State Supplementation program can be found on this PDF from the Department of Children and Families.