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The Homemaker Assistance and Respite Care programs are a loose grouping of services provided by the same agency instead of a single, official program. However, these services have many of the same eligibility requirements and one is permitted to receive assistance in multiple areas concurrently. Therefore, for the purposes of simplicity, it is helpful to think of the services as a single program. Each of these services strives towards the same over-arching objective, which is to help elderly, frail, and / or disabled individuals remain living in their homes. These services are provided under the administration of the South Dakota Department of Social Services, Division of Adult Services and Aging and are sometimes referred to as ASA Services.
Homemaker services assist with household errands, and Respite Care is assistance provided to a caregiver to relieve them of caregiving responsibilities for a short period of time. In combination, these services help families to care for loved ones and avoid institutional placement.
There are subtle variations in the qualification criteria for the different services. Generally speaking, the following factors are considered.
Age - most services require the applicant to be at least 60 years of age although some are available to disabled individuals 18 and older.
Residency - all services described here are open to South Dakota residents only. No length of residency is required.
Functional Ability - an inability to perform the task oneself or the lack of family / caregiver support for a specific task is typically a qualifying factor. Examples would be the inability to dress oneself, move from one location to another independently, prepare meals, or do light housecleaning. Also, if completing the task puts the individual at high risk for injury (and therefore nursing home placement), they would be considered.
Income - as funding is limited, most services have income limits. Generally speaking, applicants with incomes less than $2,000 / month should qualify for some form of assistance. However, they may be required to pay a share of cost.
Assets - some programs limit single participants to $40,000 in countable assets and married couples to $45,000. Homes are exempt.
Homemaker Services include limited personal care, shopping for groceries, picking up medications, house cleaning, laundry and meal design and preparation.
Respite Care offers short-term home care assistance intended to relieve a primary caregiver of their responsibilities to help avoid caregiver burnout.
In additional to the above services, ASA Services might also include other benefits.
It is most efficient to begin the application process by contacting your Adult Services and Aging Regional Office. A complete list of offices, contact information and the geographic areas they serve is available here.