Indiana’s CHOICE program is a statewide program that is designed to allow seniors who are at risk of nursing home placement to remain living at home or in the home of their caregiver and receive services, support, and care in those locations. CHOICE is an acronym for the program’s full name Community and Home Options to Institutional Care for the Elderly and Disabled. Under CHOICE, seniors, including those with Alzheimer’s disease, are eligible to receive many different types of assistance from personal care to chore assistance to home modifications to medical supplies. The unifying factor among the services is that they are all intended to help the recipient live independently or to help families care for loved ones at home.
Age and Residency Requirements: To be eligible for the CHOICE program, applicants must be at least 60 years of age. (If younger, they must have a physical or mental impairment). Individuals must be Indiana residents, but there is no duration of residency requirement.
Functional Need: Candidates must be unable to perform two or more activities of daily living (bathing, dressing, eating, using the bathroom, etc.); and therefore, they are at risk of losing their independence (and being placed in a nursing home).
Financial Criteria: There are no hard income limits. However, co-payments, which are determined on a sliding scale, are required for persons whose income exceeds 150% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL). As of 2020, this is equal to $19,140 / year or $1,595 / month for a single applicant. Married couples are allowed a slightly higher income at $25,860 / year or $2,155 / month. Applicants who have an income greater than 350% of the FPL do qualify for CHOICE, but will be required to pay 100% of the fees for services. As of 2020, this means an individual with an income greater than $44,660 / year or $3,721 / month, and couples with an annual income greater than $60,340 or a monthly income greater than $5,029, will be responsible for 100% of the cost of services.
The value of the applicant’s assets cannot exceed $270,000. Being over the asset limit does not mean that one cannot qualify for services via CHOICE. Rather, one might have to pay part (or all) of the fees for services.
Other Requirements: Applicants must have applied for and been found ineligible for Medicaid or the assistance they require is not available through Medicaid.
The CHOICE program provides a wide variety of benefits to eligible participants. These are determined at the time of enrollment and periodically re-assessed as needs change. Benefits may include:
Note that the above list is not comprehensive but includes the services most relevant and needed by the elderly. Multiple types of counseling and therapies are also covered.
This program is available throughout Indiana and is administered by the Indiana Area Agencies on Aging. Interested individuals can contact their local office or call 1-800-986-3505 statewide. Current applicants are reporting longer than normal waiting times for benefits to start once qualified for this program–up to 2 years.