Indiana Community and Home Options to Institutional Care for the Elderly and Disabled (CHOICE) Program

Program Description

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 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.

It should be noted that a pilot version of the CHOICE Program called CHOICE 2.0, is now being tested in several counties of the state.  However, because the regulations of this program are not static and because families access the CHOICE 2.0 through the same channels, it is unnecessary to provide more details about this program at this point in time.

 Did You Know? Indiana seniors can receive free quotes for the purchase and installation of walk-in tubs to help the elderly live safely at home or in the homes of their caregivers.  Learn more.

 

Eligibility Guidelines

Age and Residency Requirements
To be eligible for the CHOICE program, applicants must be at least 60 years of age (or 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 2018, this is equal to $18,210 / year or $1,518 / month for a single applicant. Married couples are allowed a slightly higher income at $24,690 / year or $2,058 / 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 2018, this means an individual with an income greater than $42,490 / year or $3,542 / month, and couples with an annual income greater than $57,610 or a monthly income greater than $4,802, will be responsible for 100% of the cost of services. The value of the applicant’s assets cannot exceed $500,000.

Other Requirements
Applicants must have applied for and been found ineligible for Medicaid or the assistance they require is not available through Medicaid.

 

Benefits and Services

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:

  • Adult Day Service / Adult Day Care
  • Case Management
  • Congregate meals – may be at a senior center, etc.
  • Chore Services – heating, plumbing, roofing, adding smoke detectors, snow removal, etc. 
  • Counseling –gerontology, individual, nutrition, and support groups
  • Home Health Care – medication oversight, assistance with needed exercises
  • Foot Care
  • Homemaker Services – housecleaning, errands, meal preparation, dishes, laundry, etc. 
  • Hot or Prepared Meal Delivery
  • Legal and Information Assistance
  • Medical Equipment, Supplies, Assistive Devices– speech amplifier, adaptive switches / locks, raised toilet seat, etc. 
  • Modifications to a Home or Vehicle – grab bars, lifts, ramps, etc. 
  • Occupational and Physical Therapy
  • Personal Care – assistance with mobility, toiletry, dressing, etc. 
  • Personal Emergency Response Systems (PERS)
  • Private Duty Nursing
  • Respite Care – in-home and out-of-home
  • Transportation Assistance – non-medical and medical
  • Pest Control

Note 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.

 

How to Apply / Learn More

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 1-888-673-0002 statewide. Current applicants are reporting longer than normal waiting times for benefits to start once qualified for this program--up to 2 years.

Little information is provided about this program on the state’s website. However, interested parties can read the program Annual Report.

 Medicaid eligible, Indiana state residents might also be interested in the CDAC Program, which allows family members to be paid for their caregiving assistance.  Alternatively, RCAP provides financial assistance for assisted living.