Page Reviewed / Updated – Nov. 19, 2022

Program Description

The Maryland Congregate Housing Services Program (CHSP) provides financial assistance to state residents that live in specially certified congregate or group homes. Program participants do not receive cash assistance themselves. Payments are made directly to their group homes to subsidize part of their monthly fees.

In addition to housing, the group homes provide daily meals, housekeeping, and other support services (explained in greater detail below). The level of assistance provided through CHSP could best be equated to that offered in a private senior living residence. As a comparison, the assistance is intended for individuals who require less care than is typically provided in assisted living residences, but who cannot live independently without assistance. CHSP is funded by the Maryland Department of Aging.

This program is similar in objective and design to Maryland’s Assisted Living Subsidy. However, CHSP is intended for individuals who have greater independence and financial resources. CHSP’s financial asset limits are quite a bit less restrictive than the Assisted Living Subsidy. For more information on the Assisted Living Subsidy, click here.

Eligibility Guidelines

  • CHSP is intended for lower income, elderly residents with limited resources. As such, the program regulations set a minimum age standard of 62.
  • The monthly income limit is pegged at 60% of the state’s median income. As of July 2022, this amount is equivalent to $3,121 / month ($37,454 / year) for an individual and $4,081 / month ($48,978 / year) for a married couple. However, the income limits are set to increase on October 1, 2023.
  • Countable assets for an individual are limited to $27,375 and for a couple, $35,587.
  • The final eligibility requirement relates to the functional ability of the candidate. Participants must be permanently or temporarily disabled (physically or mentally) and require at least partial assistance to manage a minimum of one of the activities of daily living.

Benefits and Services

As mentioned previously, the assistance available under this program comes in the form of payments to the congregate homes. Individuals do not receive cash assistance directly. Instead, participants’ incomes are assessed and a determination is made of how much assistance they require. Assistance is paid directly from the state to the congregate home. The amount varies based on the resident’s ability to pay.

Congregate homes are semi-private living quarters where the residents share meals and other homemaking services. Typically, the congregate homes provide meal services, housekeeping, some limited personal assistance, medication reminders and laundry.

Some, but not all, participating group homes also offer recreational activities and have on-site nursing. Indirect assistance is also provided through service coordinators who help residents to identify and coordinate other forms of community and state assistance provided outside of the residence. Personal care services may also be available, but more commonly, care services are contracted through a third-party.

Eligible applicants may pay a fee based on a sliding income. Generally this amount is equivalent to 10-20% of an individual’s income.

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How to Apply / Learn More

The Congregate Housing Services Program is not yet available statewide. As of writing, it was available in only six areas (Allegany County, Anne Arundel County, Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Montgomery County, and St. Mary’s County). However, individuals that do not reside in one of these counties are free to apply for CHSP in any county they choose. One can find participating communities by viewing or downloading the PDF file below.

To apply for the program, interested individuals can contact a community directly or alternatively they can call the Maryland Department of Aging at 1-800-243-3425. The Department of Aging maintains a webpage about the program here.

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