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Maryland’s Community Personal Assistance Services (formerly Medical Assistance Personal Care)

Page Reviewed / Updated - February 20, 2020

Waiver Description

In 2015, Medical Assistance Personal Care became Community Personal Assistance Services. The program services are the same.

Maryland's Community Personal Assistance Services (CPAS) are part of the state Medicaid plan and are provided in the eligible individual's home or community residence by self-employed or agency-employed providers. Under this program, ‘self-employed' means program participants choose their own care providers. Under this option, spouses cannot be hired to provide care, but adult children of the aging individual can be hired. ‘Agency-employed’ means the programs administration team chooses the care providers for the program participants. In either case, the CPAS program pays for care.

Maryland’s Community Personal Assistance Services was formerly known as the Medical Assistance Personal Care (MAPC) Program. Community Personal Assistance Services / MAPC assists chronically ill, frail elderly, or disabled people in staying in their own homes. This is done by granting personal support with basic daily living tasks, such as bathing, dressing, eating, and going to the bathroom. The individual providing care must be an approved personal care provider, certified in first aid and CPR, and supervised by a registered nurse case monitor. This program is administered county-by-county.

The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene manages the budget and directs this program.

Eligibility Guidelines

Community Personal Assistance Services / MAPC serves disabled and senior individuals who qualify for Medicaid. There are both physical and financial criteria when determining eligibility.

Functional Criteria:
Applicants must require hands-on care with a minimum of one of their Activities of Daily Living (ADLs). Their abilities must be at the point where should they not receive assistance they are at risk for placement in a nursing home. However, an institutional level of care is not a requirement of CPAS. During the application process a county registered nurse case monitor performs an assessment of care needs.

**For seniors who require personal care assistance and meet a level of care consistent to that which is provided in an institutional setting, the Maryland Community First Choice Program may be of interest.**

Financial Requirements:
For applicants aged 65 and older, Maryland has a very low income limit. As of 2020, a single applicant is limited to a monthly income of $350. However, individuals who have income over the limit are still able to qualify if they have medical and / or care costs that are high relative to their income. In simple terms, income that is greater than the income limit can be spent on medical bills, Medicare premiums, and long-term care, and once an individual has spent his or her income down to the income limit, he or she can qualify for Medicaid. This is often referred to as a medically needy pathway or a spend down program.

Maryland follows the ‘name on the check’ rule when determining married applicant’s financial eligibility. Only the married applicant's income is counted. Said another way, the income of an applicant’s spouse is not considered when applying for Medicaid. This is only true if the spouse is not also applying for Medicaid.

Maryland limits the value of the individual's countable assets to $2,500, excluding the value of the home (up to an equity value of $595,000 in 2020) and other personal items. If married, assets are considered jointly owed, and married couples, regardless of if just one spouse is an applicant, are limited to $3,000 in assets.

*Please note that in addition to the income and asset limits above, applicants who receive SSI automatically qualify for Medicaid. In this case, for 2020, an applicant cannot have income greater than $783 / month and cannot have more than $2,000 in assets.

The financial side of Medicaid eligibility is complicated. Persons unsure of their eligibility should consult with a Medicaid professional adviser prior to application. Read more.

Benefits and Services

The following benefits / services are available through CPAS.

  • Personal Assistance - help with ADLs, such as dressing, eating, and mobility
  • Nurse Monitoring - register nursing oversight of personal care provider services 
  • Supports Planning - assistance planning for and obtaining supports to aid independence

In addition to the above services, participants of the CPAS program may receive other services provided by Medicaid. This includes doctors’ appointments, hospital care, pharmaceutical drugs, home health care, durable medical equipment, disposable medical supplies, laboratory services, as well as mental health services.

*Make note, services cannot be provided in an assisted living facility, but can be provided in an adult foster care home.

How to Apply / Learn More

To seek assistance through Community Personal Assistance Services / MAPC program, contact the nearest county Health Department office and ask about the Personal Care Program. Contact Maryland Access Point at 1-844-627-5465 to locate the nearest office or to find out how to apply by phone. One can also call Medicaid’s Long-Term Care and Waiver Services at 410-767-1739. Read or download and print a brochure about the program here. Additional, but limited, information is available on the Department of Aging Maryland Access Point website.