Personal Care Program from Arkansas Medicaid

Program Description

Personal Care is one of several services offered to residents of Arkansas who are in need of long-term services and supports (LTSS) through the Arkansas Medicaid program. Personal Care includes hands-on assistance with activities such as basic hygiene, bathing, getting dressed, or going to the bathroom, enabling a beneficiary to stay in his/her own home. Care is administered by trained providers. Persons who reside in assisted living (residential care facilities (RCFs), but not nursing homes) can receive personal care paid for by Medicaid if the RCF is enrolled as a personal care provider with the state Medicaid program. The Division of Medical Services (DMS) administers the Personal Care program, together with the rest of the state’s Medicaid network.

In addition, or as a possible alternative to the Personal Care program, several other Medicaid programs are available in Arkansas which provide additional service options.  Programs such as ElderChoices, Alternatives for Adults with Physical Disabilities (for ages 21- 64), the Program of All Inclusive Care for the Elderly (a joint Medicaid & Medicare program), and are designed to facilitate consumer-directed care at home such as hiring a family member or a friend to provide care. Many Arkansans who are disabled or over 65 years-old turn to the IndependentChoices program, a consumer-directed personal care state plan option.


Eligibility Guidelines

Functional and Residence Requirements
Medicaid will cover Personal Care in Arkansas, regardless of age, if a doctor deems it necessary to deliver care to a recipient in the home or primary residence provided that residence is not a nursing home or intermediate care facility. In order to receive Medicaid in Arkansas, an applicant must be a resident of Arkansas.

Income and Assets Requirements
Income and assets requirements for Medicaid are age dependent. Single residents, aged 65 and older, must not have a monthly income that exceeds 80% of the Federal Poverty Level. As of early 2017, this means that an individual cannot receive more than $785 a month in income. This number is revised annually as the Federal Poverty Level is revised. Note that there are other aforementioned Medicaid programs that provide personal care to persons with higher income levels.

There is also a countable asset limit, which is set at $2,000 in 2017 for a single applicant. However, their home may be exempt (not counted towards the limit), given that is not valued over $560,000 and the applicant lives in the home. A vehicle may also be exempt.

Note that persons who qualify for Medicaid by way of the Medically Needy Spend Down pathway are not eligible for personal care under this option.


Benefits and Services

Personal Care encompasses many categories of hands-on service that are provided in a person’s own home by a licensed caregiver. This includes assistance with bathing, feeding and preparing food, exercise and mobility, assistance with medications, basic hygiene, and more. The categories of service a client may receive are contingent on his/her needs as determined by a physician.  This program has zero co-pays for beneficiaries.


How to Apply / Learn More

To apply for Medicaid in Arkansas, contact the nearest county office of the Department of Human Services (DHS). A full list of local offices can be found here.  

In order to contact the state office, call (501) 374-6608. The toll-free number is 1-800-457-4454.