Georgia SOURCE Medicaid Waiver

What is a Medicaid Waiver?
For persons with limited financial resources, Medicaid pays for nursing home care. For those who wish to live at home or in assisted living, sometimes Medicaid will pay for care in those locations if it can be obtained at a lower cost than in a nursing home. It does this through "Medicaid Waivers."

Waiver Description

For qualified low income seniors, SOURCE helps with both medical care and non-medical, personal care.

SOURCE is an acronym for Service Options Using Resources in a Community Environment. The program is designed for frail, elderly, and disabled Georgians who require the level of care typically provided in a nursing home. However, this program allows eligible individuals to receive care in their homes or communities (such as in assisted living facilities, also referred to as personal care homes) and avoid having to use long-term nursing home care. For some very low income participants, this program provides both medical care and non-medical personal care services.

Originally this program was only available in certain areas of the state, but now it is open to residents statewide. In 2016, over 20,000 Georgians received assistance under this program. However, even with increased capacity, it is possible that a waiting list for services may exist. If an individual is already on Medicaid, the general enrollment time is two months.

This waiver is operated under Medicaid’s Elderly and Disabled Home and Community Based Services Waiver.

Did You Know?  Seniors can receive free estimates for bathroom safety modifications including walk-in tubs installations to help enable aging in place.  Get started here.

Eligibility Guidelines

To be eligible for the SOURCE Waiver, an individual must be 65 years of age and older, or if he or she is under the age of 65, must have a disability. As the waiver is intended to divert individuals from nursing home placement, a requirement is that they need nursing home level care. To determine this, an assessment must be completed. Income and savings also play a role in the eligibility requirements.

This Georgia Medicaid waiver has both income limits and financial resource limits. These criteria are slightly less restrictive than regular Georgia Medicaid for adults who do not require long term care. For 2017, the income limit for an individual is $2205 per month, which is three times the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) rate. If the applicant is married and their spouse is not applying for Medicaid, only the income in the name of the applicant is counted against the income limit.

The individual asset limit is $2,000. This must include total cash on hand, bank accounts (checking and savings), and other liquid investments and retirement accounts. However, the individual retirement account of the applicant's spouse is not counted. Also, the couple is permitted to retain up to $120,900 in financial resources. This is known as the Community Spouse Resource Allowance.

It is possible to receive Medicaid even if one's income or assets are over the limits. Georgia has a Medically Needy Medicaid program that will considered persons with exceptionally high medical and care costs even though they are over the limits. Another option is to restructure one's finances through the creation of Medicaid exempt trusts and annuities so that their countable income and assets are within the acceptable limits. Persons hoping to qualify using this approach should be aware that legal or financial expertise is necessary. One can find Medicaid planning assistance here.

 Georgia residents might also find assistance from the CCSP Waiver.  Learn more.

Benefits and Services

Services are determined on a case-by-case basis and can include any of the following:

  • 24-hour Medical Access
  • Skilled Nursing Services 
  • Adult Day Health / Adult Day Care
  • Alternative Living Services / Assisted Living Services (does not include room and board costs)
  • Emergency Response System
  • Home Delivered Meals
  • Home Delivered Services
  • Personal Support Services – Housecleaning, shopping, laundry, assistance with activities of daily living, such as eating, dressing, moving about, etc. 
  • Respite Care – Both in-home and out-of-home


How to Apply / Learn More

More information about this program can be found in the Georgia SOURCE Factsheet.   One can apply for the SOURCE waiver by contacting their local Department of Human Services, Division of Family and Children county offices. A list of contact information is available here.