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This Nebraska Medicaid waiver is designed to help the elderly remain living independently (at home) or in assisted living residences instead of in nursing home facilities by providing care services and skills training. Institutional care is extremely expensive to the state of Nebraska as well as less desirable for care recipients, therefore the Aged and Disabled Waiver achieves the dual objectives of reducing costs for the state and increasing the participant's quality of life.
For qualified participants, the waiver helps to meet their needs with services like adult day care, chore services and financial assistance for assistive technology for one's home or even one's vehicle, if the elder is still capable of safely driving. All of these are intended to make it easier to care for a loved one at home or to help an elderly person to care for themselves.
This waiver is also referred to as Home and Community-Based Services Waiver for Aged. It is under the administration of the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Medicaid and Long Term Care.
Nebraska residents must be 65 or older (or if younger they must be officially disabled), require nursing home level care and be financially qualified for Nebraska Medicaid to be eligible for this waiver. Nebraska accepts individuals into its Medicaid system based on several criteria, including income, savings and population grouping. It also offers multiple pathways into Medicaid, meaning if persons do not meet one set of criteria, they might still be accepted using a different set of criteria.
Income - applicants can follow the "categorically needy" or "medically needy" pathways. Categorically needy applicants have an absolute income of less than 100% of Federal Benefits Rate. In 2018, this is less than $750 / month or less than $9,000 annually. Medically needy applicants can have any amount of income but once they pay for their recurring medical and care expenses, they must have less than approximately $392 available each month. Married applicants can have their incomes assessed separately, if the spouses are not both applying for Medicaid assistance.
Assets - In 2018, the countable asset limit for a single applicant is $4,000. The state will allow married couples to have more savings when one of them does not need Medicaid. In 2018, a non-applicant spouse can maintain up to $123,600. Their home, provided it is owner-occupied and their equity is valued at less than $572,000, is considered an exempt asset and it not counted towards their total. Note for non-married residents of assisted living; a home will not be exempt since the owner resides in assisted living not in the home.
There are public and private Medicaid planning experts that help families prepare for the Medicaid application process. If one is unsure regarding their financial eligibility, it is recommended they find assistance qualifying for Medicaid prior to application. Read about assistance options.
While individual services are determined case by case, potential benefits include the following:
There are no geographic limitations on the availability of the Aged and Disabled Waiver in Nebraska. However, it was designed to accommodate a specific number of individuals. This number changes fairly frequently, upon last review it was approved for 7,200 individuals. Should the number of eligibility applicants exceed the available slots, a waiting list may be created or in Medicaid parlance "Services Registry". Fortunately, in past years Nebraska has not experienced much, if any, waiting periods for waiver participants.
To find additional information, click here. To apply for the program, contact Nebraska Department of Health & Human Services by calling 800-358-8802. Alternatively, one can contact their local Area Agency on Aging, a county by county list of which is available here.