Nebraska’s Aid to the Aged, Blind, or Disabled (AABD) Program is a two-tiered program intended to assist low-income elderly and / or disabled state residents. The program provides both cash assistance and medical care. Applicants can qualify for only the medical assistance portion of the program or for both medical and financial assistance. Funding for this program comes from both the federal and state governments.
Age – applicants must be 65 years of age. Exceptions are made for individuals who are under 65 years of age and legally blind or designated as disabled by Social Security.
Residency – applicants must be legal Nebraska residents. No duration of residency is required. Individuals who are just moving to the state can still receive benefits. However, their status may be subject to additional review to ensure they are not moving to the state solely to receive benefits.
Annual Income – the income limit and how the applicant’s income is calculated is complicated and confusing. Rather than financial eligibility being determined strictly by an income limit, this program uses a “standard of need” to calculate eligibility. For a single individual in 2022, the “standard of need” is $564 / month, and for a married couple, the “standard of need” is $887 / month. “Standard of need” allows an applicant to deduct their “rent” (the amount they spend on housing) or a portion thereof, from their income. In 2022, the maximum “rent” that can be deducted each month is $281 for an individual or $349 for a couple. This is formally called “maximum shelter allowance.” Make note, even if one thinks they might not qualify financially, one should apply anyway. This is because the process is very complicated and one won’t know for sure until financial eligibility is calculated.
Countable Resources – in 2022 single applicants are limited to countable resources of $2,000, and married couples, $3,000. One’s home, provided their equity is valued at less than $636,000, and the applicant and / or their spouse lives in it, is considered exempt when determining countable assets.
Social Security – applicants must have applied due to a disability and received a denial based on “lack of duration” of the disability. This means the disability is not expected to last longer than a year.
Each year, program participants are reviewed to ensure both their income and disability levels continue to meet the program’s guidelines.
There are two types of benefits in the AABD Program: medical assistance and cash payments. Benefits amounts are calculated specifically for each participating individual based on their current financial situation. Cash assistance can be used for a variety of purposes, including, but not limited to the following:
One can apply for the program online on the Department of Health and Human Services website. The financial status of the program participant is reviewed annually to ensure they continue to meet the requirements. Some limited information about the program is available here. Highly detailed information is available here, but be aware the language is complicated and not necessarily intended for a consumer audience.
There is no presumptive eligibility for this program and the application denial, appeal and approval process can take up to two years. Better news is that benefits are retroactive to the date of application. Therefore, approved individuals often receive lump sum checks.