The Community Options Program for the Elderly (COPE) is intended to assist Nevada seniors that are functionally eligible for nursing home placement by providing them with services and supports that enable them to remain living at home. This program is targeted towards low-income state residents that are not eligible to receive Medicaid, due to having income and assets greater than Medicaid will allow. The services provided under COPE are non-medical in nature and include personal care, adult day care, and homemaker assistance, among others.
Under COPE, certain family members can be hired to provide care for their loved ones.
COPE offers several of its services on a consumer directed model, which means participants are permitted to self-direct or choose their care service providers instead of being required to use care providers chosen by a state agency. Friends and even some family members may be hired to provide care and support services. Care providers must be approved, legal, and the hourly rate that they are paid regulated.
This program is administered by Nevada’s Aging and Disability Services Division and is funded by the state. It is worth noting that Nevada offers a very similar program for Medicaid eligible seniors called the Home and Community Based Waiver (previously known as the CHIP Program).
The COPE Program’s eligibility requirements are somewhat complicated. The more straightforward rules are related to age and residency. Applicants must be at least 65 years of age and a legal Nevada resident.
Functionally, applicants must be assessed by a medical professional and found to be in need of the level of care typically provided in a nursing home. More directly this means that they may be unable to bathe, use a toilet, feed themselves, or perform other activities of daily living without assistance.
Financially, there are rules with regards to the applicant’s income and resources, and these are somewhat difficult to follow. COPE is a program intended for persons who ARE NOT eligible for Medicaid assistance. Therefore, applicants must have income and / or assets GREATER than Medicaid allows. However, Nevada Medicaid has multiple programs with different eligibility requirements and the criteria change based on a place of residence and marital status. To simplify, a single person living at home who requires long-term care must have monthly income less than $2,349 in 2020 and their countable resources must be less than $2,000 (excluding their home’s value). If a senior has income and assets under these limits, they then they will be eligible for NV Medicaid, and therefore, ineligible for COPE. Therefore, either their income or the value of their assets must exceed these limits. Please note that COPE has an income limit of $3,249 / month. This limit remains the same regardless if it is a single applicant or a married couple. Therefore, an applicant (or couple) cannot have an annual income that exceeds $38,988. The asset limit is $10,000 for a single applicant and $30,000 for a married couple.
The COPE Program is categorized as a “nursing home diversion program”. That is to say it is intended to divert individuals from being placed in nursing homes. This is achieved by providing services to individuals in their homes with the intention of helping them to remain living there. Support services can be provided to help their caregivers as well. Each applicant is approved for a specific suite of services which can include any or all of the following.
COPE is open to Nevada residents statewide. To apply for COPE, interested parties should contact their Nevada Aging and Disability Services Regional Office.
The NV state website publishes a webpage about the program here, but little additional information is provided.
The COPE program limits enrollment. Therefore, a wait list may exist. Fortunately, in recent years, the waiting period has been relatively short; less than 90 days for most individuals. Wait listed individuals are prioritized based on the severity of need, not on a first come, first serve basis.