The North Dakota Department of Human Services offers a program called Service Payments for the Elderly and Disabled, abbreviated as SPED. This program has two levels, which provide similar services, but have differing eligibility requirements. These levels are referred to as regular SPED and Expanded SPED or Ex-SPED. SPED is intended for individuals who are more functionally impaired than those enrolled in Ex-SPED.
Both programs provide a range of services intended to help senior and disabled individuals remain living at home or in their community. Although assisted living services are not among the included benefits, adult foster care, which provides a similar level of care to assisted living, just in a more intimate environment, is included. Both programs also allow for consumer direction of services. For clarification purposes, this means that individuals receiving care services have the right and the flexibility to choose their own service providers (assuming they meet the ND Department of Human Services standards). Certain family members, usually adult children, can be hired as service providers and paid for their caregiving efforts. However, caregivers must live with the care recipients. Unlike many states that allow consumer direction, participants in the SPED and Ex-SPED programs are even able to hire their spouse to provide care.
Under these programs, certain family members can receive payment for caregiving for their loved ones.
In addition to adult foster care and home care, the major benefits of this program include Personal Emergency Response Services (also called Medical Alert services), chore services, respite care, and minor modifications to the home to preserve the resident’s independence.
Applicants for SPED and Ex-SPED must be at least 18 years of age and legal residents of North Dakota. Services are not provided to individuals in Medicaid funded nursing homes. Therefore, program participants must either live at home or in adult foster care.
Other eligibility requirements for SPED and Ex-SPED vary slightly as follows:
The services available are the same whether the beneficiary is approved for SPED or Ex-SPED, with the exception of personal care, which is only available for SPED enrollees. However, make note, the reason personal care services are available to SPED participants is that they must be eligible for the Medicaid state plan as a program requirement. Therefore, personal care services are available via Medicaid for those enrolled in SPED.
Financial obligations between the programs may differ. Ex-SPED beneficiaries have the complete cost of services covered, while SPED beneficiaries may be charged a service fee. However the fee for services is minor when compared to purchasing these same services from private elder care service providers. Services covered by these programs include:
These programs are available statewide. To learn more or begin the application process, there are several paths. One can contact their local county human service zone, visit the Aging and Disability Resource webpage, or call the toll-free number at 1-855-462-5465. One may also find additional information about SPED here or Ex-SPED here.