The Moderate Needs Group Services Program is a component of a larger Vermont program called Choices for Care, which provides long-term care services for seniors and physically disabled adults.
The intention of Choices for Care Moderate Needs Group is to help this population maintain independence and continue to live at home, rather than require placement in a nursing home facility. Available services include homemaker services, adult day care, and flexible funding to promote independent living.
As the name “flexible funding” implies, funds can be used for a variety of purposes, such as personal emergency response systems, home modifications, assistive devices, hiring a personal care attendant, and more. While program participants are able to hire the caregiver of their choosing, legal guardians and spouses cannot be paid to provide care.
Moderate Needs Services provides services to both Medicaid and non-Medicaid Vermont residents, although the financial eligibility requirements remain the same for both groups. This program is administered by the Vermont Department of Disabilities, Aging and Independent Living (DAIL).
Choices for Care Moderate Needs Group has the same financial eligibility criteria as the parent Choices for Care program, but participants are accepted whose functional needs are not as severe as the parent program.
Applicants must be residents of Vermont and at least 18 years of age and live at home.
Unlike many programs that provide long-term senior care, an applicant does not have to require a nursing home level of care. However, applicants must be functionally limited to the extent that some assistance in living independently is required. The limitation can be due to the natural process of aging or due to a physical ailment. Physical conditions include Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, stroke, and traumatic brain injury.
To meet the functional requirement for Moderate Needs Services, applicants must meet of one the following requirements:
- Need supervision or physical assistance with at least one Activity of Daily Living (ADL) or Instrumental Activity of Daily Living (IADL) a minimum of three times per week.
- Need day-to-day supervision due to impaired judgment or decision-making.
- Need monitoring on a monthly basis due to a continuing health condition.
- Without program services, the applicant’s health will decline.
The financial requirements remain the same for both Medicaid and non-Medicaid applicants. To be financially eligible for Moderate Needs Services, an applicant must have income no greater than $2,742 / month, or $4,113 / month for couples, regardless of if one or both spouses are applicants.
Those over the income limit should not be discouraged, as they may still qualify for services if they have high recurring medical expenses, such as health insurance premiums, medications, and hospital bills.
The asset limit is set at $10,000. However, there are several exemptions, meaning specific assets are not counted toward the asset limit. This includes one’s primary home valued up to $688,000, household furnishings, personal effects, an automobile, and burial funds.
Benefits and Services
In addition to case management, the following services are available via the Moderate Needs Group Services Program:
- Adult Day Services – provides daytime supervision, care assistance, social and recreational activities, and meals. Adult Day Services is limited to 50 hours / week and 12 hours / day.
- Homemaker Services – assistance with preparing meals, doing laundry, shopping for essentials, and housecleaning. Homemaker services is limited to 6 hours / week.
- Flexible Funding – These funds can be used for a variety of services and goods. Participants are able to hire the caregiver of their choosing, who may provide personal care assistance, homemaker services, companion services, or respite care. Other examples of how funds may be spent are personal emergency response systems, home modifications, such as adding a wheelchair ramp, transportation for those who are not Medicaid eligible, assistive devices, such as grab bars, and home goods / appliances that provide assistance with ADLs or IADLs. Participants can receive funding up to approximately $3,500 / year.
How to Apply / Learn More
One can find additional information about the Choices for Care Moderate Needs Group here and here. One can also contact the Department for Children and Families at 800-479-6151 for additional information or to apply.
Waiting lists may exist due to limited program funding. Applicants receive services on a first-come, first-served basis in the order that applications are received. However, applicants who are eligible for Medicaid are given priority within the group of applicants.