Virginia residents who reside in assisted living or adult foster care homes can receive direct financial assistance under the Auxiliary Grant (AG) program to help offset the cost of their monthly fees. Applicants must reside in an approved residence and meet a variety of other criteria. Initially designed only for persons receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI), in recent years the eligibility criteria have become less restrictive and today persons with income over $771 per month can receive assistance.
The State’s Department of Social Services’ Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services serves as the general administrator of the AG program. However, much of the assessment and detailed work is performed by local agencies. The program receives no federal funding; instead it is funded in its entirety by using state and local dollars.
The eligibility criteria for the Auxiliary Grant are exceedingly complex. This webpage makes no effort to reproduce the rules in their entirety instead it attempts to simplify and summarize the requirements to allow the reader to more easily determine if they or their loved one might qualify. The full legal eligibility documents can be downloaded here.
There are 4 areas of eligibility criteria.
Age – applicants must be at least 65 years of age with two exceptions: those who are legally blind and those designated as disabled by the Social Security Administration.
Residency – applicants must be legal Virginia residents (a minimum of 90 days) at the time of application and they must be living in an assisted living community or an adult foster care home. It is important to note that residency is determined by the applicant’s last address prior to moving into the care facility. Those individuals who move from out of state directly to a Virginia care facility are not eligible.
Functional Ability – although the functional ability criteria differ slightly for those in adult foster care vs. assisted living, generally speaking, individuals must require assistance to perform at least 1-2 activities of daily living or 4 or more instrumental activities of daily living. In addition, functional need might be met by requiring assistance with medication administration OR exhibiting behavior that is disruptive or aggressive, which is sometimes seen in seniors suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and other related dementias. All applicants, regardless of residential location, must be assessed by the Department of Social Services annually and found to have a continued and ongoing need for those types of care.
Financial Requirements – the financial requirements for the AG program are very similar to that of SSI. Individuals who qualify for SSI are eligible financially for the AG. Persons who do not qualify for SSI may still be eligible.
The financial asset limit for SSI and the AG program are one in the same. In 2018, $2,000 in countable resources for an individual and $3,000 for a couple is permitted. Countable resources include cash, stock, mutual funds, savings/checking accounts, and bonds.
The monthly income limits for SSI and the AG program are different. In 2019, SSI’s monthly income limits for an individual and couple respectively are $771 and $1,157. The Auxiliary Grant is less restrictive, stating only that the applicant’s countable monthly income must be less than the approved Auxiliary Grant amount. As of 2019, the maximum grant amount is $1,374 / month (this includes a personal needs allowance of $82).
The Auxiliary Grant provides monthly assistance directly to the individual for the specific purpose of paying for their assisted living or adult foster care fees. This assistance should be distinguished from Medicaid assistance which by law cannot be used to pay for room and board in assisted living, only for care services.
From a services perspective, assisted living and adult foster care offer:
One can download a brochure about the Auxiliary Grant Program here. To apply, one should contact their local social services office. A complete list of offices is available here. Please note that not all assisted living facilities and adult foster care homes accept the Auxiliary Grant. For a list of assisted living facilities that do accept the grant (as of April 2019), click here.