The Ron Yost Personal Assistance Services program, abbreviated as RYPAS, provides financial assistance for personal care services to assist elderly and / or disabled West Virginia residents in achieving their activities of daily living. Assisting in these activities, such as bathing and grooming, helps them to remain living in their homes and communities. Although this is not a Medicaid program, it is modeled after the Medicaid concept of Cash and Counseling. This concept is also referred to as participant direction, self-direction, and consumer direction. The idea is that the program participant has control over who provides their care instead of the program administrators. Thereby, increasing the satisfaction of the participant and lowering the administrative cost of the program.
Friends, neighbors, and even family members (including spouses), can be hired to provide personal assistance, transportation, and to assist with light home maintenance that the program participant cannot manage on their own.
Residential and Functional Ability
To be eligible for this statewide program, participants must live in West Virginia and have a disability, which can be a result of the natural process of aging. The disability must be expected to continue for a minimum of 12 months and must be significant enough that it requires the individual to receive assistance in order to complete their activities of daily living, such as eating, dressing, bathing or basic mobility. Examples of disabilities that would meet the eligibility requirements include Alzheimer’s, Multiple Sclerosis, Cerebral Palsy, spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, severe arthritis, and severe heart conditions.
Individuals must not be eligible to receive Medicaid services. This means the program has lower income limits that change based on the applicant’s constituent group (an elderly individual has different criteria than a younger adult). Generally speaking, as of 2020, to receive personal care from WV Medicaid at home for aging persons requires their monthly income not exceed $2,349 (300% of the Federal Benefit Rate). Their countable assets (which excludes an applicant’s primary home, given his / her home equity interest is not greater than $595,000) cannot exceed $2,000. Persons under these limits will be eligible for Medicaid, and therefore, are not eligible for the Ron Yost Program.
Ron Yost also has fixed upper income limits, above which financial assistance is not provided. The latest published information, as of 2020, sets the annual upper income limit at $37,999. (This limit has remained the same for the last several years). However, expenses related to one’s disability can be deducted from their income.
Funding is provided on a sliding scale, which has also remained consistent for the last several years. Those with larger discrepancies between their expenses and incomes are eligible for more assistance and will receive priority. For instance, those with an annual income under $21,999 are reimbursed the maximum allocated hourly wage for care assistance, those with an income between $34,000 and $34,999 are reimbursed 46% of the allocated maximum hourly wage for care assistance, and those with income between $37,000 and $37,999 are reimbursed 13% of the maximum allocated hourly wage for care assistance.
RYPAS provides financial assistance in the form of reimbursement checks to participants so that they can hire personal care assistants. Program participants are allocated up to $7.25 / hour to pay a personal assistant. Participants may qualify for up to 24 / 7 care if the functional assessment demonstrates the need and the RYPAS Board approves that level of care. Personal assistants can provide care with the following types of daily living activities:
One can learn more about the program and begin the application process on the program’s webpage or by calling the WV Statewide Independent Living Council at 1-855-855-9743 or 304-766-4624. As part of the application process, individuals are required to apply for Medicaid, and if rejected, they can then be considered for the Ron Yost program. A printable PDF format brochure about the program can be downloaded here.
The Ron Yost Program is administered by the Statewide Independent Living Council, not by the WV Bureau of Senior Services as commonly believed.
Make note, there is a waitlist that dates back to 2019.