South Dakota residents may qualify for assisted living financial assistance with the state’s Medicaid waiver. The Home & Community-Based Options and Person Centered Excellence (HOPE) waiver provides seniors with assistance paying for services provided by an assisted living community, but it does not pay for room and board. This program also provides financial assistance to elderly or disabled individuals for help with activities of daily living and instrumental activities of daily living.

While room and board costs are not provided, assisted living facilities that accept Medicaid are limited in the amount that they can charge residents in the HOPE program. The maximum amount that assisted living communities can charge people with this waiver is $693 per month as of 2022.

Who Qualifies for a HOPE Waiver?

The HOPE waiver is available for seniors over the age of 65 or individuals over the age of 18 who have a qualifying disability as long as they meet other eligibility requirements. One requirement is that the individual has an assessed need for a nursing facility level of care. Likewise, an applicant with intellectual disabilities cannot be a resident of a hospital, nursing facility or intermediate care facility.

The applicant must also meet financial eligibility to enroll in this program. This requires individuals to receive less than 300% of the SSI Standard Benefit amount with less than $2,000 in resources, such as checking and savings accounts.

What Services Does a HOPE Waiver Provide?

The HOPE waiver provides several services in addition to assisted living. This includes homemaking, personal chore assistance and meal preparation for recipients who live in a homelike, non-institutional setting. This program is not for 24-hour skilled care, which is covered under different waiver programs. Services covered by the waiver in an assisted living community are assessed on a case-by-case basis.

The HOPE waiver also offers community living home residential services as an alternative to assisted living. With this option, participants can live in a small home licensed by the Department of Health that provides care and supervision. It is similar to assisted living, but the home is designed for no more than four adult residents unrelated to the owner or operator. This option is available to individuals requiring a nursing facility level of care and provides participants the ability to remain in their community while still receiving the care and supervision they need.