Indiana’s Community and Home Options to Institutional Care for the Elderly and Disabled (CHOICE) Program
Contributed by Marci Wheeler, M.S.W.
The CHOICE (Community and Home Options to Institutional Care for the Elderly and Disabled) Program is a resource that eligible individuals can use to receive support services in their homes. Services provided may include case management, transportation, attendant care, home delivered meals, homemaker services, various therapies provided in the home, respite care, access to adult day programs in the community, medical supplies and other services necessary to prevent residential placement into nursing homes, group homes, and other large group living facilities. The state of Indiana has funded CHOICE for all 92 counties.
The program serves those who are 60 years of age or older and persons with disabilities of all ages who are eligible due to long term or lifelong limitations. Limitations may include dependence on others to bathe, dress, eat, or go to the bathroom as well as limitations in ability to express personal needs and/or understand the communication of others. Also assessed are limitations in social and/or domestic skills; limitations in the ability to move purposefully between environments; and limitations in the ability to make decisions, show acceptable judgment, and/or recognize the consequences of one’s actions. The program is available regardless of income, for most people, but there is a basic fee or cost share for services based on a sliding fee scale. Anyone who is eligible for CHOICE with an income greater than 350% of the government poverty level ($42,210/year for an individual in 2017) is required to pay 100% of the cost. Anyone with assets over $500,000 is not eligible for CHOICE.
The CHOICE program is accessed by contacting the local Area Agency on Aging office for the county in which the applicant resides. Eligibility is based on meeting the conditions listed on the Long-Term Care Services Eligibility Form. The Eligibility Form first looks at previously determined severe, complex and unstable medical conditions. In addition, other substantial medical conditions are assessed which may limit Activities of Daily Living (ADL). Activities of Daily Living include tasks such as bathing, eating, dressing, using the toilet, taking medication, and ambulation and mobility. Significant deterioration in the previous six months is also taken into consideration. Individuals limited in two Activities of Daily Living are eligible for the CHOICE Program.
Services through the CHOICE Program are only one component in an array of IN-Home Services that contributes to the ability of Hoosiers who are elderly and/or disabled to live in their own homes and maintain successful lives in their local communities. Unfortunately, most of the 16 Area Agencies on Aging (AAA) have waiting lists. The good news is that there are statewide commissions, task forces and other advocacy groups committed to addressing this issue.
To complete the application process, make an appointment with the appropriate staff at your local AAA. The actual appointment can take place in your home, at the AAA office, or at any agreed upon community location. If you are interested in more information about and/or applying for CHOICE, or any of the other IN-Home Services (including the Aged and Disabled or the Traumatic Brain Injury Medicaid Waivers), please contact the Area Agency on Aging (AAA) Office for your county. You can check this online map for contact information https://www.in.gov/fssa/files/AAA_Map.pdf or call the state office at (800) 986-3505.
Wheeler, M. (2018). Indiana’s community and home options to institutional care for the elderly and disabled (CHOICE) program. The Reporter, 22(15). Retrieved from https://www.iidc.indiana.edu/pages/indianas-community-and-home-options-to-institutional-care-for-the-elderly-and-disabled-choice-program.