Critter Corner: What is the Virginia Auxiliary Grant Program

Dear Oakley,

I was looking at your key elder law figures page to see if it had been updated for 2022. I see that there is something on there about Virginia Auxiliary Grants? What are they and how do you qualify?

Thanks for your help!

Grant Formee

Dear Grant,

The Virginia Auxiliary Grant (AG) is financial assistance for certain people who receive Supplemental Security Income and certain other aged, blind, or disabled individuals who have very low income and very limited assets, and are entering or already living in certain licensed or approved facilities that accept auxiliary grant payments.

An AG payment is used to help pay for someone’s care in an assisted living facility (ALF), at a maximum monthly rate determined by the Virginia General Assembly and adjusted periodically. As of 1/1/2021, the Northern Virginia Income Limit is  $1,633 (+ $20 income exclusion). For the
Rest of Virginia, the Income Limit is $1,420 (+ $20 income exclusion). This means that people with income below these amounts can apply for the Auxiliary Grant, and if they are eligible, the assisted living facility will receive these amounts as payment for monthly services.

In addition to these income limits, an individual must have less than $2,000 of countable assets in order to qualify for the auxiliary grant, the same asset limit that is used to qualify for SSI and for Medicaid.

As an example, let’s say that Jane has been a resident of an assisted living facility in Northern Virginia for several years, paying an average of $7,000 a month out of her retirement savings, and Jane runs out of money because of having spent all her money to pay for these years of assisted living. Let’s further assume that Jane’s only income is $982 per month from Social Security, which is below the income cap mentioned above. Because Jane has run out of assets, she can apply for the Virginia Auxiliary Grant. If approved, she will be allowed to keep a Personal Maintenance Allowance of $82 Per month, and the Virginia Auxiliary Grant program will ignore $20 of her income, which she will also be allowed to keep. That means she will be able to keep $102 out of her $982 monthly income. That leaves $880 of her income which will have to go to the assisted living facility. The Northern Virginia income limit of $1,633 is also the maximum amount that the assisted living facility can receive as payment for this Auxiliary Grant bed, meaning that the assisted living facility will receive an additional $753 per month on top of Jane’s $880 per month, for a total of $1,633 per month. This also assumes that the assisted living facility in question participates in the Virginia Auxiliary Grant program and has an available bed. Not all Virginia assisted living facilities participate in the AG program, and those that do typically only have two AG beds, and these beds do not frequently become available because people tend to stay in assisted living facilities for many years before transitioning to a nursing home or departing this life.

Personal Needs Allowance

The $82 per month that AG recipients are permitted is to buy personal items or certain services that the facility may not otherwise provide, including:

  • Personal care, such as hair styling or dental care;
  • Health care, such as medical co-payments, over-the-counter medications, or prescriptions not covered by Medicare;
  • Personal toiletries, eyeglasses, clothing;
  • Beverages and snacks.

Who is eligible?

To be eligible for an Auxiliary Grant in Virginia, you must meet all these conditions:

  • Be 65 or over, blind, or have another disability;
  • Reside in a licensed assisted living facility, supportive housing setting, or approved adult foster care home;
  • Be a resident of Virginia for at least 90 days with the intent to remain in Virginia;
  • Be a citizen of the U.S. or an alien who meets specified criteria;
  • Have a monthly income less than the approved Auxiliary Grant rate;
  • Have assets of less than $2,000 for one person or $3,000 for a couple;
  • Have been assessed by an approved evaluator.

Apply for an Auxiliary Grant

  • You (or our firm if you have retained us for Level 4 Planning) must complete an Application for Benefits;
  • You must also apply for or already receive Supplemental Security Income;
  • You must submit an application to an eligibility worker at the local department of social services in the city or county where you last lived before entering an institution.

For more information about Auxiliary Grants, visit www.dss.virginia.gov/family/as/auxgrant or call DARS’ Adult Protective Services Division toll-free at (800) 552-5019.

To learn more and to see a list of ALFs that accept the AG, click here.

Hope this helps!

Oakley

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About Renee Eder

Renee Eder is the Director of Public Relations for the Farr Law Firm, and gives the voice to the Critters of Critter Corner. Renee’s poodle, Penny, is an official comfort dog who she and her children bring to visit with seniors who are in the early stages of dementia at a local senior home once a month.

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