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The Medical Benefits You May Not Know About


Do you provide support to an elderly family member who struggles with activities of daily living?

Are you struggling with activities of daily living with or without a caregiver and financially ineligible to receive full Medicaid benefits?


If you answered yes to either one of these questions, then you may be qualified to receive free medical benefits under one of two lesser known programs launched by Washington’s Department of Social and Health Services aimed at expanding medical benefit accessibility. Taking care of one’s family has always been a core value in the United States. For this reason, many of the informal caregivers who look after their senior family members often don’t see themselves as caregivers at all, causing a difficulty in reaching these people and educating them about the benefits that they may be overlooking.


Medicaid Alternative Care (MAC) and Tailored Support for Older Adults (TSOA) both offer medical supplies and services to the elderly who would rather remain at home than receive intensive care at a nursing home, and the unpaid loved ones who care for them. MAC and TSOA differ from typical elderly care support programs because they not only target the needs of the person receiving care, but offer services and benefits to the family members and friends who care for the older adult.


The Medicaid Alternative Care program focusses on these types of every-day-heroes who are 18 and older looking after a senior who qualifies for Medicaid. Beginning the process with a screening phone call, family caregivers may be eligible for three tiers of benefits, claimable as quickly as the day of the first phone call. At the first tier, caregivers can claim a service or supplies valued up to $250. At the second tier, services and supplies valued up to $500 annually are provided. At the third and final tier, services and supplies valued at $550 may be provided monthly. The services that caregivers can claim vary from housekeeping assistance, to in-home caregiving assistance so that the caregiver may be able to attend to their own personal needs.


The Tailored Support for Older Adults is a similarly structured program, aimed towards the older adults with or without a caregiver who may be financially ineligible for full Medicaid benefits. TSOA shares the same three-tiered benefit structure as MAC, the process beginning with a similar screening phone call to determine the best services to benefit the individual. These services could range from aids to daily activities as living to a home-safety review or a home medical emergency system, allowing older adults struggling with their daily activities to maintain their independence and the comfort of living in their own home. Both programs became active in 2017, and will remain available to Washington residents as a trial run until 2022, when the programs will be reviewed and adjusted accordingly.


If you or anybody you know could benefit from these programs aimed at assisting the unpaid family caregivers who support Washington’s elderly population, begin the process with a phone call to 1-800-422-3263 to locate your Home and Community Services office and speak with a social worker.

To learn more about these programs from the Department of Social and Health Services, read about it here.

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  • Trey Munsell
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