Residential Care and Assisted Living Compendium: 2007. Food Stamps

11/30/2007

The use of food stamps to pay for meals subsidizes the board component of the room and board cost, making it more affordable for Medicaid beneficiaries and others with low incomes. USDA regulations allow meals provided in certain group living arrangements to elderly, blind, or disabled residents to be supported by food stamps (7 CFR §271.2). Group living arrangements are defined as a public or non-profit residential care setting that serves no more than 16 residents. Facilities that can participate as food stamp vendors receive stamps from beneficiaries, which are used as payment toward meal costs.

Wisconsin officials are working with USDA to allow RCACs to become approved food stamp vendors for eligible residents. SLFs in Illinois and Community-Based Residential Care Facilities in Wisconsin have been approved as food stamp vendors. Supportive Living Facilities in Illinois that participate in the program receive about $97 a month for eligible beneficiaries.

One final approach states can use to make room and board costs more affordable is to examine the facility’s monthly room and board charges to identify any coverable services -- such as laundry assistance, light housekeeping, or food preparation -- that Medicaid can reimburse for beneficiaries who require assistance with these IADLs. Including all coverable services in the state’s assisted living service payment reduces the beneficiary’s monthly payment solely to room and board and any other charges that Medicaid does not cover.

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