NJ Personal Preference Program (PPP) Explained

The Personal Preference Program is a Medicaid waiver that empowers older adults and disabled individuals to manage their care independently by providing financial assistance and allowing participants to choose their own care providers.
Published on
August 24, 2023
Written by
Katie Wilkinson
Reviewed by
Max Mayblum
Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®
Presented by Givers
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The NJ Personal Preference Program is available in:

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New Jersey's Personal Preference Program (PPP) plays a vital role in the healthcare landscape, offering financial assistance to qualified individuals to lead independent lives and manage their activities of daily living effectively. By adopting the "Cash and Counseling" model, the PPP grants participants a budget for their services, putting the power of choice into their hands.

Overview of New Jersey's Personal Preference Program

The Personal Preference Program (PPP) in New Jersey is a Medicaid waiver that addresses the unique needs and preferences of the state's elderly and disabled population. Established to promote independence and self-direction, the PPP provides financial assistance to Medicaid-qualified individuals, empowering them to choose their care and support services.

Through the "Cash and Counseling" model, the program distributes a budget that would typically be allocated for services directly to the participants. This budget enables them to hire care providers, giving them greater control over their care arrangements. Family members, including spouses, can be employed as caregivers if they are at least 18 years old, allowing loved ones to play an active role in caregiving while receiving fair compensation for their dedication.

The PPP caters to cognitively challenged individuals and permits their participation by appointing a representative to assist in decision-making. This ensures that even those who require additional support can take advantage of the program.

Eligibility Requirements for New Jersey's Personal Preference Program

Candidates must meet specific eligibility criteria for functional needs and financial status to participate in New Jersey's Personal Preference Program (PPP).

Functional Need: Candidates must have a demonstrated need for assistance with their activities of daily living (ADLs), which include tasks like bathing, toileting, and eating. However, the level of need should not be so severe that it necessitates full-time nursing home care. A healthcare professional assesses and determines the extent of the individual's functional requirements.

Financial Need: To qualify financially, candidates must be eligible for New Jersey's Medicaid program, specifically FamilyCare Plan A. The financial requirements vary based on marital status and whether the applicant's spouse is also applying.

  • For individuals applying for Medicaid, their income should not exceed $2,523 per month (equivalent to $30,276 annually) in 2022. However, applicants who exceed this income limit may still qualify under the "medically needy" pathway if they have significant medical expenses.
  • Applicants can have countable assets valued at $2,000, excluding the equity value of their primary home, up to a limit of $955,000.
  • For married couples applying, both spouses can have up to $2,523 in monthly income ($5,046 combined) in 2022. The couple can have $3,000 in countable assets; their home and vehicle are not counted toward this limit. Home equity exceeding $955,000 is not considered exempt.
  • In cases where only one spouse applies for Medicaid, the non-applicant spouse can retain up to $137,400 of the couple's joint resources as part of the "community spouse resource allowance." Additionally, an applicant spouse's income, up to $3,435 per month, can be allocated to the non-applicant spouse as a "monthly maintenance needs allowance," accounting for local housing costs.

These eligibility guidelines ensure that the PPP supports individuals who require assistance with daily living activities while considering their financial circumstances to provide the necessary care and help effectively.

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Services and Supports under New Jersey's Personal Preference Program

The Personal Preference Program (PPP) offers participants remarkable flexibility when utilizing the funds allocated for their care. The program covers a wide range of services and supports that cater to the diverse needs of Medicaid-qualified individuals.

  1. Personal Assistance Services: Participants can hire individuals for assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs) and instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs). These services include bathing, grooming, meal preparation, eating, mobility assistance, housekeeping, shopping, and laundry.
  2. Assistive Technology: The PPP supports the acquisition of various appliances, devices, and controls that enhance an individual's ability to live independently. Examples of assistive technology include remote controls, specially designed cooking equipment, and motion-sensitive lighting.
  3. Home Modifications: To accommodate physical challenges, the PPP covers necessary changes to an individual's home. These modifications may include the installation of stair glides, handicap ramps, walk-in tubs, bathroom grip bars, and doorways alterations to accommodate wheelchairs.

The three categories of eligible expenditures empower care recipients to tailor their care and support services according to their unique needs and preferences, promoting greater independence and a higher quality of life. The PPP's focus on personal choice and control over care services distinguishes it as a program that advocates for the well-being and dignity of its beneficiaries.

Compensation for Family Caregivers

Under the Personal Preference Program (PPP) in New Jersey, Medicaid compensates unpaid family caregivers through a cash and counseling model. One of the program's significant advantages is that it allows participants to hire friends or family members, including spouses, as caregivers if they are at least 18.

Cash and Counseling is a type of self-directed care model. "Cash and Counseling" and "self-direction" are often used interchangeably to refer to a specific approach to delivering long-term care services. Both concepts involve giving individuals greater control and flexibility in managing their own care and support services.

In the Cash and Counseling model, participants receive a predetermined budget, usually in the form of cash payments, that they can use to hire their caregivers or purchase services and support that best meet their needs. This approach gives individuals more autonomy in making decisions about their care and empowers them to choose the services that align with their preferences and goals.

Self-direction, as a broader concept, encompasses various models like Cash and Counseling, where participants have the authority to design and manage their care plans, hire and train their caregivers, and determine the services they receive.

The overall goal is to promote individual choice, independence, and person-centered care. Family caregivers, often the most devoted and compassionate care providers, can be fairly compensated for their crucial role in supporting their loved one's daily activities.

Learn more about Medicaid self-directed care >>
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A Note from Givers

If you are a family caregiver in New Jersey, don't hesitate to explore the possibilities offered by the Personal Preference Program (PPP). Take a step towards fair compensation for your selfless care by filling out this form to determine your eligibility. Your dedication deserves acknowledgment, and the PPP can be the empowering solution you've been seeking.

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