Frequently asked questions about HCAP

Learn more about how the Home Care Assistance Program (HCAP) can help you.

What is HCAP?

Home Care Service includes the following:

  • Meal Preparation
  • Grocery Shopping
  • Medication Pick-Up
  • Laundry
  • Light Housekeeping of the primary living areas (surface dusting, vacuuming, mopping floors, clean-up kitchen, cleaning bathroom, changing the bed and trash removal).

What does HCAP not include?

  • Personal Care, including bathing, shampoos, feeding and transfer (for example from bed to chair)
  • Companionship
  • Heavy Spring Cleaning, dry cleaning, or polishing furniture
  • Transportation, Post-office mail (pick-up and/or drop-off)
  • Pet care
  • Moving/Packing or Unpacking
  • Cleaning Windows, Hanging up curtains
  • Waxing floors
  • Ironing
  • Exterior home maintenance
  • Homemaking/Housekeeping for others in the household
  • Organizing closets or home
  • Cleaning walls

Common Terms

Who is the Participant?

The person who receives homemaking service.

Who is the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Home Care Assistance Program (MRC-HCAP) Case Manager?

The person who oversees all aspects of homemaking service. MRC Case Managers:

  • accept new referrals during open enrollment periods
  • assess new applicants for eligibility
  • set up homemaking services with the vendor
  • assist participants with information and referral as needed to advance independent living goals.

Who is the Provider?

The provider is the agency MRC contracts with to deliver homemaking service to you. Each agency has a Coordinator who schedules services for participants referred to them by HCAP. Provider agencies recruit, train and supervise the direct care worker (homemaker).If you choose to hire and supervise your own person, we can do that too. See below.

Who is your Homemaker?

A person employed by the vendor agency who does homemaking tasks which you have difficulty doing on your own. These are tasks authorized by the Home Care Assistance Program.

Can I hire my own Homemaker?

Yes, a homemaker hired by the participant is called a Home Care Assistant (HCA). A Home Care Assistant is an individual (other than an immediate family member) hired to do homemaking tasks that are difficult for the participant to do because of their disability. 

Home Care Assistant Logistics 

  1. Prior to starting homemaking services, the potential Home Care Assistant must have a criminal background check (CORI) and a screening through the Department of Public Health Nurse Aide Registry.
  2. The HCA must complete paperwork to have a contract approved by MRC. They will then be an Independent Contractor, where they will be paid an hourly rate.
  3. They will not receive benefits or have taxes taken out, but they will receive a 1099 form.

When is this service not available?

Every effort will be made to ensure continuity of homecare service. However, homemaking services may be interrupted when:

  • There is a shortage of home care providers;
  • The homemaker is sick, on vacation or on holiday and the provider does not have a substitute available;
  • The participant is away from his/her residence (participants must be present for services); or
  • The participant has non-disabled adult visiting for longer than two weeks. During this time homemaking services will be placed on hold while the person is visiting and resumed once the person leaves.

How to resolve an issue

How are problems between the Homemaker and the Participant solved?

Participants who have concerns or problems with their homemaking service should follow these steps:

  1. Discuss and resolve the matter with your homemaker.
  2. If the matter cannot be resolved with your homemaker, contact the provider agency to work to resolve the matter.
  3. If the matter cannot be resolved with the homemaker's supervisor contact your HCAP Case Manager for assistance.

Homemaking Agency responsibilities:

Agency coordinators who report difficulties providing services to participants due to non-use (not being home for service), misuse (requesting tasks outside of the homemaker's assigned duties), or abuse of the homemaker (yelling, swearing, being intoxicated, making inappropriate sexual comments or using illegal substances in presence of the homemaker) are to adhere to the following guidelines:

  1. The coordinator is to inform the participant of the alleged problem and resolve the problem with the participant's assistance. Serious incidents should also be reported to the HCAP Case Manager.
  2. If the problem occurs a second time the participant and the HCAP Case Manager are to be notified in writing of the alleged behavior and proposed resolution with the participant.
  3. If the problem occurs a third time, a verbal request to the HCAP Case Manager for mediation and assistance with resolution is required.

Problems that persist, reoccur or cannot be resolved despite the aforementioned procedures may result in suspension, agency transfer, or termination of homemaking services.

Participant's rights to due process and appeal are explained and honored in all aspects of service delivery. Homemaking agencies and MRC personnel are required to adhere to the mandated reporting laws and statutes.

How long can I receive services?

Your need for continuing services will be reviewed by your Case Manager on a regular basis. If your situation changes where you may need more services, or where you may no longer be eligible, contact your Case Manager to discuss and review your service plan.

Participants turning 60 are referred to the Executive Office of Elder Affairs. The Executive Office of Elder Affairs will then conduct its own assessment to determine the needs of the participant.

How many hours of service will I get?

The weekly number of homemaking hours approved by the Home Care Assistance Program will be determined through an in-home assessment, a review of your medical information and a discussion with you. The hours will be based on the length of time it will take a homemaker to complete only those tasks for which you need assistance.

Contact   for Frequently asked questions about HCAP




600 Washington Street, Boston, MA 02111

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