The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is spending a little money to try to spur the expansion of state programs that help people get long-term care at home and in other community-based settings. 

HHS will be distributing a total of $25 million in Aging and Disability Resource Center Program funding that was provided by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010.

HHS will use $6.9 million in center funding to help support existing centers and $18.5 to help start new centers. For the new centers, HHS could provide $5.6 million in funding the first year and about $13 million over the next two years.

Before HHS can provide any more center funding, it must get authorization from Congress, officials say.

Existing centers, and the new centers, are supposed to help people with serious disabilities understand the private resources they have, any government benefits that might be available, and the care and support services options that might be available.

HHS is trying to create a “No Wrong Door” approach that will reduce the likelihood that an individual who wants help will be bounced from one agency to another.

A center would be, in effect, the government equivalent of a LTCI carrier’s  elder care advice service.

A successful applicant needs to work its state’s Medicaid program and other other programs to get ready access to the data LTC counselors will need to advise people who need care and their caregivers, officials say.

The state Medicaid agency must commit to using the counseling program to help individualls who seem to be eligible for Medicaid LTC benefits, officials say.

The applicant also must develop the ability to work with veterans medical facilities.

Applicants must prepare their applications with doublespaced type on standard white paper with 1-inch margins and a font size of at least 11. The maximum length of the project narrative is 20 pages, and applications must be submitted through http://www.grants.gov by 11:59 p.m. EDT July 25.

Next year, a new arm of HHS, the Administration for Community Living, will provide additional funding for existing resource centers in up to 40 states, officials say.