What is OAP?
The Colorado Old Age Pension (OAP) program is a state-funded safety-net program for Colorado seniors aged sixty (60) and older.
OAP guarantees recipients a minimum income level by paying cash benefits up to a maximum of $952 per month (effective 1/1/2023); this amount is reduced dollar-for-dollar for any other sources of income.
The program is enshrined in the Colorado Constitution since 1937, pre-dating most forms of needs based income support like Supplemental Security Income (SSI). It provides financial assistance to all Colorado residents whose income and resources are within the allowable limits, and also provides limited medical benefits for those not eligible for other medical coverage.
Who is eligible for OAP?
To receive OAP, individuals must:
- be aged 60 or older, and
- have income less than the maximum monthly benefit, and
- have resources of less than $2,000 ($3,000 for a couple).
Applicants must also:
- pursue all other benefits and sources of income first, such as Social Security (including retirement and/or disability), SSI, wages, pensions, wages or self-employment earnings and any other benefits.
Individuals who are under 60 who are blind or have a disability and are unable to work may be eligible for the Aid to the Needy Disabled (AND) or Aid to the Blind (AB) programs.
How to apply for OAP
Apply for OAP online through Colorado PEAK or by submitting a paper Application for Public Assistance (standard Medicaid application). When applying for OAP, check the box for “Adult Financial” assistance.
The county department of human services may require proof of income or resources to calculate the benefit amount. Applicants must also apply for any other benefits for which they may be eligible, and if requested, provide proof of application and determination(s). In particular many applicants will be required to apply for Social Security (Retirement and Survivor Insurance), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) through the Social Security Administration (SSA).
Old Age Pension benefits are paid by direct deposit or through electronic benefits transfer (EBT) to a prepaid debit card.
How OAP eligibility is redetermined
OAP recipients are redetermined for continuing eligibility every twelve (12) months. Eligibility may be determined concurrently with any other state-funded benefits, including food stamps (SNAP) and Medicaid (Health First Colorado).
During redeterminations recipients must apply for any additional benefits which they may not have been eligible for initially, such as Social Security at age 62, or Medicare at 65 (for those who do not receive it automatically).
OAP Health & Medical coverage
Some people may also be eligible for limited health care coverage from the OAP Health & Medical Care Program. OAP recipients who are not eligible for Medicare or Medicaid (Health First Colorado) are covered by this program.
The Program covers:
- outpatient services,
- emergency transportation services,
- medical supply services,
- hospice and home health services,
- lab and x-ray services,
- emergency dental services, and
- pharmacy services.
The provider reimbursement rates for the Program are below those for Medicaid, so many providers do not accept it, even those who accept Medicaid. Confirm that the provider understands that the OAP Health & Medical Care Program is different from Medicaid and accepts it as payment in full before accepting medical care based on this coverage.
Need help with OAP?
OAP is administered by the county department of human services, who can answer any questions about specific cases or payments.
For questions or assistance with OAP, including application completion, call CGS at 303-333-3482. Our benefits counseling team can help answer questions and navigate the process.