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You can do it yourself...there is a LOT of gathering of information and getting medical records, etc. which you have to do yourself anyway.
My Mom's ALF has a company that does it for their residents at no cost to them. They really helped us work through the process. There are certain things that have to be submitted in a certain way and order. I would not have known that. They also gave us great advice about getting the right kind of recommendation from her doctor. It really is more than filling in the blanks.
It takes anywhere from 4 months to a year or more to get it. I figure, the more help with the process, the better.
If you hire a company, just get a good reference (call your local ALF and ask who they use.) They should charge a set fee and not try to market to you for their other services.