Financial Assistance for Assisted Living
There are many ways to help pay for the costs of assisted living. Each of them varies in terms of eligibility, services it will pay for, and dollar amounts.
Section 202 and Assisted Living
Section 202, or Supportive Housing for the Elderly Program, is funded by Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and is intended for low-income seniors, including “the frail elderly.” The program helps provide rent subsidies for low-income seniors who wish to live independently but still need assistance with daily living tasks such as cooking, meal prep, and transportation.
This program is open to any low-income households that have at least one older adult who is at least 62 years of age. To apply for this program, individuals should check their eligibility status and research Section 202 Houses in the area. From there, you can contact a Section 202 representative to obtain more information about the unit and learn more about the application process. In general, the program pays up to 70 percent of the cost, while eligible residents are required to pay up to 30 percent of their net income towards rent.
Veteran’s Benefits and Assisted Living
These benefits are funded by the VA and available to all eligible U.S. military veterans and their spouses. VA benefits can help pay for the cost associated with assisted living or a nursing home.
Examples of VA benefits include disability compensation, health care, home loans, and burial. For “elderly veterans,” the VA offers two programs for senior housing: the Aid and Attendance program and the Housebound program. The Aid and Attendance program provides a monthly pension amount, pending certain qualifications such as the need for assistance with daily tasks such as eating or dressing. To receive assistance from the Aid and Attendance program, an older adult may be eligible if they receive a VA pension and meet one of the following criteria:
- You are a patient in a nursing home due to loss of mental or physical cognitive abilities related to a disability
- You are bedridden
- You need someone else to help you perform daily living activities such as bathing or dressing
- You have limited eyesight or vision problems
According to Veteran Aid, Aid and Assistance can pay up to $2,230 per month in VA benefits for an older veteran and his/her spouse. One of the restrictions of the Aid Attendance program is you can’t get Housebound benefits during the same time.
If you’d like to apply for Aid and Attendance or Housebound Benefits, you can send a completed VA form to your pension management center and fill out VA Form 21-2680 (Examination for Housebound Status or Permanent Need for Regular Aid and Attendance). Alternatively, you can apply in-person at the nearest VA regional office.
For older veterans who need help with activities of daily living, you can enroll in the Adult Day Health Care program through the VA. This program is for veterans and can be used in combination with other Home and Community-Based Services. It’s provided at VA medical centers or through other community organizations.
Long-Term Care Insurance and Assisted Living
Long-term care insurance is a great option for older adults who need financial assistance to help pay for the cost of assisted living, in-home care, or nursing homes. You may qualify for long-term care insurance if you have a disability or your health provider is able to certify that you can’t perform several activities of daily living alone. Long-term care insurance can also benefit older adults with Alzheimer’s, dementia, or other chronic medical conditions.
The amount that long-term care insurance can cover depends largely on policy and risk of age. For example, the 2021 American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance estimates that a 65-year-old male can pay an annual premium of $1,700 for a $165,000 long-term care insurance policy. If needed, long-term care insurance can cover up to $165,000 worth of needs related to the cost of assisted living or in-home care, or nursing care.
To apply for long-term care insurance, you can look into different insurance providers that offer long-term care insurance policies and may need to answer a health questionnaire or additional health screenings.
Medicaid and Assisted Living
Medicaid may help cover some of the costs related to assisted living for low-income older adults. Medicaid provides health coverage to millions of Americans and low-income older adults. The program is funded by individual states and the federal government.
Pending eligibility and certain qualifications, Medicaid may help pay for the cost of assisted living as well as Alzheimer’s or memory care. Medicaid can also cover select long-term care services for individuals that are eligible, according to the American Council on Aging.
Although Medicaid eligibility differs by state, some of the most common eligibility factors include the following:
- Must be a resident of the state in which you are applying for Medicaid
- Low-income or very low-income senior
- Citizen of the U.S. or lawful permanent resident
There may be certain coverage limits on income or age, so it’s best to visit your local state Medicaid website. Eligible seniors can also go through the respective HCBS Medicaid Waiver that’s offered through their state, also known as Home and Community-Based Services Programs or 1915(c). To apply for Medicaid, you can apply through the Health Insurance Marketplace or with your state Medicaid agency.
Non-Medicaid State Programs
If you need help covering certain costs related to assisted living, there are still plenty of Non-Medicaid State programs available. Keep in mind that these programs may differ by name or services depending on states and other qualifications and criteria. Non-Medicaid State programs might be able to help cover the cost of room and board or have other forms of financial aid available to older adults.
These programs usually help older adults with financial assistance or the opportunity to make certain home modifications so they can reside in the comfort of their own homes. These programs go by different names, depending on the state you live in.
For example, Georgia offers the Non-Medicaid Home and Community-based Services Waiver to help older adults live safely and independently in their homes. This particular program is eligible to individuals aged 60 and up in the state of Georgia, but some individuals may be eligible for some programs at 55. I’d recommend looking into the programs your respective state offers and inquiring about the eligibility and application process.
Social Security can be used to cover some costs of living associated with an assisted living facility. The federal government-funded program helps pay retired or older adults that are 65 and older with a continuing income that can be used toward assisted living costs.
Although Social Security can’t cover the full cost of assisted living, it can still be used to cover some assisted living costs and services. You may need to also tap into other resources such as private funds, annuities, pension, savings, or other financial aid sources.
According to Retire Fearless, the average Social Security benefit for seniors is $1,503 per month. In comparison, an assisted living facility can cost upwards of $4,500 depending on amenities and services. Depending on your benefit amount, you can use it towards the cost of services at an assisted living facility. The benefit amount that you receive greatly varies depending on your earnings before retirement and the taxes that you paid into the program.