Can Assisted Living Facilities Take Your Social Security Checks?

Author: Theresa Van Baalen
Reviewed By: Kristi Bickmann

No, assisted living facilities cannot take your Social Security checks, but they charge for the services they provide, and you’re liable to pay for them. Social Security benefits are deposited directly into your bank account, and you may spend this money however you see fit, including using it for assisted living expenses.

Using Social Security benefits to pay for assisted living

Social Security is a federal government insurance program that provides retirement benefits and disability income to qualifying individuals. The payment you receive each month depends on the amount of Social Security tax you contributed and the number of credits you accumulated while working. Unfortunately, Social Security benefits are typically not enough to cover the entire cost of assisted living. However, you may be able to supplement the amount with Supplemental Security Income or the Optional State Supplement program.

Supplemental Security Income and Optional State Supplement program

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a federal program that provides monthly payments to people who have little or no income or assets and are blind, disabled or older than 65. Monthly benefits vary depending on your income and whether you have a spouse who also qualifies for SSI. Generally, the higher your monthly income, the smaller your benefit will be. Seniors who receive small Social Security benefits may also be eligible for SSI.

The Optional State Supplement program (OSS) is offered in most states and supplements the federal SSI benefit with additional payments to help pay for food and shelter costs, which may include assisted living expenses. This type of payment does not reduce the SSI benefit. Eligibility criteria for OSS vary from state to state, but in many states, the requirements are the same as for SSI.