Does Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Pay for Assisted Living?

Author: Andrea Miller
Reviewed By: Kristi Bickmann

The federal Supplemental Security Income program doesn’t pay for assisted living. SSI benefits cover basic needs, such as food, clothing and shelter, for people with limited income and financial resources. The benefits don’t extend to assisted living services, such as long-term support and help with daily activities, including grooming and managing medications. 

As of 2023, if you qualify for federal SSI benefits, you can receive up to $914 per month, along with any supplemental amount paid in your state. Although you receive these funds directly to use for your living expenses, the average assisted living community charged $4,500 per month for room, board and other services as of 2021.

Who qualifies for SSI?

In general, you may be eligible for SSI if you earn less than $1,000 a month and own no more than $2,000 in assets. Your living arrangement also plays a role in eligibility. If you have to spend time in a nursing home or long-term care facility with more than half the costs covered by Medicaid, the Social Security Administration reduces the amount of your SSI benefits.

Do other government programs pay for assisted living?

Many people who receive SSI also receive health benefits through Medicaid. Some states have Medicaid waiver programs that offer coverage for assisted living services. The amount of coverage and the specific eligibility requirements vary, so review the current rules in your state to see if you qualify.