How Can Someone With Bad Credit Finance Assisted Living Facilities?

Author: Sarah Williams

Reviewed By: Rachel Rose

Someone with bad credit can finance assisted living facilities by finding a community willing to negotiate payment plans, maximizing their income and asking family members for assistance. Although many facilities don’t accept seniors with bad credit, individuals can take steps to improve their chances of acceptance. Some communities don’t run credit checks.

Can Assisted Living Refuse Seniors for Bad Credit?

Many assisted living facilities include credit checks as part of their application processes. Seniors must generally consent to such checks, but a refusal usually results in communities denying admission. Even when residents receive public funding, such as through Medicaid waivers, they typically need other resources to cover costs outside benefit coverage — such as bed and board. Data from the National Center for Assisted Living indicates that most seniors use private funds to pay full or partial assisted living costs.

Often, communities view seniors with bad credit as a financial risk and refuse admission, but individuals can still try to negotiate reduced fees or flexible payment plans with administrators. Additionally, seniors can seek to improve their credit rating by paying bills, reducing outstanding balances and entering into agreements with creditors. If initially refused from assisted living, an individual may find that an improved credit rating results in a subsequent acceptance.   

Help From Family Members

Sometimes, families help fund long-term care for their older relatives. Facilities might accept someone with bad credit if they know relatives plan to make regular payments. Alternatively, a family member may act as a guarantor, reassuring communities of continuing payments should the senior default. Occasionally, families take out personal loans or refinance mortgages to help seniors afford long-term care. Older individuals with bad credit who have equity in property could also consider applying for a reverse mortgage; however, institutions may deny applications based on the individual’s credit score.

Other Ways To Pay For Assisted Living

Some assisted living facilities don’t perform credit checks on applicants. Seniors can continue applying to suitable communities; eventually, they may find one where their credit history has no impact. However, they must still ensure they can pay their monthly fees. Payment options include using income, such as VA benefits, pension and Social Security. Seniors could also negotiate lower repayments on outstanding debts to free up greater available funds for their care costs. Local Area Agencies on Aging can signpost seniors to community support programs that maximize income and aid seniors with limited financial resources.