Low-income seniors may qualify for help to pay the costs of assisted living via Medicaid waivers. These waivers are aimed at seniors who might otherwise require a nursing home level of care and can cover many of the costs associated with assisted living. Veterans and their immediate families have the option of using benefits such as the Aid and Attendance Benefit to cover part of the cost of assisted living care and can supplement this with their pensions or other income to cover room and board.

Seniors can visit their local Area Agency on Aging for advice about Medicaid and any state-specific programs that might help with their care costs. Former servicepeople can learn about programs run by the Veterans Administration by contacting their nearest VA Office.

Seniors May Still Have to Cover Their Room and Board Costs

In most cases, Medicaid covers only the cost of medically necessary support at assisted living facilities, and does not cover the cost of room and board. Seniors are expected to pay these costs themselves, just as they would cover the cost of housing if they were living in the community. However, many state programs limit the amount that seniors who reside in an assisted living facility have to pay out of their own pockets.

Those On the Lowest Incomes May Qualify for Additional Financial Aid

While seniors in assisted living facilities are expected to make some contribution to the cost of their accommodation, there are programs in place to support seniors on very low incomes. HUD’s Section 202 program covers assisted living, and organizations that participate in the program receive rental assistance, making it possible for them to accept token contributions from residents. Seniors on the lowest incomes who receive Medicaid and support with housing costs have a personal needs allowance that can be spent on personal items not provided by the facility, such as perfumes, cosmetics or snacks.