Seniors are considered low-income in North Dakota when they make less than $29,874.40 annually, which is less than 80% of the state’s per capita income. According to adjusted 2021 U.S. Census data, the annual median household income in North Dakota is $68,131 and the per capita income is $37,343. With these numbers, two-person households earning less than $54,504.80 annually would also be considered low income. Earning less than 50% of the area median income is considered very low income.

Several state and federal programs provide assistance to low-income seniors, depending on financial eligibility. However, most of these use the U.S. Federal Poverty Guidelines to determine eligibility. In North Dakota, 11.1% of people are considered in poverty by earning less than $14,580 annually for a single person or $19,720 for a two-person household.

Health Care Assistance for Low-Income Seniors in North Dakota

Medicaid provides health care coverage to low-income seniors in North Dakota. Seniors 65 or older or adults with disabilities may qualify for Medicaid coverage if they make $18,075 or less annually for a single-person household or less than $24,353 annually for two-person households. 

North Dakota Medicaid offers multiple long-term care service programs to qualifying seniors to assist with activities of daily living and to prevent seniors from being institutionalized in nursing facilities when their needs can be met at home. The Medicaid Waiver for Home and Community Based Services provides seniors requiring a nursing home level of care access to in-home services to meet their needs. The Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) provides a range of health care services to individuals 55 and older, but it is only available in select regions in the state. In some cases, PACE services may be provided in the home.

Other Assistance Programs for Low-Income Seniors in North Dakota

Other federal and state programs exist for low-income seniors in North Dakota. These programs can provide financial assistance with food, housing, energy and cash for living expenses. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) provides seniors with an income-based monthly stipend to use for their groceries. The ND Rent Help program can offer up to 12 months of rent assistance to seniors meeting income eligibility who can’t pay their rent. The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) provides seniors with assistance with their energy and heating expenses each year, with an income eligibility requirement of making 60% or less than North Dakota’s median income.

Low-income seniors requiring cash assistance may benefit from the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. This program is available to low-income or disabled seniors with limited resources, regardless of whether they have paid into Social Security. These monthly payments may also be collected in tandem with Social Security benefits for those with qualifying incomes.