Seniors are considered low income in Pennsylvania when they receive less than 80% of the median state income. The adjusted median annual household income for 2021 is $67,587, and individual average income is $37,725. This means that a senior household bringing in less than $54,069 or a single senior making less than $30,180 annually is considered low income. 

Poverty levels in Pennsylvania fall at 12.1% of the population. The U.S. Federal Poverty Guidelines determine that a single-person household with an annual income of less than $14,580 or a two-person household with an annual income of less than $19,720 is impoverished. Low-income and impoverished seniors in Pennsylvania may qualify for state and federal assistance with health care and other essential living expenses based on income.

Health Care Assistance for Low-Income Seniors in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania’s Medicaid program provides low-income and impoverished seniors with access to health care and medication coverage. A single senior must have an annual household income of less than $18,075, and a household of two must have an income of less than $24,353 before taxes to be eligible. Medicaid waivers offer assistance for Home and Community-Based Services or for long-term care facility services. 

The Living Independence for the Elderly (LIFE) program allows seniors to continue to live in their communities while receiving a range of services to meet their needs. This is a managed care program that includes both medical and supportive services such as in-home supportive care, nursing care and various social services. Seniors must require a nursing home level of care and meet financial requirements or be able to co-pay for participation in this program.

The Help at Home (OPTIONS) Program

Low-income seniors in Pennsylvania may qualify for the Help at Home program at no cost. To qualify for this program, seniors must live in Pennsylvania, be at least 60 years old, be a U.S. citizen or legal resident and must have unmet needs that impact daily functioning. This program does not have an income cap, but some participants may pay a sliding scale co-pay based on their income.

This program has four primary services. Adult day services provide a safe place for seniors with impairments who cannot be left alone while their primary caregivers are away from home. With care management, seniors receive individual care plans to meet their needs. Seniors may receive meal deliveries and may also receive personal care services to provide assistance with activities of daily living. This program also offers home health services based on availability and location.