Based on the federal poverty guidelines, low-income seniors are those with annual incomes of no more than $14,580. The federal poverty level is based on three times the average cost of feeding an individual for a year. This amount will increase depending on the number of people who live in the home. Most public assistance programs require seniors to meet specific income and asset limits for eligibility. In South Carolina, seniors must make no more than $2,742 a month or $32,904 per year, with assets totaling no more than $2,000.

What is Considered Income for Seniors?

Income is considered any payments made directly to the senior that are normally included in federal income taxes. This may include pay for employment, Social Security Income, Social Security Disability, pensions, interest payments from savings, stock dividends and veterans’ benefits.

With married couples, only the spouse’s income applying for benefits is counted towards the total income. However, the non-applicant spouse may receive a monthly maintenance needs allowance from the spouse who moves to residential care. This helps prevent poverty in the one who remains in the home in home health care or those who don’t require assistance.

What’s the Difference Between Countable and Uncountable Assets?

Countable assets are those that have a monetary value, while non-countable assets are those that hold value to the owner. Examples of countable assets include savings accounts, real estate, investments and bonds. Non-countable assets include clothing, jewelry and automobiles.