Seniors are considered low income in West Virginia if their income is 80% or less than the area’s median income. Seniors receiving 50% or less than the area’s median income are considered to be very low income. In West Virginia, the median household income is $50,884 and the per capita income is $28,761, according to the 2021 U.S. Census. Using these figures, a senior household receiving less than $40,707.20 or a single senior receiving less than $23,008.80 annually are considered low income. Senior households with an annual income of less than $25,442 or single seniors earning less than $14,380.50 per year are considered to be very low income. In West Virginia, an estimated 16.8% of people live in poverty.

Many state and federal programs are available to assist with living expenses and health care costs, including assistance with long-term care such as home health care. However, many of these programs have income limits much lower than the threshold for low-income households in the state. The various programs will each have their own income eligibility guidelines, which may sometimes even vary by county or city.

Health Care Assistance for Low-Income Seniors in West Virginia

Seniors 65 or older or disabled adults in West Virginia may qualify for Medicaid, depending on income. For one senior living alone, the annual household gross income threshold is $18,075 or lower. For a two-person household, this threshold increases to $24,353 annual gross income.

Medicaid provides health care coverage to qualifying individuals, including access to home and community-based programs and long-term care programs that provide seniors with the assistance needed to maintain independent living or provide access to long-term health facilities. The Aged and Disabled Waiver provides both in-home and community assistance instead of receiving nursing home care. It covers personal attendant services, case management services, skilled nursing, personal emergency response systems and nonmedical transportation services. 

Other Assistance for Low-Income Seniors in West Virginia

West Virginia also has programs to support low-income seniors with food and monthly stipends for living expenses. The state’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program provides a monthly benefit that seniors and other eligible individuals can use to purchase food items at most stores. The amount a senior receives is determined by household size and income.Seniors may also receive monthly stipends from the Supplemental Security Income program, a federal program that provides monthly payments to low-income seniors or disabled adults. This program is separate from the Social Security program that adults pay into during the course of their careers, and eligible applicants are not required to have paid into Social Security to receive SSI. In some cases, seniors may receive both social security and SSI payments each month.