Seniors who qualify for Missouri’s Medicaid program, MO HealthNet, are eligible for assisted living financial assistance. Additionally, several waiver programs exist that cover specialized care not covered by MO HealthNet, particularly if the provision of that care obviates the need for participants to enter a nursing home.

Who Qualifies for Assisted Living Assistance From MO HealthNet?

To qualify for MO HealthNet, applicants must earn less than a certain amount. In 2022, the limits were $10,956 for single applicants and $23,169 if both members of a two-person household applied. Asset limits are $5,000 for a single applicant and $10,000 for a couple. Note that asset limits exclude the applicant’s home and vehicle. Different income and asset limits apply if only one person in a two-person household applies for Medicaid. Other requirements include the applicant must be 65 or older, or disabled, have a social security number, be a resident of Missouri and a U.S. citizen or legal resident.

MO HealthNet covers the cost of 24-hour nonmedical care in an assisted living facility. The program considers the specific needs of the applicant, including their cognitive ability and functional needs. The assisted living facility where the applicant lives must be a registered Medicaid provider. Applicants can get help applying for assistance from various organizations in Missouri, including:

  • CLAIM: The official Missouri State Health Insurance Assistance Program
  • HOPE: A nonprofit focused on housing options for the elderly
  • Cover Missouri: An organization operated by the Missouri Foundation for Health that helps applicants obtain financial aid for assisted living.

Waiver Programs in Missouri

Missouri has several waiver programs that can help cover assisted living costs not covered through MO HealthNet. The Home and Community-Based Services Waiver provides funding for skilled nursing and specialized medical equipment. Another waiver program, the Independent Living Waiver, provides funding for case management, home modifications and medical equipment. Another possibility is the Aged and Disabled Waiver, primarily intended for seniors living at home, but who need assistance with day-to-day activities. Services provided include adult day care, homemaker services and respite care. Admission to these waiver programs depends on available slots, as they have funding limitations. Seniors can apply for these waivers through the Missouri Division of Senior and Disability Services. 

Other Assisted Living Funding Options in Missouri

Veteran applicants receiving a need-based, monthly pension can apply for VA Aid and Attendance benefits to be used toward the cost of assisted living expenses. Some insurance policies allow holders to apply for living benefits to fund assisted living expenses. For seniors who aren’t eligible for Medicaid, it may be possible to rent out the family home and use the proceeds to cover the cost of assisted living. Another possibility is a reverse mortgage on the home, although, in this instance, the applicant, partner or spouse must continue to live in the home.