If dad enters nursing home as private pay, will he continue to receive SS check?

1 answer | Last updated: Sep 14, 2017
A fellow caregiver asked...

My dad is 92 years of age, recently had a stroke but remains alert and is trying to regain some function through therapy. If he has to enter a nursing home, he will be a private pay patient and will NOT be applying for Medicaid benefits. Will he continue to receive his monthly SS benefits check while he resides in the nursing home. We are really counting on that check to help us provide this level of care for him.

Expert Answers

Your father will continue to get his full Social Security benefits for the rest of his life, regardless of where he lives. Social Security benefits are based on the Social Security taxes a person has paid throughout his or her working life, and are paid (when the person reaches retirement age) regardless of assets, expenses, living situation or other income. In other words, Social Security benefits are NOT -- unlike Medicaid and SSI and some other programs -- based on individual need but instead on an individual earnings history. Also, he can use his Social Security benefits in any way he chooses, including helping to be a self-pay nursing home resident.

If the time should ever come when your father needs Medicaid help to pay for his nursing home, his Social Security benefits would be considered as part of his income when Medicaid determines his eligibility. If he applies for and is found to be eligible for Medicaid nursing home coverage, most of his Social Security benefits would go to the nursing home, with Medicaid paying the rest of the cost.