My mom with Alzheimer's isn't eligible for Medicare or Medicaid, but is there any other financial assistance?

5 answers | Last updated: Sep 26, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

My 79 year old mother has Alzheimer's and is in an assisted living facility. Her income (ss and pension) comes to $24k per year. Her AL care cost is $58k a year. I do not think she is eligible for any help from Medicare/Medicaid but am I missing anything? She is physically fine but is in late mid-stage Alzheimer's. I am currently paying the deficit for her living facility but cannot continue this much longer; my siblings will contribute nothing. I must work full-time so having her at home is not an option.

I think I have explored every avenue for financial help, but can anyone help me know if I have missed something? Her income is too much for medicare/medicaid help, yet not enough for the care she requires. This is a terrible dilemma and I am at my wit's end.

Expert Answers

Barbara Steinberg is the CEO and founder of BLS Eldercare Financial Solutions, which specializes in helping families pay for long-term care for their loved ones. A registered financial gerontologist, she speaks regularly on the topic of paying for long-term care and is a financial expert for

You are probably correct about your mother not being eligible for Medicaid to pay for her assisted living. But it worth exploring in case she is. (Medicare does not pay for assisted living.)Depending on the state she lives in and the facility,the assisted living may or may not accept Medicaid. If it does accept Medicaid, the state may have an "income cap", which is the maximum income a resident can have and still be eligible for Medicaid. In most cap states, this number is $2,022/mo. This is gross income - including Medicare, taxes and any other deductions that are taken before her check is deposited. If her gross monthly income is above $2,022/mo., she is not eligible.

You should check with your state Alzheimer's Association. They sometimes offer small stipends and they can direct you to other assistance.

Was your father a veteran? If so, your mother may qualify for a widow's pension of $1,056/mo. from the VA. Some assisted living facilities will accept a resident's income plus the veteran's benefit in lieu of Medicaid. This typically applies to long term residents.

Is your mother's care at the level where she is eligible for a nursing home? If so, your state may have a Medically Needy program which accepts applicants for nursing home care regardless of what their income is. You can check with your county Board of Social Services to learn about the programs in your state.

Community Answers

F b answered...

Dear Anonymous, What is the status of your finances now? I'm in a similar situation with my 70-year old father. He's currently in an assisted living facility and we'll run out of money in 3 months. His monthly income is too much for Medicaid/Medicare assistance so I'm spending down his assets to make up for the shortfall. I'm 35 years old and still need to work to take care of me. Were you able to find any programs to help cover the gap? I hope so!

A fellow caregiver answered...

FB, Sorry, I found nothing. I am continuing to pay for everything out of my own pocket. I am able, however, to itemize and deduct her total cost for assisted living, medical co-pays, etc. from my taxes which has helped a lot. I wish I had a better answer--I have checked everything I can think of to no avail.

Chrisnc answered...

Are you applying for Medicaid LTC for your Mom? Our State approves Medicaid LTC for people with higher incomes like your mom. I believe your mom would pay with her income, and then Medicaid pays the difference. Talk to the facility where she is at currently. If the facility isn't helping you, it may be a facility that isn't approved for Medicaid. Your mom's current facility may be 100% private pay. You may have to find another residence for her that accepts Medicaid.

F b answered...

Thanks Chrisnc. The facility is 100% private pay and we really like it. They have been so supportive during my father's 2 hospital visits since my last posting. Also, my dad is now on hospice. They take care of his personal need items, along with sending an aide 3 times a week to assist the staff. A chaplain comes every 2-3 weeks to visit, along with a volunteer who comes each week to visit my dad. We also have a dedicated social worker and nurse on our hospice team. It has been a blessing in so many ways.

This situation has taught me a lot about hospice, by the way. It isn't just for those who are expecting death any day. It is just palliative care and right now that's what we need.