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

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 Answer

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.