Will Medicaid pay for assisted living?

1 answer | Last updated: Sep 18, 2016
Sldfw asked...

My Dad is 78. Has no income. Lives on monthly social security check (less than $2000) He has no life insurance. He had a stroke and needs to be in assisted living. He was released from hospital and is now in rehab for 3 weeks which Medicare is covering 100%. He has no further assistance thuogh after he gets out. Will Medicaid accept him?


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 Caring.com.

Whether Medicaid will pay for assisted living for you dad depends on several factors. The first is what state does your dad live in? Many states have "waiver" programs which enable them to use Medicaid for Home and Community Based Services, including assisted living. Other states do not have Medicaid programs that pay for assisted living. The waiver program may have an income cap. For example, in New Jersey, the 2012 income cap is $2,094/month. If the applicant's income is above the cap, he or she is not eligible for Medicaid in assisted living.

If the state has a waiver program and the applicant's income is below the cap, you have the challenge of finding an assisted living facility that accepts "direct Medicaid". This means that there are no funds availabe to pay privately for a period of time prior to applying for Medicaid. Some facilities require one, two or three years private pay before accepting Medicaid. Other facilities may not accept Medicaid at all.

As you can see, the process can be complex. You should start investigating the options immediately. Three weeks will go by very quickly.