New Jersey is a state filled with fun and easy access to amazing amenities. From the bright lights of Atlantic City to the crashing waves of Ocean City, this New England area keeps seniors on the go. Independent living is an affordable option for anyone considering retirement to the Garden State even though New Jersey has the highest property taxes in the nation because seniors often only pay a rental fee when living in a senior community. Other senior income at or below an annual total of $75,000 is not taxed or taxed at a low rate. The cost of living is generally below the national average throughout the state, particularly for healthcare expenses. 

Senior apartments and independent living communities allow seniors to continue living alone or with a spouse, while also offering some help with more labor-intensive chores. For example, communities handle all outdoor maintenance, including snow removal and lawn care, allowing residents to enjoy garden time without the physical labor. Entertainment, social activities and meals may be included in the monthly rent.

This guide offers a look at how much independent living typically costs in New Jersey, along with free and low-cost resources that are of interest to many seniors. 

The Cost of Independent Living in New Jersey

Typically, independent living is between 30-40% less expensive than assisted living. The estimated costs of care for independent living used in this guide are based on assisted living costs reported in the Genworth Cost of Care Survey 2020 minus 35%.

Independent living in New Jersey is fairly expensive at $4,323 per month. The national average is $2,795, though several neighboring states are comparable to New Jersey. For example, Delaware is slightly more expensive at $4,349 per month, while Connecticut is $4,095. Pennsylvania and New York are significantly more affordable at $2,571 and $3,120, respectively, though location within each state can dramatically affect the average cost.


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Paying for Independent Living in New Jersey

Independent living may come with a wide variety of support services, or it may be simply a community of folks at a similar stage of life all living in the same place. In general, there are a few resources available to help with basic rental costs for seniors. Some financing options might include a reverse mortgage. If a senior has dependents that wish to continue living at home, a reverse mortgage allows them to use their home equity to finance independent living without rehoming their loved ones. For seniors living alone or with others who also intend to move to senior housing, selling a house is another option. Long-term care insurance may also pay for some of the costs. 

Independent Living Resources in New Jersey

Seniors considering retirement in New Jersey may need access to a variety of supportive services. Below is a list of some public and private resources that offer low or no-cost services to seniors. 

ResourceContact Service
Area Agency on Aging/Aging & Disability Resource Connection

(877) 222-3737AAA and ADRC locations both act as administrative agencies for various local, state and federal programs designed to provide seniors with assistance. Each of New Jersey’s 21 counties has a local AAA/ADRC office that can assist with benefits applications, transportation assistance, meal delivery and other programs available to seniors that can extend their stay in the community. 
Senior Freeze Program(800) 882-6597The extremely high property tax rate in New Jersey may seem like a barrier for those interested in retiring to this state. However, the Senior Freeze Program allows seniors to significantly reduce tax liability associated with homeownership. The program offers seniors refunds for any increases in taxes for the new year, backdated to the year the senior first qualified for the program. This insulates seniors from rising costs and helps keep property ownership affordable. 
Tax-Aide Program(888) 687-2277Seniors in New Jersey may be eligible for free assistance with tax filing through an AARP-funded program. The Tax-Aide program connects eligible seniors with volunteer tax professionals who can help them navigate the complexity of filing taxes and maximizing access to benefits. Volunteers are IRS-certified and located nationwide. Assistance is available online and via phone, in addition to in-person options.
State Health Insurance Assistance Program(800) 792-8820Navigating through the choices available when selecting Medicare insurance can be complicated. Original Medicare and Medicare Part C offer comparable coverage, but nuances can directly impact out-of-pocket costs. Seniors with specific health issues may qualify for plans not available to the general population, while seniors in certain income brackets may qualify for premium assistance programs. SHIP offers unbiased counseling to seniors, explaining what plans cover, how benefits work in action and are on-hand to answer any insurance-related questions seniors may have. 
NJSave(800) 792-9745The NJSave program offers a streamlined application for state assistance programs that may pay some or all of an applicant’s Part B Medicare premiums or provide out-of-pocket help with prescription costs. It may also offer a small, annual energy assistance benefit and/or help to pay for hearing aids. 
Pharmaceutical Assistance to the Aged & Disabled(800) 792-9745PAAD is a state-funded program designed to help seniors meet the financial cost of prescription medications. Seniors with existing insurance through Medicare may need help during coverage gaps or with expensive medications. This program is available to seniors who meet income restrictions, but it’s more expensive than Medicaid, opening this program up to a wider range of seniors. Seniors can use the NJSave application to also apply for PAAD.