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Nursing Homes in South Carolina

South Carolina has a statewide population of 5,148,714, and 937,066 South Carolinians are currently aged 65 and older. By the year 2030, the number of seniors in the state is projected to double to 1.8 million. While many older adults can safely age in place, those who develop complex medical needs can find 24/7 skilled nursing care at one of the state’s 195 licensed nursing homes. These state-licensed facilities provide residents with room and board, around-the-clock medical support and daily therapeutic recreational activities.

This guide provides an overview of average nursing home costs throughout South Carolina, along with information on programs that help seniors cover long-term care expenses. We’ve also included a list of free and low-cost services for seniors and their families, as well as a summary of the state laws and regulations for state-licensed skilled nursing facilities.

The Cost of Nursing Home Care in South Carolina

The average monthly rate for nursing home care in South Carolina is $7,298. By comparison, the national average is $7,756, making South Carolina one of the more affordable places to seek long-term care. Rates in neighboring North Carolina are slightly more expensive at $7,300 per month, while skilled nursing care costs less in Georgia, where the statewide average nursing home rate is $6,722.

Throughout South Carolina, nursing home costs vary depending on the location. The lowest rates are in Sumter, where skilled nursing care costs an average of $6,083 per month. Rates in nearby Columbia are significantly higher at $7,148, while seniors in Myrtle Beach can expect to pay about $6,600 for a semiprivate room in a nursing home. In the state capital of Columbia, rates run around $7,148 per month, while Hilton Head Island has the highest average nursing home rates in the state at $7,954.





Myrtle Beach










Hilton Head Island


Nursing home care is the highest level of long-term care offered in South Carolina and includes 24/7 skilled nursing services in a highly specialized, state-regulated setting. Seniors who want a residential placement but don’t need the type of medical care provided in a nursing home can expect to pay around $3,988 per month for assisted living. Those who are able to remain in their own homes will find that homemaker services cost about $4,076 per month for 44 hours of care weekly, while home health aide rates run about $4,195 per month. Adult day health care services, which include nonmedical care in a congregate setting, cost about $1,289 per month.

Nursing Home Care


Adult Day Health Care


Assisted Living


Homemaker Services


Home Health Aide


Does Medicaid Cover Nursing Home Care in South Carolina?

In South Carolina, Medicaid covers the cost of long-term care in a nursing home for individuals who meet certain income requirements and for those who receive doctor’s orders that their condition requires nursing home care. Approximately 1,175,383 people in the state are enrolled in the program. To accommodate those who require extensive care, there are 189 nursing homes in South Carolina. Low-income seniors who need help paying for their care may apply for the Community Choices Medicaid Waiver, which is also referred to as the Elderly and Disabled Waiver.

Medicaid Eligibility in South Carolina

To qualify for Medicaid in South Carolina, an individual must meet certain requirements for their maximum income and assets. Individuals are allowed up to $32,904 annually for income and $65,808 for couples where both are applying.

As far as asset limits, each individual applicant can have up to $4,000 in assets. For married couples where only one spouse is applying, the non-applicant spouse can have up to $66,480 in assets.


Household SizeNumber of ApplicantsIncome Limits Per Year*Asset Limits: Applicant(s)Asset Limits: Non-Applicants
One Person1$32,904$4,000
Two Person1$32,904**$4,000$66,480
Two Person2$65,808$8,000

*Except for a $30/mo. personal needs allowance, Medicare premiums and possibly a spousal income allowance for a non-applicant spouse, all of a recipient's monthly income must be put toward the cost of nursing home care.

**Income limit is for applicant only.

Additional qualifications for Medicaid applicants include:

  • Must be a U.S. citizen
  • Must prove South Carolina residency
  • Must assign rights to medical benefits

How To Apply for Medicaid in South Carolina

Seniors have several ways to apply for Medicaid in the state of South Carolina. First, an individual may apply through the Federal Health Marketplace online or by calling (800) 318-2596. Applications may be submitted in person or by mail through local Healthy Connections County Offices or by calling (888) 549-0820 or mailing the documents to SCDHHS P.O. Box 100101, Columbia, SC 29202. Typically, it takes up to 45 days for Medicaid approval, but times may vary depending on the applicant category and the number of individuals applying.

Information You Will Need:

  • Birth certificate
  • Social Security number
  • Income from all jobs or training
  • Retirement benefits
  • Checking and savings information from the past 5 years
  • Copies of life insurance
  • VA discharge papers
  • Proof of citizenship
  • Monthly bill obligations, including rent and utilities
  • Proof of payment for insurance

Additional Medicaid Support & Resources in South Carolina

The following is a list of free resources that provides additional information on state Medicaid, including how to apply and understanding the coverage amounts.

ResourceContactServices provides information on what Medicaid is and how it can benefit seniors in long-term care, as well as individuals in other programs. The site provides basic information on income and personal requirements and gives local contact information.
South Carolina Health and Human Services(888) 549-0820The Health and Human Services Department oversees the Medicaid program for South Carolina. It also provides information on Medicare and the different parts and gives details on eligibility requirements. Downloadable application forms are available on the website.
South Carolina Health Connections Choices(877) 552-4642Health Connections is South Carolina's Medicaid plan. The website offers information on enrolling in an eligible health plan and locating health care providers that accept the insurance. The website also makes it possible to look at and monitor applications and make changes.

Does Medicare Cover Nursing Home Care in South Carolina?

Medicare provides limited coverage for short-term stays in a skilled nursing facility following a hospital stay, but seniors must meet a number of specific requirements. This benefit is available to beneficiaries who have been hospitalized for at least three days, excluding the date of discharge, so it’s most valuable for those who are recovering from an injury, illness or surgery.

Once seniors meet the hospitalization requirement, Medicare will pay for up to 100 days of skilled nursing per benefit period. The first 20 days are covered in full. Starting on day 21, beneficiaries must pay a daily coinsurance rate. After day 100, seniors are responsible for the entire cost.

What Does Medicare Cover?

Medicare covers a number of specific services, including:

  • Meals
  • A semiprivate room
  • Medications
  • Skilled nursing
  • Physical therapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Speech therapy
  • Audiologist care
  • Medical supplies
  • Medical social services
  • Nutritional counseling
  • Ambulance transportation


What Isn’t Covered by Medicare?

Medicare does not cover long-term custodial care that addresses seniors’ day-to-day needs. This includes help with daily activities, such as bathing, dressing and using medical equipment.

For more information about Medicare and when it covers Nursing Home Care, read our Guide to Nursing Homes.

Medicare Support and Resources in South Carolina

With so many options to choose from, seniors may find it difficult to navigate the enrollment process of Medicare. Several programs offer trained counselors who can answer questions concerning what Medicare covers and whether personal insurance can offset additional costs that aren’t covered.

South Carolina State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP)(800) 868-9095SHIP provides in-depth insurance counseling to Medicare-eligible seniors, their families and their caregivers. Counselors provide one-on-one assistance with reviewing plan options, adding prescription coverage, explaining bills and reviewing explanations of benefits and can provide information on supplemental insurance.
National Council on Aging (NCOA)(571) 527-3900The NCOA helps seniors understand coverage options, costs and plans that work for their individual situation. The council also provides information on other types of insurance that can fill in any gaps that are uncovered by Medicare, including supplemental insurance.
South Carolina Upstate Aging and Disability Resource Center(803) 734-9000Sponsored by the Appalachian Council of Governments, the Disability Resource Center explains the various types of Medicare plans to seniors and provides a website with listings to other agencies that offer Medicare assistance in the state.

Other Financial Assistance Options for Nursing Home Care in South Carolina

While Medicaid and Medicare are two of the most common programs used to pay for Nursing Home Care, there are other financial assistance options available, depending on your unique situation.

Aid and AttendanceLearn more and apply online at who receive a VA pension may also be eligible for the Aid and Attendance benefit, a monthly cash allowance that veterans receive in addition to their standard pension amount. The benefit is intended for veterans in need of long-term care services and may be used towards paying for skilled nursing care.
Reverse MortgagesLearn more about your options and how to apply at ftc.govIf you own a home, you may be able to use a reverse mortgage to help pay for nursing care. Reverse mortgages are loans that one can take out against the value of their home, essentially converting some of the home's equity into cash. Reverse mortgage loans do need to be repaid with interest, typically within 12 months of receiving the loan.
Long-Term Care (LTC) InsuranceLearn more about Long-Term Care Insurance and how to apply for a policy at who already have long-term care insurance may be able to use it to pay for skilled nursing care. Most policies cover at least a portion of the cost, but it depends on the specific policy terms. Note that older adults who are already in need of skilled nursing care will not typically be eligible to sign up for a LTC insurance policy.

Free and Low-Cost Resources for Seniors in South Carolina

There are many resources in South Carolina that assist seniors in their retirement. has compiled information on local organizations, programs and agencies and categorized them into care types for easy reference.

Area Agency on Aging

Retirees can find support and advice on various senior-related issues from their local Area Agency on Aging. The agency provides advice on topics such as financial assistance programs, in-home care and long-term care planning. It also connects seniors and caregivers with community-based resources.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
South Carolina Area Agencies on AgingThe 10 Area Agencies on Aging (AAA) under the ) offer seniors Information about available programs and services, including the State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP), Medicare, the Long Term Care Ombudsman Program, senior centers and the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP). AAA location info is accessible via the website.

Cash Assistance Programs

Cash assistance programs in South Carolina provide financial support to help low-income retirees remain in their own homes for as long as possible. Seniors and caregivers can apply for tax rebates and reductions, discounts on vital services and help covering the cost of heating and cooling their home.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
South Carolina Lifeline Program800-234-9473The LifeLine Program offers a discount on landline or mobile telephone service, ensuring that participants can stay in contact with loved ones.

Financial Assistance for Senior Care and Senior Living

Whether living in their own home or in a senior living community, South Carolina seniors can find financial assistance from numerous local resources. These organizations help residents cover some of the costs associated with in-home or long-term care and connect them with other helpful community-based resources.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
South Carolina Community Long-Term Care888-549-0820Community Long-Term Care offers a variety of programs and services to older adults who need personal care assistance to help them delay entry into nursing home care. This includes the Community Choices Waiver that helps individuals aged 18 and older with a disability or seniors aged 65 and older receive services like bathing, dressing and toileting. Other services offered include companionship, home-delivered meals, adult day health care, skilled nursing, respite care and personal emergency response systems.

Food Assistance Programs

Local organizations help ensure elderly citizens have a balanced diet and receive essential vitamins and minerals to remain healthy. Through nutrition programs, congregate meals, home-delivered meals and food pantries, these programs help South Carolina seniors afford the nutritious food they need.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
South Carolina Meals on WheelsSouth Carolina Meals on Wheels works with South Carolina food pantries, senior centers and churches to provide weekday deliveries of hot, nutritious lunches to homebound seniors. Delivery times and options vary by specific MOW partner. There's no charge for the delivery service, though donations are accepted. Many Meals on Wheels partners also offer congregate meal sites that provide a social experience for otherwise isolated seniors.
South Carolina Seniors Farmers' Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP)888-227-3487The Southern California Seniors Farmer's Market Nutrition Program is a seasonal grant program that provides seniors with fresh fruits and vegetables from local farmer's markets. The program runs from June 1 to October 31. Each eligible senior receives $50 worth of checks to spend at participating markets. Seniors must be over 60 years of age, reside in one of 46 participating counties and meet certain income requirements to be eligible for the program.
South Carolina Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)888-227-3487The South Carolina Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program helps qualifying seniors over age 60 obtain nutritious food. Those who are eligible receive their benefits on an electronic benefits transfer card, which functions like a debit card and is accepted at supermarkets, convenience stores and farmers' markets statewide and at participating online retailers. Only food and beverages can be purchased with the card, excluding prepared food items, alcohol and tobacco. Expedited benefits are available within 7 days of application for qualifying seniors.

Home Repair and Modifications

Seniors and those with disabilities can access a variety of local resources to help them pay for home repairs and modifications. Programs in South Carolina have different eligibility criteria and often assist retirees by providing grants or loans.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
South Carolina Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP)803-734-0662WAP helps seniors with limited budgets reduce their energy bills by making their property more energy-efficient. This includes installing insulation and replacing windows, doors and older appliances. Replacing HVAC units, hot water heaters and refrigerators.

Many organizations offer free or low-cost legal services to South Carolina seniors. Older adults can access advice on issues such as estate planning, living wills and power of attorney. Some firms also act as long-term care ombudsmen, advocating for the rights of seniors in senior living communities.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
South Carolina Long Term Care Ombudsman800-868-9095The Long Term Care Ombudsman Program was created to ensure residents of memory care communities and other long term care facilities receive high quality care. The program's volunteers investigate complaints about facilities and seek a resolution that supports the best interests of the facility's residents. Before moving into a facility, an ombudsman can help find facilities' inspection records and past citations so families can choose the best facility for their loved one's needs.
South Carolina Legal Services803-799-9668South Carolina Legal Services is a statewide nonprofit with offices in Columbia and other major cities. It's dedicated to ensuring that all residents have equal access to legal services, regardless of their ability to pay. Seniors can contact this organization for help with all types of civil matters, including health care, family law, housing, deceptive sales practices, debt collection and consumer rights.

Senior Centers

Senior centers in South Carolina bring together residents through recreational activities and events. Many also offer advice and support on senior issues, run wellness and nutrition programs, and connect older adults with other resources in the local area.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
South Carolina Multipurpose Senior Centers800-868-9095South Carolina's Multipurpose Senior Centers offer residents a place to gather, share meals in a congenial setting, participate in wellness classes and generally remain active in their communities. These centers also act as a first stop for many seniors seeking benefits assistance. Public benefits counseling and transportation services are just a small sample of the help that may be available at a local senior center.

Social Security Offices

Social Security offices in South Carolina help seniors and disabled people access the benefits they're entitled to. Older adults can contact their local office for information about receiving retirement benefits, disability allowance and Supplemental Security Income.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
South Carolina Social SecuritySocial Security is a source of income available to retirees and people who can no longer work because of a disability. The money for Social Security comes from a payroll tax levied on employers, employees and self-employed individuals. When you retire, you'll receive monthly payments based on how much you earned when you were working.

Tax Assistance

Seniors can apply for tax assistance from several South Carolina resources. Elderly residents and those with disabilities could be eligible for tax exemptions on medical expenses, reductions on property tax and other tax assistance programs.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
South Carolina Homestead Exemption​803-898-5700The South Carolina Homestead Exemption provides an exemption of the first $50,000 of the Fair Market Value of your property in order to reduce tax liability.

Utility & Energy Bill Assistance

Low-income seniors who are struggling to meet the costs of maintaining their homes can find support from organizations that offer assistance with utility and energy bills. South Carolina retirees could also qualify for emergency funding programs if they're in danger of losing utility services due to unpaid invoices.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
South Carolina Low Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP)803-734-0662LIHWAP is a federally funded program that assists residents of South Carolina with water bills and waste management fees. This assistance applies to seniors and individuals who use public water systems or treatment works.
South Carolina Low-Income Home Energy Improvement Plan (LIHEIP)803-734-0662LIHEAP helps seniors pay for high energy bills, especially during winter. The program provides utility bill payment assistance, energy crisis assistance and weatherization and home repair assistance. The program is offered by local county Community Action Agencies.

Veteran's Services

South Carolina retirees who have served in the U.S. military can find support from local veteran services. These offices and organizations help vets access the benefits they're eligible for and provide advice and information on a variety of issues.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
South Carolina VA Benefits and Health CareVeterans in South Carolina can access VA health care services, which vary and offer coverage for preventive care, inpatient hospitalizations and emergency care. Disability compensation is available for veterans who became ill, injured or disabled while on active duty. Other VA benefits available to some South Carolina veterans include pension benefits, assistance securing employment, life insurance and access to VA home loans. Eligibility requirements can vary and can be reviewed at a local VA office.

Nursing Home Laws and Regulations in South Carolina

Nursing Home Laws and Regulations in SOUTH CAROLINA
Licensing RequirementsNursing facilities must hold a valid license issued by the Division of Nursing Homes. Facilities are inspected prior to licensure, and ongoing inspections occur at least once every three years.
Staffing RequirementsEvery nursing home must have a full-time administrator licensed by the South Carolina Board of Long Term Health Care Administrators. Whenever the licensed administrator is not at the facility, a staff member must be delegated to assume the duties normally performed by the administrator. A minimum staff-to-resident ratio of 1:9 must be maintained during the day and 1:22 at night. Facilities with more than eight residents must have at least one awake staff on duty overnight, and multi-floor facilities need to have at least one on-duty staff member on each floor at all times.
Staff Training RequirementsAt least one licensed nurse must be on-site or on-call at all times, and a registered nurse must be designated as the full-time Director of Nursing.All unlicensed caregivers need to complete a criminal record check, basic first aid training and an approved course that outlines infection control procedures, resident rights, fire response, confidentiality, use of restraints and checking and recording of vital signs.
Admission RestrictionsNursing homes may only admit individuals with care needs that cannot be safely met in a less restrictive setting. Residents must require hands-on assistance with at least two activities of daily living and/or need continuous monitoring of major medical conditions.
Care Planning RequirementsWithin 72 hours of admission, nursing home staff must complete a resident needs assessment, and a comprehensive care plan must be developed within seven days of admission. This care plan needs to include input from the resident, their family members and/or legal guardian, a physician and the facility administrator, and the plan needs to be reviewed at least once every six months.
Dietary and Nutritional Services RequirementThree daily meals plus snacks must be served, and the menu must be approved by a licensed dietician. Residents who need to follow a special diet prescribed by a physician must be provided with meals that meet their medical requirements.
Specialized Rehabilitative ServicesNursing facilities may offer adjunct rehab services either in-house or at a nearby clinic. These services need to be delivered by a registered provider and may include speech and language therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy and behavioral counseling.
Medication and Pharmaceutical ServicesLicensed nurses working in a skilled nursing facility may administer prescription and over-the-counter medications in accordance with the scope of their license, including oral and topical medications and regularly-scheduled insulin injections. Licensed nurses may also administer flu vaccines and perform TB screening tests. Non-licensed staff may supervise the self-administration of medications upon completion of a medication management course approved by the facility administrator.
Activities Requirements Licensed nursing facilities need to employ a full-time activity director with an undergraduate degree in recreation, psychology, occupational therapy or a similar discipline. The activity director needs to offer daily recreational activities that are age-appropriate and designed to promote activation among residents. These activities should be posted on a calendar available to all residents. Residents must also have the opportunity to participate in religious services and have reasonable access to pastoral care.
Infection Control Requirements No more than three residents may occupy a single room, and at least one toilet is required for every six residents. Staff must follow infection prevention and control procedures dictated by the Department of Health and Environmental Control.
Medicaid CoveragesSouth Carolina's Medicaid program covers nursing home costs for Medicaid beneficiaries who require the level of care provided in a skilled nursing facility.

Directory of Facilities in South Carolina

in South Carolina

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