Low-Income Assisted Living for Seniors: Finding Resources
Every human being is worthy of support during their senior years regardless of their economic situation. Many of today’s elders have fixed incomes or are living on government subsidies like Social Security, which can make searching for affordable senior accommodation challenging.
Most assisted living facilities provide a variety of services that can help make life easier for seniors, but the cost of that care can be prohibitive. Finding the right low-income senior living service can be tricky, but it’s worth it for affordable yet quality long-term care.
Here are some low income assisted living for seniors resources to help you on your journey.
Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
The good news is that the government can and does help to subsidize housing beyond social security benefits.
This includes some different living options via the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD):
- Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC): HUD developments can provide seniors with low-income housing by putting aside a certain number of units. The elderly may be eligible if they meet the HUD income requirements.
- Housing Choice Voucher Program: This is the Section 8 housing option. Individual income must not surpass 50% of the medium income in the local region.
- Section 202 Supportive Housing Program: This is a HUD-sponsored program designed for adults over the age of 62 that meet a ‘very low income’ condition. Accommodations from section 202 housing can be great options, but they usually have long waiting lists.
Section 202 Program
Let’s learn more about the section 202 program. As mentioned, low-income seniors over the age of 62 may be eligible to live in subsidized housing via HUD’s Section 202 program. This program covers both independent and assisted living communities.
Formed in 1959, Section 202 is the sole HUD program that offers housing just for seniors. The properties are typically owned by non-profit organizations. The rent-assisted accommodation is explicitly developed to help seniors and people with disabilities live as independently as possible.
Communities usually provide a selection of services and activities to support the elderly. These services typically include dining options, housekeeping, and transportation. Some communities go one step up and provide fitness programs, art therapy, and nutrition support.
The federal government covers the costs of the program. However, funding is dispersed at the state and county levels to non-profit organizations to develop affordable accommodation for seniors.
Non-profit organizations that build Section 202 housing may accept rental assistance funds to enable them to remain in funds while accepting reduced rent contributions from seniors.
Anyone who is over the age of 62 and is considered as very low income based on HUD standards can apply to move into Section 202 senior assisted living housing.
Prospective residents must apply via the community or facility they’re interested in living in. To learn more about the Section 202 accommodation available in your local area, check out the HUD inventory page.
California Medi-Cal Assisted Living Support
Fortunately for California state residents, Medi-Cal offers benefits to older people and financial assistance for low-income senior living options. The new Assisted Living Waiver (ALW) enables Medi-Cal to be able to cover assisted living care and aid for eligible residents.
A primary goal of the program is to allow low-income, Medi-Cal eligible seniors and individuals with disabilities who would otherwise need nursing facility services to live in a community care setting. This would be in a Residential Care Facility for the Elderly (RCFE) or public subsidized accommodation.
The Medi-Cal affordable accommodation program allows people who need help to find appropriate assisted living services, no matter what their financial background is.
Services for Medi-Cal Assisted Living Support participants include:
- Personal help and assistance with daily living activities
- Housekeeping services
- Laundry services
- Skilled nursing care
- Everyday meals, drinks, and snacks
- Recreational activities
- Social services
When it comes to payment, members of the ALW program cover their room and board at the selected assisted living community. Medi-Cal pays for medical care and other services.
Veterans and spouses of veterans may be eligible for help from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The VA doesn’t cover a veteran’s rent, but it may pay for some of the services offered by an assisted living facility.
This benefit is known as Aid and Attendance (A&A.) It’s a monthly, needs-based payment that goes above and beyond the VA pension that can help pay for the costs of long-term assistance and care.
It’s essential to understand that a veteran or surviving spouse may only accept Aid and Attendance or Housebound benefits if they cannot leave their home. They cannot receive both at once.
To be eligible for A&A benefits, a veteran must meet one of the following criteria:
- Requires assistance with activities of daily living (ADL). This includes bathing, dressing, adjusting prosthetic devices, or eating
- Be bedridden
- Live in a long-term care facility because of mental or physical incapacity
- Have severe visual issues with a correction of 5/200 or less in both eyes, or concentric contraction of the visual field to five degrees or less
To apply for A&A benefits, seniors must contact their state’s Pension Management Center or visit their local regional benefit office. Suitability for the benefits can vary depending on the state, so you should speak with your local VA benefits office to learn if you or your loved one qualifies.
When you apply, you’ll require evidence of need. This typically includes a detailed report from a physician explaining your issues completing ADLs.
There are various Medicaid programs that offer financial help for assisted living. Home and Community Based Services (HBCS) Waivers and 1915 Waivers are the most common type of this help. From 2019, they’re available in 44 states.
This coverage is expected to keep growing until it’s available in every state in the country. While some states are moving away from waivers to managed care programs for assisted living, members of those states can still receive the same level of benefit from the Medicaid program.
Remember that while many states offer Medicaid benefits for assisted living across the United States, the suitability requirements and services vary significantly from state to state. Some states have stringent regulations on the size of the assisted living community. Others will only pay for personal care.
If you want to learn more about the programs available in your area and how to apply, reach out to your state’s Medicaid office.
Long-Term Care Insurance
Long-term care insurance (LTCI) can be complicated. While it may seem like it can protect against a future possibility of becoming disabled or ill, long-term care insurance isn’t always the best option.
LTCI premiums can be as expensive as the price of the care itself. This means there’s little financial advantage to it. Likewise, the type of care covered differs depending on the policy. Some important areas of care aren’t even covered at all.
For example, a facility-only policy pays for care in a licensed assisted living facility or a skilled nursing facility. However, it wouldn’t cover care in an unlicensed facility or your own home.
Many policies also don’t cover the cost of memory care. Plus, there’s usually a waiting or elimination period before you can access funds. The shorter the elimination timeframe you choose, the pricier the premiums are.
In some circumstances, LTCI providers also need a physical evaluation performed by a physician of their choice before they’re willing to cover any costs. Whether or not the senior is eligible for coverage may depend on whether or not they can independently perform at least two activities of daily living.
If you decide to go down this route, it’s essential to understand what the policy covers and the final costs before it’s purchased.
Low Income Assisted Living for Seniors: Are You Ready To Make a Decision?
Of course, your final decision on a low income assisted living for seniors facility will depend on more than finances alone. It’s essential to find a community that fits the requirements of you or your loved one in a convenient location. That way, you or your loved one can remain happy and fulfilled every day.
If you’re on a low income and require additional support aside from senior living options, we’re here to help. Here at StandUp Wireless, we offer a complimentary SIM card that enables you to use our free monthly wireless service with your own phone that you’re used to using. Learn more here.