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  • Tamara Reeves

Resources for Seniors

I am grateful to have a colleague who works as an advocate for seniors. This week she sent information on the following resources available for this population:

Financial Assistance & Funding Options for Senior Living

Medicaid and Assisted Living

Financial assistance from Medicaid for assisted living comes through several different types of Medicaid programs. The most common of which are Medicaid Waivers also called Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) Waivers and 1915(c) Waivers. The number of states offering these waivers has increased rapidly in recent years, and assistance will possibly be available nationwide in the near future. However, some states are moving to a Medicaid managed care model and away from Medicaid Waivers. These states continue to provide the same level of benefits for assisted living but do so as part of their managed care programs instead of through waivers. Another type of Medicaid program is referred to as State Plan Personal Care or Personal Assistance Services. This is a regular Medicaid benefit (an entitlement, meaning anyone who is eligible to receive services is able to do so) that pays for personal care and allows beneficiaries to receive that care in assisted living communities.

Veterans' Programs for Assisted Living

There is financial assistance for assisted living for veterans in the form of a pension called the Aid and Attendance Benefit. As of 2019, this program can provide assistance up to $1,881 / month for a single veteran and up to $2,230 / month for a married veteran. However, eligibility is complicated and there can be extensive wait times for approval. Details of the program, eligibility requirements and tips for expediting the approval process are available here. Veterans who may be eligible for both Medicaid and Aid and Attendance might want to review this comparison of the two programs.

State Non-Medicaid Programs

Many states have recognized that providing financial assistance to frail, elderly individuals for assisted living is less costly to the state then having them go into a Medicaid-funded nursing home. This is usually preferable for the individual and their family as well. Unfortunately, not every state offers these programs.  These programs, which in many shapes and sizes, offering different benefits. However, all the programs in one way or another help to offset the cost of residing in an assisted living community. For example, some of these programs provide cash assistance that is not specifically designated for assisted living, but can still be used for that purpose.  Other programs provide a benefit supplement for beneficiaries who reside in assisted living instead of at home.  Still others are state-owned, assisted living residences with pricing well under market rates.

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