As an elder law attorney, I help people understand what government benefits are available to help pay for senior housing. Many times, people are confused about whether they can qualify for any help to pay for their living expenses. As part of the series for Older American’s Month, this article focuses on the benefits that are available to seniors, depending on the type of housing that they live in.
1. Independent living – Unless you are in some sort of subsidized housing through HUD (Section 8 housing), most independent living is on a private pay basis, meaning you use your own income and/or assets to help pay for your housing. For information on Section 8 housing available to low-income seniors in Florida, click here - http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/states/florida/renting
2. Home Health Care/Assisted Living/Residential Care homes – For individuals receiving assisted living care, there are many facilities that are only private pay. If you have long term care insurance, it may also help to pay for care in assisted living. Additionally, there are Medicaid waiver programs that are available to seniors whose income does not exceed $2,199/month and whose assets do not exceed $2,000/month. If the individual applying for Medicaid is married, the community spouse (person still living in the couple’s home or who is not on Medicaid themselves) can keep up to $119,220 in assets. In Florida, there is a waiting list for the programs that help pay for assisted living and home health care. In addition to Medicaid benefits, for those who are veterans or widowed spouses of a veteran, there is a benefit known as Aid and Attendance that can be used to help pay for in-home care or assisted living. As with Medicaid, there are asset and income requirements
3. Nursing home care – similar to assisted living care, there are facilities that are only private pay. The average cost of skilled nursing care is $8,000 per month in Florida. Not many people can afford private pay. Long term care insurance can also cover the cost of nursing home care, and many times, the senior’s income plus the long term care insurance, can cover the cost completely. For those who cannot afford to privately pay or who do not have long term care insurance, Medicaid benefits are available to help pay for care. Again, the Medicaid applicant’s assets must be below $2,000 and their income cannot exceed $2,199. There is no waiting list for the Medicaid program that pays for skilled nursing care.
If you have questions about whether or not you can qualify for Medicaid or VA benefits to help pay for long term care, please call the Law Offices of Laurie E. Ohall, P.A. at 813.438.8503.
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