As our parents and relatives are getting older, we ask the question, “How will we pay for senior care?” Let’s face it: the cost of senior care is high and not all (of any) of us are made of money. Many seniors don’t realize that there are many resources they can take advantage of to pay for senior care.
Due to increased costs for prescriptions, healthcare, and senior living, seniors may struggle to pay for basic necessities, like food. So, today, I provide you with 7 ways you can pay for senior care.
1. Benefits Check-Up
Did you know that there are millions of older adults who are eligible for various federal and state benefits but never know? These programs will help you find assistance with medications, healthcare, housing, food & nutrition, employment services, and more. The National Council on Aging (NCOA) provides their online resource locator tool, Benefits CheckUp.
Using their tool, you can very quickly find benefits that are tailored to you. From tax relief services to cash assistance, the NCOA provides ways for you to pay for senior care.
2. VA Special Pension with Aid and Attendance (A&A)
Most people know that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs helps veterans and their families by providing supplemental income through Veterans Pension and Survivors Pension benefits.
There are very few seniors that take advantage of this particular pension. Even those veterans who have heard about the A&A pension do not realize that they are eligible for it. Beyond the basic pension requirements, veteran seniors must also meet one of the following conditions:
- Veteran/survivor requires the aid of another person in order to perform some tasks of everyday living
- Veteran/survivor is bedridden, apart from a prescribed course of treatment or therapy
- Veteran/survivor is a patient in a nursing home, due to mental or physical incapacity; this includes Alzheimer’s and Dementia
- Veteran/survivor has eyesight limited to a corrected 5/200 visual acuity or less in both eyes
Medicare is a national health insurance that all Americans receive when they turn 65 years old. Disabled persons under 65 are also eligible to enroll in Medicare. Medicare is a perfect solution for seniors needing short-term care. Perhaps your senior is recovering from a hospitalization and needs to spend some time at a rehab facility or nursing home to recover.
It is important to remember that Medicare will not pay for long-term or custodial care. This means that you cannot use Medicare to pay for the following kinds of senior care:
Medicaid is the top government assistance program and one of the major ways to pay for senior care. The federal and state governments work in partnership to administer the program. This program helps many aging seniors that cannot afford their long-term care.
Medicaid acts as health insurance in the same way as Medicare, but Medicaid can be used to pay for long-term nursing care. Many states allow seniors to also be covered for assisted living communities or nursing home alternatives like in-home care. Before applying for Medicaid, you may want to consider consulting an elder law attorney who will be able to best help you.
5. Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is paid to adults and children with disabilities or adults older than 65 that meet their income limits. The federal program provides cash to meet the needs for food, clothing, and shelter for individuals.
The basic SSI amount is the same across the nation, but some states may supplement the basic benefit. For a full list of rules regarding SSI or to apply, visit www.ssa.gov, or give them a call, toll-free at 1-800-772-1213.
6. Reverse Mortgages
A reverse mortgage loan is one of the lesser known ways to pay for senior care. A reverse mortgage allows a homeowner to remain in the home while getting an advancement on their home equity.
Sometimes as a senior, you find yourself in a situation where you do not have enough income or savings to pay for personal or home care. Or maybe the senior’s financial resources are tied up in their home ownership. For seniors that do not require immediate care, a reverse mortgage is a viable option to pay for senior care.
The money received from a reverse mortgage can be used for anything, including medical bills or prescription medications.
For more information about reverse mortgage loans, contact the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
7. Life Insurance
Many seniors purchased life insurance policies earlier in their lives as their life circumstances changed. After retirement, many seniors are still paying high premiums for insurance that they may not necessarily need anymore. Instead of canceling the plan, seniors should look into getting a life settlement plan. This life insurance option can be used to pay for senior care.
A Life Settlement plan will allow seniors to pay for in-home care, assisted living, or nursing care that is needed now. This has become a valuable financial tool to pay for senior care. There are also specific long-term care insurance plans that should be considered by seniors who need to pay for senior care.
These insurance policies can help cover any type of therapies the senior might need, custodial senior care, home care, and adult day care services. There are other options that seniors can take advantage of with life insurance and they should be explored with a senior care advisor or geriatric care manager.