Financial Help for Seniors: Are Senior Financial Assistance Programs Available?
Fixed incomes. Failing health. The rising cost of senior care.
If you or a loved one is looking into senior care, you are well aware of how costly quality care can be.
Financial help is available.
Here, we discuss the financial resource options available for senior care and how to secure the one that best meets your needs.
Table of Contents
- Senior Services of America’s Financial Support: 5 Ways to Help You Secure Senior Citizen Financial Assistance
- #1: Real Estate Services
- #2: Long Term Care Insurance
- #3: Veteran’s Benefits: Aid and Attendance
- #4: Bridge Loans
- #5: Life Insurance Policies
- How to Get Financial Help for Senior Citizens: Additional Options
- Senior Services of America: We’re Here to Help You Navigate Financial Resources for You or Your Aging Loved One
Senior Services of America’s Financial Support: 5 Ways to Help You Secure Senior Citizen Financial Assistance
At Senior Services of America, we understand the challenges faced by individuals and families as they consider a move to a senior living community.
One of the first questions we hear almost always involves cost.
You will be happy to know that options for financial help for seniors exist.
Here are 5 resources that may be appropriate for you or your loved one.
#1: Real Estate Services
A common way of paying for senior living is by using the equity from the sale of a home.
But, selling a senior’s home has some unique challenges as compared to a traditional home sale.
Elderlife Senior Real Estate Specialists (SRES) are available to:
- Provide a free market analysis and comparison of your home
- Help with staging your home, to make it appealing to the highest number of potential buyers
- Help you with packing, decluttering, and moving
- Assist with the estate sale coordination, if necessary; and
- Pay for care while you are waiting to sell your home
If you’re asking yourself …
- “Where do I start?”
- “Is now a good time to sell my home?”
- “How do I help a loved one who lives far away?”
- “How do I get the most out of my home in its current condition?”
… the services of an Elderlife Senior Real Estate Specialist may be just what you are looking for.
#2: Long Term Care Insurance
Long-term care insurance can help cover a portion of the costs that are associated with assisted living.
Additionally, it may also cover care that is not typically covered by health insurance, Medicaid, or Medicare.
A long-term care insurance (LTCi) policy is purchased through a private insurance company to cover the costs of senior care, including assisted living.
Like other health insurance policies, the cost of the premium will vary greatly depending on factors such as the insured’s:
- Health status
- Age; and
- The amount of desired coverage
But, planning ahead is critical if an individual plans to use LTCi to pay for their future senior care. Coverage is often denied for individuals who have pre-existing conditions, such as:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Stroke; or
- Parkinson’s disease
Elderlife Financial Services can help you understand and navigate your benefits by:
- Doing a free review of your long-term care insurance policy
- Helping you file long-term care insurance (LTCi) claims
- Letting you know if there’s a waiting period before the policy will begin to pay
- Helping to determine if your care will be covered; and
- Determining your eligibility for receiving retroactive payment
#3: Veteran’s Benefits: Aid and Attendance
The United States Department of Veterans Affairs offers the Aid and Attendance benefit to qualified veterans and their surviving spouses.
Aid & Attendance is designed to help with the cost of assisted living and may be used to pay for care in any state-licensed care setting.
To qualify for Aid and Attendance, the senior must need assistance with at least two Activities of Daily Living (ADLs), such as:
- Toileting; and
The application process can be complicated and may take months to be approved. However, if the claim is approved by the VA, the senior may receive a lump-sum retroactive to the intent to file date.
#4: Bridge Loans
A bridge loan is a short-term loan that might be appropriate for a senior whose current financial situation does not allow them to move to long-term care.
A bridge loan is designed to help bridge the gap while waiting on other funds to be available and can be a risky option that should be used with plenty of caution.
It is a common scenario for a senior to sell their home and use the proceeds to pay for their move to assisted living.
But sometimes, the need for care suddenly becomes urgent — too urgent to wait for their house to sell before making the move. Or maybe their house doesn’t sell as quickly as they anticipated.
In these situations, a bridge loan of 6 to 12 months may be an option to temporarily pay for senior care.
With a bridge loan:
- You may receive funds in as little as 24 hours
- There are no application fees
- You pay affordable, interest-only payments; and
- Multiple family members can join the loan
Bridge loans may be helpful for seniors who:
- Want to move to a senior community but have a house to sell first
- Need to move into assisted living quickly, but don’t have immediate access to funds
- Need to pay for care and rent while waiting for their benefits to begin paying
- Need to pay a large up-front move-in fee, but don’t want to sell their home before moving
#5: Life Insurance Policies
A life insurance policy is a liquid asset that can be sold and converted to cash that may be used to pay for long-term senior care services.
When a life insurance policy is liquidated, a third party purchases the policy for a cash amount that is generally more than the policy’s surrender value — but less than the death benefit amount.
The third party takes on the responsibility of paying the premiums by becoming the policy’s beneficiary.
When the insured party dies, the third party will receive the death benefit.
How to Get Financial Help for Senior Citizens: Additional Options
A reverse mortgage can provide funds to pay for:
- Senior care
- Living expenses; and
- Some other costs
Reverse mortgages can also eliminate mortgage payments or be used to consolidate other debts, allowing funds to be redirected towards needed senior care and services.
Sometimes, one spouse needs to make the move to assisted living or memory care, while the other spouse remains at home.
If the senior owns their home outright or just has a small mortgage, they can convert some of the equity in their home into cash payments while still retaining the ownership of their home.
If at least one homeowner is remaining in the home, and this person is age 62 or older, it may be possible to use a reverse mortgage to pay for care.
While there are various kinds of reverse mortgages, federally insured Home Equity Conversion Mortgages (HECMs) are the most common.
For those who are wanting to pay for residential assisted living, a reverse mortgage is usually only an option if the institutionalized spouse, or another individual who is a co-borrower on the loan, still lives in the home and maintains it according to the terms of the loan.
If this does not occur, the loan will become due when:
- The last borrower no longer lives in the house for 12 consecutive months
- Sells the home; or
An annuity is a contract between an individual and their insurance company that is designed to meet long-range financial goals, such as retirement.
Annuities come in a variety of shapes and sizes, each with different features, advantages, and disadvantages.
With an annuity, an individual may make a series of payments or a lump-sum payment and, in return, the insurer agrees to make periodic payments to the holder. These disbursements may either start immediately or at a future date.
These investments may be used to turn savings into a steady stream of retirement income that can be used to pay for assisted living and other long-term care services.
Medicaid is a joint state and federal program that assists low-income individuals with healthcare costs, including long-term care. Each state sets its guidelines for eligibility and services.
The majority of states offer long-term care Medicaid beneficiaries a level of financial assistance with assisted living costs. This assistance may come through regular Medicaid or Medicaid waivers.
While it does provide financial help for seniors with low income, Medicaid does not cover the cost of room & board in the same way it does for residents of nursing homes.
If your state does not offer a Medicaid program that can help cover assisted living costs, it will likely offer home or community-based services designed to help delay or prevent a move to a long-term care facility.
Medicare is the federal health insurance program for:
- Individuals age 65 and over
- Some younger individuals with disabilities; and
- Some individuals with end-stage renal disease
Along with other health insurance plans, Medicare does not offer financial help for seniors for long-term senior care services.
Social Security is a monthly benefit that seniors may start drawing at age 62.
However, if you wait until the full retirement age of 66 or 67, the benefits will be higher.
If you have paid into the Social Security system, you can count on receiving that income during retirement. The amount you receive each month will depend on the amount of Social Security tax you paid on income during the years you were employed.
While social Security is a reliable source of financial help for seniors that may be used to help pay for assisted living, it will likely not be enough to cover the full cost.
Social Security can fund a portion of the cost for assisted living, but other financial resources will likely be needed to cover the remainder.
Senior Services of America: We’re Here to Help You Navigate Financial Resources for You or Your Aging Loved One
When considering senior living options, the cost can be a daunting concern.
Senior Services of America can help.
We offer a variety of resources for financial help for seniors to help you afford the cost of senior living — including assisted living and memory care services.
We are honored to have the opportunity to help seniors and their families find quality senior care services. Find your nearest community today to speak to one of our advisors.