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Ask After55: Will Medicare Help Pay for Senior Housing?

Senior housing is always a hot-button topic, especially as prices continue to surge. In 2015, senior living costs increased 1½ times quicker than the rate of inflation, or 2.7% year over year across the country.

While there are many concerns with these higher prices, a senior’s ability to pay tops that list. Many wonders if they should empty their bank accounts and retirement savings to cover the cost or seek outside sources. A commenter on the blog recently posed related questions:

“Will Medicare help pay for senior housing? What if I’m disabled?”

Here’s what we learned to answer those questions.

Coins and house outline, to illustrate question of medicare to pay for senior housing.

Medicare and Senior Housing

Medicare does not pay for most of the costs related to senior housing, such as assisted living and long-term care facilities. It will, however, pay for certain types of assistance, such as home health care or a skilled nursing facility.

Generally, Medicare Part A covers hospital care, hospice, home health and skilled nursing care only under certain conditions. As for senior housing, Medicare covers residency in a nursing home for a short period of time as long as custodial care isn’t the only type of care that you need. Certain conditions must be met, such as:

  • – The residence must be a certified skilled nursing facility.
  • – Your care must be medically necessary (nursing services, therapy, etc.).
  • – You had a prior hospital stay of at least three days.
  • – You must be admitted to a nursing facility within 30 days of a hospital stay.
  • – You must be 65 years old or older.

Once these conditions are met, Medicare will pay for some of your fees for up to 100 days:

  • – 100 percent for the first 20 days.
  • – You pay up to $140 per day, and Medicare will pay the rest from days 21 through 100.

After this time, it is your responsibility to pay for your care. If you are admitted to hospice care, which is also long-term, Medicare will only cover it if you have a terminal illness and are not expected to live more than six months. This plan is not the best solution for those seeking senior housing or long-term care.

Medicare and Disabled Housing

Much like the coverage available for senior citizens, Medicare does not provide assistance for long-term housing needs for persons with disabilities. If you are under 65 and disabled, you can enroll in Medicare without paying premiums and receive the same benefits.

Coins and house outline, to illustrate question of medicare to pay for senior housing.

Two Options: Medicaid, Veterans Aid

Even though Medicare doesn’t cover most housing costs for the elderly or disabled, there are other government entities with programs to help:

Medicaid: This government assistance program can be used to pay for long-term nursing home care throughout the United States. In some states, Medicaid can be used to pay for assisted living and alternatives to nursing homes.

Veterans Assistance: U.S. military veterans may be eligible for aid if they meet certain conditions. They can receive a basic pension, housebound benefit or assistance daily.

Related: Will Medicaid Help Pay for Assisted Living?


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  • Mary Beth Adomaitis

    About :

    Mary Beth Adomaitis a freelance writer living in Southern California. She has written about senior topics for several senior living websites. She also has a blog, Unwrinkled Hearts, which was started after her mother-in-law passed away in 2015. It focuses on elderly living in the 21st century. Mary Beth has been a writer/journalist for more than 25 years, lending her talents to companies such as The Los Angeles Times, where she also served as a copy editor and graphic designer.


    1. Patricia Teal says:

      I am a 71 yr old lady on disability $927. mo and Sec. 8. Due to a physical attack by a drug addicted son I was seriously injured spending 12 days in ICU and almost a month in hospital. I have a restraining order of protection but due to continuous threat am in the process of name change and relocation. Where is a safe, affordable place to look somewhere in the western area of the US?

    2. EVELYN MARRERO says:

      Im 65 yr. Low income S.S.
      Is they low income apartments in fort Myers Florida?

    3. My mother is 70 years old, unemployed/retired and received $700 monthly, and is on Medi-cal and Medicare. Is there subsidized/low income housing or assisted living in Studio City or Sherman Oaks or North Hollywood, CA?

    4. Ivonne Trechuelo Depichardo says:

      Hello I’m 70 and only receive my social security which is $756 and was working until last Nov close to San Francisco in a Travel Club and was hit by a car while I was walking in the parking lot where I was working. Then went back to Hampton VA where I rented a room from this lady and there I was in rehab for 3 months. The accident left me with lots of health issues, because it’s very difficult and painful for me to walk, both my legs hurt and I was also hit on my head and suffer from lots of headache and my hip and back hurt a lot. Well the lady where I was renting from in Hampton,VA is retired so she rented her whole house for a year so a friend of mine that lives in Punta Cana,Dom Rep invited me to come live with her. But I need to be close to my doctors, they are in Hampton, my primary, my neurologist and psychology doctors. I ran out of my medication and I need to go back to Virginia. Is there any where in Hampton or close that I can get housing assistance with my social security because I cannot work anymore. Please help me. Thanks so much for your help

    5. I’m just interested in government help to find an apt. in the Richmond area. Close to VCU or porter street. I am on disability for heart problems. I have Humana.?

    6. Roxanne Wilcox says:

      Hello, I am 62 and disabled living in Gloucester County in Woodbury, New Jersey. Please share some leads on low income apartments in Woodbury, Deptford or Glassboro New Jersey. Thank you,

    7. Sharon Matthews says:

      Are their any low income senior apartments in the Norfolk/Virginia Beach area? I’m 57, disabled but function without a wheelchair and receive less than $800 monthly. Is there any place for me?
      Thank you, Sharon

    8. Royena says:

      Are there any low income Senior housing/apts near the ocean. Within walking distance to the ocean…less than a mile?

    9. Are there local low income apartments in or near Glendora, California?

    10. Hi Mary Beth,
      My husband and myself are both permanently disabled, on social security disability, and Medicare.
      We are respectively 64 and 60yrs old. A friend of mine was able to hire her daughter to be her Home Health Aide. Her daily needs were bathing, cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping and other misc chores. I think Social Security paid her daughter a monthly check? How would we apply for this service? Our youngest daughter is a certified nurse assistant, in her 3rd year of nursing school, working towards her BSN.
      Seeing as we aren’t getting better, with ongoing surgeries and slow recoveries, are we qualified to get a home health aide? I’ve had over 44 surgeries, my husband has had at least 25. Knees, shoulders, bone grafts, muscle and tissue grafts, and life threatening infections are just the condensed version of our story. Can you shed some light on our situation?
      Thank you,
      Lynn Perez

      • In my experience with elderly relatives in this type of situation, it was not Medicare that paid for in home health. There were state programs that helped. Call your local hospital or dr office for some guidance to get started. I do not know how it works.

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