A recent study by Genworth Financial found that the typical cost of nursing home care in the United States in 2021 was $7,800 per month for a semi-private room and $8,910 per month for a private room.
These costs are much higher than your typical mortgage payment or credit card bill, and they can be a big load on your finances.
Social Security funds can help pay for some of the costs, but they won’t cover the full cost of care in a nursing home. But Medicaid can also help pay for nursing home care if you are 65 or older and get Supplemental Security Income.
A financial advisor can help you make a plan for your money that takes into account your medical goals and wants.
Supplemental Security Income vs. Social Security
Social Security and Supplemental Security Income are two different programs, even though their names are similar and they are both run by the U.S. Social Security Administration. Social Security is a program that is based on how much you earn and is paid for by Social Security fees. It’s for people who have put into Social Security through their jobs for a certain amount of time and are over 65, disabled, or blind. The perks you get depend on how much you’ve worked and how much money you’ve made in total.
Supplemental Security Income is not like Social Security because it is based on what people need. This program is usually for older people with few means and a low income. People of any age who are disabled or blind may also be able to use it. It is paid for by the total amount of tax money, not by Social Security taxes. The benefits you can get from the Supplemental Security Income program depend on where you live and how much money you make, which are set by federal and state laws.
Can you get Social Security and Supplemental Security Income at the same time?
You can get both Social Security payments and Supplemental Security Income if you meet the conditions. But it’s unclear that the two payments together will cover the full cost of nursing home care, even in states where the cost is lower than the national average.
In 2023, the average Social Security payment will be about $1,827 per month, and the maximum Supplemental Security Income payment for an eligible person is $914, or $1,371 for an eligible couple. If nursing home care costs $8,910 per month in your area, which is the national norm, that leaves a gap of about $6,169 per month, which is a lot of money.
How to Use Social Security to Pay for Care in a Nursing Home
People who are eligible for Supplemental Security Income might also be able to apply for Medicaid to help pay for nursing home care. Medicaid is a program for low-income Americans who meet certain requirements. It is paid for by federal and state money and is run by the states. About 83 million adults and children in the U.S. are covered by it.
Medicaid could pay for all of the cost of nursing home care for people who meet certain standards. But there are a few exceptions. In most places, you need to make less than $2,563 a month to get food stamps. Food stamps count income from the following sources:
- Made money
- Payments from Social Security
- Pension payments
- Accounts for savings or checks
- Accounts for investments
- Life insurance
Each state also decides what kind of care is needed, and long-term care facilities often have waiting lines. Plus, if you do apply for Medicaid nursing home care, you’ll have to pay for most of the room and services with most of your monthly income.
Still, Medicaid could give important financial help to people who qualified and need care in a nursing home and have no other options. Your Medicaid coverage will give you a daily rate to help pay for a shared room, nursing care, rehab services, meals, medicines, and things you need for personal hygiene. But you’ll probably have to pay extra for things like a private room, extra food, comfort items, electronics, phone and internet access, and more.
To get Medicaid and its nursing home benefits, you have to fill out an application and meet the program’s requirements. But the income limit is pretty low, so you might not be able to get benefits if you have assets like a retirement account, a salary, or an emergency fund.
Your Social Security check can help pay for some of the cost of care in a nursing home, but it won’t pay for everything.
Even when Social Security and Supplemental Security Income are added together, they won’t cover all of the costs of care. But people who are eligible for Supplemental Security Income might also be eligible for Medicaid. Medicaid may pay for nursing home care in some cases, but there are some important things you should know if you plan to use this program for help.