What Kinds of Financial Assistance for the Elderly Are There?
As you move into your retirement years, it can become more difficult to take care of your personal needs and the financial needs of your home. And, although we’d all like to remain independent, continuing to live alone in your own home is not always the best option.
Many people opt for the benefits of living in a supportive living community with assisted living or personal care services. But before you make the move you will need to make it work financially. While a community is often more economical than owning a home and dealing with the costs of upkeep and maintenance, it still requires you to make a financial plan. That’s why there’s financial assistance for the elderly that helps cover your costs for a personal care community and other expenses.
Most types of financial assistance will come from charitable organizations or government assistance programs. This article will cover the most common types of financial assistance, with particular emphasis on residents living in Georgia.
Financial Assistance for the Elderly: Your Options
There are a number of programs that provide financial assistance for elderly individuals. We’ll go over some of the most common programs you or your relative may be eligible for so you can find the right financial support for your needs.
Medicare Savings Programs
Medicare Savings Programs help alleviate healthcare costs, which can become more significant over time. If you qualify, the Medicare Savings Programs (MSP) can help you pay your Medicare premiums (Part A and Part B), as well as deductibles, copayments, coinsurance and prescription drug coverage costs.
There are four different MSPs. Each MSP has its own set of qualifications. Even if you are working and have some income, you may still qualify for one of these programs.
- Qualified Disabled and Working Individuals (QDWI) Program
- Qualifying Individual (QI) Program
- Specified Low-Income Medicare Beneficiary (SLMB) Program
- Qualified Medicare Beneficiary (QMB) Program
For more information about these programs with specifics for those who live in Georgia, click here. If you meet the qualifications for the QI, SLMB or QMB programs, you automatically qualify to receive assistance through the Extra Help program to pay for Medicare prescription drug coverage.
Medicaid is a joint federal-state program that assists with medical costs for those with limited income and resources. It also offers benefits not normally covered by Medicare such as personal care services in a supportive living community.
However, Medicaid does require the liquidation of all your assets. With a little preplanning (which must occur prior to your need for long-term care) however, it’s possible to protect your assets from this required asset liquidation by setting up an irrevocable asset protection trust. An elder law attorney can help you draw up this trust and advise you concerning its limitations and drawbacks.
The Long-Term Care Partnership Program was established to help reduce some expenditures associated with Medicaid. It’s a partnership between private insurance companies and the individual states which can be used to delay or eliminate the necessity for a person to rely on Medicaid to cover the costs of long-term care services if they are covered by long-term care insurance.
This partnership program allows you to shelter a certain amount of assets and still qualify for Medicaid. Each state’s Medicaid program meshes with the partnership program differently, however, so you should discuss your options with a State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) counselor or an elder law attorney.
Eligibility and application for Medicaid vary from state to state. To apply for Medicaid in Georgia, you may call 877-423-4746 or go to your local DFCS county office (click here for locations). Any additional questions can be answered by sending them an email.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
For those who qualify, supplemental Security Income (SSI) is available. Qualifications include being disabled, blind or 65 years of age or older and having limited income and resources. SSI differs from disability benefits and Social Security retirement. To learn more about SSI, click here.
Financial Assistance for Veterans
For qualifying veterans and their spouses, the Veterans Aid and Attendance benefit is monetary assistance (over and above the basic monthly pension) that can be used to help pay for long-term care costs such as assisted living or personal care costs, memory care costs, skilled nursing and other senior living costs. For more information and to determine if you qualify, click here.
Other Assistance and Financial Aid Programs in Georgia
In addition to federal programs there are numerous organizations throughout Georgia that offer various types of aid and financial assistance for elderly individuals and couples.
Agency on Aging Centers
Your local Agency on Aging office will be able to help you in multiple ways. An Area Agency on Aging (AAA) office addresses the needs and concerns of all older individuals at regional and local levels. They provide numerous services and assistance programs, including food, home care, medications and referrals and information on financial assistance. Click here to find a local center.
Social Services and Crisis Assistance
The human services department of the state of Georgia offers cash assistance and other types of aid. Monies can help low-income families pay for medical expenses and more. Their telephone programs also offer help with Lifeline and Link Up Georgia. Click here to learn more.
Local nonprofit organizations may be able to provide financial assistance. Some that you might want to contact include United Way, The Salvation Army and local church organizations. Churches and other faith-based charities may provide financial aid and can help with basic needs such as clothing, food, furniture or car repairs.
Finding Affordable Personal Care in Georgia
Most adults find it easier to manage their finances when they move to a supportive living community, although they finance the move in different ways. Many use their retirement funds, but the majority use a combination of personal savings and financial assistance for the elderly, such as VA benefits or Medicaid.
At Heritage of Peachtree, our personal care pricing is all-inclusive for housing, dining and amenities, so you don’t need to worry about additional expenses. For more information on our pricing and questions on financial assistance in the Peachtree City area, contact our team members. We’ll help you find the resources you need to make the best move for your situation.