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Assisted living communities offer support for seniors who need help with daily activities, but these communities can come with a high cost. According to Genworth Financials 2021 Cost of Care Survey, the median yearly cost for an assisted living community is $54,000, which is up from $28,800 in 2004 [1]. This cost can be overwhelming, especially for seniors who are relying on Social Security as their primary source of income. In this article, we will explore the options available to help you afford assisted living on Social Security.

Understanding Eligibility for Social Security Benefits

In order to receive Social Security benefits, individuals must meet certain eligibility requirements. In 2021, to be eligible for the federal SSI benefit, individuals must have less than $794 per month in income [2]. Additionally, the recipient must live in an assisted living community or adult foster care home to be eligible for OSS for assisted living or adult foster care room and board costs [2].

Assisted Living Costs by Region

The cost of living in an assisted living facility varies in different parts of the United States. According to Genworths 2020 Cost of Care survey, the average monthly cost of assisted living is $4,300, or $51,600 per year. However, where you live matters. In Missouri, the average monthly cost is $3,000, or $36,000 [3]. It is important to consider the cost of living in your area when exploring options for assisted living.

Utilizing Medicaid to Cover Assisted Living Costs

For those who have limited income and resources, Medicaid may be able to provide financial assistance for assisted living. Medicaid is a joint federal and state program that provides healthcare coverage for those with limited income and resources. In some states, Medicaid will cover the cost of assisted living for those who meet the eligibility requirements. To find out if your state offers Medicaid coverage for assisted living, and to learn more about the eligibility requirements, contact your local Medicaid office.

Supplementing Social Security with Other Income Sources

Another option to consider is supplementing your Social Security income with other sources of income. This can include rental income from a property, income from a part-time job, or income from investments. Additionally, veterans may be eligible for pension benefits through the Department of Veterans Affairs, which can provide additional income to help cover the cost of assisted living.


Assisted living can be a great option for seniors who need help with daily activities, but the cost can be overwhelming. By understanding the eligibility requirements for Social Security benefits, considering the cost of living in your area, utilizing Medicaid, and supplementing your income with other sources, you can find a solution that works for you to afford assisted living on Social Security. If you have any questions or concerns, reach out to a financial advisor who specializes in assisted living financing to get the help you need.