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How to Pay for Assisted Living With No Money

How to Pay for Assisted Living With No Money

Assisted Living is often a necessary, but expensive, part of life. The average monthly cost of an assisted living facility is $4,500 a month, but a majority of retired Americans make less than that monthly and those relying on Social Security average only $1,800 monthly. You may be wondering “how can I pay for assisted living with no money?”. Thankfully, we have found some programs that may help!


Assisted living is a type of residential facility designed for seniors or individuals with disabilities who require some assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs) but do not need the intensive medical care provided in a nursing home. Below you will find a list of federal and state government programs that may help pay for assisted living. Additionally, we have listed some in-home health options for those who are able to consider that option.

Federal Programs that Pay for Assisted Living

The expensive of assisted living is a common problem and the federal government offers some programs that may help. Although most of the federal programs will not cover the full cost of assisted living, they can often be used to lower the cost. Additionally, some programs can be combined to further help with paying for assisted living.

VA Aid and Attendance Benefit 

The Aid and Attendance benefit provides financial assistance to eligible veterans and their spouses who require help with activities of daily living or who are housebound due to disability. This benefit is an add-on to a veteran’s existing VA pension or compensation to help cover the costs of long-term care, including assisted living, nursing home care, or in-home care. 

To qualify for the Aid and Attendance benefit, at least one of the following must be true: 

  • You need another person to help you perform daily activities, like bathing, feeding, and dressing, or
  • You have to stay in bed (or spend a large portion of the day in bed) because of illness, or
  • You are a patient in a nursing home due to the loss of mental or physical abilities related to a disability, or
  • Your eyesight is limited (even with glasses or contact lenses you have only 5/200 or less in both eyes; or concentric contraction of the visual field to 5 degrees or less)

You can apply in person at your nearest VA regional office, or you can complete this form and send it to your pension management center. 


Medicare is a federal health insurance program in the United States primarily designed for people aged 65 and older. Although Medicare will not cover assisted living, it can help offset some of the cost. That’s because it will continue to pay for all approved health care services under Parts A and B while living there. These services may include medically necessary care such as doctor’s visits, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and some medical supplies and equipment. So although Medicare does not cover the full monthly cost, it can be used help pay for assisted living. For more information and to enroll, please visit Medicare’s website.


Medicaid is a joint federal and state program in the United States that provides health coverage to eligible low-income individuals and families. Because Medicaid is income based, seniors can be enrolled in Medicare and Medicaid depending on income. Medicaid will not cover room and board for assisted living, but typically it will pay for personal care services such as assistance with bathing, dressing, and grooming, as well as medication management and assistance with activities of daily living.

Because Medicaid is administered by individual states, the benefits covered can vary. You can find what medicaid will cover in your state by visiting the Medicaid website

Supplemental Security Income

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a federal program administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA) that provides monthly cash payments to elderly, blind, or disabled individuals with limited income and resources. The program is designed to help meet basic needs such as food, clothing, and shelter.

To qualify for SSI, individuals must:

  • Be over 65, disabled, or blind
  • Be a U.S. Citizen or qualified noncitizen 
  • Have limited income (including pension and social security benefits)
  • Have limited resources (including stocks and property)

The amount of SSI payment varies depending on factors such as income, living situation, and marital status. In some cases, individuals may receive additional state benefits along with their federal SSI payment. Please note, eligibility for SSI may impact eligibility for other benefits such as Medicaid.


For more information and to learn how to apply, please visit the Social Security Website. 

State Programs that Pay for Assisted Living 

Because of the high cost, some states offer additional assistance to help pay for assisted living. Assistance and eligibility vary by state and some of these programs may not be currently accepting applications. For more information on each program, please click on the program name. 











New York 

North Carolina 

North Dakota 

New Jersey 



Rhode Island 




Community Programs that Pay for Assisted Living 

Government programs are not the only source of assistance when it comes to paying for assisted living. Many states have non-profit assisted living facilities as well as non-profits that may offer financial assistance.

Non-Profit Assisted Living Facility 

Non-profit assisted living facilities provide affordable housing options for seniors and individuals with disabilities within their communities. Unlike for-profit facilities, non-profit assisted living facilities are operated by organizations with a charitable or community-focused mission, and any profits are reinvested into the facility. Non-profit facilities may offer financial assistance or scholarship programs to individuals who need help paying for assisted living. You can often find local non-profit assisted living facilities by searching “non-profit assisted living near me”.

Non-Profit Assistance

There are many organizations focused on assisting seniors nationwide. Some of these organizations may offer financial assistance that could be used to pay for assisted living. Eldercare is an online search tool that could help you locate organizations that offer assistance to seniors near you. Additionally, your local Area Agency on Aging may also be able to help you locate assistance. You can find your nearest Area Agency on Aging on Eldercare

In Home Assisted living 

A cheaper alternative to assisted living is home health services like those offered by Visiting Angels. Although government programs such as Medicaid and Medicare do not cover the full cost of assisted living, they often cover the full cost of home health services. If home health is a realistic option for you, you may be able to receive services at no cost. 


VA Home and Community Based Services

The VA offers homemaker and home health aide services to assist veterans with personal care tasks, meal preparation, light housekeeping, and companionship. These services are typically provided as part of a veteran’s comprehensive medical care plan and may be available to eligible veterans through the VA medical center or through contracted community providers. Eligibility criteria for VA in-home care programs vary, so veterans are encouraged to contact their local VA office or visit the VA website for more information.


Medicare typically covers 100% of the cost for eligible home health services, with no deductible or coinsurance required by the patient. Services could include, nursing care, physical therapy, speech-language services, home health aide services, and medical social work services. Please note, coverage depends on meeting eligibility criteria and medical requirements. For more information and to enroll, please visit Medicare’s website. 


In many cases, Medicaid covers the majority or all of the cost of medically necessary home health services for individuals who meet the program’s eligibility criteria. Medicaid typically covers services such as skilled nursing care, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, home health aide assistance with activities of daily living, medical social services, and medical supplies and equipment. For more information and to enroll, please visit Medicaid’s website

Relief Recap

The expense of assisted living may make you wonder “how can I pay for assisted living with no money?” which is a very common question. Luckily, you are not alone in wondering how to pay for assisted living. Both federal and state governments recognize the burden of paying for assisted living and offer programs to help. Additionally, some assisted living facilities are nonprofits and offer affordable options. After you look into the above resources, check out our other posts for more resources.