Using Social Security to Pay for Senior Housing & Long Term Care
Overview of Social Security
Social Security is a federal program that provides retirement income for seniors who have paid into the program. This includes nearly everyone that has worked legally in the US.
Pros & Cons:
Social Security is very commonly used a source for covering the long term costs of elder care. As seniors receive payment directly from the government, they or their loved ones are free to apply those dollars toward home care, adult day care or residential care.
However the average amount of a Social Security check is $1000, which is well short of the cost of long term care. This is especially true when one spouse of a married couple requires residential care and the other remains in their home.
Social Security is Also Known As:
-Old Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance
Qualifications of Social Security
The minimum age to collect Social Security is 62. Benefit amounts increase the greater the age of the recipient.
Disabilities / Health Requirements
There are no disability or health requirements to qualify for Social Security.
There is no marital status or other family requirements. Note that one can collect social security for their deceased spouse. See Survivor’s Benefits
Financial Status Requirements
Social Security benefits are not restricted by an individual’s net worth or their annual earnings provided they are at full retirement age, 65-67.
Veteran Status Requirements
Veteran status does not affect Social Security eligibility.
Generally, US Citizens are eligible for Social Security even if they reside abroad. Note that there are many exceptions to this rule.
To collect Social Security, one must have paid into the system for at least 10 years. All persons legally working in the US pay into the system directly from their paychecks.
Benefits of Social Security
Types of Benefit Payout
Social Security benefits are made as cash payments directly to the individual.
Restrictions on How Payout Can be Used
There are no restrictions on how the payments can be spent.
Benefits Amounts & Limits
The average Social Security check is around $1,000 / month and the maximum is around $2,000 / month. However, each individual receives a different amount depending on the amount and number of years paid into the system as well as the age at which they began to receive benefits.
Time to Receive Benefits
1-3 months. Social Security benefits start in the month following the month of entitlement. Entitlement means when an individual meets the minimum age requirement and completes the application. However, it can take up to 3 months to start receiving checks.
This Source Can Help For
-Adult day care
-Assisted living / senior living
-Skilled nursing home care
-Alzheimer's / dementia care
Costs of Social Security
There are no costs to apply for or receive benefits.
How to Apply for Social Security
Page Reviewed / Updated - Aug. 2012