Page Reviewed / Updated - May 2019
This webpage is intended to assist residents of South Carolina in understanding the costs associated with elderly long-term care throughout the state. Here, one will find the average cost of assisted living facilities, in-home care, and adult day care. Programs that offer assistance with long-term care, whether it is in-home, in the community, or in a residential facility, will also be covered. Listed on this page are all of the programs available via the state of South Carolina. That being said, there are also a number of local, private, and federal programs that provide senior care assistance. When exploring options for assistance, it is strongly recommended that one consider all available options. To assist one in the search for programs, our Resource Locator Tool, which is free to use, is invaluable.
Cost of Care Calculator
As of 2019, the average statewide cost of living in an assisted living facility in South Carolina ranges from $2,275 / month on the low end to $4,526 / month on the high end. However, the statewide average is $3,500 / month. Comparably speaking as to the rest of the United States, South Carolina is one of the states that have the most affordable assisted living. That being said, the Florence, Spartanburg, and Sumter areas are even more affordable at approximately $2,275 - $3,000 / month. On the flip side, Charleston and Myrtle Beach have the most expensive monthly cost for assisted living at approximately $3,925 - $4,526.
For those with Alzheimer’s or a related dementia, many assisted living facilities have special Alzheimer’s Care units, often called Memory Care units. These types of units cost approximately $875 / month more than traditional assisted living units due to the higher level of care and supervision.
Statewide in South Carolina in 2019, the average cost of in-home non-medical care is $19.00 / hour. Even more affordable than the statewide average are the areas of Columbia, Sumter, and Spartanburg at approximately $17.25 - $18.50 / hour. The most expensive hourly cost for home care can be found in the Hilton Head Island area and the Charleston area at approximately $21.50 / hour.
Home health care is also available throughout the state and provides limited medical care. On average, this type of care costs $1.00 more an hour than does in-home non-medical care.
Adult day care is a more affordable option than in-home care and is a great solution for those who require some assistance, but still wish to remain living at home or with a family member. As of 2019, the statewide average cost for adult day care is $60 / day. The areas of Florence, Myrtle Beach, Columbia, and Spartanburg all have average daily costs between $54 and $57, which is just under the statewide average. Greenville and Charleston is just over the statewide average with an approximate cost of $62 / day. The most expensive adult day care can be found in the area of Sumter at approximately $69 / day.
Medicaid, a health care program that is jointly funded by the state and the federal government, is for individuals and families who have limited income. Via the South Carolina State Medicaid Plan, also called Health Connections in SC, the elderly and disabled are able to receive nursing home care. Personal care assistance, although fairly limited, is also made available through the state plan. Services and benefits via this program are entitlements, meaning that all eligible applicants are able to receive the assistance / care they require. In addition to the state Medicaid program, the state of South Carolina also has two Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) Waivers. In contrast to the state plan, these waivers are not entitlement programs. This means that the number of people who are able to receive services / benefits via the programs are limited. Once participant caps have been met, there will be waitlists.
1) Community Choices Waiver – This waiver provides a variety of supports and benefits to allow individuals who require a nursing home level of care to remain living in the community, rather than require placement in a nursing home. Some services are able to be self-directed, such as personal care assistance, companionship services, and attendant care. For more benefits and eligibility requirements, click here.
2) Community Supports Waiver – This consumer directed waiver is similar to the Community Choices Waiver, but is intended for individuals who are intellectually impaired (or have a related disability) and require a level of care consistent with an Intermediate Care Facility for Individuals with Intellectual Disability. Home modifications, adult daycare, and assistance with personal care are just some of the benefits available via this wavier. To learn more, click here.
In South Carolina, the eligibility requirements for the state Medicaid plan and Medicaid waivers may differ, but both programs do require limited income and assets. In general, as of 2019, the income limit for an elderly resident who requires long-term care is $2,313 / month, or said another way, no more than $27,756 / year. This figure is set at 300% of the Federal Benefit Rate (FBR), which changes on an annual basis. The asset limit is set at $2,000. However, certain assets are not counted, such as a single vehicle, one’s primary residence (valued under $585,000), household items, life insurance policies with a combined face value less than $10,000, $1,500 in burial expenses, and personal belongings.
Married applicants, with both spouses applying, are considered as single applicants. This means each spouse is able to have up to $2,313 / month in income, and each spouse is able to retain up to $2,000 in assets. However, if only one spouse of a married couple is applying for long-term care Medicaid, the rules change. In this case, the applicant spouse is able to transfer up to $3,160.50 / month in income to their non-applicant (community) spouse. This is referred to as a monthly maintenance needs allowance and is intended to prevent spousal impoverishment. In addition, the community spouse is able to retain up to $66,480 of the couple’s assets. This is called the community spouse resource allowance, and again, is intended to prevent the non-applicant spouse from having too little from which to live. This is an oversimplified explanation, as there are rules that govern the spousal transfer of income and the larger allocation of assets for the community spouses.
Bear in mind, if an applicant is over the income and / or asset limit(s), this is not automatically cause for Medicaid disqualification. That being said, it is strongly suggested one contact a professional Medicaid planner for guidance. These professionals are very knowledgeable in restructuring finances in order to meet the eligibility requirements.
Seniors of South Carolina are able to receive non-Medicaid services under the Older Americans Act. Services, which may vary by location, are provided by local Area Agencies on Aging. Assistance may include home delivered meals, respite care, personal care assistance, and more. For eligibility guidelines, click here.
Aside from state specific options for senior care assistance in South Carolina, there are also non-profit and federal programs available. To assist one in locating other options that aid in paying for elderly care, don’t hesitate to use our free Resource Locator Tool. Utilizing this tool, it is easy to find other options that are available and to choose the one that is best for one’s needs and situation. Other opportunities include programs that help out veterans with assisted living or utilizing eldercare loans.
When searching for senior care assistance, it is beneficial to check with multiple providers to find high quality care at an affordable rate within one’s geographic area. To aid in one’s search, our company has partnered with a number of organizations that have large databases of care providers. There is no charge to use this service. Click here for assistance finding affordable care.
For more information about the costs and resources available in South Carolina cities, click on the links below.