Page Reviewed / Updated – July 29, 2019

Program Description

The Special Assistance Adult Care Home Special Care Unit Program (SA/SCU) is a North Carolina state and county program intended for low-income seniors with Alzheimer’s Disease or a similar dementia, such as Parkinson’s Disease. Via this program, monthly financial assistance to help cover the cost of room and board in special care units (sometimes called memory care units or Alzheimer’s care units) in adult care homes (also known as assisted living facilities) is provided.

This program is administered by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services’ (NCDHHS) Division of Aging and Adult Services. SA/SCU is a Supplemental Security Income (SSI) state supplement.

Eligibility Guidelines

In order to be eligible for the SA/SCU program, there are several eligibility requirements that must be met.

  • One must be a U.S. Citizen.
  • One must be a resident of North Carolina.
  • One must be 65 years of age or older OR between the ages of 18 and 65 and be defined as disabled by the Social Security Administration.
  • One must require the level of care that is consistent with a special care unit in an adult day care home. The need for this level of care must be medically verified.
  • One must have a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease or a related dementia, such as Vascular Dementia, Parkinson’s Disease, Lewy Body Dementia, Pick’s Disease, Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, or Huntington’s Disease.
  • As of 2019, one must not have a monthly income in excess of $1561. (This income limit has remained consistent the last several years). With this program, marital status does not effect income requirements. If one is married, only the applicant’s income is considered. 
  • One may not have resources (countable assets) greater than 2,000 in 2019. Regardless of marital status, only assets fully owned, or partially owned, by an individual are counted.

Benefits and Services

The SA/SCU program provides monthly financial support to assist with the cost of room and board of a special care unit in an adult care home. Special care units are specifically intended for individuals with a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease or a related dementia. These units, which as mentioned previously, may also be called Alzheimer’s units or memory care units. Those working in these units are specially trained to work with those with memory loss and cognitive issues due to dementia.

As of 2019, the maximum monthly benefit amount is $1,561. (As with income, this figure has not changed in the last several years). One’s benefit amount is calculated by subtracting one’s countable monthly income from the maximum monthly benefit amount.

If an applicant is eligible for the SA/SCU program, one is automatically eligible for Medicaid. While SA/SCU does not cover the cost of medical care, North Carolina Medicaid covers the cost of medical care, as well as non-medical care, such as personal care assistance.

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How to Apply / Learn More

To apply for the SA/SCU program, North Carolina residents should contact their local county Department of Social Services (DSS). 

To apply, one must fill out an application in person at their local DDS office. To download a SA/SCU program brochure, click here. In addition, very limited program information can be found on the NCDHHS website.