Rhode Island’s SSI Enhanced Assisted Living Program provides financial assistance to individuals who are eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and have been professionally assessed and determined to require the level of care typically provided in assisted living communities. However, their care needs cannot be so severe that nursing home care is required. This program provides an increase in the Supplemental Security Income benefit amount, specifically to help cover the cost of assisted living room and board costs.
The program is administered by the Rhode Island Department of Human Services, Department of Elderly Affairs. Rhode Island Department of Health is responsible for the licensing and approval of assisted living communities.
The Assisted Living Program has five areas of eligibility consideration.
1) Age – applicants must be at least 65 years of age. Younger applicants will be considered only if they have a disability.
2) Residency – applicants must be legal Rhode Island residents. The length of time for which one has been a RI resident is not a factor in eligibility.
3) Functional Ability – applicants must require assisted living care, but cannot require the level of care provided in a skilled nursing community.
4) Monthly Income – in 2020, the maximum income limit for a single applicant is $1,580 per month. Some applicants may be subject to a lower limit ($1,115 per month) if they do not require advanced care in assisted living. Calculated annually, this means the applicant must have less than $18,960, or $13,380 for lower level care. The higher income limit is only for persons who are enrolled in the Neighborhood Health Plan, a managed care program, via RI’s Medicaid Long Term Services and Support Program.
5) Countable Assets – the total value of the applicant’s countable assets (minus exempt items, such as one’s home, personal effects, and a vehicle) cannot exceed $2,000. Life insurance policies with a face value greater than $1,500 are considered a countable asset.
This program helps pay for assisted living costs up to a maximum of $1,115 / month. For those that require advanced care and are enrolled in Medicaid’s Neighborhood Health Plan, this program pays up to $1,580 / month towards assisted living costs. Program participants are able to retain a small personal needs allowance.
In assisted living, the staff provides assistance with the activities of daily living, congregate meals, medication oversight, transportation assistance and social activities.
While the amounts listed above are well below the average monthly cost of assisted living in RI, some residences have negotiated to accept this amount. In other cases, there is supplemental sources of funding.
For more information or to apply for this program, call RI’s Aging and Disability Resource Center, The Point, at 401-462-4444. One can also download the necessary forms from the SSI Enhanced Assisted Living Program website. Please make note that the DHS website may not be 100% up to date. If an applicant has not already done so, he or she will be required to apply for Supplemental Security Income during the application process.