So you've realized that you or your loved one is no longer able to live independently and needs extra care. That's a difficult realization to come to, but the good news is there's many options to help cover the costs of assisted living, even if you have limited means. Medicaid is one avenue for those with low income.
In this blog post we're going to be exploring your options to cover assisted living on a budget. The important thing is knowing where to look and how to navigate the system. Don't worry - with some diligent research, you could find ways to make comfortable retirement a reality.
Does Medicaid Cover Assisted Living in Oklahoma?
In Oklahoma, Medicaid does provide coverage for assisted living under certain circumstances. To qualify for Medicaid benefits in an assisted living facility (ALF), you must meet income requirements as well as level of care needs. Medicaid covers the cost of room and board, personal care services, and medication management.
Medicaid recipients in Oklahoma must require assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs) like bathing, dressing, and eating to qualify for ALF care. The ALF must also meet certain assisted living facility requirements like providing personal care services, medication management, and ensuring resident safety. Residents are allowed to keep their personal belongings and furniture, and private rooms aren't guaranteed.
Using Supplemental Security Income (SSI) to Cover Assisted Living
If you need to pay for assisted living but have limited income and assets, Medicaid's Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program could help cover the costs. To qualify for SSI, you must be below certain income or asset limits.
- Countable income includes things like Social Security benefits, pensions, and wages. In 2024, the income limit for SSI eligibility is $943 a month for individuals and $1,415 for couples.
- Countable assets are things you own that could be changed to cash, like bank accounts, vehicles, and stocks. The asset limit for SSI is $2,000 for individuals and $3,000 for couples. Certain assets like your home, household goods, and one vehicle are excluded.
- To apply for SSI, contact your local Social Security office. They review your income, assets, and medical records to determine eligibility. If approved, SSI provides a monthly benefit to help pay for essentials like food, shelter, and assisted living of course.
- Some states, like Oklahoma, provide Medicaid coverage for assisted living through SSI. This means if you qualify for SSI, you automatically qualify for Medicaid to cover assisted living services. The amount of coverage depends on factors like the level of care you need.
SSI is a lifeline for Oklahoma seniors with limited means. Don’t hesitate to apply, as you have nothing to lose. With SSI and Medicaid, the possibility of assisted living could be within your reach.
Nonprofits or Organizations in Oklahoma
When covering assisted living in Oklahoma with limited means, looking to nonprofits and organizations in your area helps fill the gap. These groups offer grants, donations, or other assistance to help offset costs. Some options to explore:
Area Agencies on Aging
Oklahoma has 11 Area Agencies on Aging that provide services for seniors across the state. They offer meals, transportation, and home care services. Some may also provide grants or funding for assisted living. Contact your local agency to inquire about resources in your area.
United Way organizations provide funding and support for local health and human service programs. Reach out to United Way of Central Oklahoma city or your local United Way to ask if they partner with or provide grants for your Oklahoma assisted living facilities or community based services. They may be able to connect you with additional resources.
If you or your loved one is a veteran, the VA offers the Aid and Attendance benefit which provides monthly payments for assisted living. You're going to need to meet certain service and income requirements, but this can be an important source of funding for many veterans. VA Medical Centers in Oklahoma may also be able to connect you with other local resources or nonprofits to help offset costs.
The Alzheimer’s Association Oklahoma Chapter offers a variety of resources for those with Alzheimer’s or dementia. In some cases, they provide emergency funding or grants for assisted living services. Contact them to inquire about resources in your area and eligibility requirements. They can also connect you with additional organizations that may be able to help.
Local churches, synagogues, mosques, or other religious groups often have outreach programs to help members of the community in need. Contact places of worship in your area to ask if they offer grants or assistance to those requiring assisted living or nursing home care. They may be able to provide limited funding or connect you with other resources.
With patience and persistence, you could find ways to pay for an assisted living community in Oklahoma, even with limited means. Don’t hesitate to ask about and apply for any resources that could help make assisted living a possibility for you or your loved one.
Life Insurance Policy Conversion
If you have a life insurance policy but can no longer afford the premiums, you may be able to convert it to a different type of policy.
Whole Life to Term Life
The most common conversion is from a whole life policy to a term life policy. Whole life policies provide coverage for your lifetime and build cash value over time. Term life provides coverage for a specific period of years, usually 10 to 30 years. Converting to a term life policy typically lowers your premiums substantially while still providing coverage for the term period. The cash value built up in the whole life policy is used to pay the term life premiums.
Another option is to reduce the coverage amount of your existing policy. For example, you may be able to lower a $500,000 whole life policy to $250,000. This reduces the premiums while still providing a meaningful death benefit for your beneficiaries. Some insurers may allow you to lower coverage amounts in stages over time.
Accelerate Your Death Benefit
If you have a life-threatening or terminal illness, you're likely going to able to accelerate the death benefit of your life insurance policy. This allows you to access some or all of the death benefit while you’re still living to pay for skilled nursing care or specialized medical equipment. The rest of your benefit would be paid to your beneficiaries when you pass away.
Some life insurance policies allow you to take out loans against the cash value. You can borrow money from the policy at a reasonable interest rate and use it to cover your premiums or other expenses. As long as the policy remains in force, the loan can often be repaid at any time. If it's not repaid, the loan balance is simply deducted from the death benefit.
These are a couple options to consider if you need to reduce or eliminate the premiums on your life insurance policy. Be sure to contact your insurance company or agent to discuss the specific options available based on your policy details and needs. They could help you determine the best way to modify your coverage so you can maintain at least some financial protection during this difficult time.
Seniors Could Qualify to Receive a FREE Phone!
If you're reading this blog, you're likely an Oklahoma senior facing some sort of financial struggle. Don't worry -- it happens all the time. Luckily, EASY Wireless is here to help!
While we can't cover your assisted living fees (we're sorry), partnering with programs such as Lifeline & ACP, we're offering FREE phones with data to eligible individuals just like yourself. Whether you're needing to keep in touch with friends & family or you want to just save some money on your current phone plan, here's what we're offering:
EASY Wireless Unlimited Plan
- FREE Unlimited Data
- FREE Unlimited Talk
- FREE Unlimited Text
- FREE SIM Card Kit and Activation
- Choose to Keep Your Number or Get a New One
To start with EASY Wireless, apply online by clicking the below:
Start Saving Today!
Or you can come to one of the EASY Wireless's retail stores, where our customer service agent will help you apply for your benefits.