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The answer is very complex. It does not work for her to just go in and sign over her savings and income. If the assisted living facility is private then she may never qualify for assistance even if she runs out of assets and does not have enough income to cover the costs. There are programs to help her pay for assisted living care in Massachusetts but they vary depending on the exact facility and her financial need.
Most assisted living residences charge a monthly fee that includes housing and services. In private assisted living residences, these costs can be very high, ranging from $3000 per month to $5000 per month and up. Government programs make some assisted living units affordable to people with low incomes.
Public assisted living:
Some affordable assisted living facilities are publicly funded. In public assisted living, monthly costs are based on income. Residents are usually allowed to keep a fixed dollar amount of their income (around $100 per month) as a spending allowance, and the rest of their income goes to pay the monthly fees. Group Adult Foster Care pays for personal care and health services for MassHealth eligible residents.
Private assisted living:
ElderChoice: In some private assisted living residences (ALRs), low-rent units may be available through a MassHousing program called ElderChoice. ElderChoice ALRs set aside at least 20% of their units for low-income residents. To qualify for these units, residents must meet income limits (usually 50% of the area median income or less).
Group Adult Foster Care (GAFC) and SSI-G: Some private assisted living residences accept Group Adult Foster Care (GAFC) and SSI-G residents. Group Adult Foster Care is a MassHealth program that pays for personal care and health services. (See GAFC for more information and eligibility requirements.) GAFC covers the service portion of assisted living costs. SSI-G is a special Supplemental Security Income benefit for people in assisted living. It is higher than the standard SSI benefit. SSI-G covers the rent portion of assisted living costs. (See SSI for more information.)
There is usually a long waiting list for affordable assisted living units. Ask to have your name put on the waiting list and call back periodically to check your status.
I would highly suggest that you go speak with an elder law attorney in your area to get specific direction about the programs in your area and the facilities avaliable in your area. You can find one at www.naela.org.
I cannot provide you with legal advise. I have provided you with information about the law related to your question. My answer, and any information that you find online, should not take the place of having a consultation with a lawyer in your area to advise you regarding your specific issues.
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