Though elder care is a necessity for many people in order to live comfortably, it can be potentially difficult to pay for. Even those who are responsible with their finances may find that insurance, bills, and other payments have cut into their retirement fund and make assisted living in Denver more difficult to afford.

Many people over 65 rely on Social Security as a form of income after retirement. As you get older, you may wonder if your Social Security payments can cover your assisted living costs. The answer is yes; these payments can be put towards assisted living care. However, it’s unlikely to cover as much of the monthly cost as you would hope.

Defining Assisted Living

Assisted living provides support to residents 24/7. These types of facilities provide less intensive medical care than nursing homes or memory care facilities but still provide assistance for those unable to live alone. They provide meals, activities, assistance with daily living and mobility, and personal care to residents.

Understanding Social Security Payments

Social Security benefits are part of your income after retirement and depend on what your income was when you were employed and how much you paid to Social Security tax. If you worked for at least ten years of your life and paid those taxes, you can receive benefits anytime from age 62 to 65. Benefits are higher if you wait until 65.

Using Social Security for Assisted Living

You can use these benefits to pay for your assisted living care. These payments are usually made directly to you through your bank account, not to any assisted living facility you become a resident of. As they are a part of your income, they can be used for whatever you want, including your care. If you put all your benefits towards elder care, it will, unfortunately, probably not cover the entire monthly costs.

This is because the average cost for Colorado assisted living facilities was $4,750 per month in 2021. In comparison, the average monthly retirement benefits as of January 2023 was $1,780 per month. Residents need other forms of income or savings to pay for about $3,000 or more each month.

These average costs can vary significantly. If you need greater levels of care, the cost of your care facility may be much more. Alternatively, you may receive much higher-than-average Social Security benefits. There are also several other options for seniors who need to cover assisted living costs.

Additional Ways to Pay for Assisted Living

There are other sources of income available to retired and elderly people who need to pay for assisted living. This includes:

  • Medicaid. If you don’t qualify for disability benefits, Medicaid may be able to cover part of your assisted living costs. There are still medical and financial qualifications you must meet. Medicaid is accepted at certain care facilities and may cover medication, therapy, and personal care. It will usually not cover room and board.
  • Social Security Disability Income (SSDI). This is one form of federally paid disability benefits that cover those unable to work because of severe medical conditions or disability that lasts longer than a year or will result in death. How much you receive from SSDI depends on how many years you worked prior to the disability. Once you reach retirement, your SSDI payment becomes a retirement benefit. These benefits can be used for whatever you want, including helping you pay for assisted living.
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI). This is another form of federal disability benefits and does not impact how much SSDI you receive as other benefits may. SSI provides benefits for those disabled and unable to work, who have limited resources or income. This is a needs-based program, and the benefits are sent directly to you.
  • Optional State Supplements (OSS). In Colorado, the Old Age Pension program is funded by the state and provides income for elders with limited income and resources. OSS payments may be reduced if you receive other disability or Social Security income, but it is another way you can help pay for assisted living. These payments are made directly to your care facility.


Q: How Do You Qualify for Assisted Living in Colorado?

A: Qualifying for assisted living is based on the age and health of a person. For most retirement community assisted living facilities, residents are over 65 years of age and need support or assistance 24/7. This may be the result of greater health issues such as memory loss or the typical loss of coordination and strength that happens as you age.

Q: Does Social Security Pay for Elderly Care?

A: Social Security can be applied to assisted living and other types of elderly care, but it often does not cover all of it. With the average national monthly cost of an assisted living facility being around $4,500 as of 2021, and the average Social Security payment for retired workers being $1,827 as of January 2023, residents may have to pay $2,000 to $3,000 a month through other means.

Q: How Much Is Monthly Assisted Living in Colorado?

A: The average cost of Colorado assisted living facilities was $4,750 a month as of 2021. This is $250 a month higher than the national average. Nursing homes, which offer long-term medical assistance, cost anywhere from $8,500 to $9,700 a month. This is higher than the national average by $400 to $700 per month. It’s important to determine what level of care you or your loved one needs.

Q: How Does One Pay for Assisted Living?

A: Assisted living can be aided with Social Security and disability payments. This will not cover all costs, and many people use personal means to pay for assisted living care. This may include the resident’s retirement funds, pension payments, income, or a combination of all these savings. Often, residents receive contributions from their loved ones to pay for their care.

Finding the Right Assisted Living Facility for You

It’s important that where you seek support not only provides for your care and needs but allows you to live comfortably. Between each of these income supplements and benefits, you may have help with your financial planning, both now and in the future. If you believe it’s time to begin to look into assisted living facilities, contact Rocky Mountain Assisted Living. We have all-inclusive pricing with no hidden costs and would love to provide you with a tour of our facilities to see if we’re the home for you.