How to Find Low-Income Senior Living Options on a Fixed Budget

As seniors head into their retirement, many look for other living options than owning a big house with a huge mortgage. Finding a low-income housing option can help seniors living on a fixed budget. There …

As seniors head into their retirement, many look for other living options than owning a big house with a huge mortgage. Finding a low-income housing option can help seniors living on a fixed budget. There are several options that may help seniors keep the bills low yet still enjoy the later years of their life. Below are just a few options to consider. 

The Types of Low-Income Senior Living options

For seniors looking to find low-income housing specifically for their needs, there are a few options. Depending on where you choose there are some restrictions that apply, such as age, income, and medically inclined. Sometimes there are even waiting lists. Seniors should check the availability of the senior living option they want before filling out an application for the place.  Also, consider the 28/36 rule when finding any low-income housing option. This refers to the calculation of the amount of debt an individual or household should spend on rent. Here are two of the most common types of low-income senior living options:

  • Subsidized housing for Seniors: These are sponsored programs, connected to government entities such as HUD. They often assist seniors with the cost of living and care that may be needed. 
  • Senior apartments: For these types of living options, they will provide a close community interaction with a budget-friendly housing arrangement for both seniors and the elderly.  
  • Senior Cooperative Housing option: In cooperative housing, seniors pay for their stay by working jobs or doing chores to help with their rent. These may include cleaning the kitchen or working as a receptionist and answering phones.

Affordable Housing Programs for Seniors

For many seniors who require low-income help, finding affordable housing can sometimes be challenging. In most cases medicare or medicaid will not pay for housing on a permanent basis, unless of course the person is disabled or requires round the clock care. However, there are a few program options when it comes to affordability. Here are three of the most sought out programs that will benefit seniors or anyone that is looking for programs that may help keep their rent low. 

Option 1: Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC): Founded in 1986, this federally-funded program helps seniors (or those eligible) ensure that each recipient receives housing, so they can meet their monthly needs. Owners of apartment buildings that participate in the program receive a tax credit. 

Option 2: Section 202: HUD-funded supportive housing and government-subsidized program. The program is geared to seniors age 62 and up and fall under the “very low income” criteria. There are over 250 million units funded by the section 202 program in America today. 

Option 3: Housing Choice Voucher Program: In other words, section 8. This voucher allows the recipient to pay only 30% of the family’s or individuals income as a full rent payment. To be eligible, however, the senior (or eligible individual) must not have a salary over 50 percent of the median income in their local area. 

Who Can Qualify for Low-Income Senior Housing options?

Each year the growing population of seniors and the elderly seems to get larger, and many of them are on a low-income budget and find it difficult to pay for basic needs. Many times the senior will find it easier to move in with family to help with the cost of living, however, this is not always the best choice for some. As mentioned above there are several options to help the ease of paying for rent, yet not all are qualified. The senior needs to meet certain requirements. For example, the assisted housing option has several guidelines, income limits, and eligibility requirements.

 In fact, HUD offers twenty-three different programs, specifically designed for older adults. If you are not eligible for one, there is sure one that you should be. When determining eligibility, all income sources are counted. This includes disability benefits, annuities, pensions, and retirement accounts, and anyone else’s income that you live with.  Also, seniors need to consider how many family members are living with you. The more family members you have in one household, the higher the income caps. Checking with your local HUD rental office will help determine your eligibility in your specific area. 


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