SSI: Supplemental Security Income as Payment for RCFE Care

Understanding Facility Practices

Supplemental Security Income, also known as SSI, is a benefit paid to qualifying blind, disabled, or 65+ year old individuals having fewer than $2,000 in assets.  SSI monies (about $650 provided by the federal government; the remainder comes from state funds) can be used to pay for 24/7 care and supervision in an RCFE, however by law, the RCFE cannot charge more than the rate set by California for assisted living services.  As of 2011, the monthly rate for RCFEs from SSI funds is $982/month.  Since the maximum SSI a qualifying elder can receive is $1,100, the individual is left with #128 for personal items and discretionary spending.

Families note:  the RCFE cannot require that family members supplement the resident's monthly SSI payment to, nor can the Admissions Agreement be modified to include additional assistance by family members; RCFE owners can not receive a family supplement over and above the stipulated SSI amount for the resident's room, board and care. 

The fact is that few facilities accept residents who only receive SSI benefits because the rate is well below the normal monthly rate of $2,500 to $3,000 charged by RCFEs. To find out whether the assisted living facility takes SSI, the consumer has to call the candidate RCFE, asking whether they accept SSI clients.  There is no single place where a consumer can refer to that would advise which RCFEs accept  SSI clients.  

One source a consumer can look is the LIC 401, Monthly Operating Statement, completed by the RCFE application and submitted to the state as part of the license application package.  CARR regularly scans and posts the LIC 401 for individual facilities - so if it is available in the public record, it will likely be posted on this site.  The first part of the LIC 401 requires the licensee to account for his monthly revenue.  The first line in this section provides for SSI residents.  CARR has seen some licensees indicate that of a 6-bed intended occupancy, the licensee will calculate his total revenues based on having 1 or 2 SSI residents.  CARR is the first to acknowledge this source as unreliable, but if the licensee indicated a revenue stream coming from SSI clients, it may indicate the potential for the licensee to accept an SSI client.    

Information contained in this FAQ is based in part on research done by BA, CARR's spring SDSU intern.  Thanks BA.  


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