With every passing day, the cost of daily essentials is rising, and it is just one of the tiles in a domino effect that affects everything that comes after it. And one of those things happens to be housing, especially for seniors!
As the golden years approach, finding suitable and affordable housing options can become crucial. If you are an older adult with Social Security, who is in dire need of affordable housing, then this article is for you.
What is Social Security?
Social Security is a government program that offers financial assistance to retired workers, their spouses, and their dependents. Social Security assistance is based on a person’s earnings history. The maximum benefit for an older adult who retires at full retirement age is $3,627 (2023).
Apartments for seniors on Social Security
What you need to know about senior apartments is that it is different from that of senior living or senior housing. Senior housing covers many residences, including assisted or independent living arrangements. Senior living is similar but with a much broader scope, with services and amenities that target a retirement lifestyle.
Apartments for seniors or 55+ apartments are designed for older adults aged 55 and above; these apartments offer independence and affordability, often with age-friendly features.
How is it related to seniors on Social Security?
The price range for such apartments is beneficial due to their financial circumstances, mainly for those reliant on Social Security. For Social Security-dependent seniors, affordable and suitable housing is critical. Senior apartments offer a balanced answer to housing, combining comfort and cost-effectiveness.
Retirement community vs. individual housing
When choosing between a senior apartment for housing or a retirement community, it comes to factors determining your preference. It can be the cost, the location, and even the lifestyle.
Here are the key differences between a retirement community and individual housing:
Services and amenities:
Retirement communities offer on-site transport, meals, and social activities. Retirement homes also provide memory care or skilled nursing home services. Individual housing does not offer such services.
Retirement communities can be pricey (especially for a luxury atmosphere), while individual housing is typically more affordable. The price difference is due to the lack of extra amenities.
Living in senior apartments provide greater freedom than retirement homes.
Seniors can have a robust social life due to organized activities in retirement communities.
Senior communities are strategic areas making essential visits accessible for seniors. Individual housing can be anywhere if it’s accessible to necessary amenities.
For a much clearer understanding, read below!
Finding housing for seniors on Social Security
The next step is finding your housing if you are on Social Security! There are five vital steps you need to follow:
1. Research different types of housing available to you on Social Security. Consider your income, health needs, social needs, and location preferences.
2. Talk to a housing advisor who can help you navigate the housing options available. The most like advice they will give you is to apply for government assistance programs like Section 8 under HUD.
3. Look through the government assistance programs that are beneficial to you. Numerous government assistance programs are available to help seniors (like paying rent) with housing costs.
4. Sharing housing is also an option to consider. This entails renting a room in a house or apartment you already have to other seniors.
5. The next best thing is to consider moving to a lower-cost area. Affordable locations like small towns really help if you are struggling to afford housing on Social Security.
Housing assistance options for seniors
The HUD program can facilitate living accommodations for seniors on low income who may find it challenging to move into retirement communities. Listed below are the best assistance options seniors can take advantage of.
- Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8): This federal program under the HUD supports very low-income seniors, disabled individuals, and families. It helps older adults choose their housing and use the voucher to pay for rent, partially or entirely.
- Veterans Administration Housing Help: The VA also provides housing aid for low-income veterans, including retirement communities like assisted living and in-home care.
- Public Housing: This assistance program is managed by local public housing agencies. The properties under Public Housing have apartments set aside for low-income seniors for affordable living.
- State Rental Assistance: In addition to US federal programs, states, and local governments, along with various organizations, may offer rental assistance to seniors.
- Supportive Housing for the Elderly Program (Section 202): Section 202 is offered by HUD. This program provides low-income individuals aged 62 and above independent living with essential support services like nutrition, transportation, education, and health management services.
Housing for senior citizens on Social Security in the US
Let’s say you live in Arizona, and you just turned 62. Guess what? Housing for seniors on Social Security in Arizona is ideal for low-income individuals. As it turns out, the locations listed are as well.
Texas is known for its favorable tax policies and lower cost of living. Seniors on Social Security seeking affordable housing can explore the options available for housing for seniors on Social Security in Texas to find suitable living arrangements.
Florida is a top destination for retirees, and it comes with a reason. Actually, more than just the warm, tax-friendly climates and excellent retirement communities. Affordable housing for seniors on Social Security in Florida is something to look into.
Georgia is one of the best affordable places to live for a retiree. That is because older adults prefer housing for seniors on Social Security in Georgia.
The average cost of housing for seniors
The average cost of housing for seniors can vary, primarily due to location. In general, the cost of housing is lower in the southern and western United States than it is in the Northeastern and Midwestern US.
A one-bedroom apartment (retirement community) in the US will start from $2,500 on average (per month). At the same time, a one-bedroom apartment in a senior apartment complex will cost $1,500.
- Making a retirement nest egg
- Roth IRA vs. savings accounts
- Converting a 401k to a self-directed IRA
- Managing finances for elderly
Paying for senior apartments
So now you know what such senior apartments and retirement community rooms cost, financing your living situation is the next step.
Low-income seniors can explore HUD-sponsored apartments that allow for income-based rents. To prevent financial strain, consider selling a home or a reverse mortgage. There are Social Security benefits to look into.
It is advisable to act quickly to apply for HUD-sponsored apartments or Housing Choice Voucher, as waitlists may fill up (Over 16.5 million seniors aged 65+ lives below the federal poverty level).
As Robert Frost once quoted in his works, ‘The only way out is through,’ it can stand to reason that even if you are a senior on a low income, you can still have a home. It may not be a retirement community as you hoped, but there are many other options.
That’s why Social Security, senior apartments, and housing assistance programs exist, so you can have a roof over your head! As you ponder your next steps, why not read the following articles to expand your understanding and better finance your way through life?
What is the cheapest way for a senior to live?
The best way to find the cheapest way to live is first to find an affordable location; low-cost living areas—rural areas and small towns provide a way to live affordably. Seniors, at the same time, can get assistance from government or federal housing programs.
What city is best for low income seniors?
Cities like San Antonio in Texas, Jacksonville in Florida, and Phoenix in Arizona are known to be affordable and have senior-friendly housing initiatives.
What is considered low income for seniors in the United States?
The definition of low income for seniors can significantly vary, depending on many factors, including location. If seniors have an income below 150% of the federal poverty level, that is considered to be low income. For a single individual in 2023, this is an income of $18,300 or less. For a married couple, an income of $25,220 or less.