Social Security benefits are deposited directly into a checking account, and individuals can pay for nursing home care by issuing checks from this account. Social Security is counted as income outside of Medicare and Medicaid, and is used to calculate Medicaid eligibility for temporary or long-term care.
The amount of Social Security income used to pay for nursing home care fluctuates according to need and state regulations. Nursing home care is often paid through Medicare for a limited time until benefits are used up, and then individuals can pay additional expenses using Social Security income. Generally, nursing homes issue a bill, which must be paid by the nursing home resident or person chosen to handle financial affairs for the resident. Nursing home facilities are not given direct access to Social Security funds.
Nursing home residents receiving Medicaid are under different rules, and the Medicaid program governs how much Social Security income goes towards nursing care and personal needs. In this scenario, some Social Security income is used for patient copayments to the nursing home. The remaining amount of Social Security is given to the resident as a personal allowance. Thus, Social Security benefit payments are limited to a reduced amount. To avoid nursing home eviction, individuals must calculate how much income is needed to cover costs not paid by Medicaid.