Assisted Living in Illinois
Home to the city of Chicago with its many health care options, the state of Illinois has much to offer seniors. Over 12.6 million people live in the state, and 16.1% of the population is age 65 and older. This means the state has over 2 million senior adults. It is also home to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, which is ranked No. 8 in the nation for senior care, and Rush University Medical Center, which is ranked No. 16.
Many seniors benefit from great public transportation options in the main cities and the cultural attractions and recreation options found throughout the state as well as the lower-than-average cost of living. This is reflected in the average assisted living cost of $4,488, which is lower than the national average. Still, there is one wavier program available through the state’s Medicaid program to help pay for the cost of care.
In this guide, seniors will discover assisted living options, average costs and organizations that provide help and support seniors who are making the transition to assisted living.
How Much Does Assisted Living Cost in in Illinois?
According to data from the 2021 Genworth Cost of Care Survey, seniors living in Illinois pay an average of $4,488 per month. In the nation, this average is $4,500 per month, so Illinois is close to the national average. However, with the exception of Wisconsin, Illinois has a higher monthly average than its neighboring states. Wisconsin averages $4,600 per month, but Kentucky averages $3,448, Indiana averages $4,283, Missouri averages $3,000 and Iowa averages $4,367 per month.
The United States
The Cost of Assisted Living in Illinois’ Top Cities
The cost for assisted living varies from one city to the next in Illinois. The highest costs are in Rockford, which averages $5,250 per month. The lowest costs are in Carbondale, which averages $3,525 per month. In the Chicago area, seniors average $4,825 per month for the cost of assisted living care. Decatur has an average of $4,382, and seniors in the state’s capital, Springfield, pay $5,110 per month. In the central part of the state in Champaign, the average is $4,750 per month.
The Cost of Assisted Living vs. Other Types of Care
While assisted living is a common type of senior care in Illinois, averaging $4,488 per month, there are other options. The most affordable is adult day health care, which costs an average of $1,885. Seniors who receive care in their homes will pay $5,339 for either homemaker or home health aide services. Those who need extended nursing care will pay $6,266 per month on average for nursing home care in a semiprivate room.
Adult Day Health Care
Home Health Aide
Nursing Home (semiprivate room)
Can You Use Medicaid to Pay for Assisted Living in Illinois?
Yes, but only through a Medicaid waiver program. Illinois Medicaid does not pay for assisted living directly. Through this program, many of the services of an assisted living community can be paid for with Medicaid funds, with the exception of room and board.
Waiver Programs for Assisted Living in Illinois
Illinois has one waiver program that allows seniors to use Medicaid funds to pay for some of their assisted living costs.
Illinois Supportive Living Program
The Illinois Supportive Living Program offers an alternative option for seniors who are considering nursing home care and are considered low-income or those with a physical disability. This is a Medicaid waiver program that pays for services Medicaid will not normally pay for. This coverage might include:
- Recreation activities
- 24-hour staff
- Social and health activities
- Medication assistance
- Personal care
This program does not pay for room and board at the assisted living facility.
To apply for the Illinois SLP waiver, a person must be age 65 or older or be an adult over the age of 22 who has a physical disability. Seniors must first apply for Medicaid’s Medical Assistance Program. Then, they must have a pre-admission screening to determine if their needs can be met in the SLP setting. Seniors must also meet all income guidelines for the program and have a negative tuberculosis test.
To get more information about this program, seniors can call (217) 782-0545 or contact the Department of Healthcare and Family Services’ Bureau of Long Term Care.
Eligibility for Medicaid in Illinois
To apply for Medicaid in Illinois, a person is age 65 or older must have an income below 100% of the Federal Poverty Level, minus any excluded assets. This limit is an income of $12,856 per year for a single individual or $17,424 a year for a married couple. In addition, the individual can have assets of up to $2,000 for an individual or $3,000 for a married couple. If a couple is married but just one is applying for Medicaid, the asset limit is $2,000 for the applicant and $109,560 for the non-applicant.
2022 Medicaid Income Limits for Seniors in Illinois
|Income Limits*||Asset Limits|
|Two-Person Household(Only One Person Applying)||$17,424||$2,000 for the applicant$109,560 for non-applicant|
(Both People Applying)
To apply for Medicaid, a senior in Illinois must also be:
- Age 65 and older
- A U.S. citizen or qualified non-citizen
- A resident of Illinois
Applying for Medicaid in Illinois
To apply for medical benefits through Medicaid, seniors can fill out the Application for Benefits Eligibility (ABE) online. They can also download a paper application and mail it to the local Family Community Resource Center in their community. Finally, seniors can apply in person at the Family Community Resource Center. After sending in the application, the DHS office will ask you to come in for an interview and provide the necessary proof for your Medicaid program.
Before You Apply
At your interview, you will need to have some documents, including:
- Proof of identity and age
- Proof of residence
- Social Security numbers for all applicants
- Proof of assets
Where to Go to Get Help
Seniors who need help with their Medicaid application or who need to appeal a decision can find free help with the process. This includes help from the DHS directly as well as help from outside organizations.
|Medicaid Helpline||(800) 843-6154||Seniors can call this toll-free number to get help with their Medicaid applications. Counselors will provide fast answers to questions. They can also visit their local DHS office to get help.|
|ABE Customer Support||(800) 843-6154||ABE provides an online application for benefit and Medicaid services. The customer support page helps people with their Medicaid benefits application. This is where seniors can appeal a decision about their benefits.|
|Illinois Legal Aid||(312) 341-1070||For legal questions regarding Medicaid, Illinois Legal Aid is available. Seniors can get free legal help from a local attorney to assist with their Medicaid case.|
|Illinois SHIP||(800) 252-8966||Through Illinois SHIP, seniors can connect with trained Medicaid counselors to get help with their Medicaid applications or to learn which Medicaid program may be best for their needs.|
Can You Use Medicare to Pay for Assisted Living in Illinois?
Unfortunately, Medicare does not cover the cost of assisted living in Illinois. Unlike nursing homes, assisted living facilities are not considered to be “clinical settings’ and so are not eligible for Medicare coverage. That being said, you can still use Medicare to cover the cost of approved medications, doctor visits, medical equipment, etc.
For more information about what Medicare visit medicare.gov.
Are There Other Financial Assistance Options for Assisted Living in Illinois?
|How to Apply||How It Works|
|Aid and Attendance||Apply online at va.gov.||If you are a veteran and you receive a VA pension, you may also be eligible for the Aid and Attendance benefit. This benefit takes the form of a monthly cash allowance that you receive in addition to your standard pension. This benefit is used by veterans who need long-term care services, including care received at an assisted living facility.|
|Reverse Mortgages||Research and learn about the different types at ftc.gov||If you own a home, you may be able to use a reverse mortgage to access some of the equity in your home. Like traditional loans, reverse mortgages do need to be repaid with interest, typically within 12 months, so seniors should carefully weigh this option alongside other financing methods.|
|Long-Term Care (LTC) Insurance||Learn about how to receive LTC insurance benefits at acl.gov.||While those who currently need assisted living will typically not be eligible, if you purchased an LTC insurance policy in the past, you may be able to use it to help pay for assisted living. While most policies cover at least a portion of the cost, you still need to check the specific terms of your policy.|
Free and Low-Cost Resources for Seniors in Illinois
Throughout the state of Illinois, many organizations and nonprofits offer help to seniors. These free and low-cost services make it easier for seniors living in assisted living communities to enjoy a high quality of life, even on a limited budget.
|Illinois Area Agencies on Aging||(800) 252-8966||The state of Illinois operates 13 Area Agencies on Aging that oversee and coordinate services and programs for older adults in their service areas. Seniors can connect with these organizations to learn about services in their local areas that can help them enjoy a better quality of life.|
|Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs||(800) 437-9824||Through the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs, seniors who are also veterans can get services they earned through their military service. There are a number of services designed specifically for seniors who are veterans, including medical coverage and financial support. The Department operates five veterans homes throughout the state as well, which can provide senior care for eligible veteran seniors.|
|Illinois Senior Health Insurance Program||(800) 252-8966||Illinois SHIP helps seniors living in the state understand their health care options. It also helps provide resources for applying for Medicare. Trained counselors walk seniors through their options and provide the resources they need to apply for coverage, ensuring they get the coverage that best fits their needs.|
|Illinois Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program||(800) 252-8966||The Illinois Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program provides advocacy to seniors living in long-term care facilities, including assisted living communities, throughout the state. Trained ombudsmen visit these communities to monitor the care given to seniors. They also listen to complaints from seniors and their families regarding potential neglect or abuse and make sure those complaints are taken care of properly.|
|Center for Disability and Elder Law||(312) 376-1880||The Center for Disability and Elder Law provides free legal advice for Cook County seniors and adults with disabilities. The main focus of this organization is to help with financial and housing stability, end-of-life planning, guardianship and divorce. Seniors who have concerns about these matters can call for free advice.|
|Illinois Social Security Offices||(800) 772-1213||Seniors in Illinois can apply for Social Security income at their local Social Security Administration office. This income can provide help to pay for assisted living and daily care needs. It is available starting at age 61 years and 9 months, and seniors can apply up to 4 months before they want their benefits to start.|
|Illinois Department on Aging||(800) 252-8966||The Illinois Department on Aging is the hub for all things related to senior care and well-being in Illinois. This organization oversees Adult Protective Services, the Senior Health Assistance Program and the Senior Health Insurance Program. It also operates the Senior Helpline, which is a toll-free number seniors can call to get started with services.|
COVID-19 Rules for Assisted Living in Illinois
The following information is based on research done on several government websites, including dph.illinois.gov. These rules apply to nursing homes and other types of senior living facilities. We’ve most recently updated this data on 2/7/2022, but since COVID-19 is a rapidly evolving pandemic, contact your local senior living facility or Area Agency on Aging for more specific and up-to-date information.
Visiting Loved Ones
|Can I visit my relative in person if he/she wants emotional support from me?||Yes (Conditions Apply)|
|Can I visit my relative in person for end-of-life compassion care?||Yes|
|Will my loved one be required to self-quarantine after I visit him or her?||No|
|Do I need to wear PPE and/or a cloth mask if I do visit my relative in person?||Yes|
|Are Hairdressers and other non-medical contractors still allowed in senior living facilities?||Yes|
|Does the state recommend or require that senior living facilities assist families with setting up virtual visit alternatives?||Not Available*|
|Are visitors being screened for elevated temperatures?||Yes|
|Are visitors being asked questions about health, travel, and potential virus contact?||Yes|
*NOTE: This information was not available for this state, contact your local area agency on aging or senior living facility for more information.
Outings and Group Activities
|Are residents allowed to leave the facility for non-medical reasons?||Yes|
|Are residents of senior living facilities who leave and return required to self-quarantine?||No (Conditions Apply)|
|Are senior living facilities required to cancel all group outings?||No|
|Are residents still eating together in the dining hall?||Yes (Conditions Apply)|
|Are facilities still allowed to host group activities within the community?||Yes (Conditions Apply)|
Safety Measures for Staff & Contractors
|Are staff members and contractors being screened for elevated temperatures?||Yes|
|Are staff members and contractors being tested for Coronavirus?||Yes (Conditions Apply)|
|Are staff members and contractors being asked questions about health, travel, and potential virus contact?||Yes|
Safety Measures for Residents
|Are staff members required to regularly screen residents for coronavirus symptoms?||Yes|
|Are residents relied on to screen themselves and self-report potential coronavirus symptoms?||No|
|Are staff members required to take residents’ temperatures?||Yes|
|Are residents being tested for coronavirus?||Yes (Conditions Apply)|
Assisted Living Laws and Regulations in Illinois
Laws regarding assisted living communities in Illinois are the responsibility of the Illinois Department of Public Health. These laws ensure safe facilities and proper care for seniors in assisted living and similar long-term care communities. Seniors or family members of seniors can report abuse or neglect to the IDPH.