Assisted Living in New Jersey
The 2020 Census revealed 16.6% of New Jersey’s almost 9.3 million residents are in the 65 and older age group. At $6,495 per month, assisted living is costlier than in nearby locations, but New Jersey’s below-average health costs may offset this when compared to the higher medical costs of neighboring states with lower assisted living fees. The state has also initiated the Health Care Affordability, Responsibility, and Transparency Program to slow down the growth rate of health care costs. Additionally, initiatives such as NJ Saves can help low-income seniors lower their costs for Medicare premiums and prescriptions.
This guide reviews the costs of assisted living and other types of senior care in New Jersey and compares them with the average fees in neighboring states. It also discusses if, when and how Medicaid covers assisted living expenses. Additionally, it provides contact details and a short bio of several state agencies and nonprofit organizations that deliver free and low-cost resources for New Jersey’s older residents.
How Much Does Assisted Living Cost in in New Jersey?
Figures published in the 2021 Genworth Cost of Care Survey show New Jersey’s average fee for assisted living is $6,495 per month, making the state costlier than those that share its borders. Seniors in Delaware typically pay $5,995 for assisted living services, while in Maryland, the average is $4,900. New York’s typical costs are lower still, at $4,580, while Pennsylvania’s $4,100 is the only average fee in the region below the country’s median of $4,500.
The United States
The Cost of Assisted Living in New Jersey’s Top Cities
The following figures are the median for each of the four New Jersey cities included in the Genworth survey. This finds Trenton to be the most expensive in the state, with seniors typically paying $8,145 per month. By contrast, their peers in Atlantic City are more likely to pay $5,807 for similar services. Costs can also be high in Ocean City, where the average fee is $7,490, although Vineland is a more affordable $6,400.
The Cost of Assisted Living vs. Other Types of Care
The typical assisted living facility in New Jersey charges a fee of $6,495 per month for accommodation and care. This is costlier than homemaker services, where fees average $5,529, and home health aide support, at $5,710. Adult day care is more affordable too, at $1,950. However, with all three options, seniors should factor home maintenance costs into their final figures to make like-for-like comparisons with assisted living. The most expensive type of care is provided in nursing homes, with fees of around $11,254 per month for a semiprivate room in New Jersey.
Assisted Living Facility
Home Health Aide
Adult Day Health Care
Nursing Home Facility (semiprivate room)
Can You Use Medicaid to Pay for Assisted Living in New Jersey?
NJ FamilyCare, New Jersey’s Medicaid program, doesn’t directly pay for assisted living. However, low-income residents may be eligible for financial assistance through Managed Long-Term Care Services and Supports (MLTSS). The waiver program can cover medical and transportation costs in facilities licensed and certified by the Department of Human Services, but not room and board. Another option is the Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE), which blends Medicaid and Medicare to provide a comprehensive range of support for adults aged 55 and older.
Medicaid’s Coverage of Assisted Living in New Jersey
There are three Medicaid waivers in New Jersey, each aimed at helping seniors with different needs, with two suitable for seniors best served in assisted living facilities. The most appropriate is Managed Long-Term Care Services and Supports, which covers medical costs but not room and board. The Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) is primarily for seniors residing at home but can also cover costs if they need institutional care.
Waiver Programs for Assisted Living in New Jersey
Managed Long-Term Care Services and Supports (MLTSS)
Managed Care Organizations (MCO) administer the Managed Long-Term Care Services and Supports waiver in New Jersey. MCOs are health insurance companies authorized by NJ FamilyCare to coordinate multiple programs so seniors get all the services they need. MCOs conduct clinical and financial assessments to determine eligibility, while the Division of Aging Services makes the final decision on who qualifies. The waiver covers all medical and transportation costs as well as prescription drugs, but seniors need to pay for their room and board.
Applicants must be New Jersey residents aged 65 years or older and require assistance with at least three daily living tasks, such as housekeeping, bathing and dressing. There are also financial limitations, which change annually.
Seniors can learn more about MLTSS by visiting its webpage or emailing the Division of Medical Assistance and Health Services. To apply for the waiver, they should call (877) 222-3737 or contact their County Area Agency on Aging/Aging and Disability Resource Connection office, where an advisor will guide them through the process and conduct the mandatory clinical screening.
Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE)
PACE is a Medicare program that blends medical and social services to provide all-encompassing care. It’s for adults aged 55 and older able at the time of enrollment to reside at home or in the community with assistance. However, the program also supports seniors with age-related conditions, such as Alzheimer’s, who may need institutional care if their condition deteriorates. The program provides all Medicaid and Medicare services, minus their limitations. These typically include primary care, prescription drugs and nursing home care, when required.
PACE is only available through six agencies in New Jersey, so seniors who successfully apply to the program will need to relocate to a facility located within participating zip codes. To get more information or apply for the program, seniors should call the New Jersey Division of Aging Services at (800) 792-8820 or contact the PACE agency nearest their location.
Eligibility for Medicaid in New Jersey
As of 2022, single applicants must have annual incomes no greater than $30,276 to be considered for Medicaid. The income limit doesn’t include a $50 per month personal needs allowance or Medicare premiums. The $30,276 also applies if the applicant has a spouse but jumps to $60,552 if both people in the household apply.
If the senior receives Supplemental Security Income, they will automatically be eligible for New Jersey’s Medicaid program. It’s possible for seniors whose assets and incomes preclude them from receiving SSI to still apply for Medicaid, but they’ll need to pursue their application through their nearest County Board of Social Services office.
2022 Medicaid Income Limits for Seniors in New Jersey
|Pre-Tax Income Limits*
|Two-Person Household (Only One Person Applying)
|$2,000 for applicant$137,400 for non-applicant
|Two-Person Household (Both People Applying)
**To check assets were not gifted or undersold in anticipation of a Medicaid claim, the MCO will consider the previous 5 years of the applicant’s financial data
Seniors must also prove medical eligibility by undergoing a clinical screening. This is typically held within a facility approved by the local Area Agency on Aging/Aging and Disability Resource Connection. The screening determines if the applicant is unable to achieve three or more daily activities unless they have assistance, such as:
- Getting in or out of bed
- Making meals
- Using toilet facilities
In addition to the financials and clinical screening, the applicant must also be:
- A U.S. citizen or legal resident
- 65 years of age or older
- In need of nursing home levels of care
Applying for Medicaid in New Jersey
The step-by-step application process on the Nj FamilyCare website is the fastest way to register a claim for Medicaid in New Jersey. Seniors more comfortable with traditional methods can download and print an application form from the site and mail a completed copy to NJ FamilyCare, P. O. Box 8367, Trenton, NJ 08650-9802. Alternatively, those who would prefer to meet with an advisor who can guide them through the application process can contact their local County Board of Social Services office to make an appointment.
Before You Apply
Before applying, seniors should gather the information the department needs to avoid delays. Some applications may require additional information, but generally, seniors will be asked for:
- The incomes of everyone residing in the applicant’s household, including employer contact details
- Social Security numbers or document numbers if a legal immigrant
- The policy numbers of all current health insurance (this includes Medicare)
- Proof of any job-related insurance for everyone who resides in the applicant’s household
Where to Go to Get Help
There are several organizations operating in New Jersey that can provide expert advice and assistance to seniors applying for Medicaid. The government agencies and nonprofits listed here provide their services for free.
|American Council on Aging
|The American Council on Aging is a nonprofit that operates a website with a wealth of information for seniors who prefer to conduct their own research. The site also includes useful tools, such as a Medicaid eligibility test that helps seniors determine if they qualify in New Jersey, and a spend-down calculator that indicates how much of their assets they need to relinquish to become eligible for Medicaid.
|NJHelps is New Jersey’s online assistance tool to help seniors determine which state assistance programs they’re eligible for. It also guides them through the application processes for each qualifying program. Additionally, it provides information about other free services offered by the state, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
|Legal Services of New Jersey
|Legal Services of New Jersey is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing free legal advice and support to the state’s older residents. It operates through five regional programs conveniently located to cover every part of New Jersey. Its lawyers and paralegals can help seniors struggling to access government aid and benefits, including Medicaid.
Can You Use Medicare to Pay for Assisted Living in New Jersey?
Unfortunately, Medicare does not cover the cost of assisted living in New Jersey. 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 New Jersey?
|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.
|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 New Jersey
Many government agencies and nonprofit organizations in New Jersey provide free and low-cost resources for the state’s older residents. These include legal assistance in civil law matters, help preparing taxes, support applying for public benefits and advocacy when long-term care providers fall short of expected standards.
|State Health Insurance Program (SHIP)
|SHIP is a free assistance program for New Jersey residents with Medicare or those of age when they apply. Trained counselors provide unbiased information, advice and support to seniors preparing to apply or in need of help developing long-term care plans that incorporate Medicare. Although the counselors can advise on private health insurance, they won’t try to sell plans as their focus is solely on the best interests of the senior.
|Veterans Affairs is a division within the New Jersey Department of Military and Veteran Affairs. It provides free information, advice and assistance to vets and their families, helping them access the benefits they’re entitled to and referring them to other useful resources, such as the VA New Jersey Health Care System. It also operates a veterans’ crisis line that provides confidential nonmedical support 24/7.
|AARP FoundationTax-Aide Program
|The AARP Foundation Tax-Aide Program is a free resource that prioritizes assistance for the elderly and New Jersey residents on low incomes. Fully trained IRS-certified volunteers help seniors prepare and submit their tax returns. There are two options: The first is online, where the senior uses free software, with the volunteer providing support when required. With the second option, the senior drops off their tax documents at an approved facility, and a volunteer does most of the prep work.
|Social Security Offices
|Social Security offices exist in multiple locations throughout New Jersey. They issue seniors with their Social Security cards and help them apply for Medicare. Additionally, qualifying seniors can get assistance claiming public benefits, such as Supplemental Security Income, and discover their eligibility for Medicaid if they already receive SSI.
|Aging and Disability Resource Connection/Area Agency on Aging
|Operating in all of New Jersey’s 21 counties, the Area Agencies on Aging coordinate a wealth of community-based supports for the state’s older residents. They also act as the Aging and Disability Resource Connections for their areas, providing seniors and their caregivers with programs that can postpone transfer to long-term care facilities for as long as possible. Additionally, the agencies manage the long-term care ombudsman program within their communities, which supports seniors in dispute with their care providers.
|211 New Jersey
|211 New Jersey is a free resource that can make it easier for seniors to find local agencies and organizations that help older residents in their communities. It connects seniors with providers who may deliver services that the Area Agencies on Aging don’t offer. Also, its helpline is open 24/7, so seniors aren’t limited to agency opening times.
COVID-19 Rules for Assisted Living in New Jersey
The following information is based on research done on several government websites, including state.nj.us/health/legal/covid19 and state.nj.us/health/legal/covid19. These rules apply to nursing homes and other types of senior living facilities. We’ve most recently updated this data on 2/10/2022, 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?
|Will my loved one be required to self-quarantine after I visit him or her?
|Do I need to wear PPE and/or a cloth mask if I do visit my relative in person?
|Are Hairdressers and other non-medical contractors still allowed in senior living facilities?
|Yes (Conditions Apply)
|Does the state recommend or require that senior living facilities assist families with setting up virtual visit alternatives?
|Are visitors being screened for elevated temperatures?
|Are visitors being asked questions about health, travel, and potential virus contact?
Outings and Group Activities
|Are residents allowed to leave the facility for non-medical reasons?
|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?
|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?
|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?
Safety Measures for Residents
|Are staff members required to regularly screen residents for coronavirus symptoms?
|Are residents relied on to screen themselves and self-report potential coronavirus symptoms?
|Are staff members required to take residents’ temperatures?
|Are residents being tested for coronavirus?
|Yes (Conditions Apply)
Assisted Living Laws and Regulations in New Jersey
The New Jersey Department of Health is responsible for licensing the state’s assisted living facilities, routinely monitoring them to determine their adherence to applicable laws and regulations. If a facility fails to abide by the terms of its license, the department has the authority to demand improvements by specific dates and revoke the license, if necessary.