Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Low Income Senior Housing: How it Works, Where to Go

If your parent needs low-income housing, you need to know the rules.  What determines whether your parent qualifies?   Various communities have different income limits, but they're generally based on a percentage of the average income in the area.  For example in King County, where Seattle is located, the average income is $90,300.  Low-income senior housing apartments will have an income limit of not more than $37,980.  Some communities have a much lower income cap.

How it works: What determines your parent's annual income?  It's the total of the monthly Social Security, pensions and other benefits.  Assets need to be factored in, as well, as anticipated income.  For years, HUD has had a formula for figuring the income an asset could bring if it were liquidated.  That number is 2 percent.

For example, if your parent has an asset worth $200,000, the anticipated income off of that asset would be 4 percent or $8,000.  You would add $8,000 to your parent's other income.  The total must fall below the community's income cap.

Where to go: 

Your senior center is a good place to start.  Most low income senior apartments also have a website.
When you call individual communities, ask their income limit (including 2 percent of assets), their approximate waiting list length and of course, pricing. 

I would encourage you to join multiple lists, even if they seem long.  When an opening occurs, the manager calls down the waiting list until someone is ready to move in.  Often people high on the waiting list aren't ready to move yet.

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