How to Use Disability Benefits to Pay for Memory Care | (2023)

Types of Dementia

Dementia is a general term used to describe symptoms that affect memory, cognitive abilities, and communication. There are many different diseases that can lead to dementia and while it usually affects older adults, it can affect people at any point in their lives. Although there is no cure for dementia, there are many innovative treatments being developed that can improve brain function and the quality of life for many patients.


Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia. The disease affects memory, language, and cognitive ability. It is progressive, meaning that it worsens over time. The risk of dementia increases with age, but younger people can still develop it at any point.

Dementia with Lewy Bodies/Parkinson’s Disease

Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) often occurs with Parkinson’s Disease. Protein formations located in the brain called Lewy bodies can affect patients in a variety of ways and cause a range of symptoms depending on where in the brain they are located.

Vascular Dementia

Vascular dementia is the second most common form of dementia after Alzheimer’s and is caused by impaired blood flow to the brain. This often occurs because of a stroke, and symptoms range from cognitive deficits and mood disturbances to physical problems such as chronic weakness. Patients with vascular dementia also often develop vascular lesions in the brain.

Mixed Dementia

Mixed dementia is a term used to describe multiple types of dementia that a patient develops at the same time. The most common type of mixed dementia is a combination of vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. The different symptoms of mixed dementia will vary but often include confusion, memory trouble, difficulty concentrating. Speech problems, behavioral trouble, and emotional problems are also common.

Accessing Disability Benefits

How to Use Disability Benefits to Pay for Memory Care | (1)

Is Alzheimer’s Considered a Disability?

In some cases, Alzheimer’s is considered a disability, especially in the case of early onset Alzheimer’s. If the symptoms of Alzheimer’s will prevent the person from working for at least a year, then they might qualify for Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income benefits.

Qualifying for SSDI

In order to qualify for SSDI, patients must meet the requirements of a disability listing. For patients with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia, neurocognitive disorders are the most common disability listing that they qualify for.

Patients will need to present medical evidence that they have declined in:

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  • Memory and learning
  • Judgment and planning skills
  • Language ability
  • Social skills

The decline in these areas must be significant enough to cause the patient severe limitations in how they function.

The SSA will require documentation showing that the patient meets these qualifications. These documents can be obtained from a primary care physician or other specialists that the patient sees. They also take into consideration work evaluations and any attempts the patient has made to continue working.

Compassionate Care Benefits

In many situations, it can take disabled patients a long time to qualify for disability benefits, sometimes years. Compassionate Care allows patients with certain severe medical conditions to be approved quickly – sometimes in only a matter of weeks.

When it comes to dementia, patients who have been diagnosed with mixed dementia or dementia with Lewy bodies may be eligible for quick SSDI approval based on Social Security’s Compassionate Allowances initiative.

Types of Care for Early Onset Alzheimer’s

How to Use Disability Benefits to Pay for Memory Care | (2)

Patients with early onset Alzheimer’s will require varying degrees of care depending on how advanced their disease is. Different types of care may suit different patients and families better than others. The type of care a patient needs will also likely change over the course of the disease.

Home Aides

What Is It?

Home aides visit a patient’s home and assist with daily tasks such as bathing, dressing, and preparing food. Those with more progressed forms of memory impairment may prefer a home health aide, who typically has more medical training and can perform healthcare-related tasks in addition to the services provided by home aides.

Who Is It Best For?

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Home aides are excellent for patients who are still able to live in their own home but need help completing basic tasks on a daily basis. Many patients might live with a family member or caregiver who still has their own job and isn’t available to attend to all of a patient’s needs on a daily basis.


  • The patient is still able to live at home
  • They receive professional care from trained staff
  • Care can be flexible depending on the needs of the patient and other caregivers


  • Care is limited – most home aides are only available for a certain amount of time on a set schedule each day.
  • Lack of emergency resources if the patient has a serious medical event
  • The patient might feel isolated if housebound at all times

Adult Day Care

What Is It?

Adult day care is a place where caregivers can leave their loved ones who need supervision during the day while they work or take care of other obligations. Care is typically limited to daytime hours; overnight or long-term care is not available with adult day care.

Who Is It Best For?

This is an excellent option for those with Alzheimer’s who live with a caregiver or family member who still works full or part-time and cannot be with their loved one all day. Most people do best in adult day care when they are still comfortable traveling outside of their home and socializing with others.


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  • Allows caregivers to continue working while giving their loved ones care
  • Provides valuable social interaction
  • Patients are with trained staff for the course of the day


  • Caregivers often need to provide transportation to and from the daycare facility
  • Patients with advanced dementia may have difficulty with a changing environment

Respite Care

What Is It?

Respite care allows caregivers to take a break from their caregiving duties while the person with dementia still receives the care they need. Respite care can be provided at home by a professional, a volunteer, or a family member or it can be provided at a facility outside the home. Many caregivers use respite care while traveling, or when they simply are feeling overwhelmed and need assistance with their caregiving duties.

Who’s Is It Best For?

Respite care is a perfect option for patients who have caregivers that need a break from their duties. Caregivers need to relax, engage in other activities and take time for themselves so that they can continue to care for the patient without getting burnt out.


  • Allows caregivers to take much needed time for themselves
  • Patients can have valuable social interactions with other people
  • Patients are safe with a skilled caregiver
  • Flexible options so patients can receive care in their home or at another facility


  • May be difficult to coordinate respite care on short notice
  • Caregivers may need to provide transportation to and from a facility

Memory Care

What Is It?

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Residential memory care is for patients who can not live at home and need around the clock care. There, patients will be monitored by trained medical staff and receive individualized care. Services provided in residential memory care facilities include assistance with activities of daily living, meal service, and medical care.

Who Is It Best For?

Residential memory care is best for dementia patients in the later stages of the disease who need around the clock care and are no longer able to live in their own homes. These facilities provide the highest level of care of any memory care option.


  • Patients receive professional care from a staff that understands dementia
  • Patients have their meals prepared for them
  • Facilities often schedule activities and outing for patients who are able to attend
  • Residential facilities provide around-the-clock care


  • Can be costly
  • Caregivers are not as involved in their loved ones care
  • Residents have less freedom than living at home or other senior care facilities, so it should only be used by those who can no longer function outside of a memory care facility

How to Pay for Memory Care

How to Use Disability Benefits to Pay for Memory Care | (3)

Disability Benefits

Disability benefits can be used to pay for the memory care your loved one needs. Whether your loved one will be staying at home or entering a care facility, this can help ease the financial burden caregivers often experience face with long-term medical care. Those who wish to receive disability benefits must apply for SSDI through the SSA.

Recipients may use SSDI benefits towards paying for any type of memory care that they please. Unfortunately, SSDI likely won’t be enough to cover the full cost of memory care that your loved one will need.

Other Ways to Pay

In addition to SSDI, there are several other forms of financial assistance available for patients who need assistance paying for memory care.

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  • Long Term Care Insurance: Long term care insurance is insurance specifically used to pay for long term care such as a nursing home or medical care facility. What is covered varies between different policies, so be sure to check the details of your own to see which memory care services are covered.
  • Reverse Mortgages: Reverse mortgages allow homeowners to receive regular payments in exchange for relinquishing the equity of their home. The homeowner will ultimately have to sell their home once the last resident moves out in order to repay the loan.
  • Annuities: Annuities are long-term plans funded with an initial lump sum, which is then paid back to the account holder over time. They are a great way to ensure you have money coming in for years to come and are be a useful method for paying for memory care and other types of senior care.
  • Non-Profit Assistance: There are nonprofit organizations throughout the country dedicated to helping dementia patients. Some organizations may provide financial assistance themselves while others will help families obtain the help they need.
  • VA Assistance:If the patient is a veteran or the spouse of a veteran, they may qualify for financial assistance through the Department of Veterans Affairs. Not all veterans qualify for all types of assistance, so be sure to get in touch with your local benefits office to see if your loved one is eligible.

Since every patient’s situation is unique, it can be helpful to complete surveys such as this to narrow down the types of assistance your loved one may qualify for. For more information on qualifying for SSDI, visit the Social Security Administration website.


Can I claim disability allowance for dementia? ›

If you're living with dementia, you may be entitled to a disability or mobility benefit. These include Attendance allowance, PIP and Disability living allowance.

Are dementia patients entitled to free care? ›

If the person with dementia has complex health and care needs, they may be eligible for NHS continuing healthcare. This is free and is funded by their local integrated care board (ICB). A diagnosis of dementia doesn't necessarily mean the person will qualify for NHS continuing healthcare.

Is memory loss considered a disability? ›

The Social Security Administration acknowledges memory impairment as a disability under Section 12.02 Neurocognitive Disorders of its Blue Book. Memory loss is evaluated by its severity and the extent to which it limits a claimant's ability to work.

Do dementia sufferers have to pay care home fees? ›

However, that isn't the case: often, dementia sufferers have to pay care home fees themselves. In order to qualify for Continuing Healthcare (CHC), where the NHS will pay for some or all of your care, you need to have a “primary medical need”, explains Ros (and note also that CHC doesn't apply in Scotland).

What benefits can dementia patients get? ›

Other benefits you may be eligible for include Income Support, Housing Benefit, Council Tax Reduction and Pension Credit.

What can you claim if you look after someone with dementia? ›

If you're caring for someone with dementia, you may be entitled to Carer's allowance. Find out what this is and how to claim it.

Is dementia considered a disability for Social Security? ›

If your symptoms of dementia have prevented you from working for 12 months or more, you may be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits. You can apply for SSDI if you are not currently receiving retirement benefits; once you reach full retirement age, SSDI benefits automatically change to retirement benefits.

Is dementia considered a disability for tax purposes? ›

Yes, the diagnosis of Alzheimer's is considered a permanent disability. It is recognized by the Social Security Administration, and therefore, the IRS. It also qualifies taxpayers to deduct care expenses as medical expenses because the person cannot be unsupervised.

What is a dementia care package? ›

Dementia care is a package of care from expert carers for individuals with a diagnosis of dementia who are no longer able to live independently at home. This type of care is to help maintain the psychological and physical well-being of dementia patients.

How does a social worker help someone with dementia? ›

Social services support for dementia

carers to help you with washing and dressing. laundry services. meals on wheels. equipment and adaptations to your home.

When should a dementia patient go to a nursing home? ›

Generally, a senior with dementia should go into a care home if you're struggling to meet their needs and your mental and physical health as a caregiver are at risk. Importantly, the safety of your loved one should be a key factor in deciding whether it's time for memory care.

How do you prove memory loss? ›

In addition to a general physical exam, your doctor will likely conduct question-and-answer tests to judge your memory and other thinking skills. He or she may also order blood tests, brain-imaging scans and other tests that can help identify reversible causes of memory problems and dementia-like symptoms.

What is a memory disability? ›

Memory disorders are the result of damage to neuroanatomical structures that hinders the storage, retention and recollection of memories. Memory disorders can be progressive, including Alzheimer's disease, or they can be immediate including disorders resulting from head injury.

What qualifies as memory loss? ›

Memory loss is unusual forgetfulness. You may not be able to remember new events, recall one or more memories of the past, or both. The memory loss may be for a short time and then resolve (transient). Or, it may not go away, and, depending on the cause, it can get worse over time.

Can I be held responsible for my parent's care home fees? ›

Legally, you are not obliged to pay for your family member's fees. Whether they are your mother or wife, blood relative or relative by law, unless you have any joint assets or contracts you are not financially involved in their care.

How much money can I have before I have to pay care home fees? ›

Your income should include any Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) benefits and pensions you receive. We don't take into account the first £14,250 of your capital. If you have savings of over £23,250, or you do not want to give us details of your finances, you will have to pay the full cost of your stay.

Can I be held responsible for my parents care home fees? ›

When Can I be Forced to Pay for Care Home Fees. You're not obligated under any law to pay for any family member's fee. This applies to your parents, wife, husband, or relatives by law. Unless you append your signature with the care provider promising to pay the fees, you're not legally obliged to pay.

How long can a person live home with dementia? ›

The symptoms of Alzheimer's disease worsen over time, although the rate at which the disease progresses varies. On average, a person with Alzheimer's lives four to eight years after diagnosis, but can live as long as 20 years, depending on other factors.

What causes dementia patients to suddenly get worse? ›

Rapidly progressive dementias or RPDs are extremely rare, but can cause dementia to worsen over weeks and months. RPDs can be caused by complex medical conditions such as Autoimmune conditions, cancer, and neurodegenerative diseases – i.e diseases that damage the body's nervous systems.

What happens after being diagnosed with dementia? ›

Following your diagnosis of dementia, you should have a care plan. Your care plan sets out what sort of care you and the people who care for you might need. It sets out how you will get the care and support. A local service will help to develop your care plan.

What is the disability Assessment for dementia? ›

Developed by Gelinas, the Disability Assessment for Dementia (DAD) evaluates the basic and instrumental activities in daily activities of elderly people with dementia. The proxy-respondent scale specifically measures daily living tasks in terms of executive functions.

What benefits can I claim when disabled? ›

If you have difficulty with everyday tasks or getting around. You might be able to get: Disability Living Allowance (DLA) if you're under 16 – check if you can get DLA. Personal Independence Payment (PIP) if you're 16 or over and haven't reached State Pension age – check if you can get PIP.

What can cause you to lose your Social Security Disability benefits? ›

The Four Most Common Reasons Disability Benefits May Be Revoked in Los Angeles
  • Court-Order Continuing Disability Reviews. ...
  • Making Too Much Income. ...
  • Retirement or Turning 18. ...
  • Arrest and Imprisonment. ...
  • Protect Your Disability Benefits by Working With a California Disability Lawyer.
14 Mar 2017

Is memory care tax deductible in 2022? ›

The good news is the answer is yes: Depending on your financial situation, you may be eligible for a tax deduction for memory care facility costs and other expenses related to long-term care.

Can you claim memory care expenses on taxes? ›

An individual must meet the following requirements for their memory care costs to be considered tax-deductible: They must be incapable of performing at least two of the six ADLs on their own. These six activities include eating, dressing, bathing, transferring, toileting, and continence.

What Cannot be claimed as a disability support deduction? ›

Amounts you cannot claim

You cannot claim amounts you or someone else claimed as medical expenses (lines 33099 or 33199) or amounts for which anyone was reimbursed or entitled to be reimbursed by a non-taxable payment, such as insurance.

What is a full care package? ›

A care package is a combination of services put together to meet a person's assessed needs as part of a care plan. The assessment or review is done by a social care professional. It says exactly what that person needs in the way of care, services or equipment to live their life.

What is a personal care package? ›

The term “home care package” refers to a fixed amount of money allocated by the federal government to an older person to provide services which will enable them to continue to live independently. The amount of money provided depends on the person's needs, as assessed by an independent assessment agency.

How do you prove your home for dementia? ›

Cover unused electrical outlets with childproof plugs. Place red tape around floor vents, radiators, and other heating devices to deter the person with Alzheimer's from standing on or touching them when hot. Check all rooms for adequate lighting. Place light switches at the top and the bottom of stairs.

What is the most important thing in caring for dementia patients? ›

Allow the person with dementia to do as much as possible with the least amount of assistance. For example, he or she might be able to set the table with the help of visual cues or dress independently if you lay out clothes in the order they go on. Provide choices. Provide some, but not too many, choices every day.

Should someone with dementia have a social worker? ›

Social workers have an important role in ensuring that people with dementia and people close to them receive good support.

What is the best care environment for someone who has dementia Why? ›

Most people with dementia, and older people in general, benefit from better lighting in their home – it can help to avoid confusion and reduce the risk of falls. Try to reduce glare, shadows and reflections. Lighting should be bright, even and natural (as much as possible).

At what stage of dementia is palliative care appropriate? ›

Palliative care is appropriate at any point after dementia diagnosis and may be provided as early as stage 2. Palliative services include symptom management, prognosis and goals of care discussion, determination of code status, and psychosocial management.

How often should you visit a dementia patient? ›

The person with dementia usually doesn't remember if you have been there for five minutes or five hours. Ultimately it's better to visit three times per week for 20 minutes than once a week for an hour.

What are the last stages of dementia before death? ›

It can be difficult to know when a person with dementia is nearing the end of their life.
During this time they will usually:
  • become more frail.
  • have more frequent falls or infections.
  • have problems eating, drinking and swallowing.
  • be more likely to need urgent medical care.
  • become less mobile.
  • sleep more.
  • talk less often.
3 Sept 2021

What tests do doctors do for memory loss? ›

Health care providers often use a brief test such as the Short Test of Mental Status, the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) or the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE). More detailed testing may help determine the degree memory is impaired.

Can I get SSDI for memory loss? ›

Memory loss can interfere with one's ability to work, and if someone is suffering from severe symptoms, they may qualify for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits.

What is the 5 word memory test? ›

Introduction: The five-word test (5WT) is a serial verbal memory test with semantic cuing. It is proposed to rapidly evaluate memory of aging people and has previously shown its sensitivity and its specificity in identifying patients with AD.

What is the most common memory disorder? ›

Dementia: It is one of the most notable and prevailing memory disorders. The cognitive functions show a decremental curve and are particularly related to forgetfulness. These persons show incompetency in life tasks having difficulty in completing simple tasks.

What are 3 other conditions that can cause memory problems? ›

Medical conditions that may cause memory problems include:
  • Tumors, blood clots, or infections in the brain.
  • Some thyroid, kidney, or liver disorders.
  • Drinking too much alcohol.
  • Head injury, such as a concussion from a fall or accident.
  • Medication side effects.

What are the three types of memory loss? ›

Types of Amnesia
  • Retrograde amnesia. Having retrograde amnesia means you've lost your ability to recall events that happened just before the event that caused your amnesia. ...
  • Anterograde amnesia. ...
  • Transient global amnesia (TGA).
19 May 2021

What's the difference between memory loss and dementia? ›

Age-related memory loss and dementia are very different conditions, though they may share some overlap in symptoms. However, normal forgetfulness is often caused by lack of focus and it never progresses into serious territory. Dementia, on the other hand, will get worse over time.

What is the root cause of memory loss? ›

Concussion or head trauma. Not enough oxygen getting to the brain when your heart or breathing is stopped for too long. Severe brain infection or infection around brain. Major surgery or severe illness, including brain surgery.

Do dementia patients have to pay for care home? ›

In most cases, the person with dementia will be expected to pay towards the cost. Social services can also provide a list of care homes that should meet the needs identified during the assessment.

Do I have to sell my mom's house to pay for her care? ›

The simple answer to this is no – you cannot be forced to sell your home to pay for care. But many people will have to contribute to the cost of their care in later life or even meet the full cost.

Can I put my house in my children's name? ›

As a homeowner, you are permitted to give your property to your children at any time, even if you live in it. But there are a few things you should be aware of being signing over the family home.

What happens if you have no money to pay for care? ›

If there is nobody to pay a top up we can support you to move to other suitable accommodation that the Council can afford to pay. If at any point the third party stops paying the top up, we will discuss what happens next with you.

What benefits can you claim if you are in a nursing home? ›

When you enter a care home (either temporarily or permanently) you can continue to receive the following benefits: State Pension. The mobility part of Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payment. Incapacity Benefit / Employment Support Allowance Contribution Based.

How much can you have in the bank before you pay for care? ›

When the council might pay for your care. You might be eligible for the local council to pay towards the cost of your social care if you have less than £23,250 in savings (called the upper capital limit, or UCL). From October 2023 this will rise to £100,000 in savings.

Can I give my money away to avoid care home fees? ›

The simple answer to this is you cannot simply give your money away. HOWEVER, there are some circumstances where it may be possible to give away your assets. This means that they are not included, by your local authority, in any calculation to determine the value of your capital when assessing nursing home costs.

What are signs that dementia is getting worse? ›

increasing confusion or poor judgment. greater memory loss, including a loss of events in the more distant past. needing assistance with tasks, such as getting dressed, bathing, and grooming. significant personality and behavior changes, often caused by agitation and unfounded suspicion.

Should a person with dementia be left home alone? ›

Many people with Alzheimer's continue to live successfully on their own during the early stage of the disease. Making simple adjustments, taking safety precautions and having the support of others can make things easier.

What is the lifespan of dementia patients? ›

The average life expectancy figures for the most common types of dementia are as follows: Alzheimer's disease – around eight to 10 years. Life expectancy is less if the person is diagnosed in their 80s or 90s. A few people with Alzheimer's live for longer, sometimes for 15 or even 20 years.

Does a person with dementia know they are confused? ›

In the earlier stages, memory loss and confusion may be mild. The person with dementia may be aware of — and frustrated by — the changes taking place, such as difficulty recalling recent events, making decisions or processing what was said by others. In the later stages, memory loss becomes far more severe.

What benefits can a person with dementia claim? ›

Other benefits you may be eligible for include Income Support, Housing Benefit, Council Tax Reduction and Pension Credit.

How quickly do you deteriorate with dementia? ›

There are many different types of dementia and all of them are progressive. This means symptoms may be relatively mild at first but they get worse with time, usually over several years. These include problems with memory, thinking, problem-solving or language, and often changes in emotions, perception or behaviour.

How much is PIP for dementia? ›

You could get between £23.70 and £152.15 a week, depending on how your condition affects you. How do I claim? Call the Department of Work and Pensions PIP claims on 0800 917 2222 between 8am and 5pm, Monday to Friday.

Is Alzheimer's and dementia considered a disability? ›

Early-onset Alzheimer's disease is covered by Social Security as a disability. If you have Early- onset Alzheimer's, you can also ask for a Compassionate Allowance so that your benefits can come to you sooner.

Can you drive with dementia? ›

A diagnosis of dementia is not in itself a reason to stop driving. One in three people with dementia still drives. However, over time, dementia affects the skills needed for safe driving.

Does Social Security help with dementia patients? ›

If your symptoms of dementia will prevent you from working for 12 months or more, you may qualify for Social Security Disability (SSD/SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. You can apply for SSDI benefits if you are not currently receiving retirement benefits.

How do I get a family member assessed for dementia? ›

The primary care provider can do a screening that can help rule out whether your parent's memory issues are being caused by any treatable conditions. Then, the doctor can refer your parent to a neurologist, neuropsychologist, geriatrician or geriatric psychiatrist for additional screening and tests.

What is the gold standard for making a diagnosis of dementia? ›

Current Alzheimer's disease (AD) criteria state that a definite diagnosis can only be made by postmortem examination.

How can I increase my Social Security Disability payments? ›

You can increase Social Security Disability payments by working at least 35 years before retiring, understanding the benefits of working past retirement age, and avoiding Social Security's tax consequences. If you are married, married applicants can maximize their disability payments by claiming their spousal benefits.


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