Pennsylvania is a senior-friendly state – all retirement income for residents 60 and older is exempt from state taxes, and the sales tax rate of 6% is lower than average. According to the United States Census Bureau, 21.8% of the state’s population is elderly. Many of the elderly in the state live on fixed, limited incomes and need assistance in paying for and locating affordable assisted living facilities.

Paying For Assisted Living in Pennsylvania

The Cost of Assisted Living in Pennsylvania

The monthly median cost of assisted living in Pennsylvania is $3,750, which is cheaper than the national average of $4,000. According to Genworth’s 2018 Cost of Care Survey, assisted living in Pennsylvania is also less expensive than the median in all but one neighboring state, West Virginia.


While the cost of Assisted Living is fairly consistent throughout the state, Scranton is the one exception coming in at $1,600 below the state average. The Philadelphia Area is the most expensive region in the state at $1,318 above the national average of $4,000.


While nursing home care is relatively cheap in Pennsylvania when compared to the rest of the nation, it’s still considerably more expensive than assisted living. Other than independent living which doesn’t provide assistance with activities of daily living, assisted living communities are the cheapest solution for long-term care in the state. While nursing home care is relatively cheap in Pennsylvania when compared to the rest of the nation, it’s still considerably more expensive than assisted living. Other than independent living which doesn’t provide assistance with activities of daily living, assisted living communities are the cheapest solution for long-term care in the state.

Financial Assistance for Assisted Living in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Aging Waiver Program

The Aging Waiver is the division of the Pennsylvania Department of Aging that services frail elderly who are eligible to receive nursing home care but prefer to live and receive care in their home or communities. There are no caps, but some counties may have a waiting list.

Assisted living residents interested in the Aging Waiver must complete an in-person assessment to determine eligibility. If eligible, the resident, along with his or her representatives, will create a care plan with an Area Agency on Aging manager. It’s important that the care plan includes all the services the resident will need, as well as how often he or she will need them. If the services needed are not included in the care plan, they won’t be covered by the Aging Waiver.

Who Is Eligible?

Applicants need to qualify for Pennsylvania’s Medicaid and meet certain income, asset limits and functionality requirements. If you’re 60 or older and will be the only one in your home, the qualifications for Medicaid include:

  • Must meet the level of care needs for a Nursing Facility
  • Be a legal U.S. resident who lives in Pennsylvania
  • Annual income must not exceed $2,250 (in 2018), and your assets must be $8,000 or less

How to Apply

To get more details about eligibility requirements and start an application, contact your local Area Agency on Aging office. You can also call (918) 933-4900 or (800) 435-4711.

More Ways to Finance Assisted Living

Some additional ways to finance assisted living costs include:

  • Veterans Benefits: Veterans can take advantage of several different pension programs to help cover the cost of assisted living. For more information, see the article on benefits.va.gov.
  • Life Insurance Policies: Even if a spouse or loved one hasn’t died, certain types of life insurance policies can be used to pay for assisted living. More information is available at longtermcare.acl.gov.
  • Long-Term Care Insurance: Long-term care insurance is a type of insurance policy that pays for long-term care when it becomes necessary, including the cost of assisted living. For more information on the benefits and drawbacks of this financing method, visit longtermcare.acl.gov.
  • Reverse Mortgages: Reverse mortgages allow seniors to access the equity from a home that they own, and these funds can be used to pay for assisted living. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development offers a federally insured reverse mortgage program.

Free Assisted Living Resources in Pennsylvania

Living Independence for the Elderly Program

Seniors 55 or older and eligible for or already receiving Medicaid or Medicare may find help with health and home care services through the Living Independence for the Elderly (LIFE) program. For Pennsylvania seniors who reside in an assisted living community, LIFE pays for prescription drugs, home modifications, in-home medical equipment, and supplies, plus more. It does not cover expenses for room & board.

LIFE is not available in all Pennsylvania communities. Click here to search for communities where LIFE is available.

Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program

Like many states, Pennsylvania maintains a Long-Term Care Ombudsman program that is free and confidential. The Ombudsman is tasked with:

  • Educating residents, facility staff and the community on residents’ rights
  • Providing assistance to residents with exercising their rights
  • Addressing questions in regards to billing and charges, including Medicaid and Medicare
  • Handling service change, transfer, discharge or discontinuance appeals
  • Making referrals to long-term care programs and related services
  • Investigating and resolving complaints about long-term care facilities and any long-term care services by residents or their family and friends

Area Agencies on Aging

Area Agencies on Aging (AAA) is a network of hundreds of nonprofit organizations across America that provide federally funded services to adults over 60 in their local areas.

Pennsylvania has many Area Agencies on Aging that offer comprehensive information on various kinds of programs and community supports for seniors.

Area Agency on AgingAddressPhone Number

Adams County Office of Aging, Inc

318 W. Middle St., Gettysburg, PA 17325

(717) 334-9296

Allegheny County AAA

2100 Wharton St. 2nd Fl., Pittsburgh, PA 15203

(412) 350-4234

Area Agency on Aging of Somerset County

1338 South Edgewood Ave., Somerset, Pa 15501

(814) 443-2681 or (800) 452-0825

Armstrong County AAA

326 S. Water St. Ste. 1, Kittanning, PA 16201

(724) 548-3290

Beaver County Office of Aging

1020 8th Ave., Beaver Falls, PA 15010

(724) 847-2262

Bedford County AAA

240 Wood St., P.O. Box 46, Bedford, PA 15522

(814) 623-8148 or (800) 892 7903

Berks County Area Agency on Aging

Services Center, 8th Floor 633 Court Street, Reading, PA 19601

(610) 478-6500

Blair Senior Services, Inc

1320 12th Avenue, Altoona, PA 16601

(800) 245-3282 or (814) 949-4856 (TDD)

B/S/S/T Area Agency on Aging (Bradford, Sullivan, Susquehanna & Tioga)

220 Main Street Unit 2, Towanda, PA 18848

(800) 982-4346

Butler County Area Agency on Aging

111 Sunnyview Circle Ste. 101, Butler, PA 16001

(724) 282-3008 or (888) 367-2434

Cambria County AAA

110 Franklin Street, Ste. 400, Johnstown, PA 15901-1831

(814) 539-5595

Carbon County AAA

401 Delaware Avenue 3rd Floor, Palmerton, PA 18071

(800) 441-1315

Centre County Office of Aging

420 Holmes St. Room 245, Bellefonte, PA 16823-1488

(814) 355-6716

Chester County Department of Aging Services

601 Westtown Road Ste. 130, West Chester, PA 19380-0990

(610) 344-6350

Clarion Area Agency on Aging

16 Venture Lane, Clarion, PA 16214 (Route 322 East)

(814) 226-4640

Clearfield County Area Agency on Aging, Inc.

103 North Front Street, Clearfield, PA 16830

(814) 765-2696 or (800) 225-8571

Clinton STEP Office of Aging

124 East Walnut Street, Lock Haven, PA 17745

(570) 858-5800

Columbia-Montour Aging Office, Inc

702 Sawmill Road Ste. 201, Bloomsburg, PA 17815

(570) 784-9272 or (800) 598-5001

Crawford Active Aging, Inc

1034 Park Avenue, Meadville, PA 16335

(814) 336-1792

Cumberland Aging & Community Services

1100 Claremont Road, Carlisle, PA 17015-8560

(888) 697-0371, ext. 6110

Dauphin County AAA

2 South Second Street Third Floor, Harrisburg, Pa 17101

(717) 780-6130 or (800)-328-0058, ext. 6130

Delaware COSA

206 Eddystone Ave., Eddystone, PA 19022

(610) 490-1300 or (800) 416-4504

Experience, Inc (Forest and Warren)

905 4th Ave., Warren, PA 16365

(814) 723-3763 or (800) 281-6545

Franklin County AAA

600 Norland Ave. Ste. 11, Chambersburg, PA 17201

(717) 263-2153 or (800) 642-6990

Fulton County AAA

182 Buchanan Trail Ste. 145, McConnellsburg, PA 17233

(717) 485-5151 or (800) 637-0315

Greater Erie Community Action Committee

18 West 9th Street, Erie, PA 16501

(814) 459-4581 or (800) 769-2436

Huntingdon County AAA

307 10th St., Huntingdon, PA 16652

(814) 643-5115 or (800) 528-9155

Indiana County AAA

1001 Oak St., Indiana, PA 15701

(724) 465-2697

Jefferson County Area Agency on Aging

186 Main Street, Ste. 2, Brookville, PA 15825

(814) 849-3096 or (800) 852-8036

Lackawanna County AAA

200 Adams Ave. 3rd Floor, Scranton, PA 18503

(570) 963-6740

Lancaster County Office of Aging

150 N Queen St., Lancaster, PA 17603

(717) 299-7979 or (800) 801-3070

Lawrence County Area Agency on Aging

2706 Mercer Rd., New Castle, PA 16105

(724) 658-3729

Lebanon County AAA

710 Maple St. 2nd Floor, Lebanon, PA 17046

(717) 273-9262

Lehigh County Aging and Adult Services

17 South Seventh St., Allentown Pennsylvania 18101

(610) 782-3034

Luzerne County AAA (Luzerne & Wyoming)

111 N Pennsylvania Boulevard Ste. 100, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18701

(570) 822-1158

Lycoming STEP Office of Aging

2138 Lincoln St., Williamsport, PA 17701

(570) 858-5800

Mercer County Area Agency on Aging

133 North Pitt St., Mercer, PA 16137

(724) 662-6222

Mifflin-Juniata Area Agency on Aging

249 W 3rd St., Lewistown, PA 17044

(717) 242-0315 or (800) 348-2277

Monroe County Area Agency on Aging

724 Phillips St. Ste. 102, Stroudsburg, PA 18360

(570) 420-3735 or (800) 498-0330

Montgomery County Office of Aging and Adult Services

1430 DeKalb St. 2nd Floor, Norristown, PA 19404

(610) 278-3601

Northampton County AAA

2801 Emrick Blvd., Bethlehem, PA 18020

(610) 829-4540

Northumberland County Area Agency on Aging

322 N 2nd St., Sunbury, PA 17801

(570) 495-2395 or (877) 622-2251

Office of Human Services AAA (Cameron, Elk and Mckean)

118 Center St., Ridgway, PA 15853

(814) 776-2191 or (800) 672-7145

Perry County AAA

315 Keystone Way, New Bloomfield, PA 17068

(717) 582-5128 or (866) 926-5118

Philadelphia Corporation for Aging

642 N. Broad St., Philadelphia, PA 19130-3049

(215) 765-9000 or (215) 765-9041 (TDD)

Pike County AAA

150 Pike County Blvd., Lords Valley, PA 18428

(570) 775-5550 or (800) 233-8911

Potter County AAA

62 North St., Roulette, PA 16746

(717) 787-8091 or (800) 800-2560

Schuylkill County Office of Senior Services

110 East Laurel Boulevard, Pottsville, PA 17901

(570) 622-3103

Southwestern Pennsylvania AAA (Fayette, Greene & Washington)

305 Chamber Plaza, Charleroi, PA 15022-1607

(724) 489-8080

Union-Snyder Agency on Aging, Inc

116 N 2nd St., Lewisburg, PA 17837

(570) 524-2100 or (570) 374-5558

Venango County Older Adults Services

1 Dale Ave., Franklin, PA 16323

(814) 432-9711 or (866) 452-4464

Wayne County Area Agency on Aging

323 Tenth St., Honesdale, PA 18431

(570) 253-4262

Westmoreland County Area Agency on Aging

200 South Main St., Greensburg, PA 15601

(724) 830-4444 or (800) 442-8000

York County Area Agency on Aging

100 West Market St., York, PA 17401

(717) 771-9610 or (800) 632-9073

Veterans Affairs

Pennsylvania has VA centers to help veterans and their spouses with financing options for various kinds of care. These offices can provide guidance on your eligibility and direct you to the best support options for you.

VA CenterAddressPhone Number

Berks County Department of Veterans Affairs

726 Cherry St., Reading, PA 19602

(610) 378-5601

Bucks County Vet Center

2 Canal’s End Road Ste. 201B, Bristol, PA 19007

(215) 823-4590

Centre County Veterans Affairs

420 Holmes St. Room 333, Bellefonte, PA 16823-1488

(814) 355-6812

DuBois Vet Center

100 Meadow Lane Ste. 8, DuBois, PA 15801

(814) 372-2095

Erie Veterans Affairs

140 West 6th St., Erie, PA 16501

(814) 451-6265

Lancaster Veterans Affairs

150 N. Queen St. Ste., 103 Lancaster, PA 17603

(717) 299-7920

Lehigh Veterans Affairs

17 South Seventh St., Allentown, PA. 18101-2400

(610) 782-3295

Montgomery County Veterans Affairs

1430 DeKalb St., Norristown, PA 19401

(610) 278-3285

Robert M. Jackson Veterans Center, Inc

316 Carlisle St., Harrisburg, PA 17104

(717) 695-6249

Union County Veterans Affairs

155 N. 15th St., Lewisburg, PA 17837

(570) 524-8677

Williamsport Vet Center

49 East Fourth St. Ste. 104, Williamsport, PA 17701

(570) 327-5281

York County Veterans Affairs

28 E. Market St., York, PA 17401

(717) 771-9218

Social Security Offices

Pennsylvania’s Social Security Offices offer another great resource for seniors and elderly caregivers looking for assistance. By contacting or visiting a Social Security office, you can get a better understanding of your or your loved one’s social security benefits and the types of assistance available to help pay for assisted living expenses. Below is a list of Social Security Offices in Pennsylvania.

Social Security OfficeAddressPhone Number

Allentown Social Security Office

41 N 4th St., Allentown, PA 18102

(877) 405-6746

Altoona Social Security Office

303 Cayuga Ave., Altoona, PA 16602

(800) 325-0778

Ambridge Social Security Office

120 Merchant St., Ambridge, PA 15003

(724) 251-0147

Belle Vernon Social Security Office

800 Plaza Dr., Ste. 320, Belle Vernon, PA 15012

(866) 931-4826

Bethlehem Social Security Office

555 Main St., Bethlehem, PA 18018

(866) 783-7458

Bloomsburg Social Security Office

700 Market St., Bloomsburg, PA 17815

(570) 784-6224

Butler Social Security Office

Woody Dr., Butler, PA 16001

(877) 583-4102

Carlisle Social Security Office

200 S Spring Garden St., Carlisle, PA 17013

(800) 772-1213

Chambersburg Social Security Office

50 N 3rd St., Chambersburg, PA 17201

(800) 772-1213

Chester Social Security Office

807 Crosby St., Chester, PA 19013

(800) 772-1213

Cranberry Social Security Office

80 Regina Dr., Cranberry, PA 16319

(800) 772-1213

DuBois Social Security Office

480 Jeffers St., DuBois, PA 15801

(814) 372-1470

Easton Social Security Office

134 S 4th St., Easton, PA 18042

(610) 258-9033

East Stroudsburg Social Security Office

9090 Franklin Hill Rd. #101, East Stroudsburg, PA 18301

(888) 835-6169

Erie Social Security Office

717 State St. #500, Erie, PA 16501

(800) 772-1213

Fairless Hills Social Security Office

444 Lincoln Hwy., Fairless Hills, PA 19030

(800) 772-1213

Greensburg Social Security Office

122 W 3rd St., Greensburg, PA 15601

(800) 772-1213

Harrisburg Social Security Office

555 Walnut St. #810, Harrisburg, PA 17101

(888) 327-1176

Hazleton Social Security Office

88 S Laurel St., Hazleton, PA 18201

(866) 388-9878

Hermitage Social Security Office

2380 Garden Way, Hermitage, PA 16148

(724) 346-5901

Indiana Social Security Office

1265 Wayne Ave. # 310B, Indiana, PA 15701

(800) 772-1213

Johnstown Social Security Office

334 Washington St., Johnstown, PA 15901

(800) 772-1213

Kittanning Social Security Office

159 Butler Rd., Kittanning, PA 16201

(800) 772-1213

Lancaster Social Security Office

1809 Olde Homestead Ln. #104, Lancaster, PA 17601

(800) 772-1213

Lebanon Social Security Office

924 Russell Dr., Lebanon, PA 17042

(888) 377-7019

Lewistown Social Security Office

208 W 3rd St., Lewistown, PA 17044

(800) 772-1213

McKeesport Social Security Office

540 5th Ave., McKeesport, PA 15132

(800) 772-1213

Meadville Social Security Office

19063 Park Avenue Plaza, Meadville, PA 16335

(800) 772-1213

Monroeville Social Security Office

400 Oxford Dr. #210, Monroeville, PA 15146

(800) 772-1213

New Castle Social Security Office

1708 Wilmington Rd., New Castle, PA 16105

(800) 772-1213

New Kensington Social Security Office

707 5th Ave., New Kensington, PA 15068

(800) 772-1213

Norristown Social Security Office

1700 Markley St., Norristown, PA 19401

(800) 772-1213

Philadelphia Social Security Office

1500 John F Kennedy Blvd., Philadelphia, PA 19102

(800) 772-1213

Pittsburgh Social Security Office

6117 Station St., Pittsburgh, PA 15206

(800) 772-1213

Pottsville Social Security Office

2221 W Market St. Ste. 200, Pottsville, PA 17901

(866) 269-0880

Reading Social Security Office

201 Penn St. Ste. 200, Reading, PA 19601

(800) 772-1213

Royersford Social Security Office

39 W Ridge Pike, Royersford, PA 19468

(866) 964-7415

Scranton Social Security Office

409 Lackawanna Ave. Floor 1, Scranton, PA 18503

(570) 963-7911

Selinsgrove Social Security Office

150 Susquehanna Valley Mall Dr., Selinsgrove, PA 17870

(800) 772-1213

Seven Fields Social Security Office

300 Seven Fields Blvd., Seven Fields, PA 16046

(800) 772-1213

State College Social Security Office

901 University Dr. Ste. 2, State College, PA 16801

(800) 772-1213

Towanda Social Security Office

1 Elizabeth St. Ste. 1, Towanda, PA 18848

(800) 772-1213

Uniontown Social Security Office

942 Morgantown Rd, Uniontown, PA 15401

(724) 439-8940

Upper Darby Social Security Office

8645 West Chester Pike, Upper Darby, PA 19082

(800) 772-1213

Washington Social Security Office

95 W Beau St. Ste. 010, Washington, PA 15301

(800) 772-1213

West Chester Social Security Office

1101 West Chester Pike, West Chester, PA 19382

(800) 772-1213

Wilkes-Barre Social Security Office

Stegmaier Bldg St 102 7 N Wilkes Barre Blvd, Wilkes Barre, PA 18702

(800) 772-1213

Williamsport Social Security Office

240 W 3rd St. Ste. 100, Williamsport, PA 17701

(800) 772-1213

York Social Security Office

2670 Industrial Hwy. Ste. 2, York, PA 17402

(800) 772-1213

Assisted Living Laws and Regulations in Pennsylvania

Assisted Living Assessments

Documents required prior to admission to an assisted living facility in Pennsylvania include a medical evaluation as well as an initial assessment and support plan. The assessments can be completed 15 days after admission if the resident:

  • Is being admitted directly from an acute care hospital
  • Is escaping an abusive situation
  • Has no alternative living arrangement

Assisted Living Admission Requirements

Unless assisted living facilities have approval from the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services, they cannot accept residents who:

  • Are dependant on a ventilator
  • Have stage 3 and 4 bedsores and vascular ulcers that are not in a healing stage
  • Require continuous IV fluids
  • Have an infectious disease that requires isolation or special precautions
  • Have NG tubes
  • Require physical restraints
  • Need continuous skilled nursing care 24-hours a day

Assisted Living Scope of Care

Assisted living facilities are required to define the scope of services it provides to residents in writing. Assisted living communities in Pennsylvania typically offer the following services:

  • Assistance with instrumental activities of daily living (e.g. preparing meals, housework, laundry, shopping, etc.)
  • Assistance with activities of daily living (e.g. eating, bathing, dressing, toileting, etc.)
  • Personal care
  • Hospice care and services
  • Nutritious meals and snacks
  • Daily social and recreational activities
  • Basic cognitive support
  • 24-hour supervision, monitoring, and emergency response
  • Help with self-administration of medicine or medication administration
  • Skilled nursing
  • Occupational and physical therapy
  • Behavioral health services

Assisted Living Medicaid Policy

Medicaid does not directly cover the cost of assisted living. However, elderly who qualify for nursing home coverage from Medicaid can opt for assisted living and use the Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) Aging Waiver. Although the waiver does not cover the cost of room and board, it will cover home and support services.

Assisted Living Facility Requirements

Rules for assisted living facilities in Pennsylvania include:

  • They must provide physical accommodations and safety equipment for residents with a disability.
  • Unless the resident agrees to share their living unit with another resident, he or she must have his or her own unit, and the facility cannot require residents to share a unit.
  • There must be accessible or adaptable doors for wheelchair use.
  • Lockable doors must be provided.
  • Living units and bathrooms must have an emergency notification system unless the resident has an alert device.
  • Safety bars in bathrooms and slip-resistant surfaces must be installed in bathtubs and showers.

Medication Management Regulations

In order for staff to be allowed to give residents their medications, they must be a registered nurse, licensed physician’s assistant, certified registered nurse practitioner, licensed practical nurse, or graduate of an approved nursing program under the supervision of a professional nurse or staff who has completed the medication administration training.

Staffing Requirements

Pennsylvania assisted living facilities are expected to provide enough staff to fulfill services identified in residents’ assessment and support plans. Additionally, a licensed nurse must be available in the facility or on call at all times.

An administrator’s responsibilities in an assisted living facility include administering and managing, providing assisted living services, or if the administrator cannot provide the services, he or she can direct qualified staff to carry out the services and supervise them. The administrator is also responsible for maintaining or supervising the maintenance of financial and other records.

Staff Training Requirements

Before an assisted living facility hires an administrator, the administrator is required to complete the following training:

  • An orientation program approved and administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services
  • A 100-hour standardized Department-approved administrator training course
  • A Department-approved competency-based training test with a passing score

The requirements for working as direct care staff in an assisted living facility are:

  • Must be at least 18 years of age
  • Must have a high school diploma, GED or be a nurse aide currently active on the Pennsylvania registry
  • Cannot have a drug or alcohol addiction
  • Must not have a medical condition that would keep him or her from providing the necessary assisted living services with reasonable skill and safety
  • Must have the ability to communicate in a mode or manner the resident can understand

Background Checks for Assisted Living

In accordance with the Older Adults Protective Services Act (OAPSA), applicants with prohibitive offenses (see § 10225.503 in the OAPSA) are not allowed to work in Pennsylvania assisted living facilities.

The assisted living facility is required to document all background checks on the Pennsylvania State Police Request for Criminal Record Check form or through the e-patch program.

Requirements for Reporting Abuse

Pennsylvania Assisted Living Facilities must follow the state and federal laws and regulations to ensure the safety and well being of all residents. If you suspect the facility is not in compliance with the laws and regulations, you can file a complaint through the Pennsylvania Long-Term Care Ombudsman by calling (717) 783-8975.

If you suspect your loved one is being abused or you are the one being abused, you should report any form of abuse (physical, mental, sexual, neglect, abandonment or exploitation) by calling the 24-hour elderly hotline at (800) 490-8505.