Sober living homes serve as a form of transitional housing, but they typically involve a much smaller group of recovering individuals. After a person completes their rehabilitation program, they may not be ready to dive back into daily life. Their home environment may not be safe, due to friends who are also struggling with addiction, stresses or emotional triggers that could lead to relapse, and places that remind the recovering person of ongoing drug use. In a sober living home, residents can live in a sober, safe environment as they find strong footing in their newfound sobriety.
How Sober Living Homes Work
At a sober living home, there are typically fewer than 10 residents. While group meetings, such as 12-Step meetings, may take place in the common space, residents do not receive treatment on the premises. Instead, everyone who lives at the home attends therapy or outpatient programs while also maintaining or seeking employment. In some instances, people who live in sober living homes may seek educational opportunities instead of employment. Regardless of whether it’s work or school, residents in these facilities are encouraged to find a normal daily routine, which includes regular ongoing treatment for their addiction.
A manager or coordinator often lives in the sober living home. This person is often someone who has recovered from addiction and learned to maintain their sobriety, so they understand the struggles the other residents are going through. The manager maintains the safety, health standards, and rules of the sober living home. They are typically a paid employee of the company that manages the sober living home.
Does Insurance Cover the Cost of Sober Living Homes?
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires insurance companies of all types to provide coverage for mental health treatment, which includes treatment for substance use disorders. While sober living homes are safe environments designed to help people recover from addiction in a supportive place, they are not treatment facilities. As a result, they typically are not covered by insurance.
In most states, sober living homes are expected to be financially independent, so they typically do not accept insurance or state health coverage to cover costs. Insurance coverage does vary according to the provider and specific plan, so it is important to check your individual plan to verify coverage. Also, insurance should cover at least part of ongoing addiction treatment, such as therapy visits, which residents continue to participate in while residing in a sober living home.
Most sober living homes require residents to pay rent and cover their own additional costs. This is part of the reason sober living homes encourage residents to find employment or job training; it helps them integrate paying bills and rent into their routine just as they would in the outside world.
Many people who enter sober living homes have recently left rehabilitation programs, so they likely do not have current employment. If residents are coming up short with funds to cover their rent at a sober living home, these sources could help:
- Personal funds, loans, or credit cards: Savings accounts are often used to pay for their first few months in a sober living home until the person finds regular employment. If the individual has good enough credit to get a loan from a bank, they may be able to apply this financing to their sober living home expenses and begin to repay the loan once they find a job. Those with high-limit credit cards may also be able to use this source of funding for sober living, but it is important to begin paying down the balance as soon as employment is secured.
- Personal loans: Family or close friends may be able to band together and finance the first few months of their loved one’s stay in a sober living home.
- Crowdfunding: This source of income is collected online, so the person can set their limit for the amount they will need to cover their expenses for a few months until they can find a job. Some platforms like YouCaring and GoFundMe collect money for a certain period of time, and then turn over the entire amount raised to the person when the time is up. With crowdfunding, a person can post the link to their page on social media or through email, and this information can be shared beyond the person’s immediate friends and family.
- Selling assets: If the person still has assets they won’t need immediately, including stocks, a vehicle, or collectibles, these valuable possessions could be sold to finance a stay in a sober living home.
Although financial coverage for the first few months in a sober living home can take some planning, the benefit of living in this type of housing is that residents can stay as long as they want. Because they do not rely on insurance or state funding, and residents must find a job and pay rent and bills, people who live in sober living homes fall under the protection of many states’ housing discrimination acts. Insurance cannot end their stay in the home, and Medicaid cannot deny them funding.