How to Find Free Rehab While Unemployed

Medically Reviewed By: Dr. Patricia Sullivan MD, MPH

Table of Contents

Options to get free or low-cost treatment

It is no surprise that addiction interferes with the ability to work and make a living. You may have lost your job due to drug use, or you may not have been able to hold down a job in the first place. Either of these scenarios can mean a blow to your self-esteem and self-confidence.

 The only way to find the light at the end of this tunnel is to go to a drug and alcohol rehab center. But what if you don’t have the financial means to do so? Let’s take a moment and look at the options that are available to you.


If you are in a position where you do not have income, you’re going to want to try the Medicaid route immediately. In response to the opioid epidemic, states have begun to allow drug and alcohol treatment centers to contract with the state Medicaid programs to provide drug and alcohol treatment to patients at risk.

 This is a good thing because it means accessibility to those who need it the most. But what if you’ve already applied for Medicaid before and been denied? There are still things that you can do to gain access to drug and alcohol rehab immediately.

  1. Apply for Medicaid. However, keep in mind that this will take time (sometimes about 30 days) before getting approved for Medicaid.
  2. Take advantage of emergency Medicaid. If you are addicted to a drug such as an opioid, benzodiazepine, alcohol, or barbiturates, you will likely qualify for emergency Medicaid. There are treatment centers that will take you immediately and apply for you.
  3. Alternatively, there are other ways to get emergency Medicaid. If you’re dealing with an addiction to a stimulant, it might not be as easy, but it is possible. This is especially true if you are experiencing suicidal ideation. You must call and work with a treatment center that can give you the best direction to take.

Low-Cost Addiction Rehab

If you cannot go the Medicaid route, the other option to consider is a low-cost, flat-rate addiction treatment program. Some rehabs offer low-cost treatment, such as 30-days for $10,000.

 This isn’t free, but it’s a very good deal compared to other options. If you don’t have the funds, there are a few ways that you can pay for this type of treatment.

  1. You can ask your loved ones to help you cover it.
  2. You can ask your loved ones to finance the treatment for you.
  3. You can finance the treatment for yourself.

While it’s extremely difficult to bring yourself to ask your family to help you cover the cost of rehab, you’d be surprised what your family would be willing to do to see you succeed. When you show willingness, all things are possible.

 Some treatment centers will even call your family and discuss it with them. So, for example, say you don’t feel that you’ve got what it takes to convince them, there is an addiction specialist that will advocate for you, even for your own family.

 Alternatively, it might be hard to see why financing drug and alcohol rehab would be a good idea, but take a moment to consider the fact that after treatment, you’ll be able to work and will be able to make payments, even if they are small, to pay it back. Additionally, think about the immense amounts of money that your addiction costs you monthly. Your rehab financing payment probably won’t even touch that.

Scholarships and Grants

There is also scholarship and grant funding available. The Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant is the largest federal program. This is dedicated to supporting state and local efforts toward planning, implementing, and evaluating activities that prevent and treat substance use disorders. Every state has a designated agency that receives and distributes the funds to local governments and non-governmental organizations. These include community- and faith-based programs. Individual, specialized treatment centers may also have scholarship or grant opportunities available to those who qualify. Also, keep in mind that many drug and alcohol treatment centers provide several scholarships each year to those who need them. The most important way to find out how is by reaching out.


Medicaid and Medicare

Let’s go more in-depth on the option mentioned above because this is the most common way to get treatment covered for free. If you have lost health insurance through your employer because you have lost your job, you should apply for Medicaid health insurance. Benefits vary from state to state, so be sure to talk with a representative to see what benefits are included in substance abuse treatment.

Medicaid also provides a large portion of funding for substance use disorder treatment. In past years, Medicaid accounted for 21 percent of total treatment costs. On average, individual states fund about 40 percent of these Medicaid costs.

To receive federal matching funds, Medicaid programs must cover medically necessary inpatient services for drug and alcohol detox. In addition, they must cover all substance use disorder services as part of the early and periodic screening, diagnostic, and treatment services for those younger than 21 as deemed medically necessary.

State Medicaid programs can also choose to cover additional services for adults. These include costs such as stays in specialized residential treatment facilities with 16 or fewer beds, methadone treatment, case management, and outpatient care.

The Medicare program still covers a wide range of treatments, including:

  • Inpatient hospital stays for drug abuse or alcohol detox or rehabilitation
  • Outpatient hospital services for the treatment of drug abuse or alcoholism
  • Treatment of alcoholism and drug abuse in a freestanding clinic
  • Withdrawal treatments for narcotic addictions
  • Aversion therapies for the treatment of alcoholism

Perhaps the most remarkable point here is that free inpatient rehab is possible for those who qualify. And many states across the U.S. are continuing to invest in substance abuse provider care.

 States continue to do this by providing technical assistance to substance abuse providers. In addition, by expanding substance abuse services, particularly step-down programs, that provide less costly alternatives to inpatient care.

Many states are even beginning to develop outreach and training resources for substance abuse providers that, for the most part, have little previous experience with Medicaid or health insurance. Affordable rehab plans are increasingly a reality.


Susana Spiegel

Susana Spiegel

Susana has experience writing about addiction, treatment, mental health, and recovery. She holds a Bachelors in Arts of Theology from GCU, and has a deep empathy for those who are struggling with addiction, as she is in recovery herself.

Begin your journey to addiction recovery.

Speak to a treatment admissions specialist now. 

Talk to a therapist online and get support right now.

As an affiliate, we may receive compensation from BetterHelp if you purchase services through the links provided.

Search Posts

Get help and rebuild your life.

Recovery Starts Today

Drug and alcohol treatment is available for all financial situations. Insurance, medicaid, medicare, no insurance, more. Call now!