Need a helping hand? Find help for seniors with low income
- A significant amount of qualifying seniors don’t participate in low income benefits because often it’s hard to know what’s available. More options may be available to you during the pandemic.
- Tools like Benefits Checkup and the Eldercare Locator can help connect seniors with the services and benefits they qualify for.
A recent study by the Commonwealth Fund found that seniors apply for low income benefits at significantly lower rates than other demographics – even though there are greater out of pocket health care expenses and usually fewer alternatives like additional work to fund these needs.
While numerous public and private programs hope to provide financial assistance to vulnerable retirees, a sizable proportion of eligible seniors do not participate in the programs. In some cases as few as 25 percent of eligible seniors participate in a program.
The Commonwealth Fund study suggested that enrollment would increase by increasing awareness of programs and simplifying the application process. Here are a few resources providing help for seniors with low income:
Benefitscheckup.org is a service developed and maintained by the National Council on Aging. The site is a comprehensive web-based service that matches benefits programs to seniors with limited income and resources.
The site includes information on more than 1,700 public and private benefits programs, including benefits for: prescription drugs, nutrition, energy assistance, financial, legal, health care, Social Security, housing, in-home services, tax relief, transportation, educational assistance, employment and volunteer services.
Since 2001, millions of people have used BenefitsCheckUp.org to find help for seniors with low income in the categories most needed. Find programs to pay for prescription drugs, health care, rent, utilities and other needs.
The Eldercare Locator is a public service of the U.S. Administration on Aging. The Eldercare Locator can help you find local agencies in every U.S. community that can help older persons and their families’ access home and community-based services like transportation, meals, home care, and caregiver support services.
While BenefitsCheckup.org and Eldercare.gov can help you assess eligibility for a variety of programs, you may also want to research these specific options directly:
- Help with Medical Expenses: Perhaps the biggest financial struggle for many seniors is paying for health care costs. According to analysis, average out-of-pocket health care spending by Medicare beneficiaries is sizable and increases with age.
- Meal Assistance: Shockingly high numbers of seniors worry about feeding themselves and many go hungry.
- Utility Assistance: Most utility providers have programs to help low income seniors. Contact your gas, electric, water and telephone providers to learn more about programs in your area.
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI): Supplemental Security Income is a Federal income supplement program funded by general tax revenues (not Social Security taxes). It is designed to help aged as well as disabled people who have little or no income. The program provides cash to help meet basic needs for food, clothing and shelter.
- Tax Relief: Many states offer tax assistance – especially property tax – to seniors. Contact your state and local tax boards for information on programs in your area.
- Legal Help: The Senior Legal Hotline provides legal services to seniors with limited resources.
- Special Benefits for Veterans: While not low income programs, if you are a veteran, the Veterans Administration has some amazing aid programs for seniors.
Have you lost your job? Here are 9 tips for navigating this uncertain time.
Home Owners: There may be some mortgage relief programs available to you. And, your home equity could be a valuable source of money, but consider your options carefully.
- Reverse Mortgages: Explore the pros and cons of a reverse mortgage.
- Defer Consumer Loan Payments: Many banks are stepping up to help borrowers get through this situation. You can look up your lenders on this list from the banking trade association to see what concessions are being offered.
Renters and Homeowners: Due to the pandemic, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has announced a nationwide eviction and foreclosure moratorium.
Whether you have low income or are feeling financially free, having a detailed and comprehensive retirement plan is an absolute necessity.
The NewRetirement retirement planning calculator is widely considered the best free online tool. It is highly detailed and easy to use, best of all it saves your information so you can quickly make adjustments as your finances and plans evolve.