According to United States Census Bureauthe poverty rate among Americans age 65 and older has fallen from 8.9% in 2020 to 10.3% in 2021. This is the only age group to have seen a statistically significant increase during this period.
Millions of older Americans are eligible for assistance programs, but may not be taking advantage of them. Before you spend money you don’t need, here are several programs to help you manage your living expenses as a senior.
1. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
What he does: The SNAP Program is the largest hunger relief program in the United States. This is a federal program but run at the state level. It is designed to supplement the food budget of low-income families, helping those facing food insecurity to purchase healthy foods.
Who it’s for: Generally, to qualify for the SNAP program, you must meet your state’s income and asset requirements. There are special rules for those whom the program considers to be elderly – i.e. aged 60 or over. To qualify, you must submit an application through your state’s SNAP office.
The AARP estimates that 16 million adults aged 50 and over who might be eligible for SNAP benefits are not using them. This includes more than 3 million people who could be eligible for more than $200 a month in SNAP benefits.
2. Commodity Supplementary Feeding Program
What he does: The United States Department of Agriculture sends food and administrative funds to participating states and Indian tribal organizations. This food is then distributed to eligible people, and seniors can apply to participate by their condition.
Who it’s for: Aimed at low-income seniors aged 60 and over, the Commodity Supplementary Feeding Program is intended to help participants supplement their diet. The food packages being distributed offer nutritious foods that might otherwise be missing from the meals of older Americans.
3. Health savings programs
What he does: There are four Health savings programs, all executed at the state level. Most help with Medicare Part A or Part B premiums, but they also help with Medicare deductibles, coinsurance, and copayments.
Who it’s for: Generally, to qualify for one of the four programs, a person must have income and other financial resources below certain limits, which are outlined on the Medicare program.Health savings programsweb page. However, these limits increase each year and there are some exceptions to the limits in some states. In fact, more than 3 million people age 65 or older are eligible for Medicare savings programs but have not enrolled, according to Kaiser Health News.
4. Additional help
What he does: As part of the Medicare program, Additional help is designed to help eligible seniors pay their Medicare Part D premiums, deductibles, coinsurance, and copayments. Medicare Part D is the prescription drug coverage component of Medicare. Seniors who need help paying for their drug costs can get extra help.
Who it’s for: Extra Help is for seniors who reach income and resource thresholds. In general, if you have Medicare and qualify for full Medicaid coverage, get help from your state to cover your Medicare Part B premiums, or receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI), you likely qualify for a additional help. Depending on the situation, you may qualify automatically. However, some eligible seniors may need to apply. If you do not automatically receive additional help, you can apply through the Social Security Administration.
5. Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
What he does: LIHEAP is designed to help low-income families and seniors with energy costs so they can stay warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Unsafe heating and cooling practices can cause health problems, and LIHEAP distributes funds that can be used to cover energy costs through national and local programs.
Who it’s for: This program is not exclusively for seniors, but many low-income seniors can benefit from it. The elderly are particularly vulnerable to health problems related to overheatingand they too develop an increased sensitivity to cold. Cold problems can be particularly problematic for people with diabetes, a condition that affects 15.9 million older people.
What he does: The telephone (including mobile) and broadband Internet service are increasingly important to stay connected. safety rope is federally administered in each state and is designed to provide discounted services to low-income consumers.
Who it’s for: Those who meet the income requirements can go through eligible suppliers receive communication services at reduced prices. If you qualify for SNAP benefits, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Medicaid, or other programs, you also qualify for Lifeline.
7. Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
What he does: This federal program is administered by the Social Security Administration, but it is not funded by Social Security taxpayer dollars. Instead, it sends monthly payments using general tax revenue. The money is intended to help people with low incomes and disabilities meet basic needs. The ISS program is available to people with Social Security, although your Social Security benefits may affect the amount you receive from SSI.
Who it’s for: People aged 65 and over who meet the income and resource requirements can apply for SSI. It is also accessible to young blind or disabled people. These additional SSI payments can help cover your living expenses if you are having difficulty. You can apply through the Social Security Administration.
Are you eligible for assistance?
Don’t assume you don’t qualify for assistance. Millions of eligible seniors do not use these programs to their advantage. Find out what benefits are available to you by using the free tool from the National Council on Aging AdvantagesCheckUp tool. You can also contact your Zonal Agency on Aging to learn more about programs and apply for benefits.
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