How To Access Government Programs For The Elderly
Access to assistance is as close as your computer or smartphone, and, in most cases, you can apply online. Start by visiting the following two websites that can help determine which of the above programs you and your loved one may be eligible for as well as any others that might be unique to your area.
Other Types Of Help If Youre Homeless
Visit Benefits.gov to find out if youre eligible and how to apply for other types of help. This may include financial assistance, transportation, food, counseling, and more.
If you dont have medical insurance, you can use HRSA health centers. They give checkups, treatment when youre sick, pregnancy care, and immunizations for your children.
Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program
The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program works with low-income seniors and families to help them pay energy bills for their homes. The amount of assistance provided varies, depending on need.
To qualify for this program, seniors must have an annual household income below $20,385 if they live alone or below $27,465 if they reside with their spouse. Those who receive SSI may be automatically eligible for LIHEAP assistance.
How to Apply
To apply for LIHEAP, seniors can contact their local office. Questions about this program or the application process can be directed to 674-6327.
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What Benefits Do Seniors Get
There are many benefits, programs, and discounts available for seniors over the age of 65.
Many of these programs offer free or reduced-cost options, such as:
Food and dining
Note: This blog post will focus on nationwide senior citizen benefits. However, there may be other benefits that vary by state.
Be sure to check with local and state government agencies to learn more about other opportunities that your particular state may offer in addition to the nationwide benefits below.
Government Programs For The Elderly
Use government programs to bridge the gap between your expenses and income. There are senior specific government programs available at the local, state, and federal levels.
Three of your major expenses after retirement will be housing, food and healthcare.
Here are just some of the programs available to seniors nationwide that can help cut those costs.
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Government Employment Programs And Income Aid For Seniors
Many seniors are able to continue working or volunteering within their communities, but unfortunately, many employers opt to hire younger workers to fill job openings. A lack of fair opportunities can make it difficult for seniors to earn a living wage. Further, Ms. Sommerer points out, With rising inflation, many retired seniors have found it necessary to return back to work to make ends meet as their retirement income does not cover their monthly expenses. Federal programs to assist job seekers and protect older workers provide much needed advocacy and support for this protected group. Additionally, supplemental income programs provide money to older and disabled adults to meet basic needs.
Below are government programs that provide services, such as job placement, career counseling and income support, for seniors who need it.
Government Benefits For Seniors Over 65
Some additional government benefits for seniors over 65 are:
Social Security Disability Insurance , a federal disability insurance program
Supplemental Security Income , a federal cash assistance program for low-income people who are age 65 or older, blind, or disabled
Veterans Health Administration , the largest integrated healthcare system in the United States of America serving veterans of military conflicts past and present as well as their families
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Homeless Resources For Special Groups
These resources are geared toward specific audiences:
- Homeless Veteran Resources from the Department of Veterans Affairs – Use these resources to find safe housing. Or explore opportunities to return to employment, find health care, or get mental health services.
- Housing programs and street outreach – Find stable, safe housing. You can also get education help, survival aid, counseling, crisis intervention, and follow-up support.
People With Mental Illness
- Projects for Assistance in Transition from Homelessness – Find help if you have a serious mental illness. The PATH program can assist you if youre homeless or at risk of homelessness.
Veterans Aid And Attendance Benefit
The Aid and Attendance benefit helps housebound seniors and those who require help with daily tasks access financial assistance with paying for home care or assisted living services.
To qualify for this benefit, seniors must require another person to help them perform activities of daily living, be bedridden, reside within a nursing home or have limited vision.
Seniors can apply for this benefit at their nearest VA regional office and direct any questions about this program to an office representative.
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Do You Own Your Home Rent
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.
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Va Loans To Buy Refinance Or Improve A Home
The Department of Veterans Affairs offers home loans and grants. These programs help service members, veterans, and surviving spouses to buy, refinance, or modify their homes. The VA guarantees part of the loan, meaning they will cover a portion of the loan if you default. Doing this allows lenders, such as banks and mortgage companies, to offer you more favorable terms.
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Local And State Programs
Every state has at least one Area Agency on Aging office that can help older residents with a range of needs, including home modifications and repairs. The office should be able to help you find services that may be offered for free or on a sliding scale they could include anything from replacing roofs and hot water tanks to installing wheelchair ramps and grab bars. You must be at least 60 years old to be eligible income limits also apply.
Charities and non-profit organizations often provide free or low-cost home repair services to seniors. You may also be able to find volunteer home repair services in your area through a simple Internet search.
Canadian Government Grants For Seniors By Province
If you would like to renovate your home to make it more accessible so that you can live there longer, there are a number of grants available from the various provincial governments in Canada. Here is a listing by province of some of those grants. Please note that the following are all government programs that were current at the time of posting and are subject to change.
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Complete The Application Package
Complete the Seniors Financial Assistance application:
- Download and print the Seniors Financial Assistance application form
Optional income forms are available to help you complete your application:
- Income estimate form the use of this form is limited to the Alberta Seniors Benefit program. Complete this form if you have experienced a decrease in income compared to your most recent tax return and are applying to the program for the first time, or have previously applied but have never received benefits. For more information, see How Your Benefit is Determined First time exception section on the Alberta Seniors Benefit page.
- Income information form complete this form if you have not filed your income tax return for the previous calendar year.
Optional forms are available to help you complete your application:
State And Federal Unemployment Assistance
Laidoff workers may be eligible for unemployment income. The amount of unemployment income youre eligible to receive varies by state.
Visit your state governments website to see what unemployment assistance is available where you are. You can find contact information for your state government and agencies here.
In addition, the recentlypassed American Rescue Plan renews federal unemployment assistance .
Those who collect state unemployment assistance may also be eligible for an additional $300 per week in federal unemployment income, thanks to the new stimulus bill. This will be available until September 6, 2021.
The American Rescue Plan also includes direct payments of up to $1,400 for individuals with an adjusted gross income of $75,000 or less and couples with an AGI of $150,000 or less.
Families will receive an additional stimulus check of up to $1,400 for each qualified dependent.
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Learn About The Types Of Food You Can Buy With Snap Benefits
If youre eligible, you can purchase food using benefits that are issued to you monthly. You can use your SNAP benefits to buy a variety of foods for your household, including:
- Fruits and vegetables
- Breads and cereals
See the United States Department of Agriculture’s list of foods and products you can buy using SNAP benefits.
Find Out If You Or Your Children Are Eligible For The Wic Program
If youre applying for yourself, you must be at least one of the following:
Within six months of having given birth or pregnancy ending
If youre applying for your children, they must be under 5 years old.
You must meet other WIC eligibility requirements based on your income, your health, and where you live.
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Senior Home Buying Example: Qualifying For An Asset Depletion Loan
As an example, suppose retiree Michael has $1,000,000 in his 401 and he has not touched it.
Michael is not yet 70Â½, the age at which the IRS requires account owners to start taking required minimum distributions from 401s.
He is living off Social Security income, along with income from a Roth IRA.
To qualify Michael for a mortgage, the lender uses 70 percent of the 401 balance, or $700,000, minus his down payment and closing costs.
Note: Fannie Mae also allows borrowers to use vested assets from retirement accounts for the down payment, closing costs, and reserves.
Lets say that after down payment and closing costs, Michael is left with $630,000.
Assuming a 30year mortgage, that amount of $630k can then be used to gradually pay for his mortgage over the next 360 months. That would give him $1,750 a month to put toward a housing payment.
- Amount in 401 = $1,000,000
- Funds left after down payment and closing costs = $630,000
- Monthly mortgage budget = $1,750
Though it is not a separate loan type, lenders sometimes call this an asset depletion loan or asset based loan. And borrowers may still count income from other sources when they use assets to help them qualify.
Michael could use the asset depletion method from his untouched 401 combined with the income he is already receiving from Social Security and his Roth IRA to qualify and borrow as much as possible.
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Is There Financial Assistance For Seniors
Surely, there are a lot of programs that provide senior people with financial assistance. As senior people have to face so many health complications, problems in movement, they need financial assistance. This assistance is given to make sure they can spend on medication, traveling, and living better.
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Loans Grants And Waivers
Another option is to get a federally insured loan to help with the cost of repairs and modifications. These low-interest loans are offered by private banks and lenders but insured by the Federal Housing Administration, making them more accessible to people who might not otherwise qualify for credit.
Additional help for seniors’ home repairs is available through the federal government’s Very Low-Income Housing Repair Program . The program provides loans of up to $20,000 and grants of up to $7,500 to fix safety and health hazards in the homes of very low-income seniors. To qualify, you must be over age 62, have an income below a certain limit, live in an eligible area, and be unable to get affordable credit anywhere else.
Home modification help for disabled seniors who served in the armed forces is also available. Disabled veterans may qualify for special grants to cover the cost of home modifications that are deemed to be medically necessary. For instance, the Home Improvements and Structural Alterations grant can be used to pay for things like handrails and roll-in showers. The disability doesn’t have to be service-related, but a Veterans Affairs doctor must stipulate that the modification is necessary.
In many states, a low-income senior who qualifies for Medicaid can get Home & Community-Based Services waivers that cover the cost of home modifications that boost the person’s ability to live independently.
Nutrition Programs For Seniors
Find food and nutrition programs that focus on the needs of older Americans, age 60 and over.
The Food and Nutrition Service has programs that cater to our nation’s seniors, age 60 and over.
The Child and Adult Care Food Program helps adult care centers provide nutritious foods for older adults and adults with disabilities.
The Commodity Supplemental Food Program works to improve the health of low-income persons at least 60 years of age by supplementing their diets with nutritious USDA Foods.
The Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations provides USDA Foods to income-eligible households living on Indian reservations and to Native American households residing in designated areas near reservations or in Oklahoma.
Learn about Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program , which provides low-income seniors with access to locally grown fruits, vegetables, honey and herbs. Read more in theSFMNP Fact Sheet .
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program provides nutrition benefits to supplement the food budget of needy families so they can purchase healthy food and move toward self-sufficiency.
How To Use Benefitscheckup
Step 1Enter your older adults zip code and answer some basic questions to get an initial report of the financial help for seniors thats available in their area.
After answering those basic questions, youll have the option to sign up and get the results emailed to you. This is completely optional. If you say No, thanks youll still be able to view the initial report.
An initial report of available benefits programs
Step 2Browse the initial list to get basic information about the available programs.
To find out if your older adult will be eligible for specific programs, click Complete Your Benefit Report to answer additional questions.
The result will be a personalized report and detailed info on how to apply for each program.
Va Health Care System
VA Health Care provides a broad array of medical and health-related services for U.S. veterans. These services include primary care and appointments with specialists, as well as home health services for seniors, necessary medical equipment and coverage for prescription drugs. In fact, the VA Health Care System has proven to outperform community hospitals throughout the U.S., making them a great option for those who qualify. According to Steven L. Lieberman, Deputy Under Secretary for Health, VA has seen significant improvement in our patient experience scores since first being included in Care Compare in 2018.
To qualify for coverage, veterans must have served in the active military, naval or air service, and they must not have received a dishonorable discharge. There are also minimum service requirements in some cases however, seniors who served prior to September 7, 1980, are exempt from meeting this requirement. VA Health Care gives priority to veterans who were discharged due to a disability that resulted from active duty or worsened while serving, as well as to those who are former prisoners of war or received a medal of honor or Purple Heart.
Senior veterans can apply for VA Health Care benefits online. Questions about eligibility or coverage can be directed to the MyVA411 information line at 698-2411.
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Three Wishes For Rubys Residents
At the age of 11 years old, Ruby Kate wanted to help senior nursing home residents who didnt have enough money to pay for simple things, like a haircut or new pair of shoes. She started a fundraiser to help seniors, as well as to start her own nonprofit: Three Wishes for Rubys Residents. To date, Ruby has raised over $250,000 to help nursing home residents across the country.
Learn About School Meal Programs
Children from qualified households with a low income can get healthy meals or milk.
Two programs provide free or reduced-price meals at school:
Theyre enrolled in Head Start
Your children may qualify if your household income is within the Federal Income Eligibility Guidelines. These guidelines are based on federal poverty guidelines.
If your income is no more than 130 percent of the poverty level, they should qualify for free meals.
If your income is no more than 185 percent of the poverty level, they should qualify for reduced-price meals.
The summer food service program is open to all children and teens 18 and under at locations around the country. Find a site near you.
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