Government Programs to Help Seniors
There are all kinds of reasons why some seniors may find themselves unable to stay afloat financially. In these situations, seniors may find that they need government help to meet expenses.
There are a variety of government programs to help seniors when they need a boost to make it. Here is a summary of such programs.
1. Health Care Assistance
Health care is getting more expensive all the time, and this is one of the key areas where seniors often need help.
Medicaid offers various programs to those with limited income and resources. Some of the programs include Medicaid Spend-down, which pays for a pretty wide range of medical services, such as x-rays and doctor visits, and Home and Community-Based Services, or HCBS, which provides care based on what your state’s waivers cover. Medicaid also offers Long-Term Care (LTC) for those who require regular nursing care.
Medicare assists seniors who can pay a portion of their health care costs. Medicare programs include the Qualified Medicare Beneficiary (QMB), the Specified Low-Income Medicare Beneficiary (SLMB), and the Qualified Individual (QI) program. These all offer various levels of assistance in paying premiums, co-payments and other aspects of health care. Medicare also offers assistance for those under 65 who are disabled but still able to work.
Prescription Assistance is also available to low-income seniors through a program called Low Income Subsidy (LIS)/Extra Help.
Once called Food Stamps, the government now offers something called SNAP, or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. The amount of assistance you receive depends on your income, how many people live in your home, and other requirements. In some states, the benefits you receive are also based on your total assets (including savings).
There is also the Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP) that assists seniors in buying fresh produce and other goods at farmers’ markets by providing coupons seniors can use to purchase fresh foods. Your state may or may not offer SFMNP.
3. Utilities and Energy Costs
Heating and cooling can also get very expensive. LIHEAP, or the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, helps seniors pay for heating and cooling bills. Also, the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) is a program to help make your home more energy-efficient, thus reducing heating and cooling costs.
This is one of the areas where seniors often struggle. They may want to stay in their homes, but can’t afford to, or they can’t keep up with the maintenance. The government offers HUD (Housing of Urban Development) programs to help seniors. Some HUD programs help seniors stay in their homes, or find an apartment that fits their physical limitations (if any). HUD also can help protect seniors from fraud.
Here are some websites where you can go for more information: