Many programs target older people with extremely low incomes and minimal assets. However, this is not always the case. Programs funded by the American Senior Citizens Act, such as home meals and legal assistance for those facing foreclosure or eviction, often prioritize low-income individuals, but are means-tested. is not required. Also, some local programs, such as property tax incentives for homeowners, are available to anyone over the age of 65.
Even a few hundred dollars a month in assistance can make a big difference for older people who live on limited incomes and find it difficult to get basic things like food, housing, transportation and medical care. there is. However, people often don’t know how to know if they are eligible for benefits or if they are eligible. Especially if you’ve never done it before.
“You earned these benefits,” Hodges said, and seniors should think of them “like Medicare and Social Security.”
Here’s how to get started and information about some programs.
ask for help
The assessment identifies which federal, state, and local programs can help with various needs (food, housing, transportation, health care, utilities, and other essentials). In many cases, agency staff will help seniors fill out forms and collect the necessary documents.
A common mistake is to wait until a crisis hits so there is no food in the refrigerator or the power company is about to turn off the electricity.
To combat the stigma that some seniors attach to food stamps, AARP launched a marketing campaign in Atlanta and Houston stating, “Food prices are rising and we are all spending more money on our grocery budgets.” I’m trying to stretch it out,” he said. AARP Foundation Benefit Access Program.
If the effort changes the perception of older Americans about the program and increases enrollment, AARP plans to expand significantly next year, she said.
Subsidies for medical expenses
AARP also works closely with community organizations in South Carolina, Alabama, and Mississippi to help seniors apply for low-income subsidies for Medicare Savings Programs and Part D prescription drug plans. . Over the next year, we plan to expand the program to up to 22 states.
The value of these medical benefits for low-income seniors is substantial. At a minimum, the Medicare Savings Program will cover the cost of Medicare Part B premiums. Most are $170/month or $2,040/year. For the lowest-income elderly, the benefits are even broader and cover the cost of medical services.
As part of the broader “benefit research” process, check for property tax relief programs for seniors in your area.
Barriers to getting help
Proponents of many programs say agencies serving older adults are facing staff shortages, complicating efforts to provide assistance. Low pay is a common reason. For example, according to Markwood, 41% of regional agencies on aging report staff vacancies of up to 15%, and a further 18% report vacancies of up to 25%. Government agencies have also lost a significant number of volunteers during the Covid-19 pandemic.
At the same time, the pandemic and rising inflation have increased the demand for assistance and made the needs of our clients more complex.
“All of this is amplified by the financial burden that older people are feeling,” Markwood said.
KHN (Kaiser Health News) is a national newsroom that produces in-depth journalism on health issues. KHN is one of his three major operational programs in the United States, along with policy analysis and polling KFFMore (Kaiser Family Foundation). KFF is a donated non-profit organization that provides information on health issues to the public.