Wednesday February 21, 2024
Financial Assistance Programs for Everyday Needs
There are dozens of different financial assistance programs and government benefits that may be able to help with everyday expenses. To locate these types of programs, visit BenefitsCheckUp.org, a site created by the National Council on Aging that lists nearly 2,000 programs across the country to connect individuals with benefits programs. This is a free, confidential online screening tool designed for older adults and people with disabilities. It will help find federal, state and local benefits programs that can assist with paying for food, utilities, health care, medications, housing and many other needs.
To identify benefits, begin by entering in your ZIP code and choose the types of benefits programs you are interested in. Certain eligibility questions regarding personal and financial information may be required. Once completed, you will get a list of programs to choose from, followed by a personalized report that explains each program, and tells you where you can get help or how to apply.
If you need assistance or do not have internet access, you can always speak with a benefits support specialist by calling 800-794-6559. You can also get help in-person at any of the Benefit Enrollment Centers located across 41 states. See NCOA.org/article/meet-our-benefits-enrollment-centers to search for a center in your area.
Types of Benefits
Depending on your income level, location and circumstance, here are a few of the many different benefits you may be eligible for:
Nutrition assistance: Programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) can help pay for food at the grocery store. The average SNAP benefit for individuals age 60 and older is around $105 per month. Other nutrition programs that may be available include the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program and the Commodity Supplemental Food Program.
Utility assistance: The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) provides assistance in lowering home heating and cooling costs. For broadband assistance, the Affordable Connectivity Program provides a monthly subsidy that can be applied toward home internet costs.
Health care and medicine: Medicare Savings Programs and Medicaid can help or completely pay for out-of-pocket health care costs. For assistance with medications, there is a low-income subsidy program called ‘Extra Help’ that helps pay premiums, deductibles and co-payments on Medicare (Part D) prescription drug coverage. You can also search for prescription drug help through patient assistance programs or your state pharmaceutical assistance program at Medicare.gov.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI): Administered by the Social Security Administration, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) provides monthly payments to low-income individuals age 65 and older as well as to those who are blind and disabled. In 2023, SSI pays up to $914 per month for a single person and up to $1,371 for couples. Visit ssa.gov/ssi to determine eligibility and to apply.
In addition to these benefits, there are dozens of other programs BenefitsCheckUp.org can help identify such as housing assistance, property tax reduction, home weatherization assistance, tax relief, veteran’s benefits, transportation, caregiving support, free legal assistance, disability services, job training and more.
Savvy Living is written by Jim Miller, a regular contributor to the NBC Today Show and author of "The Savvy Living" book. Any links in this article are offered as a service and there is no endorsement of any product. These articles are offered as a helpful and informative service to our friends and may not always reflect this organization's official position on some topics. Jim invites you to send your senior questions to: Savvy Living, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070.