In this economy, many middle class Americans are having trouble making ends meet. But for seniors on a fixed income, the problem can be even worse. Perhaps your adult children or church used to help you out — but they can’t now. Perhaps your pension has been cut. Or maybe that part time job you had dried up.
Fortunately, there may be government help available for you. Where and what?
- Food Stamps
Below, we describe these senior programs and tell you where to find them.
Medicaid is a joint program between the Federal government and your state. For seniors, it can be used to supplement a Senior’s Medicare premium costs, or perhaps to pay for custodial long term care in a nursing home. A seniors eligibility is determined by your state. Generally, your state will look at your income and assets in order to see if you qualify for assistance.
(Don’t be concerned if you own your home or have a car, these assets are generally excluded when your state determines you eligibility. Your state just doesn’t want to provide assistance for people who don’t really need it, so they do have income and asset requirements.)
What should concern seniors, is that today, many of the states are restricting the number of seniors eligible for Medicaid within their state. And in some states, such as Arizona, the state is considering stopping the Medicaid program altogether.
As of Oct. 1, 2008, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is the new name for the Federal Food Stamp Program. The new name reflects the changes USDA has made to meet the needs of recipients, including a focus on nutrition and an increase in benefit amounts. SNAP is the federal name for the program, your state program may a have different name. There is an low income requirement for food stamps for everyone, including seniors. Click here to find out more.
Assistance with heating and cooling costs for seniors is provided by each State’s LIHEAP (Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program).
Additionally, your County may provide Energy Assistance for seniors through an emergency fund to individuals in danger of losing heat and electricity services. Some Area Agencies on Aging have utility assistance programs. Your local Utility Company may provide additional services such as additional discounts for low income seniors and discounted rates for life support devices.
To find more information on energy program in your state, click here.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) provides funds to the state and local level for use in the development of affordable housing units, or to assist income-eligible seniors in purchasing, rehabilitating, or renting safe and decent housing. Click here for housing assistance information
Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
Cash is available through the federal government to seniors whose income is low enough qualify. Click here