As we get older, we start to see that our parents, aunts, and uncles are getting older too. Some will find themselves joining the senior citizen age group within a few years. Hopefully, our older family members are financially savvy. Unfortunately, not all of them will be, though. If they need some help, there are some government programs out there to help them with food, healthcare, and housing.
There are a few government programs out there that will help senior citizens. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) helps seniors with low income buy the food that they need. The amount of assistance that a person can receive depends on their income and household size. Snap benefits cannot be used to buy alcohol and tobacco, nonfood items such as soap, paper products, toothpaste, medicine and vitamins, and hot foods.
Another program that seniors can use is the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP). This program operates in 47 states. People receive food packages that include cereal, rice, juice, milk, dry beans and canned fruits and vegetables.
The Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP) is a program that provides low-income seniors with coupons that can be exchanged for eligible foods at Farmers Markets.
Health Care Assistance
Health Care is getting more and more expensive these days. This is one of the main areas where seniors need help the most. They don’t always have enough funds to cover everything.
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. It also takes care of home & community-based services or HCB’s, which provides care based on what your states waivers cover. Medicaid also offers long-term care for those who require regular nursing care.
Medicare assists seniors who can pay a portion of their health care costs. Medicare programs include the Specified Low-Income Medicare Beneficiary, The Qualified Individual Program, and the Qualified Medicare Beneficiary. All those offer various levels of assistance in paying premiums, co-payments and other aspects of health care. Medicare also provides support for those under 65 who are disabled but are still able to work. MedicareFAQ has some good resources about Medicare open enrollment and annual election dates. Check them out if you get a chance.
Senior Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) is a source of information. This program helps seniors understand health benefits, plans that are available, medical bills and rights. The program supports Medicare beneficiaries.
Housing is another area where senior citizens struggle. Many want to stay in their homes, but they can’t. Some can’t afford to, while others can’t keep up with the maintenance. The government offers Housing of Urban Development (HUD) which are programs designed to help seniors. Some HUD programs help seniors stay in their homes or find an apartment that fits their needs. HUD also helps with reverse mortgages, rural housing loans, finding affordable rents, public housing, and housing choice vouchers.
As you can see, there are several government programs out there to assist senior citizens with food health care assistance and housing. If you or your family members need any help, you could start by checking out www.eldercare.gov or usda.gov.