There are several ways to enjoy discounted items and find financial aid to meet many basic needs.
Supplement Security Income (SSI) is a Social Security Administration program for low-income families and individuals who need help providing food, clothing, shelter, and food for themselves. Those who are already receiving Social Security benefits are eligible. Funds delivered through SSI are free. You can complete the application process for SSI through your local Social Security Administration office. You can use SSA’s Social Security Office Locator to find out where and how to apply in person.
Membership with the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) can provide discounts at many participating stores and services. AARP charges $16 a year for membership. While the AARP does provide grants to different organizations, at this time AARP grants do not go toward individuals. You can apply for an AARP membership online on the organization’s website.
Many businesses offer discounts of 50% or more for seniors. You can inquire with specific businesses as to whether they provide a senior discount. Different websites, such as TheSeniorList.com, provide regular updates on companies that provide discounts.
Medical care services become essential as we grow older, and are one of the most difficult and expensive to cover. Many programs exist to help senior citizens find adequate coverage for medical care.
Medicare is the principle option for senior citizens who need medical coverage. Medicare provides federal health coverage starting at the age of 65. Anyone can qualify for Medicare coverage. Medicare will cover most medical issues, aside from home care or nursing home coverage. You can apply for Medicare and retirement benefits on the Social Security Administration website. The SSA states that the application will take anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes to complete.
You may qualify for the Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE). This program helps those who are particularly disadvantaged and need extra help beyond what Medicare can provide. There are no limits to care under PACE, and the program is focused specifically on those who need more long-term care. You must be 55 years or older, live in a PACE service area, be eligible for home care, and be able to live safely in a community. PACE is usually recommended through the SSA if an individual qualifies. You may need to inquire about PACE individually.
State Pharmaceutical Assistance Programs (SPAPs) and Patient Assistance Programs (PAP) help pay for subscription medications. These programs are designed to aid low-income seniors who lack the finances to pay for costly medications. Meanwhile, PAPs are direct-to-consumer programs from drug companies that offer assistance. Some drug companies will directly offer low-cost versions of their prescription drugs to those in need. Application for an SPAP is through your individual state’s benefits office. Inquire with your state’s benefits office about SPAP programs. Most states require you to participate in Medicare before receiving assistance through SPAP.
Senior Citizens who are living with financial stress can find numerous vehicles for assistance. Many deserving candidates do not get the help they need, unfortunately, often because they don’t know about these programs. If you are a senior in need, or if you know one, we urge you to seek the help of local assistance agencies in linking you with appropriate programs. You’re entitled to this help, and you deserve it!
You can communicate with the agencies and organizations discussed here at these links:
Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP)
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
Nutrition Services Incentive Program (NSIP)
Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP)
Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP)
Meals on Wheels
FHA Reverse Mortgages (HECMs)
HUD Section 8 Housing Voucher Program
Supplement Security Income (SSI)
American Association of Retired Persons (AARP)
Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE)