The United States federal government has a wide variety of programs in place to aid in the health and welfare of senior citizens. Below are details on a few of these programs, some of which may be unfamiliar to you.
Likely, the most well-known federal government benefit for seniors is the Social Security Retirement fund. This entitles you to a certain amount of money each month – post-retirement. Depending on when you were born, you can start collecting benefits as early as age 62 or as late as age 67. The amount you receive each month is based on the average wages over your lifetime. Spouses are eligible for benefits as well, even if they have limited or no work history.
Next to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are likely the next most well-known government benefits for seniors. Medicare is a health insurance program that covers hospital and medical care for elderly and some disabled Americans. You have the option to expand this coverage to include supplementary medical insurance and prescription drugs for a premium. Medicaid is a health and medical services program for individuals and families with low incomes or other mitigating factors.
Additionally, there are several housing related programs that you may not be aware of:
The first is the Reverse Mortgage Program. This program provides guaranteed monthly income to seniors 62 and over who own their own home and have a substantial amount of equity. You are not required to repay the money you are taking out of the equity or make interest payments on it for as long as you continue to live in your home.
The second program, Section 8 Housing Vouchers, helps eligible low-income households, including the elderly and disabled, make their rent payments. These vouchers can be used to rent private housing from any landlord participating in the program. Typically, individuals are required to pay 30 percent of their monthly household income toward their rent, and the landlord will use the voucher to collect the rest directly from the government.
Finally, the federal government offers housing rehabilitation grants and low interest loans to pay for repairs to items creating health and safety issues in a senior citizen’s home. They can also be used to make accessibility modifications to a home that will allow someone with a disability to continue to live there.
Another program which may be new to you is the Veterans Aid and Attendance Pension. This provides financial coverage for in-home nursing care and assisted living and nursing home facilities for veterans and their surviving spouses. This benefit can be collected when a physician determines an individual needs regular assistance with bathing, dressing, eating, and other personal care.
Finally, the federal government offers a Home Energy Assistance Program. This program provides households cash grants to help pay home heating expenses. With this program, the federal government provides money to the states. In turn, each state determines which households are eligible and the amount of benefits available to each home.