Whether you’re struggling to manage your budget in your old age or you can’t find resources as a senior caregiver, certain government programs can help. The support is there if you need it, you just need to know where to look.
What follows is a list of the many government programs targeted toward the elderly. These programs can provide seniors with money, healthcare, food, and other essential services, all while providing caregivers with assistance.
Medicare is a health insurance program tailored to seniors over the age of 65. It covers many aspects of healthcare and can be broken down into four main areas:
- Part A: Covers inpatient hospital care, hospice care, and some care provided by nursing homes. Deductibles are charged and seniors are automatically entered into Part A when they apply for Medicare. Both Part A and Part B are part of Original Medicare.
- Part B: Covers outpatient services, including tests/screenings, medical equipment, doctor visits, and transportation by ambulance. There is an annual deductible and, in general, there are more costs involved with this part of Original Medicare.
- Part C: A form of private health insurance that combines other aspects of Medicare and is required to cover the same things as Original Medicare.
- Part D: Covers prescription drugs and is available through private insurance companies. Deductibles apply.
Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)
Military veterans and their spouses may be entitled to VA benefits. These include a broad spectrum of benefits and services, including pensions, compensation, burial benefits, and access to free health care and low-cost home loans.
VA benefits vary in size and scope and the benefits that you or your loved one are entitled to will depend on your mobility, health, service type, service length, and more. Active-duty personnel, veterans, and members of the National Guard and Reserves can all apply for some veteran benefits.
Medicaid provides low-income Americans with essential health care coverage and is a joint state and federal program. If you are disabled and/or over the age of 65, you may qualify for Medicaid and can receive cover for long-term care services provided in the home and community.
To apply, however, you need to meet strict financial requirements, and these differ from state to state. The extent of coverage provided also changes depending on your location.
In New York, for instance, your income needs to be less than $16,971 (at the time of writing) for a one-person household. This increases for every additional member of the household, growing to $22,930 for 2, $28,888 for 3, and so on.
Check your Medicaid state requirements for more information.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
SSI offers benefits to children and disabled adults but also pays these benefits to individuals over the age of 65, even if they are not disabled. SSI is provided by the federal government and offers supplemental income, designed to top-up earnings for people with low income.
The monetary amount provided is fixed for everyone and changes year to year. In 2020, this amount was fixed at $783 for one person and $1,175 for a couple. However, some states offer additional payments on top of this amount and you may receive less if you have other income.
When applying, everything from your current assets to your income will be taken into account. For instance, individual applicants are allowed to own assets up to $2,000, and this increases to $3,000 for couples. Your car will not be counted and if you own a house, it won’t count if it is your main residence. However, all cash stored in bank accounts and savings accounts will contribute to your total, as will all investments from stocks.
Generally, being eligible for SSI means you are eligible for other needs-based government programs, including the aforementioned Medicaid.
Administration on Aging (AoA)
Legal assistance, counseling, planning assistance, and other services are available through the AoA. It controls a large network of service providers and is run by the US Department of Health and Human Services under provision of the Older Americans Act. You qualify if you are over the age of 60 and services include adult day care, transportation, and caregiver support programs, for example.
These services are particularly useful if you are a caregiver and are struggling with your daily responsibilities. Being able to offload the care recipient onto dedicated and experienced care providers allows you to rest, recuperate, and take some much-needed personal time. In turn, this will reduce the risk of caregiver stress and boost your wellbeing.
Conclusion: Other Resources
The internet can be your friend when you need a little support or a push in the right direction. You can find information on a host of medications and diseases, looking at side effects, symptoms, causes, preventions, and more.
We have extensive guides on this site, all of which can lend a helping hand, and you can also look to sites like the National Institutes of Health and WebMD to get a rundown on medicines and illnesses.
In addition, you’ll find a multitude of online support groups across message boards and social media platforms and can speak directly with fellow sufferers, caregivers, and seniors in need.
These facilities should always complement the services provided by experienced health care workers and never be used in their place. For instance, while WebMD can tell you whether a symptom should be cause for concern, it can’t make a diagnosis and is just as likely to create paranoia.
As for medication sites, they can help to identify unlabeled pills and guide you with regards to side effects and contraindications. On the other hand, understanding whether they are working for you and how they interact with your preexisting conditions is a job for your doctor.