The “golden years” can often present seniors with more financial challenges than expected. The high cost of living can bring uncertainty to the elderly. However, there are low cost solutions to offset some of these costs or even to obtain free services.
There are many organizations that can help with low cost medical supplies. In addition, there are programs to assist with legal needs as well as other programs once you know where to find them.
Medical Prescriptions for Low Cost
Medications can be a major expense. There are some resources that can help with this. For example, The Partnership for Prescription Assistance is one such resource. It aligns seniors with programs provided by drug companies to assist seniors in finding low-cost prescriptions. Visit the website to obtain information and apply for help.
Another obvious solution is to make the switch to generic drugs. Often these low-cost medications can reduce costs of prescriptions by up to 85%. They are often equally effective as their brand name counterparts. However, talk with your doctor before you make the switch.
The United Way Outreach
The United Way is one of the oldest organizations that can
assist seniors with medical supplies and other services. United Way has offices all over the country. They work along with other charities to provide assistance to those in need. Dialing 211 will connect you with a specialist who can provide information on prescription medicines and other services.
Hearing Impaired Individuals Can Receive Free Phones and Services
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) offers a service called CaptionCall. This service supplies free telephones that are captionized to people with medically recognized hearing loss. Eligibility requires a signed certificate from a medical professional that states hearing loss in the individual.
In addition, low-cost services are available through Lifeline, a federal government program. To qualify, you must be a low-income individual on government assistance. For example, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Medicaid. Lifeline support.org, supplies information to see if you qualify.
Get Free Legal Help
Often, there will be a need for legal assistance for seniors. Instances can include getting a power of attorney for relatives to manage estate issues. Perhaps help is needed in understanding Medicaid applications. The VA can help veterans and other people to find free or reduced cost legal aid.
This can include local law schools and the state bar association. The Legal Services Corporation also can help low-income individuals with legal matters that may arise. Similarly, Goodwill is another source to locate help. They can point you in the direction of free legal aid as well as help with tax returns.
Home Energy Assistance
You can apply for help with heating and cooling your home through your local Area Agency on Aging (AAA). Depending on your income level, you may receive direct cash assistance. In addition, supplies or weather upgrades may be provided through the Low Income Weatherization Assistance Program (LIWAP). For example, installation of insulation, HVAC system repairs, and leaky door and window seals are among the services that are provided for seniors living on fixed incomes. Contact your AAA to apply.
Dealing with Alzheimer’s and Dementia
Alzheimer’s is a prevalent disease as well as dementia that affects many elderly individuals. Elderly that suffer from these debilitating conditions can wander. This can cause worry and stress, not only in seniors that suffer from these impairments, but in caretakers and family members as well. The Silver Alert system is a public notification broadcaster that issues alerts concerning missing persons that suffer from Alzheimer’s and other mental disabilities. These may require registry and vary state to state.
Project Lifesaver is a program that requires registration through local law enforcement. You may also contact your local fire department or search-and-rescue agency. A small transmitter is worn by the elderly individual who is afflicted with mental disabilities. This will assist local rescue agencies and law enforcement in finding loved ones in the event they wander and become lost. Contact your local agencies to learn more about these programs.
What Is Considered Low-Income?
Many seniors may wonder if they qualify for low-income services. In order to know this, you must first understand what low income is. To be clear, low income is any senior that makes less than 30,000 a year. This is because often, seniors have a lot of expenses such as doctor’s bills, pharmacy costs and other living expenses.
Free Transportation Services
As you get older, it can become harder to drive. This can be do to lack of reaction time, decreased eyesight, or a plethora of other reasons. For this reason, there are often free transportation services available for low income seniors. This is a great option because it allows seniors to safely get to their doctor appointments and take care of tasks without putting themselves in danger.
More Aid Available
If you’re a senior, or about to become one, you might wonder if there are local, state, or federal programs to help seniors. Fortunately, many cities, counties, and all states have some variation of an Office on Aging. They offer aid to seniors encompassing financial, food, transportation, medicine, housing, and more. Don’t know where to look first? Try these:
It will take you to the National Council on Aging website. You’ll type in your zip code and answer a few questions. Then they’ll email you information on the aid categories you chose such as housing, medicine, food, and such.
Supplemental Security Income
SSI is given to the elderly and disabled who have very low incomes and few resources. You’ll have to qualify for these. Be sure you have all the paperwork required by the programs. It’s a payment usually given when we retire, but if the senior is in difficulties, s/he can qualify for the project.
Social Security Disability Insurance
When the elderly or anyone else becomes disabled or unable to work, the government steps in with SSDI. You’ll fill out reams of paperwork about your disability, go to court to discuss it with a judge, and then receive your monthly stipend. Both SSI and SSDI increase each year as inflation increases, meaning your payments increase each month.
Reverse mortgages and Section 8 housing were devised to help the elderly with their rent. Reverse mortgages give seniors money they need but don’t put their homes at risk. The federal housing and urban development or HUD department oversees these projects. Your local or state HUD office will be happy to aid you.
Housing Rehabilitation Grants
These, along with low-interest loans, are available to seniors needing to revamp their homes to include upgrades like ramps, grab bars in bathrooms, safe flooring, and more. Your state’s Office On Aging will get you the information.
Medicare And Medicaid
Although funded through federal monies, the states administer Medicaid, and the federal government administers Medicare. Both programs help seniors pay for medicines, hospital and doctor visits, and Medicaid aids in nursing homes and/or home health care visits.
Now called Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP, it’s a federal program administered on the state level. Check with your city’s Human Resources office to learn more about it. You’ll have to qualify for the rules and income requirements of the project.
Home Energy Assistance Program or HEAP
Also funded at the federal level but administered by the states, home heating assistance
offers cash grants to the elderly in need of help. Each state has its own requirements as to income and such, so contact your local Office on Aging for further information.
Senior Paws For Pets
Are you a senior with a pet? If you participate in Meals On Wheels, then your pet can participate in his/her own project. Having trouble feeding your pet or can’t afford his vet visits or medicines? Your local Humane Society aids in all this plus helping to feed your pet.