Assistance Programs Available to Senior Citizens
As the average life expectancy increases, many seniors find that they do not have the resources to carry them through their retirement years. There are a number of federal and state government programs available to assist seniors in many respects. Knowing what programs exist and which they are eligible for can help seniors get access to valuable resources.
The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefit is available to seniors who have low income. Eligible seniors must have countable assets under $2,000 ($3,000 for couples); “countable assets” refers to liquid assets such as cash or bank accounts and does not include property such as their primary residence or vehicle, burial plots, furniture, or life insurance policies up to a certain amount. Selling one of these assets may increase their income enough to affect their eligibility. However, there are deductions on certain types of earned income.
Programs for Food, Housing, and Healthcare
Many of the assistance programs help seniors with their most basic needs, including food, shelter, and healthcare. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (known as SNAP or food stamps) gives eligible seniors access to funds to purchase groceries if they fall below a certain income and asset threshold. Seniors can also enroll in meal delivery programs if they are homebound, often known as Meals on Wheels, or receive congregate meals at sites such as churches or community centers.
Federal and state housing assistance programs can help seniors stay in and maintain their homes as they get older. Seniors whose homes have substantial equity can get a reverse mortgage through the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and receive monthly income payments. HUD also offers Section 8 Housing Vouchers that can be used to rent private residences from participating landlords. To qualify, seniors must have an adjusted household income that falls under 80 percent of the median income in that area, and a certain percentage of the household’s income must be paid toward housing. Additionally, there are multiple grant and loan programs that can help seniors with repairs to safety or health hazards in their home or utility costs.
As seniors get older, their healthcare needs often grow. Social Security beneficiaries are eligible for healthcare insurance through Medicare, with optional additional plans to cover prescriptions and managed care. Low income seniors can also get covered by Medicaid, which includes hospital and nursing care coverage. Seniors can consult the Senior Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) for information on available programs and assistance with understanding and paying their bills.
Brooklyn Elder Law Attorneys at Korsinsky & Klein, LLP Help Seniors Get the Assistance They Need
Navigating these programs can be challenging, and seniors may be missing on out benefit programs because they do not know they exist or realize they are eligible. The elder law attorneys at Korsinsky & Klein, LLP have a comprehensive understanding of these programs and can help seniors ensure they are getting the most assistance for which they qualify. With offices conveniently located in Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Lakewood, New Jersey, we help seniors throughout the New York City area, including Westchester, New York. Call us today at 212-495-8133 or contact us online to speak to a Brooklyn elder law attorney.