There are many financial assistance programs available for seniors over 50, and you might not even be aware of many of them! Some are targeted specifically at low-income individuals, but you might be surprised to find out that you can still qualify for them. From healthcare options to free appliances, there are many organizations out there that help senior citizens with many aspects of their lives. Not only can you get free government money in some cases, but there are also nonprofit organizations and other private entities that will help you. If you are over 50 or have a loved one in this category, keep reading to learn about many of the valuable programs that are available.
Free Government Money & Financial Assistance Application Process
The application process for most of these benefit programs varies slightly from one program to the next. However, there are some general guidelines that you can follow that are required across all the programs. First, you need to check the eligibility criteria to make sure you qualify for the program. Next, you will want to complete the application for the program thoroughly. Make sure that you answer all the questions and do not leave any blanks or missing information. This could cause your application to be denied even though you might otherwise qualify.
Finally, make sure you attach all the required documentation to your application. Some programs might require you to submit proof of income, proof of your housing situation, or proof of a medical condition. Failure to submit the required documents will result in your application being denied. As with many government benefits, one of the hardest parts of getting assistance is the application process. If you are unsure about the process or criteria, then go ahead and contact the program directly. They can advise you about the eligibility requirements associated with their program. Remember that some government programs are administered by the federal government while others are administered by state governments. Be sure you take advantage of all the programs for which you might be eligible.
Free Government Benefits Available To Seniors Over 50
When it comes to financial aid for seniors, many of the benefits available are through government entities. While there are some benefits available through private organizations and nonprofit organizations, the government provides extra help to many low-income families and individuals. Here are some of the best government benefits that you can take advantage of.
— Social Security
Most people think that Social Security is only available to those who are aged 60 and older. However, that is not the case! In some situations, you can receive Social Security benefits at age 50. First, if you are caring for a child of the primary beneficiary, you can receive Social Security spousal benefits at any age. Also, if you are a widow or widower with a disability, you can start your spousal benefits at age 50. This rule allows you to receive 71% or more of the deceased spouse’s primary insurance amount even if you don’t have a work history of your own. This can be a huge benefit to seniors over 50 who need government assistance.
Supplemental Security Income benefits can help low-income seniors over 50 receive benefits due to a disability. SSI benefits are similar to SSDI benefits, although SSI benefits require no work history. If you are disabled and unable to work, you can get a monthly payment from the Social Security Administration. The average SSI payment for an adult is $604 per month, which can provide great financial assistance to seniors who need it. In fact, there is no age requirement for help from SSI. Even if you are under 50, you can still get SSI benefits if you are disabled and unable to work. Similarly, you can get assistance at age 65 even if you don’t have a disability.
Medicare Part A and Part B help cover medical costs for seniors, and many seniors qualify for Part A coverage without paying a monthly premium. In addition to helping with healthcare costs, there are some Medicare programs that can help cover the cost of prescription medications, like the Medicare Extra Help program and the Medicare Savings Program. Those programs can also help cover the cost of your Medicare Part B premium each month. You can learn more about these programs at Medicare.gov.
Medicaid benefits are available to individuals and families of any age who have a limited income. Medicaid is funded jointly by the federal government and each state government, so each state has the ability to set its own rules for the program. Medicaid can help seniors over 50 with their medical bills, prescription medications, and other items. In most cases, you won’t even have to pay a copayment or coinsurance amount to your provider.
Free Services Available To Seniors Over 50
In addition to the government benefits mentioned above, there are many free services available to seniors over 50. From housing assistance to free phones, there are many programs available that many people are not even aware of. Here are some of the best free services available to those over 50.
— Free Phones
The federal Lifeline program allows seniors to receive free phones as long as their income is below 135% of the federal poverty level and they already participate in other government benefit programs like Medicaid or SNAP. One should know, however, that these phones are not always free. The Lifeline program really just allows you to receive a discount from the major phone carriers.
— Free Transportation
Older adults can often receive free transportation through the senior center programs available in their city. These services will often provide rides to doctor’s visits, grocery stores, and other locations throughout the city. You should contact your local municipality for more information and details.
— Free Legal Services
There are many free legal services available to help seniors with legal services such as making a will or power of attorney. These are typically nonprofit organizations that receive government grants to help seniors with these matters. You can contact the Legal Services Corporation to find a local provider in your area who provides these free services.
— Free Tax Preparation
Seniors can receive free tax preparation services through programs provided by the IRS or through local organizations. This can help seniors find tax deductions and prepare their returns at no cost. Volunteer Income Tax Assistance and Tax Counseling for the Elderly are the two most popular programs available for seniors needing assistance with their tax returns.
— Free HVAC
There are government grant programs available to help seniors who need to replace an outdated or inefficient HVAC, furnace, or air conditioning system. The three main types of programs are the Weatherization Assistance Program, the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, and Energy Star. Replacing an HVAC can be a significant financial burden for seniors, so these programs make the process much easier for them.
— Free Food
Many seniors qualify for free food through SNAP, or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. This program is administered individually in each state, so you should contact your state SNAP office to apply for benefits. In addition, Meals on Wheels provides free food and meals for seniors in local communities. These programs contribute to wonderful community service by providing free food. Caregivers can also visit local food banks to assist seniors in need with getting free food.
— Free Money For Widows (Survivors Benefits)
The Social Security Administration provides benefits for widows and widowers in a couple of forms. They provide a lump sum payment as well as monthly benefits to qualifying individuals. You do not always have to be over 50 to receive these benefits. An online application for survivors benefits is unavailable at this time, so you will need to apply over the phone or in-person at your local Social Security office.
— SHIP (Senior Health Insurance Assistance Program)
The SHIP program provides many resources to seniors so they can learn how to get assistance with health insurance and prescription drugs. In some cases, this might include government vouchers for medications and reduced or free premiums from Medicare.
— SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program)
The SNAP program provides free food to seniors in need. An application for SNAP should be made through your state-sponsored program. In addition to SNAP, you might also be able to get free food from Meals on Wheels or other nutrition assistance programs. Many seniors who live alone and are not on any type of home care take advantage of these wonderful programs.
— The IRS Elderly Tax Credit
This tax credit from the IRS allows certain seniors to receive a tax credit on taxable disability income. Many people rely solely on their disability income, so this credit helps many of those people keep more of their money.
The BenefitsCheckUp tool is provided by the National Council on Aging, and it allows a single place for seniors to find many assistance programs. They can use the tool to apply for SNAP, learn more about Medicare subsidies, and find many social services in their community that they can take advantage of.
— Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program
This program provides a way for seniors to get free or reduced-cost HVAC, furnace, and air conditioning systems. Through government grants, this program allows those individuals in need to replace old, inefficient systems with new energy-saving systems.
— Tax Credits
There are several tax credits available from the IRS for seniors and older individuals, especially those with disabilities. In some cases, you might be able to completely avoid paying taxes on your disability income. This can be a significant help to those who need to keep as much of their monthly income as possible.
This wonderful organization helps distribute equipment to those with hearing or vision impairments so they can stay connected with friends and family. This special equipment might allow them to keep in touch over the phone or through other means. Without this program, the equipment is so expensive that many seniors would be unable to afford it.
Free Grants Available To Seniors Over 50
Grants are basically free money from the government that you do not have to repay as long as you meet the eligibility criteria. The government has many great grants that seniors can take advantage of. Here are some of the most common:
— Business Grants
The Small Business Administration does not provide direct grants to seniors to help them open a business. However, the SBA does make grants to community organizations that provide services to seniors. In some cases, these local organizations might make grants to seniors to help them open a business.
— College Grants
If you are considering going back to college, you might be able to get a government grant to pay for it. If you have never gotten college assistance in the past, your chances of getting a grant are even higher. Seniors can absolutely apply for these grants, and some grants are available specifically to people who are returning to college.
— Healthcare Grants
Healthcare grants are not as common as some of the other types we have discussed, but you may be able to indirectly get money for this purpose. For instance, you might be able to get Medicaid to pay for a nursing home or other medical services that you need as a senior. There are income requirements for these programs, so only those who need them will usually qualify.
— Home Improvement Grants
There are several grant programs available that can assist low-income senior homeowners with home repairs and home improvements. In addition, the HUD housing program can offer rent assistance for those individuals who might not otherwise have a place to live. There are also programs available through the USDA to help with housing expenses.
Organizations That Help Senior Citizens
In addition to free government money, there are many nonprofit organizations that help seniors in need. Many of these programs are nationwide, and there is likely a local chapter in your area. Here are some of the best organizations out there that will help you.
— Senior Living
Senior Living provides useful information to both seniors and caregivers. This program can offer you discounts on many items and services that you likely need as a senior, like medical alert devices or hearing aids. Senior Living can also provide resources related to housing assistance and other necessary programs.
— Volunteers Of America
Volunteers of America typically provides housing assistance to those in need, and you do not always have to be a senior to take advantage of their services. This organization has been in existence for 125 years, and they have many resources to help people who need a little extra assistance.
— Feeding America
Feeding America is the largest hunger-relief organization in the United States. This organization partners with local food banks to provide food to people in need. Many people take advantage of these wonderful services, including seniors, families, and younger individuals. School-age children can also receive free meals from this organization through the summer when they are not in school. Feeding America has thousands of local branches all across the country to provide this food to local communities.
— Dental Lifeline Network
Even though many seniors receive health care access through Medicare or Medicaid, these programs do not generally include dental coverage. Medicare dental plans are only available through Medicare Advantage, which usually requires the payment of a monthly premium. The Dental Lifeline Network utilizes a network of dentists who volunteer their services to help those in need. Seniors can complete an application for coverage, and they might not even need to pay anything at all in many cases.
— Retirement Jobs
Retirement Jobs specifically helps seniors over 50 find employment. They work with employers who are age-friendly, and they can assist seniors who are looking to switch careers after a previous career. In some cases, they might simply need to look for work to make ends meet. Whatever their goals, retirement jobs can help these seniors find employment.
The Bottom Line
There are a number of government programs available that provide money to seniors over 50, and there are also many nonprofit organizations that exist to help these people. Whether you are looking for housing assistance, free HVAC systems, or dental care, you should examine the list of services in this article. Some programs have income limits, while others will help you simply because of your age. These programs can be a great way to get free money or services that you might not otherwise know about.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the name of the government program that provides cash benefits to senior citizens?
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) provides cash benefits to people over 65, or younger individuals with a disability. There are income requirements for this program, and your income must be below a certain threshold to qualify for these benefits. The SSI program is reserved for those with a true financial need, and you must provide documentation that proves your financial need before you will be approved for benefits.
Is age 55 considered a senior citizen?
The definition of a senior citizen differs from one organization to the next. While some organizations might consider someone who is 55 to be a senior citizen, other organizations might not recognize you as a senior citizen until age 65. The best way to determine whether or not you qualify as a senior citizen for benefit eligibility is to contact the organization that administers the program. They can immediately tell you the age requirements for the program.
What benefits do you get at age 50?
At age 50, you can qualify for many benefits from the government and private organizations. Some might be as simple as a discount on your meal at a restaurant. Other benefits are more valuable, like Social Security survivor benefits. If there is a specific benefit program in which you are interested, you should check their eligibility criteria to determine whether you can qualify at age 50.
How much can a senior citizen have in the bank?
There is no limit to how much money a senior citizen can have in the bank. Some senior citizens have millions of dollars in the bank. However, the amount of money that you have in the bank can affect your eligibility for some government programs and assistance. For example, Medicaid is only available to those with a financial need. So, having too much money in the bank would prevent you from getting into the Medicaid program.
What discounts can you get at the age of 50?
The best way to find discounts for those over 50 is by checking with AARP. There are many discounts available for people aged 50 and over, such as wireless discounts from AT&T, discounts on gas at Exxon, and deals on shipping services at The UPS Store. You can search the internet to find many of these discounts, and some are only available to AARP members. However, the discounts you receive can usually more than cover the cost of your AARP membership.