No one is guaranteed to live in conditions when she needs support and understanding. This is especially true for seniors over the age of 55. Having reached this age, some seniors find themselves unwilling to commit to the same job they have been doing. On the other hand, some may discover that they have long had hidden illnesses that would hinder their everyday activities. In both cases, people are afraid of losing their source of income or social security. Below are some programs that help seniors overcome these kinds of difficulties (and not only) and start a new life.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Program
The US federal government has designed this program to address the needs of seniors who have been working in low-wage jobs for most of their lives. This option works if the senior has earned her Social Security benefits only due to the low-paid job, and these bonuses are the only source to make a living. The United States Social Security Administration is in charge of this program which offers seniors larger monthly payments which they should add to their income. Only those who can demonstrate the need can be selected for this program, and this refers not only to the income level but also to the assets possessed.
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
The help that the government is ready to provide shouldn’t necessarily be monetary. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program can help the seniors put some food on their table using the SNAP special cards, which work like debit cards. There is a chain of selected grocery stores and markets where seniors can get food, such as dairy products, meat, fruits, vegetables, etc. Although this program is not only for seniors, the federal government has created special monthly packages and coupons for them. SNAP is need-based: the applicants should be ready to provide all the necessary documents to qualify and get the Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card.
Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
Sometimes seniors need not only money but also a roof above their heads. Some government-created programs help seniors to afford to live in government-owned or private rental residences. Seniors can receive the benefits in the form of subsidized housing, vouchers for housing, or public housing programs. On the other hand, some seniors may need assistance to pay their bills. As cited on the website of the program, “it helps eligible low-income households with
their heating and cooling energy costs, bill payment assistance, energy crisis assistance, weatherization, and energy-related home repairs.” The program is need-based, and you can be eligible for it even if you participate in other similar programs such as SSI or SNAP.
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
Not all seniors have kids that can sustain themselves. Some of them still need adults to help them financially. Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (also called Welfare) is meant to help those who struggle on the path to self-sufficiency. Each state receives some money from the federal budget to implement this program. The goal is to make sure that children are safely living with their families and becoming less dependent on their parents as they grow up. TANF also aims to promote working, marriage, and reducing the number of children born to unmarried parents. This program’s assistance is limited in time as the goal is not to distribute money freely but to give the necessary conditions for people to form strong family ties and start providing for themselves.
These are just a few of the federal programs that senior citizens can participate in; you can find other programs that are community based. For example, you can find some retirement communities in the Seattle area that are very supportive for seniors. Another example is the Senior Resources Agency on Aging, that, offers a wide range of support and educational services. Seniors can get help in different spheres of their life, ranging from transportation to mental health counseling. Another organization, Health in Aging, shared trusted information about community-based senior care centers. Those can be of three different types: adult day care centers, Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) and Home-Based Primary Care (HBPC). Finally, there are specific communities within society that are designed to help seniors of the same faith or origin. Examples are Catholic Charities and Jewish Family Services and their programs are tailored to the needs of the elderly. Make sure to check all these opportunities and take advantage of them to have the second half of your life better and brighter than you could think of.