The team at SmithLife Homecare is dedicated to explaining all the senior citizen benefits available. Whether you’re an older adult looking for help or a caretaker performing research on behalf of a patient, we want to provide as much helpful information as possible. Unfortunately, most people don’t realize the numerous programs and systems available to help get medication, food, or even transportation. We’ve compiled an overview of some of the critical programs we think everyone should be aware of. If you have any questions regarding these programs, are looking for additional resources, or need homecare assistance, don’t hesitate to reach out. One of our knowledgeable representatives is standing by to help.
An Overview of Senior Benefits
As mentioned, several discounts, programs, and older age benefits exist. Most of these won’t become active until you’re over 65. It’s best to check with your local and state government agencies to learn more about what options and opportunities are available in your state. We highly recommend reviewing the federal eldercare website, which acts as a pool of resources available to all senior citizens. The benefits and programs we’ll discuss are mostly nationwide. Here is a list of some of the programs which offer free or reduced-cost options:
- Health Care
- Transportation Services
- Housing Assistance
- Prescription Drugs
- Recreational Activities
- Food and Dining
What Medical Benefits Are Available?
Older adults shouldn’t worry about obtaining health coverage or dealing with the high out-of-pocket costs of specific insurance plans through state healthcare exchanges. There are several options available to ensure you receive the healthcare you deserve. One such is the Medicaid program, which can provide you with medical care and other services if you have limited income and resources. Every state has its own set of program guidelines, and they determine what type of services will be provided. Still, there are different types of Medicaid programs, including:
- Medicaid Health Insurance – This health insurance program helps pay for a broad range of medical services such as doctor visits, hospital services, lab tests, x-rays, medical transportation, and more. To utilize these senior benefits, you must see a physician who participates in Medicaid.
- Home and Community-Based Services – Home and community-based services or HCBS are a unique Medicaid program that provides long-term support and services in your home and community. Which type of service and the amount available depends on your needs and what you state covers. The services may include personal care, housekeeping, chore services, adult day care, respite care, transportation, medical supplies, home-delivered meals, grocery shopping, and technology and housing modifications.
- Institutional Long-Term Care – This program was created to help provide access to nursing homes or similar institutional care if you or a patient has a medical condition that requires the skills of a licensed nurse daily.
How Do I Apply for Medicaid?
To get help from Medicaid, it’s generally expected that you have limited income and assets available. The requirements to apply depending on your state’s guidelines, such as meeting an age requirement, disability, or blindness requirement. We recommend checking with your local and state requirements, as you may qualify for additional options, such as Medicaid Spend-Down. Spend-down will allow you to use the money spent on medical expenses to “spend down” to the Medicaid limit to receive benefits.
Are There Other Medical Older Age Benefits?
Older adults can access additional medical senior citizen benefits, including Medical Savings Programs or MSP. MSP will help people with limited income and assets to help pay for some of their Medicare costs related to health care, except prescriptions. MSP will pay the late enrollment penalty if you own one, and this program works with your state’s Medicaid program. Applying for this assistance is as simple as checking your state’s requirements and guidelines. Here is a breakdown of the different MSPs available:
- Qualified Medicare Beneficiary Program – This program pays for Medicare premiums, deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance.
- Specified Low-Income Medicare Beneficiary and Qualified Individual Program – These help pay for your Medicare Part B premiums. Contact your local or state Medicare office for more information.
- Qualified Disabled and Working Individuals Program – While different from the rest, this program is for people under 65 years old, disabled, and no longer qualify for free Medicare Part A because they returned to work.
Do Seniors Get Prescription Assistance?
Several programs help ensure that every older adult can access their medicine with little to no cost. We’ll highlight some of the more prominent programs available. Still, we recommend that you or your caregiver review your local and state programs. There may be additional assistance available. Here is a list of the prescription assistance programs available:
- Low-Income Subsidy – If you can access Medicare Part D coverage and have limited income and savings, you may receive extra help from the Low-Income Subsidy program. It can help you pay for your Part D premiums, deductibles, and prescription copayments. Not everyone needs to apply for the program as they are automatically enrolled if they have Medicaid, SSI, or a Medicare Savings Program. You can join a Medicare drug plan anytime. Check your local and state requirements.
- State Pharmaceutical Assistance Programs – Certain states have a program to help people with limited incomes and savings pay for their prescriptions. Some of these programs help people in the Medicare Part D plan pay for certain costs or drugs that Part D doesn’t traditionally cover. Because each state runs its program, each program is different. To apply, you must live in an area that offers a State Pharmaceutical Assistance Program.
- Patient Assistance Programs – Many drug manufacturers have programs that help individuals with limited income. With these programs, drug manufacturers offer the drugs they make for free or at a discount. Most individuals with Medicare Part D qualify for one of these programs.
Does Senior Benefits Include Help with Food?
Several federally endorsed programs help ensure that everyone, including older adults, has access to affordable or accessible food options. We highly suggest reviewing your local and state-endorsed food assistance programs like medication or medical. Here is an overview of some additional senior citizen food benefits:
- Supplemental Food Assistance Program (SNAP) – SNAP helps you buy food to ensure you’re receiving a balanced diet. When in the SNAP program, you’ll get a special debit card, and your card will receive the SNAP benefit once a month. Once it’s recharged, you’ll be able to get food at multiple different grocery stores, including some senior centers and home-delivered meal programs. To see if you qualify for SNAP, review the official government web page, or call their hotline.
- Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) – TEFAP helps individuals get essential foods such as fruits, vegetables, cheese, pasta, soups, and beans. You may also be able to visit your local agency, such as a food pantry or soup kitchen, to receive the food or a free meal. Contact the National Hunger Hotline to learn more about how to qualify.
- Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP) – When you sign up for SFMNP, you’ll receive coupons to buy fresh fruits, vegetables, honey, and herbs. These coupons are good for farmers’ markets, roadside stands, and community programs that grow fruit and vegetables. Be sure to check and see if your state has one of these programs. You must be 60 years or older with a low income to apply.
- Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) – With this program, you’ll receive monthly food packages that you may pick up from participating local agencies. This program is only available in certain states.
Breaking Down Financial-Related Senior Benefits
Access to doctors, food, and medicine is essential, but senior citizens can access programs designed to help their dollars go further. Whether it helps with housing, access to Social Security, or tax benefits, several programs are standing by to help ensure ends are met. Here is an overview of some of the additional older-age benefits available:
- Social Security – The Social Security Administration is a government agency that provides financial support to seniors over 65. To apply, review the federal guidelines and be at least over 65.
- Reverse Mortgage Program – To qualify, you must be 62 years or older, own your home, and have substantial value in home equity. The benefit of this program is that seniors don’t have to repay any of the money they receive from the reverse mortgage or even make interest payments on it if they live in the home.
- Senior Discounts – Getting older may save you more money than you thought. You may receive discounts at restaurants, museums, grocery stores, bowling alleys, movie theaters, and more.
- Travel Deals – Travel can be expensive, but thankfully there are several discounts that seniors can take advantage of. Seniors over a certain age or an AARP member may be eligible to receive a price reduction from hotels and car rental agencies. Additional discounts include Amtrak fares and reduced National Park Service lifetime pass prices.
- Tax Deductions – Older adults can claim a higher standard tax deduction. Contact your local tax professional or review the federal guidelines to learn more about tax information.
Take Advantage of Your Senior Citizen Benefits
SmithLife Homecare wants every older adult to know about and receive every benefit possible. We put together this guide on senior citizen benefits to ensure you have access to an easy-to-read and understandable list. If you’re enrolled in our homecare program, your full-time nurse can help you navigate the websites. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions regarding homecare or the benefits we’ve mentioned. Our knowledgeable representatives would be happy to help you.