4 Government Programs Available to Senior Citizens

by Amos Z

After decades of work, retiring should feel like one long vacation, but unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to be the case for most retirement-age Americans.

As it turns out, the majority of them are still in need of some form of financial assistance in order to live a comfortable life, and that’s where the federal government steps in.

With their many assistance programs, they offer help to financially burdened senior citizens, whether it’s through cash assistance or access to services that the individual or couple wouldn’t normally be able to afford.

Keep reading to learn more about your eligibility for these programs and what you can do to make the most out of them.

While some of these may be reserved for low-income seniors and those with disabilities, you may still be able to qualify based on your age alone, and we’re going to help you.

Social security benefits

Through all their years of hard work, seniors can gain access to social security benefits by being diligent in their social security tax payments.

This tax was created as a means of supporting the elderly, disabled, and low-income Americans, and it’s been particularly helpful in making retirement easier for senior citizens.

Generally, a person who reaches 62 years of age qualifies for Social Security payments, whereas those who meet additional criteria can qualify for Social Security Income, otherwise known as SSI.

The application process can be completed online, which also allows you to continuously check the progress of your application and be notified right away when you’re approved for benefits.

That being said, you can still apply in person at the local SSA office or send in your application by mail, which may take a bit longer considering you have to schedule an appointment for in-person meetings.

VA benefits

It goes without saying that the majority of veterans are at least 65 years or older, and eligible veterans may be entitled to a series of programs that offer monthly cash benefits.

In general, the only requirement for these programs is having served in the military with the exception of those who were discharged dishonorably.

You will, however, have to meet certain criteria regarding income level and age, as veterans’ pensions are only awarded to those whose income level is at or below the current VA payment rates and Americans who are either 65 or older or are currently receiving SSI/SSDI benefits due to a disability.

Of course, some programs may offer even more, although you will have to meet additional criteria to qualify, so make sure you’re fully informed about what each of these programs has to offer, which you can do at the Department of Veterans Affairs official website or by visiting the local office.

Senior community service employment

While the majority of seniors would like to kick back and relax in their retirement years, some may still be capable of work.

Naturally, no one’s expecting you to put in full-time hours as an elderly person, and this program only applies to healthy Americans aged 55 and above.

With SCSEP, Americans that are of eligible age can earn up to 20 hours a week by working at local schools, hospitals, and senior centers.

In order to keep things running smoothly, the program is only available to individuals and families whose net income isn’t higher than 125% of the federal poverty guidelines, which is around $17k a year for this cycle.

The government also covers the costs of training for these jobs as well as any other provisions that those participating in the program may be entitled to

Retired and Senior volunteering programs

Through the RSVP program, willing seniors can do their part in helping others in the community, and this program is also available to any elderly Americans aged 55 and above.

Even though it may seem negligible, the help an older person can provide is nothing to sneeze at, and the decades of experience they may have can make them into incredible caretakers, tutors, and even drivers.

It’s not uncommon for local nonprofit agencies to need help with the paperwork or some other roles that are vacant, and volunteering seniors can easily fill the spot until a more qualified person is found for the job.

You can learn more about this program as well as what you can do to contribute to your community on RSVP’s official website.

Good deeds go a long way, and helping others doesn’t stop even when you may be in need of some help yourself.

Bottom line

Resources for senior citizens in the US are plentiful, and you’d be hard-pressed to find one that wasn’t designed with the utmost care and respect for the men and women that built this country.

Their contributions will never be forgotten, and the federal government has made sure that all their needs are taken care of, no matter the costs.

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