Federal Programs for Senior Assistance
Seniors in need of assistance can get help from a wide variety of federal programs. These are some of the resources available:
Home Equity Conversion Mortgages: Administered by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, these are the only reverse mortgages insured by the federal government. HECMs allow you to cash in on your home’s equity or use it to purchase a new primary residence. The program is open to homeowners ages 62 and older who have paid off a considerable amount of their mortgage or own their home outright.
Medicaid: A government health insurance program which is open to eligible seniors and low-income Americans. Medicaid is administered by the states, with funding covered by both the states and the federal government. States can opt to choose their own coverage, but areas which must be covered include physician, hospital, and home health services.
Medicare: This federal health insurance program is open to Americans ages 65 and older. Several plans are available, covering areas such as inpatient hospital care, physicians’ visits, medical supplies, and prescription drugs.
Section 8 Housing: This federal program helps eligible low-income recipients with rental housing. Seniors who receive Section 8 housing vouchers will only pay 30 percent of their monthly income toward rent, with the balance covered by the program. Vouchers can only be applied to housing where the landlord participates in Section 8.
Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program: Administered by the states, this USDA program provides low-income seniors with coupons that can be exchanged for fresh local fruits and vegetables. These coupons can be redeemed at roadside farm stands, farmers’ markets, and community agricultural programs.
Social Security: You’ve paid into this program your whole life; time to let it help you! Social Security is available to seniors ages 62 and older, with monthly payments made to recipients. This supplemental income can help minimize the amount of money you need to draw from retirement savings accounts.
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program: Also known as food stamps, SNAP helps people of all ages with regular food purchases. Participants ages 60 and up are allowed to have $3,250 in assets, and home equity and retirement accounts are excluded from this calculation.
Tax Counseling for the Elderly: The Internal Revenue Service provides this assistance to those ages 60 and older. The program is designed to aid with issues specifically related to pensions and retirement funds.