How Can Senior Citizens Get Free Money?

They say nothing is free, but there are tons of resources designed to help seniors. There are private organizations and government programs available.

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They say nothing is free, but there are tons of resources designed to help seniors. There are private organizations and government programs available.

It is good to know what programs and grants are available to you. However, you also need to know how to find out more information or apply in order to take advantage.

The Extra Help program helps people pay for Medicare and other healthcare costs. You can also take advantage of the IRS Elderly tax credit. The Very Low Income Housing Repair Program gives money for updating a home for accessibility and the Foster Grandparent program that provides cash to volunteers.

The information in this article comes from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Housing and Urban Development , and other government websites. Check out this spreadsheet for your state’s information so you can check to see if you have any additional program available locally.

Table of Contents

Extra Help Program

The Extra Help program provides financial assistance for Medicare and other healthcare costs like deductibles, prescription medication copayments, and premiums. This program has a concentration on Medicare Part D and is administered by the Social Security Administration and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.  

On average, the Extra Help program provides up to $4000 annually for medical costs. The savings can be significant if you receive multiple prescriptions every month. This program is available in every state and D.C.

There are a few different conditions that you will have to meet in order to qualify for the Extra Help program the most obvious being income. Some moderate income seniors may even be eligible to receive assistance if they already receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Programs of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE), or Medicaid. However, you may also qualify even if you are not currently receiving benefits from these federal programs.

A married couple has to have total income equalling less than $30,000 not including assets like home or primary vehicles. However, it may include stocks and other liquid assets. The income is dependent on a scale based on the number of people in the household and whether you are employed.

If you believe that you are qualified, you can begin the application process along with other healthcare savings programs simultaneously. A lot of states have services that can help you pay for Medicare and related costs.

The process involves the Social Security Administration sending your information to your state. Then, you will be contacted so that you can apply to other insurance plans or Medicare Savings Programs. Most state Medicare Savings Programs offer financial assistance to low income individuals who have limited or fixed incomes or limited resources. Your state may also assist in the payment of other health care costs like medical bills or other expenses related to Medicare. These programs often assist in the payment of other programs like Medicare Part B and possibly even Part A.

If you are interested in this program, you should contact your local Social Security office for more information.

Elderly Tax Credit

Since this program is a tax credit, it is managed by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Tax credits reduce your tax bill and therefore provide you with more money in your pocket. The tax credit for the elderly or disabled ranged from $3750 to $7500 depending on your income level and your filing status.

There are some strict guidelines in order to be eligible for this tax credit. The age requirements are simple, you just have to be 65 or older by the end of the tax year. If you were born on January first, then you qualify as if you turned 65 on December 31.

If you are below the age of 65, you may still be eligible if you are disbled.You will have to be disabled to the point where you can not perform gainful activity which means any amount of work that reaches the federal minimum wage.

The income limits change each year. However, for the 2020 tax year are $17500 for single filers, $20000 for filing jointly where only one of the married people qualify, and $25000 for married couples where both people qualify. To find out more, go to the IRS website. 

The Very Low Income Housing Repair Program

This program is administered by the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (USDA). This program is a grant that gives money to low income seniors so that they can improve or repair their home in order to eliminate safety or health hazards.

This grant can also be used to make a home more accessible to seniors who have issues with mobility. This could be something like handrails in the bathroom or a wheelchair ramp. The program will provide up to $7500 for seniors who qualify.

In order to qualify for the very low income housing repair program, you have to be at least 62 years old. In addition, you have to have a low income that is not sufficient to pay the costs of repairing the home. Finally, it is only applicable if you reside in rural areas with low populations of 10,000 people or less.

The program also has income limits based on the area where the home is located. Usually, the income limit will be defined as less than 50 percent of the average income in the area. Furthermore, there is a limit on non-retirement assets which means those assets that can become cash in 90 days or less. The income limit is $20,000 for households that include an elderly person.

The grant of $7500 is the maximum amount available for your lifetime. Also, if the home is then sold within three years of receiving the grant money, the USDA is allowed to collect repayment from the sale of the home.

This program also has loans that have to be repaired, but have a low, fixed 1 percent interest rate. The maximum amount for loan is $20000. The repayment period can extend as high as 20 years. Therefore, combining the grant with the loan, you can obtain $27500 to repair your home to make it more accessible or to fix anything that would be deemed a health or safety hazard.

To apply for this program, check out your local USDA branch.

Foster Grandparent Program

The Foster Grandparent program is funded by the federal government and is available nationwide for senior citizens who qualify as limited income. Foster Grandparents who are at least 55 years old can provide their experience and talents in order to assist with the lives of children within their communities.

Foster Grandparents can help children learn and develop skills and confidence that they need to be successful in their lives. A Foster Grandparent can volunteer 4 hours a day for 5 days a week. However, some Foster Grandparents opt to serve more. You have the ability to volunteer as many as 40 hours a week divided into five, 8-hour days.

Foster Grandparents can receive a tax free federal stipend that totals $2.65 per hour. Not only that, but this stipend will not affect income limits for any other assistance or programs. Foster Grandparents also receive a vacation and sick day every month after they enter the program.

Foster Grandparents help children learn to read or assist with children that have been neglected or abused. They also provide advice to teenagers who are struggling. Typically, members of this program will spend somewhere between 15 and 40 hours a week helping out kids. Foster Grandparents are usually assigned to daycares, schools, hospitals, or community centers where they can assist the employees and children with duties related to the development and education of the kids in their community.

A free meal is provided at the volunteer site and you can get a free physical exam once every year. The program can also provide you with necessary transportation to and from the volunteer location. You will also get to interact with peers that are around your age and a lot of programs also take road trips and do other activities together.

The specific features and requirements for this program often depend on the state. Contact your state to learn more and whether you qualify. You can find the website and address to learn more information from your state on this spreadsheet. You can also learn more about this program at this website.

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