It’s common for everyone to worry about their upcoming bills. But for seniors, things can feel even more constricted when living off of retirement funds. With everyday expenses and astronomical healthcare costs, it’s too easy to fall into debt nowadays.
But what many seniors are unaware of is the benefits that are available to them. Here are 9 benefits for seniors to take advantage of to keep bank accounts from going negative.
1. Social Security Payments to Dependents
How it works: After the passing of a family member, loved ones are not aware that they are entitled to certain funds from the Social Security Administration. This is known as “survivor benefits,” as they are made to the spouse if they are over 60, over the age of 50 if disabled, or if they are caring for minors under 16. Funds will also be given to children and stepchildren under 18. Some cases even allow stepchildren, grandchildren, or step grandchildren to receive the money. If a child is also disabled, they can receive social security benefits from that of a parent for as long as necessary.
What you get: Monthly payments of the social security money according to the deceased’s work history.
Beneficiaries: Spouses, children, and other dependent’s of the social security recipient.
Keep in mind: Even if you are divorced from the deceased social security recipient, you are not disqualified from receiving payments. As long as you were married for 10+ years and the benefits you received were less than yours, you are still eligible. If your ex-spouse still had not filed for benefits, then you would have to have to been divorced for at least 2 years.
2. Free Rides
How it works: For those who cannot drive, there is public transportation and transportation provided by local communities called paratransit. While the services will vary in each location, the services will usually include vans that are funded by government agencies that can transport the elderly and disabled individuals. Appointments can be made for pickup and drop off.
What you get: Free transportation to and from your home to activities and appointments.
Beneficiaries: Seniors and disabled individuals.
What to Keep in Mind: It’s best to establish a weekly schedule with the service so you don’t have to call every time you want to go somewhere.
3. Home or Car Modifications for Veterans
How it works: Veterans who are considered to have a disability caused by their service are eligible for receiving extensive services from the Veteran’s Administration. This doesn’t mean you have to become disabled during the time of your service. Even for veterans that suffered mental, emotional, or physical conditions that had developed years before the military but had made them disabled will qualify for the benefits.
What you get: A loan to buy a home or car or to modify one of each.
Beneficiaries: Veterans with disabilities.
What to keep in mind: Family members that live with you are also eligible to receive these benefits, even if the title to the home or car is not in your name.
4. Low-Interest Loans for Small Businesses Affected by Disasters
How it works: If you own a small business that was impacted by a natural disaster like a fire or flood, the Small Business Administration (SBA) offers low-interest, long-term loans to help you repair, restock inventory, rebuild or do anything you need to get your business restored. The loans can be used to repair the building itself or to business assets, replace furnishings, and inventory.
What you get: Up to $2 million in low-interest, long-term loans.
Beneficiaries: Any nonprofit or business damaged during a disaster.
What to keep in mind: You can get a larger loan to pay for improvements that will keep your property protected from future damage.
5. Shoes for Diabetics
How it works: If you are diabetic, did you know that Medicare Part B will pay for the majority of therapeutic shoes? There aren’t many requirements: You must receive treatment from a doctor for diabetes management and also be suffering foot issues, including ulcers, calluses leading to ulcers, nerve damage, deformities, or poor circulation.
In many cases, Medicare will cover 80% of the cost of one pair of custom-made shoes and up to 3 pairs of inserts. As soon as you get the prescription for the shoes from a podiatrist, the shoes will be fitted and provided by a podiatrist who is involved in Medicare.
What you get: Custom-made shoes and inserts.
Beneficiaries: Diabetics who are eligible for Medicare Part B.
What to keep in mind: In order to get this coverage, you have to have met your Medicare yearly deductible, so you should wait a few months into the year before pursuing the benefit.
6. Therapy for Alzheimer’s Patients
How it works: For those who suffer from Alzheimer’s or other form of dementia, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and memory care are important for coping with daily tasks of living. The requirements include a treatment prescription and using a Medicare-certified therapist.
Medicare doesn’t often cover psychological services by nonphysicians, but there’s an exception for Alzheimer’s patients.
What you get: Specialized services that include speech, occupational, and physical therapy.
Who’s eligible: Alzheimer’s and dementia patients that are covered by Medicare Part B.
What to keep in mind: If you have Medicare Part C coverage, you may also be covered for additional services.
7. Help with Household Chores
If you’re struggling to clean your home, it may be possible to get help for getting those chores done. According to the Older Americans Act, many caregiving agencies will offer help with household chores as part of their home care services.
These chores can include cleaning, laundry, cooking, trips to the grocery store, and more. Not all services will be free, but agencies usually do offer discounts.
What you get: Low-cost or free home care and moving help
Beneficiaries: Those over 60 or disabled
8. Burial Benefits for Veterans
How it works: If you are a veteran, there are 131 national cemeteries in which you, your spouse, or kids are able to be buried in. After choosing a particular cemetery, it will depend on the available grave sites. There’s no cost for the space or the headstone, but this won’t include the funeral or cremation which needs to be made privately.
For those who choose to be buried in a private cemetery, the government will provide a headstone or marker and burial flag. If the death was service-related, the VA pays up to $2,000 for burial expenses, in addition to covering the costs of transportation to a VA national cemetery. If the death was non-service related but they died while receiving care at a VA hospital or under contract with the VA, they will pay up to $700 for burial and funeral expenses in addition to $700 for the burial space.
What you get: A grave site, headstone, and burial allowance for some veterans.
Beneficiaries: Veterans approval for eligibility with the Veteran’s Administration.
9. Free Credit Check
How it works: Many credit card repair companies will offer services at a high cost, but you can monitor your own credit and fix your own problems without spending a dime. One of the best ways that the government helps us to protect ourselves from fraud is by offering a yearly credit check. In fact, credit reporting agencies like TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax are actually required by law to send you one free annual credit report.
It has also been statistically proven that seniors are the biggest targets for fraud and identity theft. Knowing this, you can request annual reports from all 3 credit unions and compare each one.
What you get: 3 credit reports per year at no cost.
Who knew that there could be so many government benefits for seniors? And these are only from the government. Many non-profit organizations and third-parties are also giving away freebies, if not discounts. All that’s needed is a bit of research and you may be surprised at what you find.
Need extra help? Our caregivers are here to help you accomplish your daily tasks. Whether it’s taking out the garbage, help with grocery shopping, or just needing the extra company, the home care services at Assisting Hands can help you get these daily tasks done.