Making sure that your elderly loved one has everything they need is important. However, most families don’t have the financial freedom to pick and choose whatever services they want. To ensure that every dollar is being stretched to the fullest, many families reach out to social services at the state or federal levels. If some services are provided for free or a discounted price, it can relieve some of the financial burden that today’s families face.
Starting the Search Online
The first step in discovering which social services are available for seniors is by going online. Here are the two sites worth checking out:
- Benefits.gov. This website has a comprehensive list of social services that are offered by the government. All you need to do is go online and answer the questions as best as you can. When your answers are submitted, the database will return the programs, services and government supplements that match your needs.
- Benefitscheckup.org. This nonprofit website is run by the National Council on Aging. The questions are similar to the ones asked on Benefits.gov but can be more specific at times.
The above websites won’t provide you with everything you need, but it is a great starting point. You can determine what programs are available in your state for people in your age group. Individuals that fall into certain categories in terms of health, income level, assets, education level and military service may be eligible for additional benefits.
Social Services Available to All Seniors
Since there are many programs available at the state level, it can be easier to know what you will qualify for. Let’s look at the social services that are available for most American seniors.
- Social security. Social security services are given to all tax-paying Americans. Not everyone gets the same amount of money, however. The money you get depends on the money you made while working. For example, a low-paying job will result in lower social security payments. If this is not enough to live off of, you may want to apply for the welfare-based Medicaid program called Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
- Disability benefits from the VA. If you are a military veteran that suffered a service-related disability that still requires care or has worsened, you may be eligible for additional disability benefits. The VA allows you to put in a request for medical benefits, prescription drugs and hospitalization.
- Medicare. Medicare is a federal health insurance plan for people who are 65 years old and older. Part A of Medicare is intended to cover hospital-related needs, while Part B covers medical insurance. Part D covers prescription drugs. How much you pay into Medicare is dependent on your income.
- Area Agency on Aging. There are Area Agency on Aging facilities in every city as mandated by the federal government. The purpose of these facilities is to provide seniors with the social services and financial resources available in the area. Examples include respite services, food delivery services and more.
Social services are available for all seniors. Knowing where to find them and how to take advantage of them can improve your quality of life.