10 Financial Resources for Seniors
Life after retirement is great. You have so much more time at your disposal than you ever did during all your working years. All that stuff you wanted to do but never had the energy for after a long day of work is finally within reach.
The obvious downside is, of course, that you won’t have that paycheck coming in each month. For most people, the tradeoff of having more free time means having less money to spend month to month. Unless you’re lucky, an especially good planner, or someone who held out on retiring for longer than usual, your retirement savings and social security are likely to add up to less each month than what you were used to getting during your working years.
For some seniors, that means you need to develop more frugal habits. For others though, the difference could be stark enough that you need to turn to outside help.
Luckily, a number of organizations and government agencies provide financial resources for seniors in need. Here are a few of your options.
A lot of people qualify for government benefits they never take advantage of because they just don’t know they’re there to begin with. USA.gov makes it easy to search and browse the types of assistance available from the government. The website includes categories like food assistance, affordable housing, social security, help with bills, and grants and loans.
If you’re having a hard time making ends meet, you may find you qualify for some government assistance that makes getting through each month a little easier.
The National Council on Aging’s Benefits Check Up site provides a similar service, but makes the search process a little more focused on your particular situation. Instead of browsing what’s out there, you start by providing a few details about yourself and your specific needs, then the website will help you identify what resources are available in your area that can help you meet those needs.
The Benefits Check Up website is designed specifically with seniors in mind, so it’s pretty intuitive and makes the process of finding the benefits you qualify for as easy as possible. To date, it has helped over 5 million people get over $16 billion in aid.
On average, women outlive men by five to ten years. Mostly, a longer life can be seen as a good thing. But if a woman retires at roughly the same time as a man, after having met the same savings goal, then her calculations won’t add up right. She’ll end up with less money per year during retirement than her male counterparts.
WISER, the Women’s Institute for a Secure Retirement, recognizes the unique financial challenges that face women and thus seeks to help out women specifically. They provide a number of educational resources and do advocacy work to help bring attention to the economic challenges faced by senior women.
The National Council on Aging provides a number of programs for seniors, including several focused on helping seniors achieve financial health during retirement. Their programs cover a few key subjects that can help seniors get through their retirement years with fewer financial concerns:
- Understanding the benefits available to you
- Understanding how to you use your home equity to your advantage
- Tips for money smarter money management
- Resources for finding work as a senior
Each of these programs can help equip seniors with the knowledge they need to get past financial rough spots and manage alright.
Seniors are far too often the victims of scammers. That makes it especially challenging for them to identify the professionals they can trust to provide genuinely good advice. The Area Agency of Aging has put together a directory of trustworthy resources seniors can count on.
You can search by your city or zip code to find businesses or counselors that can provide help with a wide range of specialties including financial assistance, legal assistance, home repair and modification, and health insurance. If you find yourself confused or overwhelmed trying to understand the resources at your disposal on your own, identifying a professional you can trust through their directory can help.
Retirement is great, but many seniors reach a point where getting by on their savings is no longer feasible and it’s worth getting back to work to get a paycheck again.
The United States Department of Labor offers a Senior Community Service Employment Program that helps seniors find part-time jobs so they can start earning a paycheck again.
No senior should have to go hungry. Meals on Wheels serves thousands of communities throughout the United States, ensuring that seniors have access to regular meals and – just as importantly for many – social interactions with the volunteers that bring the food.
Amongst the unfortunate symptoms of aging is that, as health needs increase, health costs go up as well. Medicare can help with some of those costs, but many seniors still find they need some extra help covering the cost of their prescriptions. Luckily, Medicare’s Extra Help program exists precisely for that purpose. For seniors that qualify, Extra Help can cover up to $4,000 extra each year in prescriptions.
PACE (Program of All Inclusive Care for the Elderly) is another Medicare program, but this time devoted to helping seniors get the care and services they need to age in place rather than moving into a senior care facility. PACE will help cover the costs of bringing care to you so you can live at home for longer.
Government programs get pretty complicated and can be hard for anyone to navigate. SHIP (State Health Insurance Assistance Programs) will help seniors better understand their Medicare benefits and ensure they’re getting all the coverage they need and qualify for. You can receive counseling and assistance from a SHIP specialist at no cost.
Life always manages to seem expensive, but once you retire all those unplanned for expenses become ever more serious and hard to manage. Don’t feel like you have to do it on your own. These resources are available for a reason – people care. Don’t hesitate to reach out and see what help is available for you or a loved one.