3 Types of Grants Available to Seniors
Aging is expensive. Many seniors experience costly healthcare issues, have to scrounge up the money to make home modifications for aging in place, or find themselves facing the significant costs of staying in a senior care community. Even after a life of working hard, a lot of seniors find it hard to keep up with the costs of aging and need some extra help.
One source you may be able to turn to in certain contexts is grants. While most of the grants foundation and government entities offer are meant for organizations and programs rather than individual people, for a few particular needs you can find grants that will help out individuals.
Here are three types of grants likely to be useful for seniors:
For seniors who aren’t ready to quit but could use some help either getting a business going or keeping it going, business grants are available.
The AARP offers a grant called the Purpose Prize for people over 50 that are using their life experience to work on projects that will bring about positive change. The government provides a number of grants to help people wanting to start or run a small business, including some that emphasize veterans, women, and minorities.
If you struggle with healthcare costs beyond what Medicare covers, you may be able to find a grant that will help you cover medical bills.
Organizations like the Healthwell Foundation and PAN Foundation provide grants for the medical costs of certain diseases. If you have one of the illnesses included on their list, they could be a resource to bring your overall costs down.
Home Improvement Grants
If you’re hoping to stay in your home, but know it needs some improvements for that to be practical, you may be able to qualify for a grant to help you cover the costs. Many states offer grants to low-income people who need help affording needed repairs and weatherization updates that will bring your costs for cooling and heating down. Grants for projects that make staying in your home safer for longer are sometimes called “nursing home diversion” programs since they help people who would otherwise need to move into a nursing home facility stay at home.
Veterans can also tap into grants devoted to home modifications. The Home Improvement and Structural Alteration (HISA) Grant, Specially Adapted Housing Grant (SAH) and Special Housing Adaptation Grant (SHA) are all worth looking into if you’re a veteran in need of home modifications due to a disability.
For people over 62 who live in rural areas, you may qualify for a single-family housing repair grant from the USDA that you can use for repairs and to remove any safety hazards from your home.
Tips for Applying for Grants
Getting a grant can be competitive as there’s usually a limited amount of money to go around. If you find a grant that matches your situation well enough though that you want to give it a try, there are a few ways you can increase your odds:
- Ask any questions you have. If you’re confused about anything in the instructions, don’t be afraid to call up the foundation or government office to ask questions. Better to make sure you’re doing it right before you submit than be rejected due to a misunderstanding.
- Double-check your application. Take time to read the application to check for errors before you send it in and to make sure you’ve included everything they ask for. Don’t let any thoughtless errors slip through.
- Plan out your submission. Take some time to work on what you’re going to say and make your case. If you just sit down, write and send, your application won’t be as good as if you take time to think about the instructions, plan out your response, and review it to look for ways to make it better.
- Pay careful attention to the instructions. Make sure you provide all the information requested in the grant and don’t send more than the instructions ask for. If there are a lot of applicants, tossing out the people who didn’t follow instructions well can make it easier for the committee to narrow down their choices.
Grants are only one type of financial assistance seniors can turn to, even if nothing of this list looks likely to be of use to you, you probably have other options.
If your review of available grants for seniors didn’t turn up much, give a look to the Benefits Checker to see about other resources you may qualify for or consider other ways you can make money in retirement to help cover your needs.