If you are preparing to retire or already have and are living primarily on social security benefits, things might be a bit tight. There is help, as there are numerous resources to help seniors living in this situation. These resources are available through state, federal, and local program providers. If you are looking for a little extra assistance these are some places to turn.
With the average senior receiving about $750 and about $1,100 for a couple per month (2014), it can be tough to live on social security benefits alone. To help offset this, there are housing benefits you can utilize to help you pay for an apartment or mortgage. Affordable senior housing is available through the US Department of Housing & Urban Development or HUD.
If you are having a hard time paying for housing, you may also need help with other expenses. There are numerous options available to seniors who need financial help with their healthcare needs. Medicare and Medicaid are two programs available for seniors who are looking for financial assistance for medical care.
Medicare only pays about 80% of total healthcare costs annually. Medicare assistance programs can help pay the remaining 20%. You can get help from your state paying your Medicare premiums. In some cases, Medicare Savings Programs may also pay Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance) and Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) deductibles, coinsurance, and copayments if you meet certain conditions. There are 4 basic programs.
Qualified Medicare Beneficiary Help (QMB)
The Qualified Medicare Beneficiary (QMB) Program is one of the four Medicare Savings Programs that allows you to get help from your state to pay your Medicare premiums. This Program helps pay for Part A premiums, Part B premiums, and deductibles, coinsurance, and copayments.
Specified Low-Income Medicare Beneficiary Program
The Specified Low-Income Medicare Beneficiary (SLMB) Program is one of the four Medicare Savings Programs that allows you to get help from your state to pay your Medicare premiums. This Program helps pay for Part B premiums only.
Qualified Individual Assistance
The Qualifying Individual (QI) Program is one of the four Medicare Savings Programs that allows you to get help from your state to pay your Medicare premiums. This Program helps pay for Part B premiums only.
Qualified Disabled and Working Program
The Qualified Disabled and Working Individuals (QDWI) Program is one of the four Medicare Savings Programs that allows you to get help from your state to pay your Medicare premiums. This Program helps pay for Part A premiums only.
If you meet the criteria laid out in these programs, you can receive assistance paying the additional 20% for medical care. And, these programs can also cover Part A and Part B expenses, if you go over your total Medicare limit annually.
Medicaid is a second option. If you are 65 or older and have limited resources, you can qualify for this assistance. It covers inpatient treatment, doctor visits, medication, and more. You will have to go to your local Medicaid office to apply.
There are other resources available to you as well. For example, the PACE program (program of all-inclusive care for the elderly). Prescription drug co-payment programs are also available to seniors through social security benefits. PACE can help with dental care, home care, emergency services, nutritional counseling, nursing homes, and other areas in which seniors need help paying for medical/professional care needs.
Doing a little research will go a long way in finding the help you need. No matter how much help you require, there are several great opportunities for you to consider.
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