Do you depend on Social Security for your living expenses? Like countless other Americans, you may not have had access to pension plans or retirement planning and now depend on social security to get by month-to-month.

Not everyone saved into 401Ks throughout their working lives and not every senior owns their home. If this is your reality, you are not alone.

The average Social Security benefit for seniors 65 and older is $1,262 per month and nearly nine out of ten individuals age 65 and older receive Social Security benefits. Among the over-65 of those receiving Social Security, 21% are married couples and about 45% are single people relying on Social Security for 90% or more of their total income.

Making ends meet while living solely on Social Security can be difficult. Did you know that there are numerous resources provided to help the elderly with housing, healthcare, legal counsel, and food?

Let’s take a look at what your options and resources are if you are living on Social Security.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

You may be eligible for the federal Supplemental Security Income if you live solely on Social Security, have limited resources, are blind, or disabled.

“The monthly maximum Federal amounts for 2020 are $783 for an eligible individual, $1,175 for an eligible individual with an eligible spouse, and $392 for an essential person.” – SSA

Furthermore, some states offer an additional sum on top of the federal amount.

Healthcare

Healthcare becomes an important factor as we get older. It’s a fact of life. Living on Social Security may have you worried about having access to medical care and affordable medication as you get older.

Here are some ways that you can save on healthcare and prescription medications in the USA.

Medicare

Over 40 million elderly Americans rely on Medicare, the largest health insurance program in the country, to help with medical expenses. You may be eligible if you are 65 years and over and meet certain criteria.

There is, however, a deductible. Medicare covers 80% of medical expenses. You may need extra help to cover the 20% of costs.

You can apply online or in person at one of your local Social Security offices.

Medicaid

Some seniors over 65 have access to Medicaid which provides help covering the Medicare premiums and deductibles. Medicaid, however, doesn’t help with prescription medication and eyeglasses.

To see if you are eligible, go to your state’s specific Medicaid program.

All-inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE)

The program All-inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) helps qualifying seniors who don’t live in senior care facilities but need assistance.

The PACE program can help with:

  • Adult primary day care
  • Dentistry
  • Emergency services
  • Home care
  • Hospital care
  • Laboratory/X-ray services
  • Meals
  • Medical specialty services
  • Nutritional counseling
  • Physical therapy
  • Prescription drugs
  • Transportation

Make sure you verify if you can gain access to the PACE program in your community.

Medicare Savings Program

You may also be eligible for help paying your Medicare through your state. Verify if you are eligible for one of these programs:

  • Qualified Medicare Beneficiary (QMB) Program
  • Specified Low-Income Medicare Beneficiary (SLMB) Program
  • Qualifying Individual (QI) Program
  • Qualified Disabled and Working Individuals (QDWI) Program

Dental

Access to dental care as we get older may become complicated. Most medical programs don’t cover dental costs, and you are left paying out of pocket for dental procedures.

There are resources available for you should you need dental care. Dental professionals across the country have created programs to help seniors and disabled people with dental costs.

  • The Dental Lifeline Network is a network of dentists and dental labs who volunteer to aid seniors and disabled people access the dental care they need.
  • Dentistry from The Heart is another non-profit organization that provides free dental care to those in need.

State Programs

There may be state programs in your area that can help with healthcare-related issues and more. Check the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging to find out more about your local options.

Housing

Housing probably takes up a major chunk of your monthly income. Chances are, if you are living on Social Security, you don’t own your home and are a renter. Many seniors living on Social Security use up to 40% of their total monthly income to pay for housing.

Look into assisted living facilities in your community to weigh your options. It may cost less to live in an assisted living program than by yourself in an apartment. Check the National Center for Assisted Living to browse your possibilities.

You can also turn to public housing assistance. You may be eligible for public housing programs such as housing choice vouchers. Check with your local Public Housing Agency.

Food Assistance

The National Council on Aging offers a free service to help you find food assistance in your state.

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

Close to 48 million people in the US need assistance through food stamps. Seniors make up a small percentage of this number. You may be eligible for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Get more info and check if you can have access to SNAP.

Additional Programs

Other specific programs to help with food assistance for seniors are:

Heating and Energy Help

The cost of heating your home may become an issue if you are living on Social Security. The federally operated Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP) helps low-income families with their energy bills.

Check the LIEAP website for more information regarding energy bill costs and assistance.

Legal Help

Do you need legal help with a living will preparation or power-of-attorney documents? Attorneys and lawyers can be inaccessible for you while living on Social Security.

You may obtain legal counsel from non-profit legal services like the legalhotline.org.

Income Tax Preparation Assistance

Do you find filing your taxes complicated and confusing? Getting professional help can significantly diminish your burdens and even get you tax exemptions that you are not aware of like the tax credit for the elderly.

The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and the Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) programs are there to help seniors like you to file their taxes every year.

We know, this is a lot of information to take in. But we feel that if you are living on Social Security every penny counts, and you should be aware of all the programs that are available to you.

Are you living on Social Security and have other resources to share with the community? Which of these have helped you live a better life? Share your knowledge with us by commenting below.

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