Have you ever found yourself asking how you will be able to pay your rent, afford groceries, or get healthcare with the monthly budget you currently have? Has the stress of having to choose between paying your electricity bill or filling up your gas tank so you can get to work become a common occurrence? Are you living in an expensive city and struggling to find affordable housing? If so, then know you are not alone. Thankfully, there are a number of ways the government may be able to help alleviate some of the stress you're feeling.
People who are Short on Money
People who are short on money can get financial assistance from the government to help pay bills and keep food on the table. Some programs are means tested, meaning the amount you receive if you qualify will be dependent on your monthly income and other factors like number of people in a household, while other programs are not and provide benefits equally regardless a family's monthly income.
If you are finding yourself struggling to afford groceries then applying for Food Stamps may help you and your family put food on the table. In order to qualify for Food Stamps, people must meet certain income requirements based off the size of their family. As an example, a family of four with a net monthly income of $2,146 would be eligible to receive up to $646 per month in benefits. Women with infant and small children may also be eligible for additional food assistance to ensure they and their children receive proper nourishment.
Individuals and families currently lacking health insurance may be eligible for Medicaid or reduced health insurance premiums with Obamacare. People can see if they and their family are eligible for Medicaid or reduced health insurance premiums with Obamacare at any time, but be aware that you can only sign up for Obamacare during the open enrollment period unless you have a qualifying life event like losing your health insurance, having a baby, getting married, or moving. Lower-income families with children who aren't eligible for Medicaid may still be able to get health coverage for their children with the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
For people who are currently unemployed, you can apply for unemployment insurance while you are looking for new employment. Emergency measures to help people cope with the sudden loss of employment due to our current economic crisis add an additional $600/week of unemployment insurance for up to four months, ending July 31, 2020 unless the deadline is extended. As an example, if an individual is supposed to receive the national average of $340 per week in unemployment benefits they will instead receive up to $940 per week until July 31, 2020. Additionally, furloughed workers and "gig economy" workers are eligible for unemployment insurance and the maximum allowable time someone can claim unemployment insurance has been extended by an additional thirteen weeks.
Those who are seeking housing and rental assistance have a variety of ways to get help. Section 8 and Public Housing are the two most commonly known means of housing assistance, but they are certainly not the only way people can get housing and rental assistance. People can also apply for homeownership vouchers, the Low Income Housing Tax Credit, federally subsidized first-time home buyer loans, the rental assistance program, and purchase a subsidized home directly from the federal government. Current homeowners may also have the ability to receive short-term help from the federal government or by applying to refinance their home through a private banking institution. In addition, people with disabilities may qualify for financial and other support to help pay for housing costs or to modify their existing home to make them safer and more accessible.
If you are currently have low or very low income and have a child under 19 years old then you may qualify for direct cash payments from the government and home energy bill assistance. Low-income seniors, permanently blind, and disabled people who have little or no income may qualify for Social Security Income (SSI) direct cash payments. Additionally, permanently disabled individuals may qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) that would provide a monthly payment throughout the duration of their disability.
money for seniors
Senior citizens looking for additional help from the government may be able to get additional assistance in a variety of ways. As it is for non-seniors, some programs are means tested while others are available for all seniors over a certain age.
There are special rules for elderly individuals and couples to qualify for Food Stamp benefits, with the most important rule differences being that seniors are not required to work in order to receive benefits and they are able to have higher income limits compared to non-seniors. Seniors would apply for Food Stamps the same way non-seniors apply.
Seniors 65 and over automatically qualify for Medicare, but Medicare does not cover 100% of all healthcare costs. If you can not afford additional health insurance coverage, you may qualify for Medicaid or a Medicare Savings Program. In addition, you may qualify for Extra Help (Medicare Part D), which helps seniors with moderate to limited income pay for their prescription drug costs.
There are apartment and housing facilities for seniors who qualify for Section 8 subsidized housing that are for residents aged 62 and older in many communities throughout the country. In addition, the Low Income Housing Tax Credit is another possible option for low-income independent seniors who are willing and able to move into approved housing units that offer the tax credit.
Choosing when you will begin to receive your Social Security benefits will determine how much you receive each month for the entirety of the time you are enrolled in the program. The earlier you withdraw the less your monthly benefits will be compared to if you wait until reaching the full retirement age or later to begin receiving your benefits.
Seniors with personal retirement plans can also consider withdrawing from their IRA's or 401k's early, but note that withdrawing before the age 59 1/2 will result in the IRS counting that early withdraw money as additional taxable income in addition to an additional 10% penalty. However, there are hardship exemptions if the early withdraw is taken out to pay for a qualified reason.
If you own your home or are close to paying it off, a reverse mortgage may be another way to supplement your income. The Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) is the only federally insured reverse mortgage. There are private reverse mortgage options, but any reverse mortgage that is obtained outside of the HECM regulations will not be federally insured.