Seniors Live Well: How To Cash In On Free Services
Seniors Live Well On Free Services And Social Security Benefits
Seniors live well on free meals, transportation, free home repairs, and that’s just for starters—the best news is anyone over 60 can get these freebies.
In 1965, the federal government passed the Older Americans Act (OAA), which created a whole network of programs aimed at improving the quality of life for older adults.
Their goal is to help people stay independent and live in their own homes longer.
Here are just a few of the many services for seniors offered under the OAA.
- Transportation programs offer rides for essential trips like doctor appointments, business errands, shopping, and senior activities. Door-to-door service is even available in some areas.
- Volunteers provide escort service if you have trouble getting around. They might pick you up at your home, take you to appointments, and help you run errands.
- If you want to recuperate at home instead of in a hospital or nursing home, OAA’s home health care services provide in-home care under a doctor’s supervision. This is not for people who need round-the-clock medical care.
- Homemaker services lend a hand with basic housekeeping duties for people who can’t physically manage these chores, and have no one to help. A volunteer might do laundry, go grocery shopping, and even prepare meals.
- Chore services perform heavier duties including yard work, minor home repairs, and house cleaning.
- Home meal delivery brings hot, balanced meals five days a week to people who cannot prepare their own food and, don’t have anyone to help you.
- Community home repair and renovation programs help seniors fix minor problems around the house before the damage becomes serious. Volunteers may come over and patch holes in the roof, insulate walls, or repair leaky plumbing.
The OAA also sponsors programs like these around the country; all are available to seniors over 60.
- Legal assistance
- Senior centers
- Adult day care
- Housing assistance
- State energy assistance
- Exercise programs
- Nutrition education
- Visitors and telephone reassurance
- Crime prevention and victim assistance
Your local agencies on aging coordinate many of these services, and can put you in touch with those in your community.
Age is the only criteria, not income.
Still, some agencies will assess your needs first so they can provide services to the people who need them most.
Others work on a first come, first served basis.
And, some programs provide services up to a set dollar limit.
How Can Seniors Live Well On A Fixed Income
Many seniors and people with disabilities have to get by just on Social Security.
But, even if your budget is more than “bare bones,” Rural Money has tips that could help you live in style.
- Cut housing costs by either moving to a less expensive home or to a low-tax area.
- Get experts at the power company to help you “weatherize” your home.
- Share your home or apartment with a housemate or two if you’re single. You will save when you split rent, utilities, and other costs each month.
- Earn extra money with a part-time position, seasonal job, or temporary work. Just be sure your pay isn’t high enough to cut your Social Security benefits.
- Fun hobbies like woodworking, crafts, or painting can add to your funds. Start a cottage industry to hire out or sell your creations at arts and crafts show to boost your budget.
- Take advantage of senior services.
- Find out whether your community has a senior citizen newspaper. It might help you uncover valuable discounts, opportunities, and benefits you never thought of.
How Seniors Live Well By Maximizing Social Security Benefits
You have earned your Social Security, but don’t expect the government to tell you how to get all you’re entitled to.
It’s up to you to be the watchdog.
Here is how the process works.
Each year, prior to retirement, your employer tells the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and the Social Security Administration (SSA) how much money you made.
The SSA records these numbers and uses them to estimate your Social Security benefits.
However, what if your employer gets your name or Social Security number wrong, or doesn’t report all of your earnings?
If you don’t catch the mistakes, then there is a chance no one will.
The government sends out regular statements showing the earnings your employers reported alongside your estimated Social Security benefits.
This earnings record is your best tool for finding errors.
Here is the best way to get the Social Security you are due.
Double Check Your Statement
Compare the amount the earnings record states you made to your W2 earnings statements.
Make sure the numbers match up, especially if you worked more than one job in a given year.
The SSA admits mistakes are more likely if you had more than one job or changed jobs often.
Check this record every two years.
Report Any Errors To The SSA
Take copies of your W2 forms for the year in question.
If you are self-employed, take copies of your federal tax return, plus a certified copy of your cancelled check showing the amount of tax you paid.
Order A Statement
If you haven’t checked yours lately, ask the SSA for your recent earnings record.
Call, go online or visit the nearest office to have them send you an application.
Fill it out, mail it in, and expect to receive your statement in about a month.
Rural Money Tip: A reverse mortgage is a special type of home loan that lets you take the value built up in your home over the years (the equity). And, turn it into a monthly income check. Only homeowners 62 and older can get a reverse mortgage. When you sell the home, move out, or the last borrower dies, someone must repay the loan with interest. Reverse mortgages can be full of tricks and traps. So, talk with your family and an attorney first.
How Do You Qualify To Cash In On Free Services
Participants applying for limited assistance must meet the specific qualifications of the various programs, as well as the qualifications below:
- Senior citizen (62 years old) or persons having disabilities
- Property located within the city limits
- Applicant owns and occupies the house
- Total gross household income vary per provider
- Average value of repairs is under $5,500-$7,500
In short, not only can seniors and people with disabilities live well and cash in on free services, you can do it on a fixed income, when you learn how to maximize Social Security benefits.
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