February 17th, 2012|
Millions of seniors in the United States are missing out on more than $20 billion in aid that could help pay for food, medicine, and heating, simply because they don’t know it’s there, reports Reuters.
“It is no secret that millions of Americans are struggling right now, but help is just a phone call away,” said Sandy Markwood, chief executive of National Association of Area Agencies on Aging.
Some older Americans did not apply for benefits because they believed the application process would be complex, they did not understand the eligibility rules, or they thought there was a stigma to receiving entitlements. Those receiving one benefit often didn’t realize they were eligible also for another.
Eligible seniors living alone could benefit from an annual $1,428 in food assistance through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Others miss out on Supplemental Security Income payments of $6,000 a year.
Programs that are also overlooked include home heating and cooling assistance through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, as well as free or discounted services from state and local governments and the private sector that provide tax breaks, transportation, respite care, legal assistance, and in-home assistance.