What Is Social Security
Regulated by the Social Security Administration , Social Security provides benefits based on pre-retirement earnings. During your years of employment, Social Security taxes are deducted from your paycheck.
Both employees and employers pay 6.2 percent of wages up to the taxable maximum of $147,000. Self-employed individuals pay 12.4 percent. These payroll taxes go into the federal Social Security trust fund.1 When it’s time for you to claim Social Security, that money comes back to you in the form of a monthly benefit.
Did You Know: The standard American worker pays significantly more in payroll taxes than they do in federal income taxes. Find out where your state falls in average Social Security tax-payer contributions.
Senior Assistance Programs $3000
One assistance program for seniors on social security holds the key to unlocking doors to numerous government benefits. However, it has a $3,000 resource limitation, plus a ceiling on countable income.
Supplemental Security Income recipients may qualifyautomatically for other helpful entitlements with entwined eligibility. Therefore, prepare to meet these critical criteria.
You Or Your Family Members May Be Eligible For Increased Benefits
Our mission is to deliver Social Security services that meet the changing needs of the public.
It’s not unusual for a benefit recipient’s circumstances to change after they apply or became eligible for benefits. If you, or a family member, receive Social Security or Supplemental Security Income , certain life changes may affect eligibility for an increase in your federal benefits. For example, if your spouse or ex-spouse dies, you may become eligible for a higher Social Security benefit.
To find out if you, or a family member, might be eligible for a benefit based on another persons work, or a higher benefit based on your own work, see the information about benefits on the Social Security website. You can also use the Benefit Eligibility Screening Tool to find out if you could get benefits that Social Security administers. Based on your answers to questions, this tool will list benefits for which you might be eligible and tell you more information about how to qualify and apply.
The questions and answers below are about a few of the life changes that could possibly increase your benefits.
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Food Help For Senior Citizens
Through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program , seniors with limited income receive an Electronic Benefits Transfer card, similar to a debit care, that can be used like cash to pay for food at grocery stores. More than 48 million Americans use SNAP. Learn more about SNAP eligibility and benefits.
There are numerous state and federally funded meal and nutrition education programs with outreach services, providing some of the most meaningful financial help for senior citizens. The Congregate Meal Site Program, largely funded by the federal Older Americans Act , is offered at senior centers, churches and senior housing facilities. It offers free nutritious hot meals, along with the chance to socialize with peers and attend workshops.
The Commodity Supplemental Food Program , funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture , offers free healthy meals and groceries to seniors over 60. The program also offers nutrition information to promote good health.
For the homebound or people who cant make it to a feeding site, there are delivered meals available . Meals on Wheels is the common moniker . Volunteers deliver food and meals, while providing daily company and someone to check on the seniors needs. Special holiday meals are generally available at
Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Information Needed To Apply For Social Security
The SSA needs specific details and documents to review and process your benefits application. According to the SSA, this information includes:
- Your Social Security number
- U.S. military service dates and branches
- List of eligible family members who may receive your SSA benefits for example, your spouse or child
- Your original birth certificate or other proof of age
- Proof of U.S. citizenship if you were not born in the United States
- Your W-2 tax form and/or self-employment tax return from the previous year
- Your U.S. military service papers if you served prior to 1968
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Financial Education/credit Counseling For Senior Citizens
Yes, there are even more financial services that can provide help for senior citizens in debt.
- In some communities, AARP offers Daily Money Management programs that provide financial assistance for low-income older or disabled senior citizens. It helps with paying bills, budgeting, negotiating with creditors, balancing a checkbook and avoiding scams and fraud.
- The NCOAs EconomicCheckUp, a free online service, helps seniors to reduce debt, find work, cut spending and learn about using their home equity. Learn more at EconomicCheckup.org. The NCOA also offers BenefitsCheckUp, a free online service to help limited-income seniors. It includes more than 2,000 public and private benefits programs. Learn more at BenefitsCheckUp.org.
As Villarreal suggested earlier, its always wise to utilize the free credit counseling services from nonprofit agencies. There are also debt management programs that usually carry a $25-$50 monthly fee, but lower your interest rates and consolidate your bill payments for credit card bills, medical bills, department store cards and other lines of credit.
These services should help you reduce monthly payments and fees. Consistent good-faith payments will reflect favorably on your credit score. If you follow the resources above, you can be well on your way to living debt free.
Three Wishes For Rubys Residents
At the age of 11 years old, Ruby Kate wanted to help senior nursing home residents who didnt have enough money to pay for simple things, like a haircut or new pair of shoes. She started a fundraiser to help seniors, as well as to start her own nonprofit: Three Wishes for Rubys Residents. To date, Ruby has raised over $250,000 to help nursing home residents across the country.
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Help For Seniors With Low Income: Government Benefits And More
Need a helping hand? Find help for seniors with low income
The Big Takeaways
- A significant amount of qualifying seniors dont participate in low income benefits because often its hard to know whats available. More options may be available to you during the pandemic.
- Tools like Benefits Checkup and the Eldercare Locator can help connect seniors with the services and benefits they qualify for.
- To understand how your income level will affect your retirement, try the NewRetirement Planner.
A recent study by the Commonwealth Fund found that seniors apply for low income benefits at significantly lower rates than other demographics even though there are greater out of pocket health care expenses and usually fewer alternatives like additional work to fund these needs.
While numerous public and private programs hope to provide financial assistance to vulnerable retirees, a sizable proportion of eligible seniors do not participate in the programs. In some cases as few as 25 percent of eligible seniors participate in a program.
The Commonwealth Fund study suggested that enrollment would increase by increasing awareness of programs and simplifying the application process. Here are a few resources providing help for seniors with low income:
What Is The Full Retirement Age For Social Security
Eligibility for full retirement benefits is based on your birth date. People born between 1943 and 1955 reach full retirement age at 66 years. Those born between 1955 and 1959 earn 100 percent Social Security benefits at 66 years plus a specific number of months. For example, if you were born in 1955, your FRA is 66 years and two months. Individuals born in 1960 or later will have to wait until 67 years of age to reach their FRA.
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Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program
LIHEAP helps families make their homes more energy efficient, which in turn lowers costs. This program not only covers heating and cooling costs, but also weatherization and repairs to make the home more insulated. Low-income seniors can qualify to receive help updating their home and aging in place.
Benefits Programs For Seniors With Pets
For seniors, owning a pet can provide a level of companionship that is essential to health and wellbeing. But owning a pet is costly, and some owners may find themselves worrying about how to get help with vet bills, pet food costs, and vaccinations. Thankfully, there are plenty of organizations that provide financial help for seniors with pets.
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A Benefits Boost: $200 Plus Cola Changes
Anyone who is a current Social Security recipient or who will turn 62 in 2023 the earliest age at which an individual can claim Social Security would receive an extra $200 per monthly check.
There are some additional tweaks that would boost benefits over the long-term. One of the primary changes would be to base the annual COLA on the Consumer Price Index for the Elderly , rather than the current index that the Social Security Administration uses for its calculation the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers .
The CPI-E more accurately reflects seniors’ spending patterns, according to experts on Social Security. For instance, it puts more weight on health care expenses, which can be considerable for senior citizens.
If the CPI-E had been used to index the annual COLA for Social Security, a senior who filed for Social Security benefits over 30 years ago would have received about $14,000 more in retirement than compared with the CPI-W, according to the Senior Citizens League.
The bill would also boost benefits for the lowest income earners in the U.S., who receive benefits under a program called the Special Minimum Benefit. Under the legislation, it would be indexed so that it is equal to about 125% of the federal poverty line, or about $1,400 a month. In 2020, the Special Minimum Benefit paid about $900 per month, according to the Social Security Administration.
How Long Will It Take To Apply For Social Security Benefits
Applying online by creating a my Social Security account is the fastest option. According to the SSA, the application will take between 10 to 30 minutes to complete, depending on your situation.
No need to stress about completing the application all in one sitting! If you need to gather additional information or simply take a break, your SSA application can be saved and retrieved when you’re ready.
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Learn What Service Animals Do
Common tasks include:
- Guiding a person who is blind
- Alerting someone who is deaf
- Aiding and protecting a person who is having a seizure
- Alerting a person with diabetes or high or low blood sugar
- Assisting someone in a wheelchair
- Calming a person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder during an anxiety attack
Tax Credits And Deductions For The Elderly
Tax credits are great recourses to reduce the burden of paying taxes. They directly and dollar-for-dollar lower your tax obligation. The credit for the seniors may significantly help your monthly finances if you meet the qualifications.
To qualify for this tax deduction program, you must meet the following requirements:
- Aged 65 or older
- Retired on permanent or total disability and receive taxable disability income for the tax year
- With an adjusted gross income or the total of nontaxable Social Security, pensions annuities or disability income under certain limits
Generally, government money for seniors from senior tax credit typically varies from $3,750 to $7,500. It is calculated as 15% of the starting sum, less the total of any nontaxable pensions, annuities, or disability payments you have received, including social security benefits and some other nontaxable pensions.
Earned Income Tax Credit
One of the most effective anti-poverty strategies in the nation is the Earned Income Tax Credit . Unlike the previously mentioned tax deduction program, tax credits from EITC are refundable. So if your credit exceeds your tax obligation, you will get a refund.
Standard Deduction For Seniors
If you like to know more about government assistance available to you, visit the rest of Gov Relations.
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Medical Debt Help For Senior Citizens
Medicare, a federal government social insurance program that began in 1965, serves about 52 million people by giving senior citizens comprehensive medical and dental care. Its one of the longest-running programs that provides financial help for seniors.
It helps pay for bills involving hospitalization , outpatient services or physical therapy and prescriptions . Seniors can apply for Part D benefits through the social service office or pharmaceutical companies that provide the prescription drugs. The medications will be offered to qualified seniors for free or at a reduced cost. There are also prescription savings discount cards, which reduce the costs.
The most practical help? Its probably deciphering the complex information and amount of options, while providing advice on how to best manage medical care on a fixed income.
Specialists with the Senior Health Insurance Assistance Program can help seniors with their health insurance benefits, medical bills, vouchers for prescriptions and their rights. The staff and volunteers, part of a federal program, can help in person or by telephone.
SHIP works with Medicare beneficiaries and teaches them how to apply for benefits, while offering assistance for health insurance denials, appeals and grievances.
Health Insurance Counseling, similar to SHIP, has certified health insurance counselors that can explain Medicare, supplemental insurance, long term care insurance and other medical questions.
Hawaii Financial And Snap Benefits Rights And Responsibilities
Who May Receive Financial Aid
To receive financial aid, you must meet the requirements for at least one of the following programs:
Temporary Assistance to Needy Families with Dependent Children
The child must be:
- under the age of 18. If he is 18, he may be eligible until age 19 if he is a full-time student in high school or a vocational or technical training program or an equivalent level.
- living with a relative or foster parent.
The parent or relative must:
- give the department any child support money that the household receives.
- cooperate in locating and obtaining support from the absent parent.
- register each person in the household for Social Security Numbers.
- participate in a work program if required.
Program For the Aged, Blind or Disabled
To be eligible, you must apply for Supplemental Security Income at a Social Security Office. If you are receiving SSI and need more financial help, you may also apply for assistance from the Department.
To be eligible for the Aged, Blind or Disabled Program, you must be:
- 65 years old or older or
- legally blind or
- totally and permanently disabled.
General Assistance Program
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Do You Have A Comprehensive And Detailed Retirement Plan
Whether you have low income or are feeling financially free, having a detailed and comprehensive retirement plan is an absolute necessity.
The NewRetirement retirement planning calculator is widely considered the best free online tool. It is highly detailed and easy to use, best of all it saves your information so you can quickly make adjustments as your finances and plans evolve.
When Should I Take Social Security
Neal Stern, CPA, and member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants’ National CPA Financial Literacy Commission, says, The best time to start collecting Social Security benefits is a personal decision, based on individual circumstances.
As you move toward retirement, it’s essential to have a clear understanding of how much Social Security you’ll receive based on the age when you initiate your claim. Before pulling the trigger on monthly Social Security benefits, Stern shares, If you can manage it, consider waiting to claim your benefits after reaching your full retirement age . Your monthly benefit will continue to increase as long as you delay collecting benefits, until age 70, said Stern. For example, your monthly payment can be as much as 32 percent more starting at age 70 than what you would have collected at age 66.
Did You Know: The Social Security Administration offers benefit calculators to estimate your monthly Social Security payment.
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National Council On Aging
The National Council on Aging, a private group, has a free service called BenefitsCheckUp. This service can help you find federal and state benefit programs for older adults. After providing some general information about the person who needs care, you can see a list of possible benefit programs to explore. These programs can help pay for prescription drugs, heating bills, housing, meal programs, and legal services. You dont have to give a name, address, or Social Security number to use this service.
To learn more, visit BenefitsCheckUp.org.
Are Telehealth Services Covered By Insurance
Telehealth is a service that uses video calling and other technologies to help you see your doctor or other health care provider from home instead of at a doctors office or medical facility. Many insurance providers including Medicare, Medicaid, and many private insurers have started to cover telehealth services. However, coverage can vary by location and insurance plan. Check with your insurance company or health care provider’s billing department for the latest information about coverage for telehealth services.
Learn more about telehealth services and how to prepare.
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