What Is Considered Low Income for Senior Citizens?

Low income is a term that is bandied about far too often. But what exactly is considered low income for senior citizens? Let’s find out.

Poverty among senior citizens is more prominent than many people realize. The reason is that many people often do not save enough for their retirement due to ample reasons.

Suppose you are also above the age of 62 and do not enjoy an annual income that can keep you above the set Federal poverty level. In that case, you also come under the category of low-income senior citizens.

 

What Is Considered Low Income for Senior Citizens

 

Well, there is no particular age limit for availing of different retirement benefits. For example, you need to be 65 years to qualify for Medicare benefits and 62 years of age to avail of social service advantages. 

The USA witnesses 70 million people attain the age of 62 with a rate of 10,000 every day. However, the sad fact is that most people who come within the bracket of senior citizens and near retirement are not financially secure. 

Also, 78 percent of Americans may not be able to live comfortably once they retire. Thus, if you are also one of those seniors who face a struggle to keep up with necessities of life, including senior housing, Medicare, and food, you, unfortunately, come under the bracket of low-income senior citizens.

What is Regarded as Low Income for Senior Citizens?

The Federal government has set some criteria to recognize low-income senior citizens. These are:

  • The person should have attained 60 years of age;
  • Second, the person should have an income of less than $30,000 in a year. This amount equals $2,450 monthly or $80 income in a day.

The US Census Board states that about 40 percent of senior citizens above 60 falls into middle-income senior citizens.

 

Aged man holding empty wallet

 

 

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Financial Programs for Low-Income Senior Citizens

The federal government has come up with certain financial assistance programs to help low-income senior citizens. These are:

Social Security

The social security financial program offers $1,460 monthly and $17,500 yearly for senior citizens. However, according to the national cost of living statistics, this income is sufficient to cover only one-third of living expenses for a senior citizen. Thus, it is advisable to look for additional income sources than social security for retirement income. 

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics states that an average senior citizen normally spends $4,000 monthly and $46,000 yearly. However, social security only offers one-third of this amount. 

Thus, as per experts, low-income senior citizens should look for alternatives or additional income sources to social security.

Well, here are some additional income options:

Social Security Disability Insurance 

This option is viable for senior citizens who, unfortunately, have any disability. However, the person should have worked under industries recognized by social security. 

Supplemental Security Income

Senior citizens who are either of age 65 years or more are eligible for this income bracket. However, there is a catch as you need to prove that you are a low-income senior citizen with a disability and possessing limited resources. 

Survivor Benefits

This income is paid to senior citizens who are widows or survivors of the deceased employees of Social Security.

 

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Medical Privileges For Low-Income Senior Citizens

Given below are some financial assistance programs offering medical benefits to low-income senior citizens:

Medicare

Medicare is a health program that is subsidized and offered by the Federal Government. There are three parts of Medicare:

Part A

This part of Medicare includes health insurance free for senior citizens aged 65 years or above. However, these seniors should have paid Medicare taxes for a certain period. 

Part B

This part of Medicare includes medical insurance and costs $134 monthly to the senior citizens.

Part C

This part of Medicare covers most of the prescription drugs.

 

Caregiver accompanying senior woman to a doctor visit

Medicaid

Medicaid is an effort made by both the Federal government and the state government to offer economic health care programs for citizens. This plan is highly beneficial for low-income senior citizens who do not have enough to spend on Medicare. 

Medicaid covers various expenses, including visits to the healthcare facilities and getting appointments with healthcare providers. Also, the program covers expenses of prescribed drugs, medical transfers and transportations, and hospital services.

 

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Other Options

In addition to the above-mentioned medical programs, some more options are beneficial for senior citizens who do not have enough income. However, you need to qualify as the per standards set by Social Security Services to avail these options:

  • Qualified Disabled and Working Individuals Program
  • Specified Low-income Medicare Beneficiary Program
  • Qualified Medicare Beneficiary Program
  • Qualifying Individual Program

Food and Nutrition Programs for Low-Income Senior Citizens

Food is also an essential aspect on which every citizen needs to spend money, let alone senior citizens. Thus, the Federal Government brings certain food and nutrition assistance programs to help seniors who struggle with money.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

As per this program, the government offers monthly stipends to seniors who have low resources. This program is highly beneficial for seniors who need help to purchase their monthly groceries. 

The only condition is that you need to show your low-income proof to be eligible for this program. As per the condition, the senior citizen’s income should not be more than 130 percent of the set poverty level by the Federal Government.

Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program

USDA sponsors this food assistance program and offers booklets and coupons to the seniors who cannot buy their food. These coupons and vouchers can be used at different community-supported programs and farmers’ markets to purchase fresh fruits, vegetables, and much more. However, these coupons cannot be used to purchase dried goods or canned food items. 

Meals on Wheels

Meals on Wheels is an NGO that provides food for millions of American citizens who do not have sufficient money. Recognized by the IRS, the NGO comes under section 501(c)(3). Low-income seniors who do not have enough money to buy their food can take help from this NGO.

Commodity Supplemental Food Program

This program benefits the senior citizens with no or very few resources to get some nutrition from their food. They offer nutritious food items such as cereals, pasta, juice, canned meat, fresh vegetables, etc.

Emergency Food Assistance Program 

This program works to offer highly nutritious food items to senior citizens with no resources at no cost. The US Agricultural Department purchases these food items and then ships them to different states. It is then the state’s responsibility to distribute them among food banks and local organizations. These bodies then further distribute the food items among the needy.

 

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Housing Assistance 

The Federal government also offers assistance to senior citizens who cannot afford housing facilities.

HUD Public Housing

This HUD housing assistance program is administered by the Federal government as well as local housing agencies. The program has been set up to lend a helping hand to senior citizens under the low-income bracket to get a proper house.

 

Financial advisor talking to senior couple

 

Section 8

This program helps senior citizens with low resources and disabilities to find a livable and safe house. Under this section, you get a voucher for subsidized housing. However, it is your task to seek a suitable and subsidized house available in the private market. The selected unit should be able to meet specific safety as well as health standards.

USDA Housing Repair Program

This program has been designed to help senior citizens with fewer resources to repair, improve, and remove any safety or health hazards in their housing units. The program also offers loans to senior citizens to do the same.

Home Equity Conversion Mortgage

HECM assists low-income seniors so that they can change a given portion of their home equity into a particular type of usable income. 

Tax Relief

Older adults are eligible for different types of tax relief. This said tax relief applies to different aspects, such as the tax on vehicle license fees, solid waste fees, and tax on real estate or property. These tax relief aspects depend upon different laws and eligibility requisites as set by a state government. 

You can even apply for a particular federal tax credit if your low income comes under the said level and bracket. Senior citizens can also avail themselves of different targeted programs designed to help them manage their living expenses. Local governments or state governments usually administer these tax relief programs. 

Thus, it is advisable to contact different government offices to get clarification on these programs. These offices can also lend you a helping hand in judging the amount of money you need to live under a comfortable scenario. Also, it would be beneficial to know about the benefits you can avail if your income is 185 percent less than the poverty level as set by the Federal government.

About Estephanie Jill

Estephanie Jill (EJBP, BSPT, PTRP) is a licensed physiotherapist. She is a home health care provider, laboratory technician for physical therapy students, medical transcriptionist, and an advocate of the physiotherapy profession. Apart from that, she loves writing. Playing to her strengths, she mainly writes around health and fitness, She has been commended for her writing in the past. Her other passions include commenting on societal changes and writing life reflective pieces. She enjoys meaningful conversations, and detaching from the digital world to do yoga and meditation. She is a self-confessed foodie who enjoys eating for the experience and then burning it all off through exercise.