While most older adults have heard of major public benefits programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), also known as Food Stamps, fewer than half were aware of other programs that help older Americans.

Research also shows that there are still many barriers to enrolling older adults in benefits programs, including the knowledge of benefits and how to apply. As a result, millions of older adults are likely eligible for, but not enrolled in, benefits that can save money on health care, prescriptions, food, and more.

Senior centers have a vital role to play in helping older adults improve their financial health, including participating in NCOA's annual Boost Your Budget® Week. 

What is Boost Your Budget Week? 

NCOA’s Boost Your Budget Week is an annual campaign to educate older adults about money-saving benefits programs. These benefits are often a lifeline to help low-income people age well. The campaign this year is especially important as the cost of living has significantly increased across the country, where older adults have been particularly hard hit.  

NCOA's national campaign unites aging and disability service providers under a common charge to: 

  • Educate low-income Medicare beneficiaries and their caregivers about the benefits available to improve their health and economic security
  • Connect individuals to NCOA's digital tool BenefitsCheckUp® and community resources for benefits screening and application assistance

When is Boost Your Budget Week? 

Boost Your Budget Week takes place each year during the second full week of April (this year on April 11-15, 2022). However, senior centers are welcome to use these materials in outreach messaging at any time of the year. 

What can senior centers do during Boost Your Budget Week? 

There is no limit to what your senior center can do to raise awareness around the importance of money-savings benefits, including connecting older adults to your services or those of your partners that support access to benefits. For example, your senior center: 

  • Share information about benefits as part of a food drive or grab-and-go event, health fair, or tax assistance activity 
  • If you have a computer lab, add BenefitsCheckUp on your computers 
  • Run ads in local newspapers or on social media (download our social media sample messages)
  • Sponsor a telethon at your local radio or TV station 
  • Invite media, legislators, and the public to tour your senior center and learn about the importance of benefits for your community 

NCOA's Boost Your Budget campaign materials include: 

  • Logos in English and Spanish 
  • Newsletter blurbs 
  • Short videos that can be played in your senior center on your computers or computer screens, posted on your Facebook page, and shared with local media 
  • Customizable posters in English and Spanish that can be printed and posted in your center 
  • Social media messages/postings for Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn 
  • Public service announcements for local TV and radio 
  • Toolkits to help you publicize the week with media and public officials

Other ways your senior center can help low-income older adults

During Boost Your Budget Week, consider partnering with your local Benefits Enrollment Center (located in 85 communities across 41 states), or State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP), and/or help older adults navigate NCOA’s BenefitsCheckUp to learn about and enroll in important benefits like SNAP, utility assistance, and Medicare low-income protections. If these activities are not available or possible in your community, you can refer your senior center participants to NCOA’s Benefits Helpline at 1-800-794-6559.  

Struggling older adults are sometimes reluctant to ask for help. Sharing the Boost Your Budget materials and language with your senior center participants can help break through that stigma and connect them with the resources they need to age with improved health and financial security.