90 community-based organizations provide personalized service in 39 states

Simona Combi
Public Relations Manager

Arlington, VA (March 5, 2024)—The National Council on Aging (NCOA), the national voice for every person’s right to age well, is expanding its national network of Benefits Enrollment Centers to help eligible older Americans and people with disabilities apply for benefits programs to pay for daily expenses.

NCOA will provide over $11 million in funding to 90 centers across 39 states to offer in-person assistance to low-income individuals who are eligible for federal and state programs that make health care, prescriptions, food, and utilities more affordable.

“An estimated 20.5 million Medicare beneficiaries live on less than $22,000 per year, and many of them are forced to choose between paying for food or medicine each month,” said Josh Hodges, NCOA Chief Customer Officer.

“Our community partners provide one-on-one assistance that is essential for people who are trying to access programs that often have confusing applications and complicated eligibility requirements.”

Poverty continues to increase among older adults—from 10.7% in 2021 to 14.1% in 2022, according to the latest U.S. Census Bureau data. In 2023, NCOA’s local partners helped eligible individuals apply for $588 million in public assistance. The centers use NCOA’s free online BenefitsCheckUp® tool to screen people for more than 2,000 benefits such as the Medicare Savings Programs, Medicare Part D Extra Help, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, and Medicaid.

The Benefits Enrollment Centers are funded through the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act administered by the U.S. Administration for Community Living. This funding has been extended 11 times with bipartisan support and, with it, 9.3 million lower-income adults were connected to benefits in 2022-2023.

“Connecting eligible individuals to benefits is essential to ensuring that every American can age with the health, financial security, and dignity they deserve,” Hodges said.

The centers prioritize outreach to people who are historically under-enrolled in benefits or who face unique challenges to accessing services. These include:

  • Black, Latino, Indigenous and Native American, Asian American and Pacific Islander, and other people of color
  • Members of religious minorities
  • Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) individuals
  • People with disabilities
  • People who live in rural areas
  • People with a non-English language preference

A complete list of Benefits Enrollment Centers by state is available online.

This opportunity is supported by grant 90MINC0002-03-00 from the U.S. Administration for Community Living, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Points of view or opinions are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent official ACL policy.

About NCOA
The National Council on Aging (NCOA) is the national voice for every person’s right to age well. We believe that how we age should not be determined by gender, color, sexuality, income, or ZIP code. Working with thousands of national and local partners, we provide resources, tools, best practices, and advocacy to ensure every person can age with health and financial security. Founded in 1950, we are the oldest national organization focused on older adults. Learn more at www.ncoa.org and @NCOAging