Millions in Need, Millions in Funding


Vanessa Sink
Public Affairs Manager

NCOA grants help low-income seniors find benefits to improve their economic security

Margaret lived self-sufficiently in her home for more than 40 years, but in her 80s she found she’d outlived her resources and was struggling to get by on $1,300/month in Social Security benefits. Fortunately, Margaret found help from a National Council on Aging (NCOA) Benefits Enrollment Center, Centura Health LINKS.

Using NCOA’s free BenefitsCheckUp® screening tool, Centura identified $3,000 in annual property tax, prescription, and healthcare savings for Margaret. Now she can afford her medications and medical equipment, and home modifications to support aging in place.

Millions of seniors like Margaret

Since 2009, NCOA has helped over 650,000 low-income Medicare beneficiaries like Margaret through its national network of Benefits Enrollment Centers (BECs). BECs collaborate with a wide range of human service and government agencies to assist low-income seniors and persons with disabilities to access all of the benefits for which they may be eligible.

The need remains great. Many low-income Medicare beneficiaries may be eligible for a wide range of programs that help them to pay for their healthcare, prescriptions, food, and more. For example, more than 1 million seniors qualify for Extra Help paying for their Medicare Part D prescriptions, but are not enrolled in this program, valued annually at $4,000. Over half of older adults who qualify for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) are not enrolled.

Expanding the Benefits Enrollment Center network through new awards

Drawing on the latest round of funding from the Medicare Improvement for Patients and Providers Act (MIPPA), NCOA recently awarded 12 organizations over $1.1 million in grants to become new Benefits Enrollment Centers. Each organization will help at least 1,100 low-income seniors and younger adults with disabilities to apply for all of the benefits they may be missing.

The new Benefits Enrollment Centers are:

  • Adult Well-Being Services (Detroit, MI)
  • Chinese Information and Service Center (Seattle, WA)
  • Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas (Pittsburg, KS)
  • Duke University (Durham, NC)
  • HOPES Community Action Partnership, Inc. (Hoboken, NJ)
  • Jewish Family Service of Atlantic County (Margate, NJ)
  • Korean Community Service Center of Greater Washington (Annandale, VA)
  • Legal Aid of North Carolina (Asheville, NC)
  • Live On New York (New York, NY)
  • Missouri Alliance of Area Agencies on Aging (Jefferson City, MO)
  • Montana Department of Health and Human Services (Helena, MT)
  • North Central Texas AAA (Arlington, TX)

These 12 organizations join 23 existing BECs that received $1.2 million to continue their work on behalf of low-income Medicare beneficiaries.

“We’re excited to support Benefit Enrollment Centers in 24 states to help vulnerable seniors and adults with disabilities have access to affordable healthcare, prescriptions, food, and more,” said Leslie Fried, director of NCOA’s Center for Benefits Access, which funds the BECs. “NCOA has a goal of improving the economic security and health of 10 million older adults by 2020, and the BEC network—which we hope to expand to every state in the coming years—is a vital instrument in achieving that goal.”

About NCOA

The National Council on Aging (NCOA) is a respected national leader and trusted partner to help people aged 60+ meet the challenges of aging. Our mission is to improve the lives of millions of older adults, especially those who are struggling. Through innovative community programs and services, online help, and advocacy, NCOA is partnering with nonprofit organizations, government, and business to improve the health and economic security of 10 million older adults by 2020. Learn more at and @NCOAging.

About BenefitsCheckUp®

NCOA’s BenefitsCheckUp® is the nation’s most comprehensive free, online service to screen seniors with limited income for benefits. It includes more than 2,000 public and private benefits programs from all 50 states and the District of Columbia. More than 4 million people have used BenefitsCheckUp® to identify benefits valued at nearly $15 billion to help them pay for medicine, food, health care, rent, utilities, and other daily needs. Learn more at