Seniors on Fixed Incomes Can Find Help with Rising Costs

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Vanessa Sink

Public Affairs Manager

571-527-4020

press@ncoa.org

Modernized BenefitsCheckUp.org makes it easy to research and apply for national and state benefit programs

Arlington, VA – Living on a fixed income is a challenging reality for millions of older Americans. Social Security provides most retirement income for about half of households aged 65 and older. And approximately half of households aged 55 and older have no retirement savings in a defined benefit plan or IRA.

Programs that older adults rely on like Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security could undergo changes this year that would affect their expected budgets. Which means, now is the time for older adults to fortify their fixed incomes by finding benefits programs. For many low income older adults, there are federal and state programs that can supplement their fixed incomes, but often they are unaware of them. The National Council on Aging’s (NCOA) recently updated website, BenefitsCheckUp.org, is the go-to resource available to easily see if an older adult qualifies for more than 2,500 of these federal, state, and private programs.

BenefitsCheckUp®, the nation’s oldest and most successful public online benefits screening tool, has helped more than 5.5 million people find more than $18 billion in benefits. The website has a new modern design that facilitates a simple process for consumers to learn about programs available to them, easily find out if they qualify, and quickly get connected with the application process.

“Many older adults tell us they need just a little extra money added to their budget, so they don’t have to worry about paying for their basic needs. But they also tell us they aren’t sure where to turn for information,” said Leslie Fried, Senior Director of the NCOA Center for Benefits Access. “BenefitsCheckUp® is the solution. Seniors or their loved ones can use the free, confidential screening tool to see if they’re eligible for help and get all the information they need to apply.”

The most accessed programs on BenefitsCheckUp® help seniors pay for medications, health care, housing, utilities, and nutrition. However, the resource library on the website now makes it even easier to search programs by state and get information on other programs, such as:
* Tax relief to help pay property taxes and/or prevent foreclosure
* Employment and volunteer programs
* Income assistance to help meet basic needs
* Veterans programs such as housing assistance and educational grants

“Older adults are tech savvy, and they’re comfortable using websites to find answers for themselves,” said Marlene Schneider, Vice President of NCOA Decision Support Services. “The updated BenefitsCheckUp.org makes benefits programs and resources easy to understand and access. There is something for everyone at BenefitsCheckUp®.”

Older adults and their loved ones can find benefits programs by visiting www.benefitscheckup.org and answering a few questions to get started. At the end, they will receive a personalized report with programs they likely qualify for, along with contact information, and next steps.

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 ncoa.org and @NCOAging.