Life Happens: Assistance Programs For Low Income Seniors

Help is out there but you have to look for it, review the requirements and, if applicable, apply. Here we offer a helpful start!
Hand holds a check from the US treasury with an American flag in the background

One of the toughest things about aging is that income tends to decrease at the same time that inflation increases. With this fact comes the hard truth: many older Americans require help. Help may be needed for finances, medical bills, home payments, transportation or general living expenses.

If you find yourself in need, there are many assistance programs available. The biggest hurdle is already behind you. You’re facing the fact that you may need financial help. This is not comfortable, yet it is the beginning of finding assistance.

How To Find Assistance Programs

If you are looking for programs, experts advise having a plan in place before getting started. This can be as simple as:

  • Make a list of areas in which you need help
  • Make a list of potential programs in your area
  • Make a schedule for contacting the programs
  • Create a work area such as a desk
  • Ask a friend or family member to help you find programs

By being organized, having a structure and having support, you are more likely to keep up your spirits while you find the programs that can help you.

Getting Started

If you're seeking assistance, a great tool to start with is provided by the National Council On Aging (NCOA). Did you know there are over 2,500 benefit programs available nationwide? Find out what benefits may be available in your area with Benefits Checkup. It's fast, free and from a trustworthy source.

Senior couple standing in front of a small house
Housing Assistance for Low Income Seniors

Many senior homeowners are looking for help paying for repairs and renovations. There are government programs that may be able to help you with this.

One of the most used government programs is the one where you can find help with home repairs and modifications.

Programs are also available to provide assistance with weatherization; and to help with your home energy bill. One program that assists families with energy costs is the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). This may be useful for managing costs for your home.

If you’re not an owner, you may want to check out the options for getting affordable rental housing.

We’ve all run into hard times at different points in our lives. When money is tight, finding enough to cover the rent can be challenging. It helps to know where to turn. There are a variety of federal programs administered through the state and local agencies to help seniors with housing needs.

Additionally many communities have public housing for seniors. These are often in high demand, with a waiting list for available apartments. Check with your state Agency on Aging.

There are government and independent programs to help low-income seniors find affordable rental housing.

If you’re having trouble with rent, check out HUD for Housing Choice Vouchers Program. This program was previously known as Section 8, and provides subsidies to the elderly to help pay for rent. Information is available online so you can contact your state resources directly.

Finally, there may be help in finding assistance for immediate rent. Organizations devoted to keeping people off the streets and in their homes include: Modest Needs, Homelessness Prevention & Rapid Re-Housing Program, Catholic Charities and 211.

Elderly couple with table full of pills on the phone receiving instructions
Medical Assistance Programs

Getting the best coverage at the lowest cost often requires some shopping around. As needs change, be sure to get an online quote at for Medicare plans that fit your needs.

Another great way to save money is to look for help with saving money on medical equipment or supplies. To find out what is available in your state, check at GoodHealthwill or Rehab Equipment Exchange.

Look for options for free, low-cost and sliding scale clinics. Check out the comprehensive list of clinics on Needymeds. You’ll find services including: medical, dental, mental health and substance abuse clinics. This site is a great resource for finding medical assistance programs for equipment, supplies, medical transportation and more.

Don’t forget about your teeth. Dental care is available for seniors through programs offered by Donated Dental Services. More than 15,000 dentists volunteer across the U.S.

While you’re checking out programs, be sure to visit these websites:

State Sponsored Programs These programs may provide medical care or financial assistance for medical care, health insurance, prescription assistance, medical supplies and equipment and more. Check out what is available in your area.

Medicare Information: explains programs and offers links to related websites.

Medicaid Sites: an interactive clickable map to learn more.

State Health Insurance Assistance Programs: (SHIP) is a federally funded health advisory program that provides grants to provide health insurance counseling to Medicare recipients and their families.

Medicaid Planning and Assistance Options: A comprehensive guide to understanding costs, planning and alternatives.

Senior latino man driving his car
Transportation Assistance

If you’re looking for help buying a car, you may be dealing with expenses such as registration, insurance, upkeep—as well as the cost of the new or used car.

Some programs exist that may be able to help.

A network of organizations is committed to helping low-income individuals buy a car. Working Cars for Working Families has a searchable database to help you find a program in your area.

Online Car Donations provides cars that are gifted to them, for people in numerous situations and circumstances.

Free Charity Cars has a website where you can post your situation and if you get enough votes, you are put on the list to get a donated car.

These organizations are helping people get cars, often to help people keep jobs, make appointments and stay mobile. If you’re in need of help with buying a car, contacting these groups may provide answers.

Assistance Club Summary

The bottom line about assistance programs for low-income seniors: The #1 thing to remember is: “Help exists!”

Look for resources and assistance on the state, county and federal level. Check with local organizations, charities and faith-based organizations

And, if you need help to keep looking, ask a friend. It’s always easier to stay focused, positive and resourceful with a friend by your side.

We wish you good luck and good health in your search!