How to Get Senior Benefits

By Abby Lane
The U.S. government provides benefits for its senior citizens.

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Senior citizens in the United States qualify for a number of government benefits and entitlements by virtue of age and other factors. State benefits vary widely and seniors should contact state government agencies to access state provided benefit programs. In addition, seniors across the country are eligible to receive federal benefits regardless of state residency. With some research and outreach, seniors can maintain and augment their quality of life with the assistance of federal benefits.

Apply for Social Security retirement benefits. The Social Security Administration provides supplemental income for American's who no longer work due to retirement or disability. American's aged 62-70 are eligible for retirement benefits if they meet the SSA's working guidelines. An application for Social Security benefits is available online at the SSA's website or you can apply by phone by calling 1-800-772-1213.

Apply for Supplemental Security Income. SSI is a program designed to ensure that disabled persons and persons over 65 receive a minimum monthly income. SSI is different from Social Security retirement benefits in that the beneficiary need not have worked a minimum period in order to collect benefits. An application for SSI is available online at the SSA's website or by phone or in person at your local Social Security field office.

Apply for Medicare. Medicare is the nation's health insurance program for senior citizens. To qualify for Medicare you must be disabled or 65 years of age or older. Medicare has two main components. Part A provides hospital and related care and Part B provides physician and other health care. Seniors can also opt for Medicare Part D coverage to cover prescription drug costs. Apply for Medicare online at the government website or call 1-800-MEDICARE for more information.

Apply for publicly supported housing. The federal government, through the department of Housing and Urban Development provides housing assistance to low-income seniors. The HUD website directs seniors on how to apply for benefits locally.

About the Author

Abby began writing professionally in 2008. Her writing experience includes scholarly writing and articles for eHow. Abby enjoys writing brief how-to articles on legal issues. She holds a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Nebraska.

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