With inflation showing no signs of slowing, you may be noticing that the benefits you're receiving as a senior on social security aren't covering all your expenses. While your income may still be enough to meet some basic needs, affording housing can be a challenge. And depending on where you live, a competitive housing market can make it even more difficult to find a home.
But don't worry, in this blog post we will show you the ways that allow millions of seniors on social security to find affordable housing. We will explore practical strategies and resources to help you navigate the housing market and find options that offer both stability and comfort for you and your family.
Determine Your Budget and Needs.
There are a lot of factors to consider when looking for affordable senior housing when you are on limited income. The first and perhaps most important step is to determine your budget and needs, so you can decide what's the right type of home for you.
First you need to ask yourself a simple question: How much can you afford to spend on rent or mortgage payments each month? It's important to be realistic about what you can afford, as you don't want to end up not able to make your payments. Once you have an idea on budget, you can start looking for housing options within your price range.
Another important factor is your needs, such as what kind of features and amenities you want for your new home? For example, if you have mobility issues, you'll want to look into assisted living facilities or make sure the property has accessible features like ramps or elevator access. Alternatively, if you're looking for a sense of community, you might want to look for senior-focused developments that offer social activities and common areas. Take some time to think about your needs so that you can narrow down your search to properties that will best meet them.
After considering these factors, you'll be more prepared to identify the right housing option for you.
Affordable Housing Programs.
Once you've determined your budget and needs, it's time to start finding a suitable home. As we mentioned, with rising cost-of-living, the housing options available for low income families or individuals are somewhat limited in certain places. This is especially so if you have additional needs and wants outside of just a livable home.
But don't worry --- there is plenty of help available. Thanks to the many government programs out there, you may be able to get support for housing expenses, and being on Social Security or having a lower income may actually make qualifying for these programs easier for you.
Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program.
The Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program is administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) with the aim of ensuring individuals and families with limited income can secure suitable housing. It can be a good option for seniors on social security who are struggling to find low-income housing. The best part of the program is the flexibility -- these vouchers can be used to help pay for rent in the home of your choice and not just limited to subsidized housing projects.
Who Is Eligible For Section 8 Housing?
The first requirement for Section 8 Housing is that you must be a U.S. citizen or have eligible immigration status. So if you're receiving Social Security benefits, it means you're already covered on that end.
Secondly, because the program is designed to assist low-income households, your annual income must fall below a certain threshold. This criteria is determined based on your area's median income level, so it may vary depending on where you are and the size of your household.
Note that the Section 8 Housing program often has long waiting lists due to high demand. Yet local housing authorities prioritize individuals with disabilities, seniors, and families with children, which may help speed up the process for you as a senior.
Does Social Security Affect Section 8 Housing Eligibility?
Yes and no. Your status as a senior on Social Security may impact your eligibility. Social Security benefits, including retirement, disability, or survivor benefits, are counted as income for the purposes of determining if you qualify.
But, HUD provides certain deductions to accommodate the financial situations of seniors, such as medical expenses and allowances for dependents. Also, as we mentioned, being on Social Security may help you qualify. Because even though your benefits are counted as income, if you are reading this blog because you're struggling to afford housing on your own, chances are you'll likely fall below the threshold.
How Do I Apply For Section 8 Housing?
Now that you have an idea of whether you qualify for the program, to properly determine your eligibility, you will need to contact your local public housing agency (PHA) or the housing authority overseeing your area. They will provide you with the necessary forms, explain the documentation required, and help you apply for Section 8 Housing.
What About The Section 202 Program? (Specifically For Seniors)
Besides Section 8 Housing, the HUD also offers other affordable housing programs specifically designed for seniors. One example is Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly. This is another program that provides affordable housing options for seniors with limited income or who may have physical challenges. In addition to support on rents, it also provides services such as meal preparation, transportation, and affordable housing maintenance, etc.
Those who qualify for the program typically pay a rent fee of around 30% of their net income, with the government taking up the rest. So the lower your income is, the less you will have to pay.
Do You Qualify For The Section 202 Program?
Other than income, there are other criteria you will need to meet to qualify. For example, you must be at least 62 years old and making below 50% of the median income for your area. In addition, you need to be able to live independently, as the program does not offer daily assistance.
Some Section 202 communities may require you to meet other criteria, such as being disabled or a veteran. It's important to check with each community to understand their specific requirements.
How To Apply For Section 202 Program.
If you think you meet the requirement, you can fill out an application directly with your local public housing authority. Bear in mind that waiting lists may also apply for this program, so it's always a good idea to plan ahead.
Local non-profit organizations and senior centers may also have information on affordable housing options in the area.
Can My Children or Spouses Live in Senior Apartments?
Your spouse can live with you in your senior community, provided he or she is over the minimum age allowed. As for your children, if they are not over the community's minimum age, then they can also live with you. It's best to check with your community before applying. Most of these communities have rules against anyone under their minimum age living in the community, so you'll likely get a no. There are, however, some exceptions to these rules, such as caregivers for example.
What About Government Assistance For Other Basic Needs?
Now that we've covered housing for seniors on Social Security, let's take a look at what other government assistance programs are . Government support can range from housing to food to even WiFi and FREE cell phones, so let's get into what else you may be eligible for as a senior on Social Security:
As we age, it becomes more and more important to have access to healthcare. Yet healthcare can be very expensive, especially to those already heavily dependent on Social Security benefits. Thanks to the federal government-funded Medicare program, when you reach 65, you'll be able to receive meaningful support in this area.
The goal of Medicare is to help older Americans and those with certain disabilities and conditions get coverage for most of their medical expenses. The program helps over 63 million people in the US by providing them with access to the care they need.
What Does Medicare Assist you With as a Senior?
When you enroll in Medicare, you get access to a lot of different healthcare benefits (covered under Medicare Part A&B, also known as Original Medicare). There are also certain types of alternative Medicare plans (Medicare Advantage Plans or Part C), but here we'll focus on the Original Medicare.
Part A --- covers your hospital bills and other inpatient expenses. It typically pays for the following: hospital stays, hospice care, skilled nursing facility care, and some home health care services. Many people get this coverage without any sort of premiums once they turn 65, as they would've paid into the system with payroll taxes during their working years.
Part B --- is responsible for medical insurance that covers outpatient services such as doctor visits, outpatient care, preventative services, and medical equipment. While Medicare part B usually requires you to pay a monthly premium, it's an optional plan.
When Can I Join a Medicare Program?
If you're currently under the age of 65, you can enroll directly into a Medicare plan during your initial enrollment period, which starts 3 months before you turn 65 and ends 3 months after your 65th birthday.
But if you're already over the age of 65, and you're looking to join a Medicare program, you can enroll during the open enrollment period, which is every year from October 15th - December 7th. When you enroll during this time, your coverage starts January 1st of the following year.
How Do I Enroll In Medicare?
You can apply for Medicare directly online at Medicare's Government Website. Simply answer some questions and find out exactly what you're eligible for. As we mentioned, you will automatically be enrolled in Part A when you join.
Medicare Savings Programs For Low-Income Seniors
Medicare offers a lot of help for seniors, but it does come with some fees and payments, such as deductibles, co-payments, etc. But if you meet certain criteria, you may be eligible for Medicare Savings Programs (MSPs), which are programs to help you pay for some of these out-of-pocket expenses that come with Medicare. Here are the 3 main MSPs:
- Qualified Medicare Beneficiary (QMB): This helps pay for Medicare's Part A and B premiums. With this program, you shouldn't have to pay any medical bills when visiting a doctor or hospital, as long as it's within your Medicare Advantage Plan's network.
- Specified Low-income Medicare Beneficiary (SLMB): This program is specifically for Medicare Part B premiums.
- Qualifying Individual (QI) Program: The QI program also pays for Part B premiums.
If you enroll in one of the above MSPs, you will also automatically become a member of the Extra Help program that focuses on paying for some, or even all of the costs associated with Part D Medicare (prescription drug coverage).
How Do I Qualify For an MSP In 2023?
To join an MSP program, you must meet a certain income criteria to show that you need financial help with your Medicare expenses. Luckily, if you're on Social Security, you're likely to meet this criteria. Here are the monthly income limits for each program mentioned above:
- QMB: $1,235 for a single person. $1,663 for a married couple.
- SLMB: $1,478 for a single person. $1,992 for a married couple.
- QI: $1,660 for a single person. $2,239 for a married couple.
Remember That FREE PHONE we Mentioned?
When you are in retirement, chances are you will look at cutting as many extra costs as possible. Items like your WiFi and cell service bills can eat up a good chunk of your retirement. Yet in this day and age they are so important for many people to stay connected with families and friends. So are there any ways out there that can help you save money on your phone and mobile data plan? How about EASY Wireless? EASY Wireless is an established provider with a 20-year history of offering reliable communication services to thousands of satisfied wireless customers. The company has been helping Americans stay connected through two government assistance programs: Lifeline and Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). When you qualify for either of these programs, you will have the chance to get a FREE data plan and even a FREE smartphone!
What are Lifeline and the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP)?
Lifeline is a government program designed to make phone and internet connection more affordable for eligible low-income individuals and families, including seniors with a fixed-income. It offers a subsidy that reduces monthly costs for phone services. The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), on the other hand, aims to provide affordable internet access, helping eligible households overcome financial barriers to connectivity.
Using Other Assistance programs for Lifeline and ACP with EASY Wireless
An easy way to qualify for these programs is if you're already on a different government program. If you are, you will have the chance to receive the following benefits.
EASY Wireless Unlimited Plan
- FREE Unlimited Data
- FREE Unlimited Talk
- FREE Unlimited Text
- FREE Brand-new Smartphone
- FREE SIM Card Kit and Activation
- Choose to Keep Your Number or Get a New One
Are You Eligible For The ACP?
There are two ways you can qualify for ACP: either by your household income level or by taking part in certain government programs.
Qualify for ACP
You can qualify for the ACP if you participate in one of the following government assistance programs:
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA)
- Veterans and Survivors Pension Benefit
- Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance
- Tribal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (Tribal TANF)
- Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations
- Tribal Head Start
- Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)
- National School Lunch Program (NSLP)
- Pell Grant Awards
If you haven't taken part in one of these programs, you can also qualify with your income level.
Do I Qualify For Lifeline?
The eligibility criteria for Lifeline service is similar to ACP. You can qualify if you or a member of your household has participated in one of the following support programs:
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
Federal Public Housing Assistance
Supplemental Security Income
Veterans and Survivors Pension Benefit
Certain Tribal Programs
You may also qualify if your household income is at 135% or less than the federal poverty guidelines. Visit the Lifeline website for more information
How do I Get My FREE GOVERNMENT PHONE?
When you come to one of EASY Wireless's retail stores, our customer service agent will help you apply for the benefits.
You will first have to provide identity proof with a government-issued ID. After that's done, you can confirm your participation in one of the qualifying programs or your household income amount.
EASY Wireless accepts the following ID for proof of identity:
U.S. Driver License
Certificate of U.S. Citizenship
Certificate of Naturalization
U.S. Government, State or Tribal issued-ID
U.S. Military ID cards
Permanent Resident Cards
Permanent Resident Alien Cards
You can show the following documents to prove that you are taking part in a government:
Statement of benefits from a qualifying Program.
Notice letter of participation, such as an award letter
Program participation documents, such as a screenshot from an online account.
In order to show income, you can provide any of the following proofs:
Copy of your State or Federal income tax return.
Three months' worth of current pay stubs.
Veterans Administration or SSI benefits letter.
A divorce decree or child support document that states income.
Retirement or pension statement.
To see if you qualify for ACP, you'll need to use the National Verifier process. Since we understand that the National Verifier can be a bit confusing, our in-store agents are available to assist you. Just sit back and wait for confirmation.
You'll be able to connect to the Internet right away and stay in touch with your loved ones. We can't wait to see you and help you get connected!
Need More Than Just One Line of Service or an Additional Phone?
EASY Wireless is a full-service cellular store that cares about all of your communication needs. We have a wide range of pre-paid plans for every budget and usage requirement. We also offer a selection of brand-name phones that combine quality, reliability, and the latest technology.
Not only that – but we also provide an array of amazing accessories to enhance your mobile experience. At EASY Wireless, we're dedicated to delivering exceptional service and ensuring you find the perfect plan, phone, and accessories to suit your lifestyle and preferences.
Visit us for all your cell phone and wireless service needs today!