Preparing for all possibilities in your later years can seem daunting. While most people realize the importance of saving for retirement and many others take the time to engage in estate planning and even record wishes for eventual funeral arrangements, your daily tasks and needs in your retirement years don’t always correspond to the path you plan. One place you can turn to with questions or concerns in later years is government resources.
1. U.S. Administration on Aging
A division of the federal Department of Health and Human Services, the Administration on Aging provides data, educational resources, and programs relevant to seniors and caregivers. Via the Administration’s website, you can find information on long-term care, elder justice, and wellness programs. Many individuals who are aged 55 and older aren’t just planning for their own retirement; they might also be acting as caregivers for older parents. The AOA provides access to community-based and home services, including adult day care services, that can help younger seniors who are still working to care for aging parents.
While we all hope for strength and health in old age, no one can predict what our bodies might hold for the future. Disability.gov provides a gateway to a range of programs for individuals of all ages who have found themselves with a disability. Discover information about healthcare, housing, community programs, and living an enjoyable retirement despite disabilities.
3. National Center for Elder Abuse
Younger seniors who are helping older relatives might be dealing with nursing homes or in-home care solutions. Such care should center on making your older relative comfortable and happy through his or her remaining years, but elder abuse is an unfortunate circumstance faced by many. The National Center for Elder Abuse provides education and resources to help you combat abuse. Consider getting your entire family involved in such education now to help protect yourself and your loved ones in the future.
4. NIH Senior Health
One of the best ways to positively impact your golden years is to protect your health as you age. NIH Senior Health, a joint effort from a number of federal agencies, is an online health resource for seniors. You’ll find articles on relevant topics including bone and joint health, memory, and age-related diseases. The site includes training videos, stories from fellow seniors, and downloadable kits to get you started on a long-term health journey.
5. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program
A key to staying healthy throughout your entire life is getting consistent good nutrition. With rising food prices, seniors on a fixed income often find it difficult to access high-quality and fresh foods. If mobility challenges restrict when and where you can shop, getting a good deal on food can be even more difficult. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, provides a range of government benefits to assist individuals on a fixed income with access to nutrition. The SNAP website provides details about these benefits as well as nutritional tips.
6. National Council on Aging
The National Council on Aging provides education and programs for seniors and seeks to help all older Americans reach financial and health stability. The website is full of resources, including an economic section that covers senior benefits, building and using home equity, and managing careers and money in later years. The site provides templates and articles to help you accomplish short-term and long-term goals, including saving for retirement, engaging in late-life travel, and paying for burial or cremation expenses through a professional provider such as Neptune Society.
7. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid
By age 65, most American seniors are eligible for health insurance coverage under Medicare, but you could become eligible earlier depending on your circumstances. You might also be eligible for secondary Medicaid coverage that can help you cover expenses not paid for by Medicare. To find out more about various federal insurance coverage options, including plans that pay for hospital stays, doctor’s visits, medical equipment, and prescription drugs, check out the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid website.
8. Veterans Administration
Seniors with past service in the U.S. military have access to a wide range of benefits, including health, housing, education, and burial benefits. Unfortunately, the VA doesn’t always do a good job of publicizing each of these benefits, so seniors who may qualify should take time to research programs the Veterans Administration offers.
9. Social Security Administration
The website for the Social Security Administration is a tool every senior approaching retirement age — or already of retirement age — should become familiar with. You can apply for benefits online, check the status of your application, and manage your benefits via the SSA web portal. Setting up and managing options such as direct deposit helps you gain access to your benefits faster.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development might not seem like a resource for seniors, but even if you already own a home HUD programs could be of assistance. The website connects you with programs to help reduce or modify mortgage payments should you face financial hardship, provides information for buying or renting affordable residential space, and walks you through options such as a reverse mortgage.
Starting online, you can often find valuable government resources for seniors. All of the sites in our list provide recommendations for other government sites and programs, making it possible to find information for even the most specialized needs.