Seniors are missing out on an estimated $20 billion in aid to help with food, medicine and heating, according to a National Council on Aging study released Tuesday in conjunction with the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging.
“Millions of low-income Americans who are struggling to make ends meet are missing out on billions of dollars of services and benefits that can help them,” said James Firman, president and CEO of NCOA. “As a result, we are launching a national campaign to educate older adults about the support that is available—and the steps they need to take to get signed up.”
The campaign, You Gave, Now Save, directs seniors to two resources that can assist seniors identify potential benefits: first, NCOA’s BenefitsCheckUp and second, an Administration on Aging service, The Eldercare Locator.
According to the NCOA study, in 2011 alone, BenefitsCheckUp screenings identified more than $1.2 billion in benefits users are eligible to receive but are not getting. The total amounts to 71% of BenefitsCheckUp users who were previously missing out on benefits.
Commonly missed benefits include the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which helps alleviate hunger; Medicare and Medicaid; the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP); and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
Written by Elizabeth Ecker