65-Plus? Learn About the Government Benefits Available to You

FHCA is celebrating Older Americans Month! Which is as good a time as any to learn about the benefits you could be receiving from government programs such as Medicare, Social Security, and the Older Americans Act. Don’t be afraid to reach out and use the tools the government has in place to help you.

Find the Medicare Plan That’s Right for You

If you are age 65 or older, Medicare can work to your advantage. Established to help older adults pay their medical expenses, Medicare is one of the largest group health plans in the world. If you are still covered by a group health plan or through a spouse, employer, retiree, union, or private plan, Medicare might not be the right choice for you right now.

Medicare Part A is hospital insurance, Part B is medical insurance, and Part D is outpatient prescription drug insurance. Part C allows for private health insurance companies to provide benefits through Medicare Advantage plans. Look over all your options before choosing the plan that’s right for you, and re-evaluate your plan during open enrollment in the fall.

Social Security – Have You Reached Your Full Retirement Age?

Social Security helps older Americans who have been in the workforce or who become disabled, as well as families where a spouse or parent has died. Approximately 167 million people work and pay Social Security taxes, while 59 million receive monthly Social Security benefits. The system’s resources are used to benefit people who have already retired, people who are disabled, survivors of workers who have died, and dependents of beneficiaries.

If you chose to retire when you reach your full retirement age, you will get your full benefit amount, but the amount will be reduced if you retire before reaching full retirement age. If you were born between 1943 and 1960, the age at which your full retirement benefits are payable increases gradually to 67. If you were born 1950 or earlier, you are already eligible for your full Social Security benefit. Use the Social Security Full Retirement Age Chart to help you. Delaying retirement may increase your benefits, while early retirement may decrease them.

Could The Older Americans Act Help You?

Enacted in 1965 in response to concerns about lack of community social services for the elderly, the Older Americans Act (OAA) keeps elders as independent as possible by supporting home and community-based services such as nutrition programs, transportation, legal services, elder abuse prevention, and caregiver support.

Older Americans Act benefits are available to people age 60 and older, focusing on those with the greatest social or economic need. One of the most helpful aspects of the Act’s is the Nutrition Program. Programs such as Meals On Wheels are part of the Nutrition Program, helping to reduce hunger among older people. The Nutrition Program benefits low income, minority, rural, and limited English-speaking older individuals, as well as those at risk of institutional care.

Take Advantage of Your Benefits

If you are 65 or older and have not discovered all the benefits you could be receiving from Medicare, Social Security, or the Older Americans Act, this month’s celebration of Older Americans Month is a great time to talk to a representative from one of these programs. Government programs are there to help, so let them. Be proactive and find out what your government can do for you.