Seniors with limited income will be hard-pressed to keep up with utility bills this year, having to quickly adjust from the high cooling costs of the record-breaking temperatures this summer to increased heating costs in the coming winter months. To help meet these needs, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently announced the release of $101 million in emergency funding for eligible low-income homeowners and renters.
Older adults can use BenefitsCheckUp (www.benefitscheckup.org), a free online screening service of the National Council on Aging (NCOA), to learn if they are eligible for these and other basic benefits.
“With everything else going on in the economy, worrying about being able to keep warm this winter should not be a concern for our nation’s seniors”
Many older adults may be unaware of federal programs such as the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) that offers financial assistance for home energy needs to families or individuals who qualify. LIHEAP is available in all 50 states and the District of Columbia (each state may refer to the program by a different name). Seniors should use BenefitsCheckUp to search for energy assistance programs in their state. BenefitsCheckUp helps seniors determine eligibility for LIHEAP and other benefits programs such as savings on food, prescription drugs, and other healthcare needs. It is as simple as completing an online questionnaire at www.benefitscheckup.org.
“With everything else going on in the economy, worrying about being able to keep warm this winter should not be a concern for our nation’s seniors,” said Stuart Spector, senior vice president at NCOA. “BenefitsCheckUp is a valuable resource that helps seniors and their families find benefits programs for which they are eligible, such as LIHEAP, to take the burden off affording basic necessities.”
In addition to using BenefitsCheckUp, homeowners and renters can follow these simple tips from the U.S. Department of Energy to save energy and money:
- Change your lights to energy-saving compact florescent lights
- Ensure exterior doors are properly sealed
- Turn off the power to home electronics when the equipment is not in use (TVs and DVDs in standby mode still use several watts of power)
- Wash only full loads of dishes and laundry
The National Council on Aging is a nonprofit service and advocacy organization headquartered in Washington, DC. NCOA is a national voice for older Americans—especially those who are vulnerable and disadvantaged—and the community organizations that serve them. It brings together nonprofit organizations, businesses, and government to develop creative solutions that improve the lives of all older adults. NCOA works with thousands of organizations across the country to help seniors find jobs and benefits, improve their health, live independently and remain active in their communities. For more information, please visit www.ncoa.org.
Developed and maintained by the National Council on Aging (NCOA), BenefitsCheckUp is the nation's most comprehensive Web-based service to screen for benefits programs for seniors with limited income and resources. It includes almost 2,000 public and private benefits programs from all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Since 2001, more than 2.5 million people have used the service, identifying benefits valued at more than $8.9 billion. For more information, visit www.benefitscheckup.org