Article Series

Seniors E-Guide: Resources For Low to Moderate Income Seniors

Article submitted by Seniors Resource and Seniors Staff –
Visit websites for more information: and

Note: The content below is an excerpt from the “Seniors E-Guide Questions to Ask Series:
on Resources for Low to Moderate Income Seniors” The complete publication along with other resources can be found on

There are a variety of programs available to help low-income seniors in the United States. These programs are available from:

  • Local cities and counties in which a senior resides
  • State programs in which a senior resides
  • Federal programs administered through states
  • Non-profit organizations
  • Faith-based organizations

Locating and applying for programs to assist low-income seniors can be a challenge. The Seniors E-Guide lists some of the programs and explains how to find additional programs and resources. Common categories of resources for low to moderate income older adults and seniors are:

  • Housing - Subsidized and Affordable Housing
  • Health Services – Medicare, Medicaid and PACE
  • Federal Programs - Medicare, Medicaid, PACE, SCSEP and Others
  • Food Resources – Food Banks, Meals at Home and Congregate Meals
  • Job Opportunities - SCSEP and Others
  • Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid

Note that the above topics are reviewed at – look for the publication titled:
“Resources for Low to Moderate Income Independent Seniors”

Two of the most important steps in regard to researching resources for low to moderate income senior are age and income limitations. Below is a brief review taken from the Seniors E-Guide publication:

  • Age Guidelines
    Age guidelines that define a “senior” may also define eligibility for certain “low income senior programs.” These age guidelines vary from organization and government entity. A common age requirement is 65 years old however; there are variations depending on the services offered and who is offering the assistance.
  • Subsidized Senior Housing
    For example some “subsidized senior housing” classified as being for “seniors,” may accept residents at 62 years of age. In addition, some senior housing locations may officially accept people at age 65 but have lower age requirements for the disabled older adult.
  • Affordable Housing if You are Younger than 62
    In regard to affordable housing, if you are younger than 62, you also have the option of finding non-age qualifying HUD rental assistance programs. A resource for subsidized and affordable housing is the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s website most often referenced by its acronym - “HUD”. The HUD website has many valuable online resources such as the ability to search by state and type of subsidized housing. Visit the HUD website and learn more -
  • Federal Guidelines of a Low Income Senior
    According to Federal guidelines, a “Low-Income” senior is an individual who is at least 60 years old and their household income is not more than 185% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. The Assistant Secretary publishes these guidelines each year for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. Why is this important to know? Many organizations use this as a means test for eligibility for their programs. The income of many older adults, however, exceeds the official poverty line, which in today’s economy, is inadequate to live on. Resources exist but finding them takes work.
  • Note: There are housing solutions for seniors with incomes as low as $20 - $30,000/year (and lower) and also affordable housing options for seniors with incomes up to $38 - $40,000/year. In retirement, many people don’t consider $38 - $40,000/year the popular definition of poor but in today’s economy it is not much to live on once healthcare needs are taken into consideration.
  • Many of the state and federal programs have strict guidelines for applying to and remaining on programs that assist low-income seniors. Be sure to understand these rules and follow them exactly.
  • Record the names and contact information of people you with whom you speak when going through the application process. If you don’t already have one, start a finances file and maintain the related income and aid application records in order.
  • Once accepted into a program, keep copies of your paperwork and ongoing correspondence in case any questions arise. It is also important to stay familiar with the program’s guidelines that made you eligible in the beginning, so that you do not inadvertently lose the assistance.
  • Link to 2010 U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Poverty Guidelines for more details.

Note that additional information can be found on the website.

© 2011, All Rights Reserved by Seniors Resource and Seniors