Are you missing out on benefits that you qualify for? They can be hard to keep track of when there are so many out there. There are benefits available for everything from your health to the food on your table, and they all have different eligibility requirements. Thankfully, there are tools out there that can help you keep track. One of our favorites is benefitscheckup.org.
What is My Benefits Checkup?
BenefitsCheckUp is a free tool offered by the National Council on Aging. They scan over 2,500 federal, state, and private benefits programs for eligibility standards to keep their tool up-to-date. When you visit benefitscheckup.org and click on “Find My Benefits,” you’ll get results for all the programs that you might be eligible for based on your:
- Birth year and month
- Monthly gross income (including your spouse, if applicable)
- Marital status
- Veteran status
- Race/ethnicity (optional)
Your report will reveal what programs you may be eligible for, which can include (but is not limited to):
- Adult daycare
- Adult education
- An Alliance for Accessible Hearing Care (AUDIENT)
- Donated Dental Services (DDS)
- Elderly Nutrition Program/Home delivered meals
- Foreclosure prevention
- HUD Public Housing or Section 8
- Legal assistance
- Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
- Medicare Savings Programs
- Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE)
- Retirement benefits
- Social Security
- State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP)
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
- Tax credits
- Transportation benefits
Who is the National Council on Aging?
The NCOA, or National Council on Aging, partners with governments, businesses, and nonprofit organizations to support aging adults. NCOA’s mission is to “improve the lives of millions of older adults, especially those who are struggling.” They accomplish this by finding ways to help seniors make more money, save more money, participate in healthy social programs, remain in their communities, and fight fraud, waste, and abuse.
How to Check my Health Benefits
You can check your health benefits online, but there are a few different ways to do that depending on what health benefits you have. If you have marketplace health insurance, go to healthcare.gov, then complete these steps:
- Log into your account
- Click on your name in the top right corner
- Select “My applications & coverage”
- Under “Your existing applications,” select your completed application
Once you get there, you’ll see a summary of your health benefits. If you need more information, you can also call your health insurance company.
How do I Check Medicare Status?
To check your Medicare enrollment status, visit Medicare.gov at this link. Enter your information, then click “continue.” You will need your Medicare card for your Medicare number. You won’t be able to continue until you’ve answered all the questions.
Check Medicare Eligibility Online
You can qualify for Medicare by:
To check your Medicare eligibility online, go to Medicare.gov at this link and complete the series of questions. It is important that you answer them accurately to find out if you are eligible.
When you’re done, you can click on the button that says “Eligibility & Premium Calculator Home” at the bottom, and then click on “Calculate my premium” to find out what your Part B premium will most likely be.
Check Medicaid Status Online
Checking your Medicaid status online isn’t quite as easy as Medicare because Medicaid is different in every state. Your state might have its own application portal where you can track the status of your application and find out more about your benefits. You can also visit your local Medicaid office (usually a Social Security building or another government office) or call to check your application status, but know that it could take a few weeks.
How do I Check Medicaid Eligibility?
Checking your Medicaid eligibility will be different in each state as well. Medicaid eligibility is based on your income and ability to pay for your healthcare services, but each state’s income limits are slightly different due to the cost of living and other factors. Check with your state’s page, here, to find out if you might be eligible.
How to Check my Financial Benefits
Checking your financial benefits is easy with today’s online tools. Health benefits aside, the major welfare benefits are TANF, SNAP, EITC, Supplemental Security Income, and housing assistance.
Social Security benefits can begin when you retire. To be eligible for Social Security retirement benefits, you must have worked for at least ten years. The longer you’ve worked, the higher your benefit can be. For example, if you wait until you are age 70 to retire, your benefit may be higher than if you retire at age 62.
If you don’t qualify for Social Security retirement benefits, you might instead qualify for SSI, or Social Security Income. To qualify for SSI, you must be either blind, disabled, or over the age of 65, and you must have limited income and resources. Qualifying for SSDI (Social Security Disability Income) is different. SSDI eligibility is based on means, severity, and work. That means you must have low income due to your disability/inability to work substantially, a severe disability, and must be incapable of working and earning a livable income. If you receive SSDI for at least 25 months, you may also qualify for Medicare (even if you re under 65).
What Tax Benefits do I Qualify for?
There are lots of different types of tax benefits out there. The best way to make sure you’re not missing out on any tax benefits is to meet with a tax accountant before you file each year. Retirees might qualify for the tax credit for the elderly and disabled. To qualify, you must be:
- Age 65 or older at the end of the tax year
- A legal U.S. citizen or resident alien (or married to one)
- Earning less than:
- $17,500 if single
- $20,000 if married but only one spouse qualifies
- $25,000 if married
- $12,500 if married but living and filing separately
How do I get Income Assistance Through TANF?
TANF stands for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. TANF is not a government handout. It promotes job preparation and job hunting, helps to reduce unprepared pregnancies, and encourages healthy marriages. TANF is both federal and state-based, similar to Medicaid.
The government has a TANF budget every year that is divided among the states. Each state then has the ability to determine how much each state is allowed to give out and can adjust the eligibility standards.
Check with your state’s Health and Human Services office to find out if you’re eligible. Many states have TANF applications built into their Medicaid applications, so you can apply for both programs at the same time.
Collecting Unemployment After Retirement
Some states have different requirements. For the most part, if you are not retired and lose your job after age 62, you can apply for unemployment. You may be able to receive Social Security and unemployment at the same time. However, if you are retired/over 65, you may not be able to collect unemployment. You’ll have to rely on your senior tax break and your Social Security retirement benefits instead.
Other Benefits you Might be Eligible for
Government assistance can extend far beyond healthcare and income. You may be eligible for meal assistance, free or low-cost housing, and more!
What Veterans Benefits am I Eligible for?
You can qualify for VA (Veteran’s Affairs) healthcare benefits as long as you served the full period for which you were called to active duty or at least 24 continuous months. If you served prior to September 7, 1980, the time period limit may not apply to you. It also may not apply if you were honorably discharged.
You can qualify for TRICARE if you are a uniformed or retired uniformed Service member or family member, a National Guard/Reserve member or family member, a survivor, a former spouse, a Medal of Honor recipient, or otherwise registered in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS).
You may also be able to qualify for disability compensation, memorial benefits, pension, home loans, education, job training, life insurance, and more.
What Housing Benefits am I Eligible for?
Public housing options tend to be a bit limited, so the eligibility standards can be strict. Eligibility depends not only on your income and citizenship status but also on whether you are elderly or disabled or if you have dependent kids. Eligibility can change based on where you live, so it’s best to contact your local PHA (Public Housing Agency) and fill out an application.
How do I Check Eligibility for SNAP Benefits?
SNAP eligibility depends on your location and household income. You must apply for SNAP in the state that you legally reside in. Use this website to find your local office (click on your state) to apply for SNAP.
Can I get Meals on Wheels?
Meals on Wheels operates through different local programs throughout the nation. Each programs’ eligibility requirements are slightly different, but for the most part, you will need to be homebound and over the age of 60 (some people under 60 may be able to qualify). Some people may be able to get Medicare Advantage plans that offer Medicare meal delivery services through Meals on Wheels.
How else can I Check my Benefits?
There are several ways to check on your current benefits and to see what you’re eligible for. We encourage anyone who is receiving benefits to check with a licensed agent who understands health insurance programs. You can also visit your local Social Security or other government offices to ask about benefits in person.
We also recommend that you find a great lawyer and a great accountant. Benefitscheckup.org can tell you if you might qualify for free or low-cost legal assistance.
These websites offer benefits checks::
Why Should I use a Licensed Agent?
Using a licensed agent to check your benefits and find out what you’re eligible for can prove to be extremely useful. Licensed agents are often familiar with the rules and regulations set in place by both the federal government and your state. Additionally, they are often able to help walk you through the application process for benefits.
We have licensed agents available who can sell Medicare Advantage, Medicare Supplements, Medicare Part D, and sometimes more. To get started, click here or call 833-438-3676.