The annual campaign connects older adults with vital benefits to help cover basic expenses.
The National Council on Aging (NCOA), the national voice for every person’s right to age well, announces its 2023 Boost Your Budget Week campaign, held April 10 to 14. Throughout the week, community organizations across the country will help older adults enroll in federal, state, and local benefits programs that can help bridge the widening gap between their income and the basic costs of living.
Now more than ever, these efforts are vital. According to the most recent U.S. Census Bureau data, adults age 65 and over are the only age group to have experienced increasing rates of poverty: up from 8.9% in 2020 to 10.3% in 2021. And the results are sobering: today, 1 million more older adults lack sufficient resources to make ends meet.
“We now have almost 6 million older adults who cannot age with dignity,” said Ramsey Alwin, NCOA’s President and CEO. “This is a clear indication that our nation’s support programs are not meeting today’s realities. Boost Your Budget Week is one tool that can help struggling older adults defray their high costs of living.”
New research bears this out. UMass Boston’s Elder Index, which measures the minimum income for covering basic living expenses for older adults, shows that a single adult renter age 65 or over in the United States needs an average of $2,410 per month to pay housing, health care, food, and transportation costs. Compared to the average monthly Social Security benefit of just under $1,700, the math simply does not add up.
Older adults and their caregivers can use NCOA’s free, confidential online tool available English and Spanish: BenefitsCheckUp.org and BuscaBeneficios.org to see what benefits they might be eligible for depending on their zip code. Enter basic information and receive a personalized report of programs that can help them pay for food, medicine, utilities, and other daily needs. Individuals who have additional questions and need assistance in applying for benefits can call a toll-free helpline, 1-800-794-6559, Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. EST.
Dozens of organizations nationwide implement the Boost Your Budget campaign in rural and urban communities serving Black, Hispanic/Latino, Asian, and LGBTQ+ older adults with limited incomes. These local agencies are part of NCOA’s national network of Benefits Enrollment Centers, funded through the U.S. Administration for Community Living (ACL).
“Older adults leave $30 billion in benefits on the table every year because they don’t apply for those programs. That extra money can make a huge difference for their financial security,” said Josh Hodges, NCOA’s Chief Customer Officer.
This project is supported, in part, by grant #90MINC0002-02-02 from the U.S. Administration on Community Living (ACL), Department of Health and Human Services. Points of view or opinions do not, therefore, necessarily represent official Administration for Community Living policy.
The National Council on Aging (NCOA) is the national voice for every person’s right to age well. We believe that how we age should not be determined by gender, color, sexuality, income, or zip code. Working with thousands of national and local partners, we provide resources, tools, best practices, and advocacy to ensure every person can age with health and financial security. Founded in 1950, we are the oldest national organization focused on older adults. Learn more at www.ncoa.org and @NCOAging.
— Source: NCOA