Aiming to accumulate enough money that would allow us to live a comfortable life after retirement
should be a goal for all of us. But in reality, this goal is beyond many people's reach.
Yet you need not panic. Across the U.S., there are plenty of resources and assistance available in different states that can help retirees bridge the gap between the amount of savings they end up retiring with and their actual retirement needs.
For example, in the state of Oklahoma, the OKDHS Community Living, Aging and Protective Services Division (formerly known as Aging Services Division) is responsible for various forms of assistance programs that can help retirees alleviate financial burdens and maintain a quality independent.
Additionally, there are 11 Area Agencies on Aging (AAA) that work with the OKDHS Community Living, Aging and Protective Services Division to provide support locally. In this blog, we will walk you through these assistance programs that are currently available in the state.
ADvantage Waiver Program
Seniors who are 65 or older may be eligible for the ADvantage Waiver Program, a home and community- based assistance for aging residents in Oklahoma to receive nursing facility level of care at home, or in the preferred residential care facilities.
Services of the ADvantage program include personal care, adult day services, home delivered meals, home modifications, prescription drugs and more.
Meals and nutrition education
- Home-delivered Meals: Eligible seniors can enjoy meals at their own homes. Depending on your age, income and medical status, you may apply by qualifying for either Older Americans Act or ADvantage.
- Meal preparation support: The ADvantage Waiver program and the State Plan Personal Care program offered assistance from Personal Care Attendants in preparing meals in your home.
- Nutrition education: If you suffer from chronic illness or simply would like to have a healthier diet, you may reach out to your local area agency to get free advice from a registered dietician.
Seniors who are 60 or older may access free legal services that serve their economic or social needs. Local AAAs provide legal support on a diverse range of areas, including elder abuse, end-of-life healthcare issues, property and estate issues, guardianship and more.
When you age, even making simple trip to medical appointments or grocery stores can be challenging. This is especially so if you have certain illnesses or conditions that require you to have special arrangements when traveling.
Local AAAs provide transportation services to Oklahomans who are 60 or older. If you need more information about the available transportation in your neighborhood, just call their hotline 1-800-211-2116 or contacting your local AAA.
If you an older adult who require personal care services at home, including daily tasks such as bathing, toileting and other advanced tasks, try contact your local AAA to ask about in-home assistance services that are available in your region.
Assisted Living program allow ADvantage waiver Members to access personal care and supportive services. These services include meals, medication management, personal care and more. In addition, the program allows you to live in a residential facility with professional care services provided on a as-needed basis.
ADvantage members can request these services through their ADvantage Case Manager, though they will have to pay for the rent or board themselves. The good news is that the cost is no more than 90 percent of the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Federal Benefit Rate and will cover rent, three meals and snacks every day.
If you have disabilities or limited resources or income, and are under the pressure of choosing between prescriptions and other expenses each month, you can apply for Low Income Subsidy (LIS) (or Extra Help) or Medicare Savings Program to get additional support for medical expenses on top of Medicare.
Eligibility varies on marital status, income limit, and resources. For more details, contact your local Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act (MIPPA) coordinator.
Family Caregiver Support (Respite services)
As you age, you may find yourself feeling worn out more frequently. This is especially true for those who are primary caregivers themselves
Whether you are taking care of your loved ones or keeping an eye on young children, you may need a break from time to time to get yourself recharged. The Oklahoma department of human services manages two respite programs that can meet such needs.
National Family Caregiver Support Program (NFCSP)
Grandparents or other relatives age 55 or older raising a child can apply for the NFCSP through local AAAs, regardless of your income levels. You may choose to have the respite care provided in your home, someone else's home or care center.
Alternatively, if you are taking care of an eligible individual age 60 or older as a primary caregiver, you may also get the much needed rest through the program. For additional information and eligibility requirements, contact your local AAA.
Lifespan Respite Grant Program
As a supplement to the NFCSP, grandparents or relatives under the age of 55 raising a child have the option to apply for respite vouchers through the Lifespan Respite Grant Program. Such vouchers can be used to a third party to temporarily care for your loved ones.
Similar to the NFCSP, there's no income requirements and you can also receive vouchers if you are a primary caregiver who is taking care of an eligible individual age 59 or younger. You have the option to use the respite vouchers to pay one of your family members, friend, or anyone that is age 18 or older, has a social security number and card.
Contact Sooner SUCCESS to get more information about eligibility requirements and application process.
If you qualify for some of the assistance mentioned above, you may be eligible for two more federal-funded communications programs that can help enhance the quality of life.
The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP)
The ACP is a federal program that enables low income seniors to access affordable high-quality phone and internet connection. If your family income is at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines, or any family member participates in government assistance programs like SNAP or WIC, your family will be eligible families for the benefit.
The Lifeline Program
Similar as ACP, Lifeline provides discounted mobile service to low-income older adults. If your or your family income is at or below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines, or you participate in government assistance programs like SSI, SNAP and Medicaid, you will qualify for the program.
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