Every year as we get older, we need a little more help with things. Federal grants can meet a senior's need for nutrition, education, and housing. And a multitude of private foundations offer specialized grants for organizations working with seniors to support their education, good health, affordable housing, and safety.
Yet, the number of senior grants that individual seniors can apply for are few and far between. So, we've compiled some of the best senior grants here to help you cut through the red tape and get the help you need.
Federal Grant Programs to Help the Elderly
Several departments of the US government offer national grants for a variety of different purposes. You can find a list of federal grants for senior citizens on Federal Grants Wire.
Some of these federal grant programs include:
Capital Assistance Program for Elderly Persons and Persons With Disabilities
The Capital Assistance Program for Elderly Persons and Persons with Disabilities provides funds for the transportation needs of elderly persons in areas where public transportation services are not available or appropriate. To apply, you should contact your state's Department of Transportation to see what information you need to send in.
The Foster Grandparent Program
AmeriCorps' Foster Grandparent Program is designed to help seniors get involved with volunteering who have limited incomes. Funds are available to support volunteer programs that provide personalized service to children with exceptional or special needs.
If you become a volunteer, you'll receive a small stipend and be able to help support the people in your community. To apply, use AmeriCorps' pathfinder tool to search for available opportunities in your area.
Mortgage Insurance for Rental Housing for the Elderly
Mortgage Insurance for Rental Housing for the Elderly is a US HUD program that helps provides quality rental housing for the elderly by insuring mortgage loans. Funds are available for programs which insure mortgage lenders against loss and which increase how many rental housing facilities are available to seniors.
Keep in mind that this grant is geared towards nonprofits who intend to build new rental housing, rather than for individual people to apply to be placed in available rental properties.
The Nutrition Services Incentive Program
The Administration for Community Living awards grants at the state level for state governments to help support nutrition services for their citizens that are 60+ years old. To benefit from the nutrition program that sends meals to your home, you can use the government's Eldercare Locator to find nutrition sites in your area.
Retired and Senior Volunteer Program
Another AmeriCorps volunteer program that can give you a small stipend for volunteering is the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program. So long as you're 55+ years old, you can apply to any local openings in your area. Use the AmeriCorps Senior Pathfinder tool to narrow down those opportunities.
Grants for Low-Income Seniors
Trying to stretch your retirement and social security over the last few decades of your life can feel like you're working a math problem and the numbers just won't add up right. However, there are a few grants you can turn to if you're struggling with low income.
USDA Repair Grants
The United States Department of Agriculture provides loans and grants to homeowners for home repair in rural areas who have an annual income that falls below 50% of the area's average annual income. If you're 62 and older, you can apply for grants instead of loans (which is really the secret sauce because grants don't have to be paid back as long as you stay in the house for three years after receiving it).
Each state's requirements and application process looks different, so check with your state's Department of Agriculture for more information.
Although FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) feels like a young person's service, it's actually available to anyone who falls within a certain income range. Yes, that includes people 65+. When you fill out your FAFSA application before the summer deadline, you'll be sent a list of both loans and grants that the government's offering you to help with school tuition.
Extra Help for Medications
Low-income seniors with Medicare benefits may be eligible for help with prescription medication costs through the Social Security Administration. Though not a onetime grant, the Medicare Part D Extra Help Program can save you a substantial amount of money in annual medical costs.
To apply, make sure you've got your bank statements, tax returns, retirement account balances, and any pension statements at the ready.
Senior Grants for Elderly Care
Caregivers may be eligible to receive money in return for caring for an elderly loved one via the Cash and Counseling Program, which pays people who care for their loved ones instead of using that money to send over professional caregivers. Other grants for elderly care are generally given to organizations - not to individual caregivers.
There are several eligibility requirements, and they vary by state, but typically you have to be low income with very few assets to be able to apply.
State Government Sponsored Free Money for Seniors
You can apply to receive grant money from different states as well. Often, the states get this money from the federal government and private organizations. For example, in New York and some other states, you can apply for grant assistance for prescription costs through the Elderly Pharmaceutical Insurance Coverage Program.
Check your state government's website or your state's Department of Social Services to see what options might be available.
Groups can Apply for Grants That Support Seniors
Many foundations give back to organizations that support senior wellness with monetary grants. Unfortunately for individuals, this is the most common type of senior grant out there, which adds another hurdle for seniors looking for assistance.
A few examples of foundations that provide grants include:
- The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, Inc. provides a significant number of grants to groups that support and care for older adults. If your organization is interested in applying, submit a letter of inquiry and follow the submission process.
- The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation aims to improve health for all Americans; however, the organization awards a significant number of grants to organizations, universities, and other tax-exempt entities for elderly care.
- The AARP Foundation provides grants to nonprofits with proposals to assist low-income elderly people with housing, food, income, and personal contacts with family and community. Several times a year, the foundation issues a request for proposals; interested organizations can apply for a grant online.
Who Can I Contact to Find Out About Grants in My Area?
At the end of the day, locating grants and services from organizations that received grant money is full of hurdles and hoops. Despite having every ability to make these processes as easy as possible thanks to the internet, they're harder to find than ever. So, if you can't locate the services you need or just want to hear about what might possibly be in your area, here are some places you can go to first.
- Your state's Department of Health and Human Services - They're a great first stop for you to start getting contacts and learning about state-run services that are available to you.
- Leadership at local religious institutions - Often, religious groups partner with local nonprofits in their area, so they might know of groups you can get into contact with.
- Nursing Home and Senior Living Staff Members - Talk to the people who work with seniors every day. They might know about groups and grants you've never heard of.
You Deserve to Enjoy Every Stage of Your Life
Getting older comes with its own challenges, and sometimes we need a little help to make ends meet or taking care of ourselves. But you deserve to enjoy every stage of your life, whether you've got millions of dollars in retirement and the healthiest body around or not. While there aren't too many grants that individual seniors can apply for right now, there are many groups that get grants to help seniors in need. So, directly or indirectly, there are a ton of resources out there to help you live the best quality life.