Grandparents who are raising their grandchildren in “grandfamilies” have a hard time making ends meet. The same holds true for relatives like aunts and uncles who are raising others’ children.
There is good news, though. Many government programs could help some grandfamilies pay their bills. These are called “public benefits” programs. Some programs could help grandfamilies pay for food and electricity. Other programs could help these families pay other monthly expenses. Some programs could provide you with health insurance and help you pay the premiums.
Do these programs come as a surprise to you? You’re not alone. Many grandparents do not know about public benefits programs or how to apply for help. Have you tried to get help and had no luck? Join the club. Sometimes, grandparents get the wrong information when they ask about programs that could help them raise their grandchildren.
The AARP Foundation wants to help families like yours. The Foundation’s Benefits Outreach Program has a new online tool. It’s called Benefits QuickLINK. This tool can help adults who are 50+ find out if they or the children in their care qualify for any of the 15 benefits included in the tool.
Benefits QuickLINK is free. It is easy to use. And it is fast. It will take you only 20 minutes to use the tool. This could be the most important 20 minutes you’ve ever spent on a computer! The tool could connect you with the help you need to raise your grandchildren.
You can use Benefits QuickLINK on any computer connected to the Internet. First, log on to www.aarp.org/quicklink. Then, answer a few simple questions. Benefits QuickLINK will give you information about each public benefit for which you or your children or grandchildren may qualify. You may be able to download an application for a program right on the spot. You might also be able to apply for benefits online.
Benefits for Adults
Visit Benefits QuickLINK (www.aarp.org/quicklink) to see if you qualify for any of these 10 benefits programs. All of these programs help older people who have a limited income.
- Medicare Savings Programs — Helps cover Medicare costs.
- Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage — Helps pay for prescription drugs.
- Medicare Rx Extra Help — Helps cover the costs of Medicare drug coverage.
- State Prescription Drug Assistance Programs — Helps pay for prescription drugs.
- Medicaid for Aged, Blind, and Disabled — Provides health insurance to older people and people with disabilities.
- Food Stamp Program — Helps to pay food bills.
- Low Income Home Energy Assistance (LIHEAP) — Helps to pay heating and cooling bills.
- State Property Tax Relief/Rebates — Reduces property tax bills.
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI) — Provides a monthly income to people who have little money and don’t own many things.
- Telephone Assistance (Link-Up and Lifeline) — Offers discounts for telephone service.
Benefits for Children
Benefit QuickLINK also has a special section that focuses on benefits for, or related to children. Visit this section to find out whether the children you are raising will qualify for benefits from these five programs.
- Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) — Provides tax credits to workers with low incomes who are raising children.
- Medicaid for Children — Provides health insurance for children.
- State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP — Offers medical and dental health insurance to children under 18.
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for Children — Provides a monthly income to children under 18 if they are blind or have a serious disability.
- TANF Child-Only Grant — Provides assistance to children with low incomes.
Spread the Word about QuickLINK
The AARP Foundation is working hard to spread the word about Benefits QuickLINK. Can you help? Contact the Benefits Outreach Program at firstname.lastname@example.org or the Grandparent Information Center (GIC) at email@example.com.