A Caregiver’s Guide to Government Benefits for Seniors Over 65

Learn about government assistance programs available for seniors and their caregivers.

January 15, 2024

3 min read

Caregiver reviewing resources for government benefits for Seniors

Caring for aging parents can be stressful, demanding and exhausting, especially as you become more responsible for their well-being. This is particularly true when a caregiver takes on most of these duties with little or no support from siblings or other family members.

Fortunately, there are many government programs for the elderly to help ease the challenges of caring for your parent.

Determining what benefits and programs your family member qualifies for – and which of those will be most helpful for their situation – can seem like a daunting task. With so many resources spread out across so many government agencies and websites, it can be hard to know where to begin.

To make it easier to find and navigate these resources, we’ve made a list of some of the most helpful government programs and benefits for older adults and their caregivers.

Getting started

The following websites are all great resources for caregivers of elderly parents. They cover a range of general benefits as well as links to programs that offer assistance on topics like transportation, health care, financial support, legal services and more.

  • Benefits.gov has a helpful, user-friendly BenefitsCheckUp tool that connects you to a comprehensive range of federal, state and local senior assistance programs across different government agencies. This lets you use one website to search for the specific resources you’re looking for across all levels of government.
  • Eldercare Locator is another great resource that connects you to everything from local senior transportation programs and caregiver support to legal services and health programs.

Transportation programs

Eldercare Locator connects seniors to local transportation options based on their ZIP code. They also have information on senior transportation services like Rides in Sight and the National Aging and Disability Transportation Center (NADTC).

Most states, counties, cities and towns provide a number of government-run or volunteer transportation services for older adults. Visit your state’s official website to see what programs are available nearby.

Medical and health programs

Health care needs increase as people get older, with seniors requiring more preventive screenings, more visits to medical specialists, and treatments for chronic conditions such as diabetes and heart disease. These programs can help you make informed decisions about your parent’s medical care while also alleviating the costs of their treatments and medications.

  • Healthfinder.gov provides information on many preventive health services for older adults, such as screenings and vaccines.
  • Medicare helps adults 65 and older cover medical expenses like doctors’ visits, hospital stays and prescription drugs. Find out if your parent is eligible at Medicare.gov.

Financial support

For older adults, Social Security is often a primary or secondary source of income. But seniors may be eligible for more or better benefits than they’re currently receiving. The Benefit Eligibility Screening Tool (BEST) can help you determine which benefits your parent is eligible for.

Legal services

The Administration for Community Living (ACL) provides information on legal assistance programs for older adults, helping them understand and exercise their rights. Legal assistance providers can deploy a wide range of civil legal remedies against elder abuse, neglect and financial exploitation.

Programs for veterans

Veterans and their family members have access to special programs.

Support groups for caregivers

Taking care of an aging parent can take a heavy emotional toll. Resentment, frustration and fatigue are all common feelings you may experience. Caregiver support groups provide a place for you to discuss what you’ve been going through with people who can relate to your challenges.

Check your state’s official website to see what options are available. There are many different options that are specific to caregivers’ experiences and life situations, such as groups for caregivers of parents with dementia and groups for people balancing caregiving duties with a full-time job.

You’re not in this alone

Government resources can make caring for aging parents more manageable and less stressful. By understanding the kinds of assistance your parent needs – and researching and applying for relevant programs and benefits – you can make sure your parent receives the best care available to them while also relieving you of some of the burden.

Illustration of three men gardening, one with a wheelbarrel of supplies, one water flowers and one planting flowers

Not sure where to start?

There’s a lot to learn when you become a caregiver, and you may be wondering where to start. Fortunately, many of the experiences you’ll encounter are common, and we've pulled together resources to help you along your journey.

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