In the last two blogs we have given tips on travel and shopping perks as well as health and home service benefits. In part three, we focus on other services that are either free or at a very low cost specifically for seniors.
Free Tax Preparation
As we mentioned previously, AARP provides many different types of discounts to their members but they also provide completely free services such as tax preparation. In fact, they have the largest volunteer-run tax preparation and assistance service in the U.S. and help over 2.6 million taxpayers every year. The IRS also has a program called the TCE or Tax Counseling for the Elderly which offers free tax help for all taxpayers, particularly those who are 60 years of age and older, specializing in questions about pensions and retirement-related issues unique to seniors. The service is provided by volunteers who are certified by the Internal Revenue Service.
Discounted and Free Banking Services
Seniors can receive discounted banking and checking packages at many major banks. Most programs are available to seniors aged 50 or 55 and older and the benefits can typically be found on the bank's web site. Some of the benefits that you may receive with a bank's senior program can include free or discounted personalized checks, free personal money orders and cashier's checks, waiver of minimum daily balance requirements, preferred interest options, free or discounted safe deposit box, free stop payment, money order and bond redemption services. You can visit your bank’s website or go directly to a physical location and speak with a representative about all of your options.
Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP)
Although you may not need to use your heat very often if you live in Florida, it’s nice to know that you can get help paying the bill if necessary. The home energy assistance program is a federal program that provides a cash grant to eligible households to help pay a portion of home heating (or cooling) expenses which might be more helpful with record heat waves this year. Although it is a federal program, (and is not limited to seniors) it is administered by each state and they have discretion over the type of benefits and eligibility requirements. For more information, you can go directly to www.benefits.gov and search for your state.
Cell Phone Discounts
NerdWallet.com has compiled a list of the best cell programs for seniors based on individual needs. Typically, seniors do not need as many minutes or some of the frills that come with certain plans. Prepaid programs are usually cheaper than standard plans and still allow seniors to stay connected without paying an exorbitant monthly fee. Also, note that if you are on Medicaid, food stamps/SNAP, Supplemental Security Income or other government programs, you may qualify for free or subsidized plans from some of these companies via the federal Lifeline Program.
So whether you are the adventurous type and want to use perks for travel or spruce up your house or you simply need some help in paying bills, there are discounted and free services that will allow you to live life to the fullest without breaking the bank. You have worked hard over the years so don’t be shy about taking advantage — as the saying goes, you’re worth it!