Make Ends Meet: More older Americans in poverty

Published: May. 19, 2023 at 5:16 PM CDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Inflation is hitting everyone hard but for America’s elderly and disabled society the increase on the cost of daily living is crippling.

The years in life move so fast. When you are ready to step away from the workforce, the funds you have saved may not be enough to support you.

Social Security and Medicare are not sufficient to lift all older adults above poverty and not everyone in their season of retirement has saved enough to make that time in life golden.

Aisha Williams, Sr. Director of Economic Security and Benefits at the National Council of Aging, works hard to make sure that aging Americans and their families do not suffer simply because of lack of funds or information.

”We’re seeing that older adults are increasingly finding themselves in poverty and that number has been increasing since 2021,” Williams said.

According to the latest U.S. Census Bureau data, the number of older people in the U.S. living below the poverty line rose from 8.9% in 2020 to 10.3% in 2021.

The National Council of Aging walks providers or those in need through the process of finding benefits that fit the need. 

“Older adults are having to make some really tough choices about daily essentials are they going to pay their rent, are they going to pay for food, are they going to pay for their prescription drugs,” Williams said.

Data from the National Council on Aging revealed over 15 million adults age 65 and over are economically insecure, with incomes below 200% of the federal poverty level. 

The National Council on Aging also steps in to help older adults and those with disabilities connect with benefit programs that can help when they are in need.

All they need to do is head to or call 1-800-794-6559.

”You can go on there to access over 2000 benefits that might be available to you based on your location, your age, your income and your status,” Williams said. “When people are looking for help with their daily essentials and their daily bills, utility bills, prescription drugs, things like paying taxes, homeownership assistance. We’re definitely the go to source.”

Millions of older adults and disabled miss money-saving benefits simply because they don’t apply not because they don’t qualify.

”You’ve paid into the system,” Williams said. “You’ve worked your whole life and not it is time for you to be able to live life with dignity with the resources that you need in this particular season in your life.”

There’s available money from federal, state, and local resources. Programs that may get the help that is needed to those in need for several problems. Not just one thing.

“About 30 billion dollars annually is left on the table collectively across the US because people don’t know that they are eligible for certain benefits and assistance,” Williams said.