Resources for Seniors in Vermont
27.6% of Vermonters are aged 60+. Seniors aged 65+ are 175,000, with 13% of them living on their own. This is putting the state the second position when it comes to the highest number of older adults. At 80, Vermont has one of the highest life expectancies in the country, and has more of its 55+ adults still in the workforce. And while those 65+ in the workforce have a slightly lower median income than the country’s average, there are a good number of programs and services created to support seniors’ wellbeing. Here are the resources for seniors in Vermont.
Senior Living Costs In Vermont
When it comes the cost of living, Vermont is relatively expensive than most states, and retirees with low-income may find it difficult to thrive without support. seniors will find a one-bedroom apartment at about $853, which is slightly higher than the national average, standing at $825. A two-bedroom apartment goes for $1,086, a little higher than the US average, at $1,000.
Living Options for Seniors in Vermont
Vermont seniors have plenty of choices to choose from when it comes to living options. Each option can be suitable for an older adult, depending on their individual needs and circumstances.
Independent living option is for older adults who can thrive on their own without help with Activities of Daily Living (ADLs). Those interested in living an apartment-kind of living can either join 55+ or 65+ communities. Swimming pools, fitness centers, Jacuzzis, and walking trails are some of the activities residents of these communities enjoy. Services in these facilities include housekeeping, meals, social and recreational opportunities, transportation, and grounds services. Vermont boasts 65 independent living communities, charging anywhere between $891 and $3,561.
Over 60 assisted living facilities exist in Vermont, and the cost between $1,620 and $6,475 per month. Usually, assisted living cost 30% or 40% more than independent living. Seniors choosing this living option are in need of extra attention from attentive caregivers and healthcare professionals. They also have access to daily social activities to allow them thrive in the communities. There are trained staff who offer housekeeping, transportation, meal, laundry, and other support services to help these residents live comfortably. To maintain safety of the seniors, the facilities offer 24/hr safety surveillance.
All licensed nursing care facilities are supervised 24/7, and must follow all the state and federal regulations when providing long-term care to the residents. These facilities are designed to support seniors with chronic illnesses, and need constant nursing care. Because these facilities provide high level of care, older adults living in them pay a lot of money, costing an average of $280 per day, which is higher than the US average, $228. The average monthly cost is $9,779.
Memory care facilities are designed to help seniors suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia-related infections thrive. The state has more than 40 memory care facilities. Seniors with memory issues could just get out and get lost somewhere in public. And this is what these facilities are preventing by keeping the older adults within the easy-to-navigate rooms. Staff are there to help with daily duties, like calming seniors down whenever their experience any episodes of memory loss. The average cost of memory care facilities in Vermont is $70, 905.
Housing Assistance for Seniors
Section 8 House Choice Voucher Program
This program subsidizes the rental payment of low-income seniors. How does the program work? First of all, to qualify for the program assistance, older adults must meet the low-income limits in their areas, be at least 60, and meet residency and citizenship requirements. After being approved for the program support, seniors must look for a rental housing in areas approved by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which the funding source for this program. The housing chosen must meet the HUD’s set quality and safety standards. The housing vouchers are always paid directly to the property owners. Seniors only contribute about 30% of their income towards rent, as the program pays the rent. Want to apply for assistance? Please visit https://www.vsha.org/applications-for-section-8-assistance/.
Section 8 Home Ownership Program
Administered by Vermont State Housing Authority (VSHA), the Section 8 Home Ownership Program allows participants of the Section 8 House Choice Voucher Program to convert rental vouchers to Home Ownership Vouchers. Seniors eligible can use their vouchers to settle expenses related to homeownership, including taxes, insurance, and mortgage. To qualify for this program support, one must be HCVP participant, meet low-income and age limits, be a homeowner, have assets not exceeding $2,000. Once application is submitted to VSHA, they review it, when approved for support, the senior applicant is referred to a qualified HomeOwnership Center. At the Center, senior homeowners receive education and counseling on homeownership. The goal is to help older adults through their journey of becoming successful homeowners. Visit https://www.vsha.org/vsha-programs/section-8-home-ownership-program/ for more information.
Home Repair Assistance for Seniors in Utah
Section 505 Home Repair Program
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) offers a hope repair support to senior homeowners through their program, Section 505 Home Repair Program. Older adults can get up to $10,000 as grants to help them remove health and safety hazards. To qualify for the home improvement support, one must attain the age of at least 62, be ethe homeowner and occupy the house, unable to obtain affordable credit from anywhere else, and meet the low-income limits in your county. Check the low-income limits here. Grants are repaid if the senior homeowner sell the property within three years of receiving the assistance funds. Applications for support are done through the nearby RD office every year. Visit https://www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/single-family-housing-programs/single-family-housing-repair-loans-grants/vt#:~:text=Events-,Overview,remove%20health%20and%20safety%20hazards for more information.
Older adults can also get home repair support from the home improvement program, which offer loans and programs to low-income senior homeowners. See more at https://www.hud.gov/states/vermont/homeownership/homerepairs.
Vermont Housing Improvement Program (VHIP)
Through this program, the Vermonters can obtain grants up to $50,000 for home repairs. The purpose of these funds is to property owners bring their vacant housing units to Vermont Rental Housing Health Code standards. The goal is to help make more housing units available to reduce the risk of homelessness low-income seniors. The grants are given as follows:
- Up to $30,000 for renovating 0–2-bedroom unit.
- Up to $50,000 for renovating a three or more bedroomed unit.
- Up to $50,000 to build new units, including accessory dwelling units.
To qualify for the grants, the available housing units must have remained unoccupied for at least 90 days before applying for assistance. A match is required, usually at least 20% of the grants applied for. The match can be in form of in-kind or owned materials. Participants of the program must also agree to the HUD ‘s proposed rent terms, usually at or below the market rate.
Healthcare Assistance for Seniors
Vermont Medicaid for the Aged, Blind, and Disabled (MABD)
Vermont Medicaid is for seniors aged at least 65 and older disabled. The program covers the seniors’ medical care and services, including doctor visits, hospital care, vision and dental care, prescription medications, long-term care in assisted living facility, nursing home, or at home. The coverage may also include physical therapy. Eligibility requirements include:
- Be a resident of Vermont
- Be at least 65, blind, or disabled. The older people with disability must meet the Social Security Administration’s definition of disability.
- Meet low-income and resource limits. See guidelines here.
Visit https://dvha.vermont.gov/members/medicaid/medicaid-aged-blind-or-disabled-mabd for information on how to apply for the program assistance.
Medicaid and Long-Term Care
The Long-Term Care Medicaid Program in Vermont is called Choices for Care. Seniors eligible for the program support will have their long-term care services paid by Medicaid. The setting for assistance can be at home or home of another person, approved residential care facility, and approved nursing home. One must be meet Vermont residency requirements, be at least 65 or eligible of Medicaid, meet income limits, and meet the clinical criteria for a nursing home care level. Find out more at http://asd.vermont.gov/services/choices-for-care-program.
Food Assistance for Senior Vermonters
This is food program offered by USDA to help seniors have access to healthy foods to qualify for the program support, the household income must not exceed 185% of the Federal Poverty Level, include a senior aged 60+, or an older disabled. Those whose applications are approved will receive monthly benefits to purchase food items at any of the participating farmers’ markets or grocery stores. Visit https://dcf.vermont.gov/esd/applicants/mybenefits to apply for the food assistance program.
Transportation Assistance for the Elderly
The Vermont Division of the Department of Disabilities, Aging and Independent Living (DAIL) partners with local and state agencies to ensure older adults have access to transportation services.
The Elders and Persons with Disabilities (E&D) Transportation Program helps older adults aged 60 and above and those with disabilities get to their medical appointments, meal sites, shopping, and local adult day facilities. The program is a coordination between public transit providers, human service agency partners, and Non-Emergency Medical Transportation (NEMT) offered by Medicaid to organize trips for taking older adults to their desired destinations. The program offer door to door services and is designed to fill the gap left by other transportation programs in the state. The regional transit providers make use many sources to fund this program also ensure that the vehicles are filled to maximum capacity. More details are available at https://vtrans.vermont.gov/public-transit/E-and-D.
Helping Senior Vermonters Pay Bills
Vermont Department of Children and Families operate two programs that assist low-income seniors pay their energy bills. Green Mountain Power customers may qualify for 25% discount off their monthly energy costs and forgiven for their past-due bills. To qualify, older adults must residential Green Mountain Power customers and meet the low-income limit, 150% of the federal poverty guideline. Apply here. Vermont Gas customers may qualify for 20% discount off their monthly gas costs if they meet the eligibility requirements which include being a residential Vermont Gas customer and have income not exceeding 185% of the federal poverty guideline. Apply for energy assistance here. The two programs allow senior homeowners to apply every year to keep getting the discount. For more information, please visit https://dcf.vermont.gov/benefits/eap.
Vermont Seasonal Fuel Assistance
The purpose of this program is to offer fuel assistance to eligible seniors by paying their heating costs or giving support to the elderly whose rent includes their energy costs. Such people may receive $50 if they rent a housing unit in another person’s home or $5 if they live in a public subsidized or a Section 8 Housing. To qualify for the program assistance, seniors must be residents of Vermont and demonstrate the need for financial support. Participants of TANF, SNAP, and SSI automatically qualify for the energy assistance. More information is available at https://www.benefits.gov/benefit/1583.
Water Assistance Program
The purpose of water assistance program is to help seniors with their water and wastewater bills. To qualify, older adults must be paying for water and wastewater services and meet the low-income limits, 60% of the state median income. The program gives priority to older homeowners whose source of water and wastewater is disconnected or risk of losing the services because of past-due bills. The program helps with past-due water bills and additional charges for late or non-payment of bills. The program may also make a one-time payment for future water bills, which depends on certain factors, including household income, percentage of income used to pay water bills, size of the family, and existence of a senior or a disabled older person in the household. The payments are directed to the service providers, who must be certified first. Seniors having troubles paying their water bills can always apply for the program assistance at time of the year. Visit https://dcf.vermont.gov/benefits/hwa for more details.
Lifeline Telecommunications Program
The purpose of this program is to make communications affordable for low-income elderly Vermonters. The program offers monthly discounts on telephone services, broadband internet services, or bundles voice-broadband packages. The goal of this program is to enable seniors have access to employment opportunities, education, and healthcare services if need be. Visit https://nationalverifier.servicenowservices.com/lifeline to apply for Lifeline.
Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP)
ACP offers up to $30 discounts on internet services for qualified seniors and up to $75 for the elderly Vermonters residing in one of the approved tribal lands. Apply for the ACP at https://acpbenefit.org/.
Tax Exemptions, Deductions, and Credits for Seniors and Veterans
Standard Tax Deduction for Seniors
Senior taxpayers aged at least 65 and older blind Vermonters may qualify for an additional tax deduction of $1,000. This is for those who have qualified for and received Vermont Standard Deduction at the federal level. Find more details here.
Property Tax Exemption for Disabled Veterans
Disabled veteran-homeowners may be eligible for property tax exemption, which reduces the assessed home value, thereby lowering the property taxes. This service is also available for the surviving veterans’ spouses who were previously eligible for the exemption, but only if they don’t get remarried. Applications are accepted every year by May 1, through the Vermont Office of Veterans Affairs. Read more at https://tax.vermont.gov/property-owners/exemptions.
Tax Exemptions for Social Security Benefits
Senior Social Security Beneficiaries may qualify for tax exemption on part or the whole benefit if they are eligible. Eligibility for the service depends on the applicant’s filing status and the adjusted gross income. See if you qualify here.
Tax Credit for the Disabled and the Elderly
This tax credit designed to support the elderly Vermonters and the disabled by exempting them from having part of their retirement or disability income taxed. Older adults eligible for the federal Credit for the Elderly or the Disabled may qualify for this tax credit. The credit is 24% of the federal Tax Credit for the Elderly or the Disabled. Find out more at https://tax.vermont.gov/individuals/income-tax-return/tax-adjustments/elderly-disabled-credit.
Assistance for Elderly Veterans and the Disabled in Vermont
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is Committed to serving the needs of veterans even as they age, and work to address a number of issues, including health and financial challenges facing them. the senior Veterans may qualify for wide-variety of benefits, including disability compensation, education and training, home loans, healthcare, insurance, pensions, and burial. There are two programs offering the elderly Veterans with additional financial benefits:
- Aid and Attendance (A&A) is for senior veterans in need of assistance with ADLs, including bathing, dressing, and feeding. To qualify, one should be bedridden, reside in a nursing home, or have visual impairment.
- Housebound program provides increased monthly pension for senior veterans confined in their homes because of permanent disabilities.
Visit https://benefits.va.gov/pension/aid_attendance_housebound.asp to learn more about the benefits.
VA Health Care for Elderly Veterans
VA offers geriatric and long-term care services to senior veterans in need of daily support and assistance of another person, maybe a caregiver. Visit https://www.va.gov/geriatrics/ for more information.
Assistance from Nonprofits and Charities
- Vermont Community Foundation. Established in 1986, Vermont Community Foundation is an association of funds and foundations dedicated to serving the needs of older Vermonters. The goal is to inspire giving and bring people and resources together for the purpose of making a difference in the lives of the elderly. Read more at https://www.vermontcf.org/.
- Senior Corps connects senior Vermonters aged 55+ with organizations that need them the most. Through the Senior Corps Programs, the elderly persons may offer their services to individuals, nonprofits, or faith-based organizations with the goal of making a difference in the local communities. Visit https://www.nationalservice.gov/programs/senior-corps for more details.
- HANDS Vermont provides food assistance to seniors aged 50+ in Chittenden County. The organization works with other organizations, businesses, and volunteers to make food available for assistance. Apart from offering hot meals, the organization holds workshops that cover topics such as shopping on a budget, cooking, and healthy eating. They also provide free giftbags every Christmas Day. Some of the organizations involved include Age Well, Temple Sinai, Burlington School Food project, and Penny Cluse Café.