Kentucky offers an amazing environment for retirement and senior living. With a beautiful natural setting and relatively low home prices, settling in to the state can be remarkably easy. Seniors also have the advantage of a healthy cuisine which can help them keep fit at all times. In addition to these, resources and programs have been set up to help elderly residents who may run in to challenges at one time or the other. Simplified application processes are also provided for seniors to get access to general assistance programs.
State Resources for Seniors
The Kentucky Department for Aging and Independent Living (DAIL) administers several programs across the state to ensure that elderly residents get access to decent services. This administration is done in collaboration with the Area Agencies on Aging that serve as the grassroot access point for rendering services to seniors. Apart from the services offered, Kentucky DAIL also links seniors to a wide range of useful resources to meet their peculiar needs. Seniors can access the state’s resource site by visiting https://chfs.ky.gov/agencies/dail/Pages/default.aspx.
Seniors who reside in Boone, Campbell and Kenton Counties can apply for the Northern Kentucky Adult Dental Assistance Program. This program connects seniors with dentists who offer dental care services to them at no cost. Services are available for seniors with limited or no dental insurance policy. Income restrictions for applicants are also in place. The services covered by this program include fillings, extractions, x-rays, dentures, cleanings, etc. Seniors can apply online at https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSduffdVx74uXut6q6jNcimhEzdwFfMP5jIzxOSsT_ihCYX2EQ/viewform?usp=pp_url or print a paper application from https://nkyhealth.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/Adult-Dental-Application-10-2021.pdf. When submitting the application, elders would be required to present their photo ID, proof of income, proof of residency and a signed consent form. For more information, visit https://nkyhealth.org/individual-or-family/individual-health/oral-health-programs/adult-dental-assistance-program/.
The College of Dentistry at the University of Kentucky runs an adult dental clinic which provides services like crowns, dentures, bridges, root canals, etc. as well as preventive dental services. The clinic is staffed by dental residents and provides comprehensive dental care services to seniors at low cost. Further details can be obtained by visiting https://dentistry.uky.edu/patient-care/ky-clinic.
From the age of 65, residents of Kentucky can qualify for dental care provided by the Dental Lifeline Network. A program known as Donated Dental Services provides free and low-cost dental care to eligible seniors in the state. This is made possible by a network of skilled dentists who volunteer their time and services to help the community gain access to quality dental care. Due to the existence of waiting lists, emergency services are not provided, however, seniors who qualify receive comprehensive treatment at no cost. Additional program details can be found at https://dentallifeline.org/kentucky/.
Seniors over the age of 65 are eligible for the Medicare program. This is another low-cost insurance program designed specifically to meet the needs of senior citizens. With Medicare assistance, elders can pay for several approved medical procedures. Medicare also has a component that covers the cost of prescriptions, allowing seniors to have free access to essential medicine. To get coverage as soon as possible, elderly residents can submit applications 3 months before their 65th birthday. More information can be found at https://www.medicare.gov/.
Medicaid is a federal health insurance program that caters to the needs of financially challenged persons. Seniors with Medicaid coverage receive healthcare services at a substantially lower cost while the program takes care of the rest of their medical bills. Eligibility for the Medicaid program is determined by income levels. The level of coverage may also vary according to the amount of money the seniors earns and specific medical needs. Medicaid in Kentucky may provide assistance with paying for Medicare premiums. This is done through the Medicare Savings Program and helps ease the financial burden of healthcare further. Kentucky seniors can apply for Medicaid coverage at https://chfs.ky.gov/agencies/dms/member/Pages/Apply.aspx.
The Med Center Health Community Clinic provides basic medical care to patients at a low cost. This is done to ease the financial burden of healthcare and improve quality of life. Seniors who have low-incomes can apply for services and receive quality healthcare, along with assistance with their prescriptions. For more information, visit https://medcenterhealth.org/location/community-clinic/.
The Salvation Army in Kentucky has several initiatives that have been set up to assist challenged residents. Seniors can get food items from various food pantries in the state, along with clothing materials. For seniors on the verge of losing their homes or getting disconnected from utilities, financial assistance may be provided to help settle bill arrearages. Healthcare services are provided to help meet the medical needs of elderly challenged citizens. The Salvation Army also supports homeless seniors by offering them housing. Shelters are operated by the charity to provide displaced elders with a safe and comfortable place to stay. Food is provided for shelter residents, helping them find some stability. Additional programs run by the Salvation Army can be checked at https://easternusa.salvationarmy.org/southwest-ohio/central-kentucky/.
Similar to the Salvation Army, seniors can get assistance from the Catholic Charities. Help is available in different forms to seniors who are challenged. Feeding assistance is provided to seniors so that they get optimum nutrition rather than starving or eating unhealthy food. Funding may also be given to help pay part of rent or utility bills to prevent shut off. A list of the programs offered by Catholic Charities can be found at https://cclou.org/programs/.
The Supplemental Security Income is a program funded by the federal government with money gotten from tax revenues. Under this program, aged residents of Kentucky can get assistance in the form of cash to meet their basic needs. Money provided by SSI can be used to pay for food, shelter, clothes and other necessities. Low-income seniors over the age of 65 may qualify to receive SSI benefits so long as they meet the other program requirements. The exact amount of money received varies according to the income level and financial needs of the recipients. SSI is provided by the Social Security Administration (SSA) and more details on the program can be obtained from https://www.ssa.gov/ssi/.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) helps seniors with resources to purchase healthy food from various grocery stores across the state. Through the program seniors can receive benefits to be used to purchase approved food items. The benefits are provided on an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card. This is a debit card which has the approved benefit amount loaded onto it every month. Seniors who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and are over the aged of 60 can qualify for the Simplified Assistance For the Elderly (SAFE). This is a component of SNAP that is specially tailored to meet the needs of the elderly. Information on the two program is available at https://chfs.ky.gov/agencies/dcbs/dfs/nab/Pages/default.aspx. for seniors who desire to apply for them.
Another program that helps seniors get food is the Nutrition Program for the Elderly. Through this program, seniors receive one nutritionally balanced meal every day. Seniors over the age of 60, along with their spouses (of any age) can qualify for assistance to get food. The meals are provided either in a congregate setting or at home. Congregate meals are served at predetermined sites like senior centers, churches, etc. This arrangement allows seniors socialize while getting their meals. Home-delivered meals on the other hand are provided for those who are home-bound and cannot make it to congregate arrangements. Seniors can find more information at https://chfs.ky.gov/agencies/dail/Pages/nutrition.aspx. Applications are submitted through the Area Agencies on Aging and a directory of these agencies is available at https://chfs.ky.gov/agencies/dail/Pages/aaail.aspx.
Housing Assistance and Home Repair Grants
The Section 504 Home Repair program provides loans and grants to enable eligible low-income seniors carry out repairs on their homes. Funding is provided to make emergency repairs, get rid of safety hazards, make accessibility modifications, etc. Residents who are over the age of 62 can get grants of up to $10,000 for home repairs. Those below the age of 62 may receive loans, with a limit of $40,000. Seniors who need to make extensive home repairs can combine the loan and grant for a total of $50,000 financial assistance. Recipients of grants must continue to reside in the home for at least 3 years after the aid. Loan recipients on the other hand get a fixed rate of 1% and a repayment period of 20 years. Seniors can find details on this program at https://www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/single-family-housing-programs/single-family-housing-repair-loans-grants/ky.
Seniors whose household income fall below 80% of the Area Median Income (AMI) can apply for home repair programs in Louisville. The Regular Home Repair Program is available to assist seniors make corrective repairs to specific situations that challenge their health. Funding is provided for things like roof repairs, electrical repairs, plumbing, etc. The Exterior Code Alleviation Program (ECAP) helps seniors make their homes more sustainable by providing funds for exterior repairs. The program covers items like fencing, windows, sidings, foundations, etc. Information on other programs offered can be found at https://louisvilleky.gov/government/housing/home-repair-programs.
Seniors who receive Medicaid assistance can apply for non-emergency medical transportation services to get to doctor’s appointments. To request this transport arrangement, seniors must give a 72 hours’ notice prior to the ride. When scheduling the ride, details like date and time of appointment, medical provider’s name and address, etc. would be requested. For seniors who need transportation to general places like work, grocery stores, etc., seniors can call several public transit providers. Cost may vary depending on the transportation requested but fixed route rides can be gotten for $1 per trip. With a Reduced Day Pass for seniors, trips can get a daily rate of $1.50. For more contact details regarding transportation assistance, visit https://transportation.ky.gov/VetConnect/Pages/Transportation-Providers.aspx?Paged=TRUE&p_ID=30&PageFirstRow=31&&View=%7BB36C3B59-4838-4A21-8D1C-78F7EE6B1B83%7D.
The Kentuckiana Regional Planning & Development Agency provides transportation services for elderly residents. Assistance is provided through special arrangements with Louisville Wheels and Tri-County Community Action Agency. Transportation is provided to nutrition sites, senior centers and medical appointments. Vouchers are also provided to reimburse providers for non-emergency medical transportation services. Services are open to seniors aged 60 years and above. For more details, visit https://www.kipda.org/social-services/transportation-services-for-senior-adults-individuals-with-disabilities/.
Help with Utility Bills
The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is a federally-funded program that helps financially challenged seniors pay their energy bills. Seniors with income below 130% of the federal poverty level get assistance with paying for their home heating costs in the cold winter months. You can use the updated 2023 Federal Poverty Level Kentucky calculator to determine if your household is living below the poverty level. To qualify, the total value of liquid assets should not exceed $2,000. A crisis component of the program also exists to help residents who are on the verge of disconnection from utilities. Seniors whose rent and utility bill are charged together (without a specific designation for either) may also receive funds to pay part of the unpaid rent. Information on the LIHEAP application in Kentucky can be obtained from https://chfs.ky.gov/agencies/dcbs/dfs/pdb/Pages/liheap.aspx.
Customers of Kentucky Power can get help from the Home Energy Assistance in Reduced Temperatures (HEART) program and the Temporary Heating Assistance in Winter (THAW). HEART provides up to $115 of cash assistance to seniors who use electricity as their primary heat source, while those who use non-electric heat sources may receive up to $58 every month. On the other hand, THAW offers participating customers assistance of up to $175 which they can use to pay for their electric bills. Seniors who wish to apply for any of the two programs can visit https://www.kentuckypower.com/lib/docs/account/bills/assistance/KYPower-HeartandThaw2021v1.pdf.
Seniors can apply for the Kentucky Lifeline program to get discounts on their telephone and broadband services. Lifeline helps seniors access telephone services at a reduced cost by offering a combined monthly discount of up to $12.75 on phone bills. The program ensures that beneficiaries stay connected to the world around them and keep in touch with loved ones. Details of the Kentucky Lifeline telephone program can be found at https://psc.ky.gov/agencies/psc/consumer/lifeline.pdf.
Assistance for Senior Veterans
The Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs (KDVA) runs a program to helps homeless veterans get off the streets and find stable accommodation. Veterans at risk of becoming homeless are also provided with various resources to help them keep their homes. Through this program, veterans can get help with their basic needs like food, cloth and shelter. Assistance is given to help pay for rent and utility bills. Veterans who require assistance can visit https://veterans.ky.gov/Veterans-Programs/Homeless-Veterans/Pages/default.aspx.
Veterans who require medical assistance and special care can request admission to the State Veterans Homes available in Kentucky. Veterans who reside in these homes receive continuous care to meet their medical needs, while also having a roof over their heads and getting food to eat. Some of the documents required for admission to the Veterans Homes are: discharge papers, Medicaid Card, Proof of Kentucky Residency, etc. For more information, visit https://veterans.ky.gov/Veterans-Centers/Pages/Admission-to-State-Veterans-Homes.aspx.
Vet Connect is an initiative that helps veterans access transportation in an easy way. The program is provided by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and links veterans up with various transportation providers in their county. To simplify this process, an interactive map is provided at https://transportation.ky.gov/vetconnect/Pages/default.aspx which connects to transportation providers in the various counties. Here veterans can also find details on how to schedule rides for medical appointments.