There are five principal federal government benefit programs:
- Medicare – this is a program that provides health insurance for Americans aged 65 and older who have worked and paid into the system. Medicare Part A pays for hospital, limited home health and skilled nursing facilities and Hospice care for the aged and disabled; Supplemental Medical Insurance consists of Medicare Part B and Part D. Part B helps pay for physicians and outpatient hospital, home health and other services for the aged and disabled who have voluntarily enrolled. Part D provides subsidized access to prescription drug coverage on a voluntary basis.
- Medicaid – is a health insurance program for qualified individuals who meet a strict income and resource limitations. This program is funded by federal and state tax funds and is a means tested program.
- Social Security Disability Income – this programs provides monthly payments to eligible disabled individuals and their dependents; a person who has been determined to be disabled and entitled to receive SSDI benefits is also entitled to receive Medicare after two years.
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI) – is a welfare program which provides income to certain aged, blind and disabled. It is designed to provide recipients with 75% of the Federal Benefit Rate. There are also requirements for eligibility which include nonfinancial criteria (i.e. must be over 65, blind or disabled, residence requirements, income and resource threshold, must have filed applications for other benefits and cannot be a resident of a public institution (like a mental institution or prison).
- Federally Assisted Housing – is made up of two types – the Section 202 program and Section 8 Rental Assistance. Occupancy is open to low-income households with at least one person 62 years or older, as well as the disabled. Under section 202, the government subsidizes the construction and operation of housing built by public housing authorities or private groups; Section 8 provides rental assistance for low income families and individuals.