Despite Texas having one of the youngest populations in the country, according to the Urban Institute, more than 2 million of the state's total population are seniors, measured by Medicare eligibility. The number of expenses these individuals face and the inability to work often result in poverty and a low-income situation. Fortunately, several programs and protocols are in place to help low-income seniors in Texas.
Texas senior citizens who fall below the poverty line are eligible for general subsidized housing for low-income families and individuals. This form of housing allows tenants to pay a considerably reduced monthly rent, and the rest is covered by the government. This type of housing is available through the Texas Department of Housing and Urban Development. The department's website offers a subsidized house and apartment search tool so low-income seniors can find nearby subsidized housing.
The Texas Food Stamp program -- called SNAP -- provides help to seniors and families who fall below the poverty line. To receive the SNAP benefits, you must apply for the program through the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, either in person or by mail (if you can't apply in person). Seniors who qualify for food-stamp assistance can receive as little as $10 and as much as $139 per month, according to an article from nonprofit organization Target Hunger.
The main healthcare assistance for low-income seniors in Texas is Medicaid, an assistance program for acute and long-term health care, which provides physician, inpatient, outpatient, X-ray, lab and pharmacy support for those who can't afford it. The government designates billions for Medicaid each year based on a percentage of the annual state income-per-capita. Eligible persons must be residents of Texas, U.S. citizens or legal aliens, in need of health care and a low income, according to the Texas Medicaid page at Benefits.gov.
Seniors at least 62 years of age -- low-income or not -- are eligible for federal Medicare checks each month, and the state of Texas has dozens of available Medicare plans for senior citizens (See Resources). This monthly financial assistance can greatly improve a low-income senior's financial situation. However, with no additional income, surviving on only Medicare can be challenging. As of January 2010, according to a news story from CBS News, extra help is available for eligible seniors who fall below the poverty line, even with Medicare assistance. Additionally, Texas offers special help for Medicare recipients in a variety of programs. For example, the Texas Kidney Health Care Program (KHC) offers assistance to individuals with End-Stage Renal Disease who meets certain requirements, according to senior citizen resource Medicare Solutions. More information about these programs is at the Texas Medicare website.
Mitchell Holt has a bachelor's degree in print journalism from Abilene Christian University and has been freelancing since 2009 with work published in various newspapers and magazines like "BostonNOW" and "The Abilene Reporter-News." Holt also writes sales copy for small businesses. His clients include The Kyle David Group, ITNewton, 18 Vodka, RoboQuote and more.