Older adults in need of financial assistance may qualify for help through state or federally administered welfare programs. Although eligibility requirements for the federal Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are consistent, regardless of an applicant's state of residency, state administered programs can vary greatly in terms of availability and eligibility requirements. In order for older adults to get welfare checks through state or federally administered programs, they will need to meet application criteria and adhere to program rules.
Apply for Federal Welfare Benefits
Check eligibility for SSI benefits. Low income adults with limited resources may qualify for an SSI check if they are 65 or older, blind or disabled.
Initiate the process of applying for SSI benefits over the telephone -- by calling 1-800-772-1213 -- or on the SocialSecurity.gov web site -- or visit your local Social Security Administration office.
Provide the required documentation. In order to complete your application for SSI, you will need to provide your Social Security card or a record of your Social Security number; your birth certificate or other proof of age; mortgage or rental documents; paycheck stubs, bank statements, insurance policies and other proof of your income and assets. You will also need to provide the contact information for your physicians, if you are applying for SSI because you are disabled; and either proof of U.S. citizenship or eligible noncitizen status.
Wait for notification of your application status. After your application has been processed, you will receive written notification of whether you have been approved for, or denied benefits. If your application is denied, you will be given instructions on how to appeal the decision.
Apply for State Welfare Benefits
Contact your state department of human services to identify state welfare programs you may be eligible for. Some states offer special welfare programs for the elderly and disabled.
For example, Illinois provides supplemental welfare checks to eligible older adults who are 65 or older, blind or disabled through its Aid to the Aged Blind and Disabled (AABD) program.
Some states also have special welfare benefits for older adults through its General Assistance and General Assistance Transitional Assistance programs.
Request all forms and directions from your state welfare authority. Complete all required forms; submit all necessary supplemental documentation; and show up for all scheduled appointments, to get your application processed.
Wait for notification of your application status. After your application has been processed, you will receive written notification of whether you have been approved or denied for benefits. If your application is denied, you will be given instructions on how to appeal the decision.
Michelle McFarland-McDaniels has been writing professionally since 1983. She has written for a variety of online publications including BET.com and MSNBC.com, as well as "College Outlook" and "San Diego Family" magazines. McFarland-McDaniels holds master's degrees in African-American literature and education.