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Millions of older adults are having trouble making ends meet, especially during these inflationary times. Yet many don't realize help is available, and some notable programs that offer financial assistance are underused.

A few examples: Nearly 14 million adults age 60 or older qualify for aid from the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (also known as food stamps) but haven't signed up, according to recent estimates. Also, more than 3 million adults 65 or older are eligible but not enrolled in Medicare Savings Programs, which pay for Medicare premiums and cost sharing. And 30% to 45% of seniors may be missing out on help from the Medicare Part D Low-Income Subsidy program, which covers plan premiums and cost sharing and lowers the cost of prescription drugs.

"Tens of billions of dollars of benefits are going unused every year" because seniors don't know about them, find applications too difficult to complete, or feel conflicted about asking for help, says Josh Hodges, chief customer officer at the National Council on Aging, an advocacy group for older Americans that runs the National Center for Benefits Outreach and Enrollment.

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