Seniors in the Cleveland area have been getting a little extra help in finding public and private programs that give benefits to the elderly. The city’s Department of Aging has been using the National Council on Aging’s BenefitsCheckUp since 2003 to conduct screenings that enhance the quality of life for seniors.

BenefitsCheckUp is an online service developed by NCOA, and the Cleveland Department of Aging has used it to conduct more than 4,600 benefits screenings. The city sends AARP senior workers armed with bus passes and BenefitsCheckUp questionnaires to senior apartments, recreation centers, health centers, senior companion programs and homeless shelters so they can talk to the people who may be able to benefit from the benefits screenings. According to a U.S. Census Bureau report, almost 11 million people age 55 and over have incomes at or below 150 percent of the poverty level, so there is plenty of need for programs like this across the country.

BenefitsCheckUp includes more than 1,450 public and private benefits programs from every state and the District of Columbia. Programs include prescription drugs, energy assistance, housing and rent assistance, nutrition, legal, health care, property tax rebates, Veterans benefits, home care and much more. For more information, visit www.benefitscheckup.org.