In Wisconsin, seniors are considered low income if they receive less than 80% of the area median income. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the median annual household income in Wisconsin is $67,080, and the annual per capita income is $36,734. Using these figures, a two-person household is considered low income with an annual income of $53,664 or less, while an individual’s income of $29,387.20 or less is considered low income. An income of less than 50% of the area’s median is considered very low income.

An estimated 10.8% of the population in Wisconsin is considered impoverished, which is defined by the U.S. Federal Poverty Guidelines as an annual income of less than $14,580 for a single-person household and less than $19,720 for two-person households. Low-income and impoverished seniors in Wisconsin qualify for both federal and state assistance depending on their income.

Health Care Assistance in Wisconsin

Low-income seniors in Wisconsin may qualify for assistance with health care coverage through the state’s Medicaid program. To qualify, a single senior must make less than $18,075 and a couple must make less than $24,353 annually before taxes. Seniors who qualify receive coverage for health care and medication and may also qualify for waivers for long-term care and in-home services.

Medicaid’s Family Care program provides seniors and disabled adults with chronic illnesses access to a range of supports to keep them in their homes. These supports include adult day care, home health care, nursing services and personal care. The Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) also provides assistance to keep seniors in a home setting for as long as possible by providing seniors who need a nursing home level of care with health care, long-term care and assistance with prescription medication. In Wisconsin, this program is limited to participating counties.

Other Assistance in Wisconsin

Low-income seniors in Wisconsin may qualify for several state and federal programs to assist with the cost of living. The state Elder Nutrition Program provides seniors 60 or older meals in senior dining centers or delivered to their homes. Seniors in Wisconsin who do not meet financial eligibility for Medicaid coverage may qualify for SeniorCare, a prescription drug assistance program that has an annual enrollment fee of $30 and has no income cap, though co-payments and deductibles are dependent upon income.

Low-income seniors or disabled adults may also qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), a federally funded program that provides eligible individuals a monthly cash benefit that can be used as the recipient sees fit. Unlike Social Security benefits, there is no requirement for a recipient to have paid into the program to collect the benefits.