When seniors need financial assistance

Published: Thursday, September 20, 2012 at 10:33 AM.

* A higher standard deduction amount for most people who don't itemize deductions if they and/or their spouse are over 65 or blind.

* An additional tax credit for lower-income people who are over 65 or disabled and file a 1040 or 1040A tax form. (For full details and eligibility, see IRS Publication 524 at www.irs.gov.)

* Free tax return preparation assistance and counseling from IRS-trained volunteers is available to people over age 60, as well as low-to-moderate income folks and military families.

* IRS Publication 554 provides comprehensive help for seniors to prepare their tax returns.

Many government-sponsored benefits, grants and financial aid programs exist to help seniors, low-income families and others pay their bills, including:

* LIHEAP (Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program) provides grants to help pay utility bills. To see if you qualify, go to www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/ocs/liheap.

* SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) helps millions of lower-income Americans buy nutritious food each month. Visit www.fns.usda.gov/snap for qualification requirements.

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