13 Issues Seniors Can Get for Free — or Nearly Free


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Getting older has its advantages. In time you will become a little wiser. After you retire, you will have more time to channel that wisdom into the things you enjoy.

Even better, all of this fun often comes with a huge discount. There are many ways for seniors to get cheap – and even free – entertainment and services.

Some of these offers are available based on age or income, while others are open to everyone – even those who have not yet reached their golden years.

Below are some things seniors can get for next to nothing.

Check accounts

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Some banks offer checking accounts with special perks – like free checks and no maintenance fees – only for retirees.

In “7 bank accounts with discounts for customers aged 55 and over” we have listed some examples of these accounts, which are available from traditional and online banks as well as from credit unions.

Tax assistance

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Few of us enjoy tax time. Tax laws are complex and create a headache and worry for many people who take a DIY approach to filing.

If you’d rather avoid this worry in retirement, turn to the federal government’s free tax advisory program (TCE).

It provides assistance to older taxpayers, particularly those aged 60 and over, with specific assistance with questions about pensions and other questions related to retirement.

Medicare support

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As with taxes – or frankly anything else federal government-related – Medicare can be overwhelmingly complicated.

If you get lost at sea and are trying to use this federal health insurance program primarily for the elderly, check with your state health insurance program (SHIP).

As detailed in “14 Things Free With Medicare,” SHIP Offices provide free health insurance advice to Medicare beneficiaries and their families or carers.

Prescription drugs

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Many seniors take a handful of prescription drugs every day to help keep disease at bay. The cost of such drugs can be high, so any savings will help.

Medicare Part D coverage and most Medicare Advantage plans cover some prescription drug costs for seniors. However, if you don’t qualify for Medicare, or are simply looking for more ways to cut drug bills, see if you are eligible for prescription assistance programs.

You can learn more about them through these organizations and websites:

Further austerity measures for people of all ages and income levels can be found at:

Medical service

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While Medicare plans can vary in what they cover and what they cost, all Medicare plans must cover certain medical benefits and other costs. In fact, all plans must fully cover certain services – which means Medicare employees do not pay any additional costs for those services.

These “freebies” include annual spa visits, flu shots and certain other vaccines, and checkups such as a colonoscopy.

Food and drinks in restaurants

Senior restaurantOlesya Kuznetsova / Shutterstock.com

Rating free food and beverages in restaurants can be difficult. Some restaurant chains offer senior citizen giveaways by location. Others tend to be a little nervous about their discounts.

We describe some in “11 Senior Discounts for People 55+”. The best way to discover these hidden freebies and discounts is to simply ask when you order.

When you join a high-ranking membership organization like AARP, you can enjoy numerous discounts in restaurants, among other places. It’s not free to join, but the money you save by taking advantage of these discounts can easily exceed the cost of membership.

Save discounts

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It’s not just restaurants that offer “senior” discounts to people aged 50 and over. Shop at the right retailers and you can increase your savings significantly by just providing proof of age.

In some parts of the country there are even grocery chains that still give discounts of up to 10% to buyers aged 55 and over.


Senior educationPressmaster / Shutterstock.com

It’s never too late to study. Many colleges and universities offer seniors free or heavily discounted courses.

Some of these programs are particularly outstanding, offering tuition-free courses for those aged 60 and over, as illustrated in “10 Colleges That Offer Free Tuition to Seniors”. Theoretically, you could get a free degree this way.

Many other universities offer free exam courses for seniors. This means they will get all of the training but unfortunately they will not get credits for a degree.

Tax relief

An elderly couple goes through paperwork with a professional in the kitchenAndy Dean Photography / Shutterstock.com

Retirees are often entitled to federal tax breaks such as tax deductions and even tax credits – although many retirees overlook these ways to reduce their tax burden.

For example, people 65 and over who do not declare their tax deductions are generally entitled to a higher standard withholding than younger taxpayers. This translates into a free federal tax reduction for eligible seniors.

Many states also offer income tax relief to the elderly. For more information about how your state taxes retirees, see How All 50 States Tax Your Retirement Income.

Public transportation

Older public transportMonkey Business Images / Shutterstock.com

As we get older, getting around can become a challenge. Eyesight and other physical problems can prevent us from driving, and taxi and carpooling can be too expensive for those on a steady income basis.

Fortunately, many communities – such as Florida’s Miami-Dade County and the Illinois State Department of Aging – offer seniors free transportation. Check with your city, county, or state to see if a similar service is available.

Vacation discounts

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Free public transportation is just one example of the types of travel discounts you can get after a certain age.

If you’re 50 or older, you’re likely eligible for discounts on everything from rental cars to cruise lines – not to mention hotel rooms.

Gym membership

Senior exercisepikselstock / Shutterstock.com

You may be able to get a discounted or free gym membership through your health insurance, especially if you are 65 years of age or older.

Some insurance plans offer savings on fitness club memberships as a precaution.

Some Medicare plans include a SilverSneakers membership that gives eligible seniors access to more than 17,000 fitness and fitness center locations across the country.

Contact your insurance plan to find out if they offer SilverSneakers or complete the eligibility form on the SilverSneakers website.

Internet service

Senior internetTyler Olson / Shutterstock.com

If you use the internet for the basics – like sending email to friends and family, and occasionally surfing the internet – there are options you can use to get online for free.

For example, Juno offers 10 hours of free dial-up service each month. NetZero offers a similar package of 10 free hours.

For information on broadband coverage, see Consumer Action’s list of providers offering lower-cost options to low-income households.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, sometimes we get compensation for clicking links in our stories.

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