You Can Get Retirement Freebies If You Play Your Cards Right

You might be concerned about having enough money to make it through your golden years. However, one thing you can look forward to is all the free items and services you can get just for being a senior citizen. You don’t have to worry about receiving some basic services when you reach retirement. There are many state and local programs available to help make your financial life during retirement just a little bit easier. Here are eight things you can get for free in retirement.

1. Admission to national parks

Great Sand Dunes National Park
Enjoy admission to national parks. |

If you love nature walks, you likely spend your time at your local park, taking in the sights. However, you can also take advantage of the beautiful scenery at national parks. Many parks waive admission fees or offer discounted annual or lifetime passes to seniors. In fact, seniors can buy a lifetime pass for only $10 until August 28, 2017. After that, the price increases to $80. Still, that grants pass holders and up to three other adults in the group free entry. Be aware a senior pass for national parks cannot be used at local or state parks.
Next: Staying healthy

2. Prescription drugs

pills and multivitamins
You won’t have to skip dosages to make ends meet. |

Unfortunately, as you get older, your health starts to decline. And that usually means you’ll have to take a lot of prescription drugs and visit your doctor more often. The average annual cost for health care for those 65 and older is $5,248. Each year, roughly $500 on average is spent on prescription medication, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Expenditure Survey. Fortunately, there are programs available that can help wipe out some of those costs. Organizations, such as Partnership for Prescription Assistance, NeedyMeds, and RXAssist, offer a list of places where those who qualify can get free and low-cost prescription drugs.
Next: Fresh eyes

3. Eye care

young businessman adjusting eyeglasses
Take care of your eyes. |

Life can get pretty busy. Unfortunately, one appointment that often gets overlooked is an annual eye exam. If you are age 65 or older and you don’t have private insurance and haven’t had an eye exam in three or more years, you might be eligible for free eye care. EyeCare America, a program sponsored by the American Academy of Ophthalmology, offers free eye exams, as well as one year of eye care for any disease diagnosed during that exam.
Next: Help with dental costs

4. Dental supplies and services

Woman brushing teeth
You can still get quality dental care in retirement. |

Dental care is important, even more so as you get older. If you’re a low-income senior citizen, you might be able to receive a free set of dentures. Call your local department of aging to inquire about where to locate service providers. You can also contact your state dental association, which might offer free or reduced-price dental services.
Next: Getting around town

5. Transportation

seniors with cars
Some states and local private groups allow older adults ride for free. | Joe Raedle/Getty Images

It can be harder to get around as you age. It can also be expensive when you’re on a fixed income. The average annual cost for transportation for those 65 and older is $10,041, according to the BLS Consumer Expenditures Survey. Fortunately, some states and local private groups allow older adults ride for free or for a reduced price on public transportation or through privately funded transportation. New York, for example, has a free program offered through the New York Foundation for Senior Citizens.
Next: Back to school

6. Education

School notebooks in variety of colors
Many colleges and universities offer free or low-cost education to seniors. |

If you’ve been dreaming about going back to school but you’ve been hesitant because of the cost, you won’t have to keep putting your dreams on hold. Some educational institutions offer free tuition for senior students. Some schools that offer free tuition for seniors are University of South Carolina, Michigan Technological University, and Georgia State University.
Next: Art appreciation

7. Museum admission

Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago
Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago |

If you like art, then you’re likely a frequent museum visitor. Many museums offer free or reduced admission for seniors. The Museum of Modern Art in New York, for example, has a program just for seniors called “Prime Time.” The museum offers free museum admission, online courses, film screenings, and other free events for New York residents age 65 and older. In addition, the Smithsonian museums in Washington, D.C., don’t charge visitors of any age admission. Many military museums also waive admission fees.
Next: Tax help

8. Tax preparation

IRS building
There is affordable tax help for seniors. | Win McNamee/Getty Images

If you opt to hire someone to prepare your tax forms, it can be costly. Fortunately, senior citizens can take advantage of the IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance and Tax Counseling for the Elderly programs. They offer tax assistance free of charge. AARP Foundation Tax-Aide is another organization that offers free help to those 50 and older.
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