AARP Low-Income Assistance Principles

These principles provide a framework for key components of low-income assistance, including income and nutrition assistance programs, access to social supports, and access to basic necessities. 

Devote adequate resources—the nation should devote sufficient resources to ensure access to benefits and adequate benefit levels for all who qualify for low-income assistance programs. 

Promote participation—government has a responsibility to design and implement programs in ways that promote, rather than discourage, the participation of all who are eligible for low-income assistance programs. This includes people from groups that are discriminated against as well as lawfully present non-citizen residents. 

Respect applicants and recipients—service providers should treat people seeking assistance fairly and justly. All people deserve respect and dignity. 

Support caregivers—programs should be designed and implemented to support people caring for family members and others. 

Assume responsibility—the government bears primary responsibility for providing low-income assistance. Involvement by charitable organizations, while essential, can only augment those efforts.