Medicare And Prescription Help For Seniors
Medicare is a federal health insurance program for people 65 or older, those who are disabled, or those who have end-stage renal disease. It does not pay the full cost of services you will still have deductibles and copayments. Medicare has four parts:
It is possible to receive Medicare benefits if you are under 65. For instance, you can get Part A for free if you are under 65 but have been receiving Social Security disability benefits for at least two years. And if you receive Social Security benefits for at least four months before becoming eligible for Medicare, you are automatically enrolled in Part A and Part B .
But what if you can’t afford the premiums and other costs associated with Medicare? Help for seniors with low incomes is available through a number of programs:
If you have Medicaid, or if you qualify for the QMB, SLMB, or QI programs, you automatically qualify for the Extra Help program that provides prescription help for seniors on Medicare. Under this program, depending on your resources and income level, you may get either full or partial help with the cost of your medications.
Mobility Aid Help For Seniors
Being able to move around inside your home or out in your community is essential for maintaining independence. Older adults are increasingly relying on devices like canes, walkers, and motorized scooters to help them stay mobile. In fact, according to a study in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, around a quarter of Americans over age 65 use mobility aids, and a third of those use more than one type of device.
Canes and walkers are relatively inexpensive, ranging from about $15 for a basic cane to $150 for a deluxe rollator walker. Manual wheelchairs can cost anywhere from $100 to $750. And electric scooters and power wheelchairs typically cost well over $1,000.
Medicare Part B can help cover the cost of mobility aids if a qualified healthcare provider determines that such items are medically necessary for you to move around inside your home. So, for instance, if you have a health condition that impairs your mobility within your home, and that condition can’t be helped with a cane or a walker, you may be approved for a manual wheelchair. If you lack the strength to operate a manual wheelchair, you may receive approval for an electric scooter.
If your claim is approved, Medicare will cover 80 percent of the cost. If you have supplemental insurance, the other 20 percent may be covered as well.
Main Benefits Programs: Ssi Ssdi Medicare And Medicaid
Lets get started by going over the four main benefits programs, including SSI, SSDI, Medicare and Medicaid. These programs are highly connected. Qualifying for one may automatically qualify you for another.
For seniors with disabilities, the most significant benefits programs start with SSI and SSDI. Below, well go into the details.
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Local And State Programs
Every state has at least one Area Agency on Aging office that can help older residents with a range of needs, including home modifications and repairs. The office should be able to help you find services that may be offered for free or on a sliding scale they could include anything from replacing roofs and hot water tanks to installing wheelchair ramps and grab bars. You must be at least 60 years old to be eligible income limits also apply.
Charities and non-profit organizations often provide free or low-cost home repair services to seniors. You may also be able to find volunteer home repair services in your area through a simple Internet search.
State Health Insurance Assistance Programs
SHIPs are state-specific advocacy centers that provide local assistance and counseling for Medicare-eligible people. The mission of SHIPs is to make Medicare more transparent and help guide families through the process. Some services they provide include:
- Information and clarification about Medicare benefits, coverage and insurers.
- Help cover out-of-pocket Medicare costs.
- Advocate for your rights under Medicare.
While SHIPs are mostly informational, they can aid with the Medicare process for seniors and their families.
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Technology Help For Seniors
Many seniors are insecure about their technological prowess. In fact, in a Pew Research Center survey, only 26 percent of Internet users over age 65 said they felt very confident when it came to using smartphones and computers. And almost three-quarters of the 65-plus crowd said they needed other people to show them how to use a new electronic device. But there are plenty of ways that seniors can expand their technological skills.
SeniorNet provides computer help for seniors over 55. It’s a non-profit organization that offers computer and Internet training in learning centers all over the country. Courses cover topics like how to use tablets, send email, download applications, and take digital photos. A yearly membership fee is required.
TechBoomers is a free website that teaches older adults how to navigate and use popular sites related to education, shopping, entertainment, and social media. Tutorials are aimed at those with basic computer skills.
Free technology training workshops are also available from AARP TEK. Topics focus on the use of smartphones and tablets. You don’t have to be an AARP member to take advantage of these workshops they are open to everyone.
Living Options For Seniors With Disabilities
Safety is a must when thinking of your next home, especially for seniors with disabilities. As a natural part of aging, there are things that we can and cant control to help manage our health better. Things that we cant control are sudden new health complications that can lead to new disabilities and things that we can control are our health habits that help promote a stronger body. Along the same vein, we can make a choice to live in a more accessible and environmentally friendly home with necessary social support to prevent falls, help with activities we can no longer do ourselves, and assist with the administration of medications.
Take a moment to reflect on three variables that can help guide your decision of where your next home may be your physical abilities, social support system, and day-to-day activities that are difficult or strenuous to do yourself. Options below depict different types of transitional living homes that seniors consider based on the three variables listed above:
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Use One Of The Following Options To Start Your Claim
Make a request online
Use your MyAlberta Digital Identity account to make your Special Needs Assistance for Seniors claims and review your claims history online. To make a claim or to create a MADI account, click on the link below and follow the step-by-step instructions.
After review, the SNA program will send you a letter advising of your eligibility.
Online requests to the SNA program are voluntary. If you prefer, you may continue to request assistance using mail, fax and in-person options.
Send estimates, receipts or documents to the program
Special Needs Assistance for SeniorsPO Box 3100
Rental Housing Tax Credits
The program allocates over $15.5M of federal tax credits annually to for-profit and non-profit developers for the construction or rehabilitation of affordable rental housing. All units created through the RHTC program must be rented to households at or below 60% of area median income. IHCDA ensures that the program is utilized to assist vulnerable populations through set-asides in the Qualified Action Plan .
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Housekeeping And Yard Maintenance
- $1,226 in a benefit year
Documents to include
- medical note from a health professional the first time you make a request specifying the mobility or health condition that does not allow you to do your own housekeeping or yard maintenance.
A medical note does not need to be provided if you and your spouse are 80 years of age or older.
Receipts must include:
- applicants name and address
- service provider’s name, phone number, address and signature
- breakdown of services provided housekeeping, grass cutting, snow removal only
- date of service and hours, cost per hour and total cost
Help For Seniors With Home Repairs Improvements And Modifications
The vast majority of seniors want to stay in their own homes as long as possible. But every home needs regular maintenance and upkeep, and as people age they may require adaptations in their homes to accommodate their changing needs. Finding the money for changes and repairs can be challenging, but there are many different senior assistance programs that can help.
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Homeless Resources For Special Groups
These resources are geared toward specific audiences:
- Homeless Veteran Resources from the Department of Veterans Affairs – Use these resources to find safe housing. Or explore opportunities to return to employment, find health care, or get mental health services.
- Housing programs and street outreach – Find stable, safe housing. You can also get education help, survival aid, counseling, crisis intervention, and follow-up support.
People With Mental Illness
- Projects for Assistance in Transition from Homelessness – Find help if you have a serious mental illness. The PATH program can assist you if youre homeless or at risk of homelessness.
Seniors People With Disabilities Urge British Columbians To Clear Sidewalks
Snow-covered sidewalks and roads are a struggle for anyone to navigate, but for some, it’s nearly impossible.
Seniors and those living with disabilities can be more vulnerable when their pathways aren’t cleared, increasing the risk of falls and decreasing visibility. That’s why advocates and those with lived experience are asking people to keep their sidewalks clear.
Amy Amantea, who is legally blind, uses a cane to identify the streets, boulevards and grass to help her get around safely. When everything is covered in snow, the cane can’t help her the way she needs it to.
“It’s a bit of a free-for-all without having my typical navigation tool,” she said.
“You go out there, and the rubber on the bottom gets wet. It’ll slip.”
And if it slips, she said, she might too.
“Right now, I’m staying in until I see a bit of sidewalk out there.”
Clearing the roads is “essential” for HandyDart services, TransLink spokesperson Dan Mountain said. Because HandyDart goes to an individual’s home, they have to drive on side streets which are often not prioritized by city plows.
“It’s essential that we get HandyDart to the people who most need it, who have medical appointments,” he said.
When snow falls in the Lower Mainland, it’s no secret the region struggles with snow removal.
Vancouver Coun. Pete Frye said crews were out doing what they could, estimating that about 500 people were involved in snow removal efforts on Tuesday.
She thanks those who have shovelled their sidewalks.
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Loans Grants And Waivers
Another option is to get a federally insured loan to help with the cost of repairs and modifications. These low-interest loans are offered by private banks and lenders but insured by the Federal Housing Administration, making them more accessible to people who might not otherwise qualify for credit.
Additional help for seniors’ home repairs is available through the federal government’s Very Low-Income Housing Repair Program . The program provides loans of up to $20,000 and grants of up to $7,500 to fix safety and health hazards in the homes of very low-income seniors. To qualify, you must be over age 62, have an income below a certain limit, live in an eligible area, and be unable to get affordable credit anywhere else.
Home modification help for disabled seniors who served in the armed forces is also available. Disabled veterans may qualify for special grants to cover the cost of home modifications that are deemed to be medically necessary. For instance, the Home Improvements and Structural Alterations grant can be used to pay for things like handrails and roll-in showers. The disability doesn’t have to be service-related, but a Veterans Affairs doctor must stipulate that the modification is necessary.
In many states, a low-income senior who qualifies for Medicaid can get Home & Community-Based Services waivers that cover the cost of home modifications that boost the person’s ability to live independently.
Help If Youre Employed
You may be able to top up a low salary by claiming Universal Credit.
You also might be able to get an Access to Work grant to pay for:
- special equipment, adaptations or support worker services to help you do things like answer the phone or go to meetings
- help getting to and from work
- mental health support
- communication support at a job interview
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Learn About Service And Emotional Support Animals For Veterans
The VA provides guide dogs for blind or visually impaired veterans. It also offers service dogs for veterans with other disabilities. Benefits include veterinary care and equipment through VA Prosthetics and Sensory Aids. Learn more about guide and service dogs for veterans.
Currently, the VA does not provide service dogs for veterans with mental disorders, such as PTSD. However, research is underway to see if dogs can help treat PTSD and its symptoms. Get information on service dogs, emotional support dogs, and issues related to PTSD.
Native American Housing Programs
- Indian Housing’s Office of Native American Programs – offers housing and community development programs to ensure safe, decent, and affordable housing for Native American families
- Indian Housing Grant Programs – provide financial help for Indian tribes to develop affordable housing and housing activities on a reservation or Indian area
- Housing Improvement Program – provides home repairs, renovations, replacements, and new housing grants
- Tribal Green Building – funding resources from federal, tribal, and state agencies for tribal green building
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Benefits For Seniors With Disabilities
Oftentimes seniors with disabilities qualify for health and financial assistance programs, but dont know about them. Or theyre not sure about the eligibility requirements and enrollment process. Lets go over the key programs for seniors with disabilities so that you have the information you need to get the benefits you deserve.
Income And Tax Help For Seniors
According to the National Council on Aging, more than 15 million Americans aged 65+ live below the federal poverty line. There are also millions of other seniors with low or moderate incomes who are technically above the poverty line but still struggle to pay their bills each month. Fortunately, there are programs that can help older adults who are facing income or tax challenges.
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The Aging And Disability Resource Center
Offers information and assistance, referral services, advocacy and outreach. This division is largely modeled after the national Aging and Disability Resource Center concept by providing augmented information and assistance services to the aging and disability populations. Statewide, this initiative is known as Maryland Access Point and seeks to provide a more coordinated approach to community-based service delivery. Cecil Countys ADRC seeks to break down barriers to service delivery by streamlining the eligibility process for state and federal programs, assisting individuals in the Medicare enrollment process, providing health insurance counseling, training, education and caregiver support and respite services. Visit and link to health and support services or call 1-844-MAP-LINK TTY #711.
Service Animals And Emotional Support Animals
Service animals are trained to complete work and tasks for the specific, individual needs of people with disabilities. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act , dogs may qualify as service animals. In some cases, the ADA also recognizes miniature horses as service animals.
Unlike service animals, emotional support animals do not typically perform specific tasks. Instead, they serve as companions to people with disabilities. They are not considered service animals under the ADA, but some state and local governments permit people to take them into public places.
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After You Make A Claim
We will review your request and contact you by mail regarding the outcome.
You may be contacted for additional information. If additional information is requested and not provided, the request will be assessed with the information on hand. The file may be closed if the missing information is critical to making a decision.
If you provided an estimate to SNA and have received funding, you may be asked to send in receipts showing that you purchased and paid for the items. Keep all receipts for funded items for at least 2 years from the date of purchase.
If you do not spend the money on approved items, you may be asked to return the funding.
If you do not send in a receipt, or return the funding, you will not be eligible for assistance in the future.
How Do I Complain
You may need things like ramps, grab bars, or service animals. Housing providers cannot deny someone housing because of a disability. And they cannot refuse to make reasonable accommodations for a tenant with a disability. Learn more about disability rights in housing and how to file a complaint if you feel that youve been a victim of housing discrimination.
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State Supplemental Income Program
Additional financial help for seniors with low income is available in many areas. Most states provide supplemental payments to people receiving SSI benefits. Each state has its own rules about who is eligible and how much they are entitled to receive. Supplement amounts often depend on a person’s marital status and whether he or she is living independently, receiving home care, or residing in a nursing home or assisted living facility.
In some states, the supplemental program is run by the federal Social Security Administration, so an application for SSI benefits is also an application for the state supplement. Other states have their own agencies that run the supplemental program, which means you’ll have to apply directly with that agency in order to receive the additional benefit.