My Social Security Portal
As of January 7, 2013, the Social Security Administration has expanded services available with the “my Social Security portal”. Those who receive Social Security or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are now able to request, as well as receive, benefit verification letters online. Additionally, beneficiaries who receive SSI can now access their benefit verification letter, payment history, and earnings record at http://www.ssa.gov/myaccount/
Keep These Important Papers Safe and Handy
Some financial assistance programs now require that you present original documents regarding all sources of income when applying for benefits.
Therefore, your annual Social Security Statement, notices of disability and pension payments, and proof of any other income should be filed in a place where you can easily access them.
Keep Your Medicaid Card
Medicaid cards will no longer be replaced monthly like they were in the past. When you receive your new Medicaid card you must keep it, but this does not guarantee eligibility month to month. Your provider will verify eligibility at each visit.
Medicare Enhances Nursing Home Comparison Site
The federal government has approved 21 new quality-of-care measures that assess patients’ experiences at both long-term and short-term care facilities. The measures are designed to help consumers better understand the quality of care provided in nursing homes.
For more information, see the Medicare web site, www.medicare.gov . Click on Resource Locator, then Nursing Home Compare.
Important Changes-Medicaid & SNAP (Food Stamp) Recipients
Open your mail immediately! Medicaid and SNAP recipients must read all mail from DHS and HFS as soon as it is received. The State of Illinois has new procedures for recertifying SNAP and Medicaid recipients. Letters with instructions will be mailed to all, and recipients may have as little as ten days to comply. Copies of financial documents must be attached to certain redetermination forms. Benefits will be terminated for those who do not comply with the process within the specified time. Seniors may call PLOWS at 708.361.0219 for assistance with recertification during the time specified in the letter.
Legislators Turn Out to Discuss PLOWS Concerns
Funding for senior programs is a hot topic for this year’s Legislative Breakfast on January 13th held in conjunction with Stickney Township Senior Services and AgeOptions. Elected officials and their representatives at the federal, state, and county levels are invited to and learn about the situations seniors are facing, the help and resources PLOWS offers, and the burden budget cuts to assistance programs places on seniors and PLOWS programs. They learn firsthand about the work our social workers and staff do and how PLOWS intervention is a lifeline to many seniors and their families.
Benefit Access Replaces Circuit Breaker Program
The Illinois Circuit Breaker program is now known as the Benefit Access Program. The program offers a $75 reduction on license plate fees and qualifies people for the Seniors and Persons with Disabilities Ride Free Programs.
There are no more paper applications for this new program, and seniors only need to apply every other year beginning with 2013. The new online program requires that income documents be scanned and sent with the Internet application. Interested seniors who want PLOWS to file their Benefit Access application must make an appointment to come into the PLOWS Council on Aging office. We are no longer able to complete this application with a phone interview. When you schedule the appointment you will be given a list of the papers you need to bring in.
Eligible seniors must turn 65 by December 31, 2013, reside in Illinois at the time the application is filed, provide correct social security numbers for yourself and your spouse if applicable, and show proof of income. Bank statements showing deposits will no longer be accepted as proof of income. Seniors with incomes at or below the following can qualify:
$27,610 for a one person household
$36, 635 for a two person household
$45,657 for a three person household.
Call PLOWS Council on Aging today to make your Benefits Access application appointment, 708.361.0219.