A Column by Carol Bradley Bursack http://helptocare.com/2013/07/18/try-these-websites-for-your-elders-benefits/
Dear Readers: Whether you are a caregiver or a senior still caring for your own needs, you may go through some financially tough times. There are benefits available for elders, which they’ve earned. You should keep tabs on what is available so you don’t struggle financially when you could have some help.
A good place to start is with Benefits Checkup at www.benefitscheckup.org. This nonprofit site will ask for a lot of information, but once you’ve filled it in, you may be surprised to find you’ve been missing something. Save that information and use it on www.govbenefits.gov, as well. It’s a good way to double-check. Both take some time, but it could be well worth your while.
Be sure to check for all Social Security benefits on www.socialsecurity.gov. Find out about Supplemental Security Income for those who have little Social Security and assets to sustain them. Also, go to www.medicare.gov for information on Medicare and on Medicaid enrollment for health care for low-income elders.
The Medicaid Home and Community Based Services Waiver is an agreement between the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services and a state’s Medicaid Agency. This waiver helps individuals who would otherwise require nursing home services to remain in their homes or communities. Type in your state and the words “Medicaid waiver.”
Next, look over the National Council on Aging site at www.ncoa.org and the Administration on Aging at www.aoa.gov to see what you may have missed. There’s good information here on long-term care planning, legal assistance and more.
The US Department of Health and Human Services at www.hhs.gov will give you information on HIPAA, which is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. This is in place for health information privacy, but can come back and bite you if you are caring for elders and need access to their health information.
Adult children and their aging parents need to get the correct papers signed (generally a Power of Attorney for Health Care) and have the right HIPAA information included in the wording so information on health care is allowed to the person you choose.
For veteran’s information, go www.va.gov. Your state’s Web site is a tremendous resource. Just type in your state, click on the main site and look for “aging services.” For those with physical limitations, go to www.ada.gov. Here you’ll find information on rights through the Americans with Disabilities Act.
This list isn’t exhaustive and benefit requirements are always changing, however, this will give you a good start.
Over the span of two decades author, columnist and speaker Carol Bradley Bursack cared for a neighbor and six elderly family members. Because of this experience, Bradley Bursack created a portable support group – the book “Minding Our Elders: Caregivers Share Their Personal Stories.” Her sites, www.mindingourelders.com and www.mindingoureldersblogs.com include helpful resources as well as links to direct support. Bradley Bursack is a consultant who also writes on caregiving and senior issues for several national Web sites.