John comments on last Saturday’s post, calling attention to the National Council On Aging’s Benefits Checkup service: Susan, you have probably written about the Benefits Checkup service offered by the National Council on Aging. The service identifies needs and public benefits in one central spot for many of the items on your April 21st blog post…..
Thanks to John, here’s more info on NCOA. The site is a good companion to Tony’s site (last post). It provides excellent information….of course, it lacks Tony’s personal remarks. NCOA says: “We work with thousands of organizations across the country to help seniors find jobs and benefits, improve their health, live independently, and remain active in their communities.”
To that end, NCOA explains it has “a web-based benefits screening service and anonymous questionnaire called BenefitsCheckUp, that may help locate services that you or your parents could qualify for.”
Example: Clicking the Benefits link above accesses the “Home” and “Find Help” tabs, which provide almost identical information. Both feature “Paying for Prescriptions” or “Paying for Food.” Difference: the “Find Help Page” has a box to click for “Get Help Now.”
The instructions are simple and the information given as a result is state-specific. An example would be “Paying for Food–Food Programs in Your State.” After clicking your state on the menu, information about your state’s food programs–accompanied by a link to get application forms (in languages used in your state in addition to English) plus a state 800 phone number–is generated.
In other instances, you will be asked to enter your zip code, then answer the questions (this is an anonymous questionnaire) on the computer form generated. The form’s pages are clear, readable, and questions look simple enough. Exception: possibly remembering answers to some of the financial questions.
Ideally an adult child or another person should be there–if only to watch that no errors are made in filling out the form, which doesn’t take long. After completing the form, information about how to get the needed help is quickly generated and can be printed out.
If you don’t have access to the Internet, NCOA says “please visit your local library or senior center where there may be computers you can use.”
The “About Us” tab on the Benefits Checkup link, informs us that the site has information about:
- Social Security – Old Age, Survivors, Disability, and Health Insurance Programs (OASDHI)
- Federal Retirement System
- Railroad Retirement
- Adult Protective Services
- Alzheimer’s Programs
- Assistive Technology Programs
- Caregiver and/or Respite Services
- Education Programs
- Emergency Assistance Programs
- Employment Programs
- Foreclosure Information and Assistance
- Health Insurance Counseling (Medicare and other health care choices)
- Homeowner’s Insurance (for homes that are difficult to insure)
- Housing Programs (senior, low-income, or homeless)
- Legal Assistance Programs
- Pension Information and Assistance
- Primary Health Care and/or Dental Services
- Programs for the Blind and Partially Sighted
- Programs for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
- Volunteer Programs (to serve as a volunteer)
To sum it up: NCOA’s site is a good option, offering the potential to help needy older people age better, and hopefully well.