Archives for posts with tag: surviving spouse benefits

In honor of Veterans Day, I am re-posting a memo from the Social Security Administration…

Every Veterans Day, the nation honors the brave men and women who risk their lives to protect our country and the freedoms we cherish. Social Security honors veterans and active duty members of the military every day by giving them the support they deserve. A vital part of that is administering the Social Security disability program.

For those who return home with injuries, Social Security is a resource they can turn to for disability benefits. Social Security’s Wounded Warriors website is at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/woundedwarriors.

The Wounded Warriors website has answers to many commonly asked questions, and shares other useful information about disability benefits, including how veterans can receive expedited processing of disability claims. Benefits available through Social Security are different from those available from the Department of Veterans Affairs and require a separate application.

The expedited process is available to military service members who become disabled while on active military service on or after October 1, 2001, regardless of where the disability occurs.

Even active duty military who continue to receive pay while in a hospital or on medical leave should consider applying for disability benefits if they’re unable to work due to a disabling condition. Active duty status and receipt of military pay doesn’t necessarily prevent payment of Social Security disability benefits. Although a person can’t receive Social Security disability benefits while engaging in substantial work for pay or profit, receipt of military payments should never stop someone from applying for disability benefits from Social Security.

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– John D. Miller is the founder/owner of Home Care Partners, LLC, a Massachusetts business providing private duty, personalized in-home assistance and companion care services to those needing help in daily activities and household functions. He can be reached at: (781) 378-2164; email: jdmiller@homecarepartners.biz ; or online at: www.homecarepartnersma.com

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Re-posting a timely entry from the Social Security Administration…I think we all know someone fighting or surviving cancer…

In 2016, more than a million people will be diagnosed with cancer around the world. This alarming statistic affects the young, the elderly, and families everywhere. On June 5, 2016, we observe National Cancer Survivors Day in the United States. In support of this day, Social Security encourages getting checkups to provide early detection, raise awareness through education, and recognize the survivors who have gone through this battle or are still living with the disease.

Social Security stands strong in our support of the fight against cancer. We offer services to patients dealing with this disease through our disability program and our Compassionate Allowances program. Compassionate Allowances are cases with medical conditions so severe they obviously meet Social Security’s disability standards, allowing us to process the cases quickly with minimal medical information. Many cancers are on our Compassionate Allowance list.

There’s no special application or form you need to submit for Compassionate Allowances. Simply apply for disability benefits using the standard Social Security or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) application. Once we identify you as having a Compassionate Allowances condition, we’ll expedite your disability application.

Social Security establishes new Compassionate Allowances conditions using information received at public outreach hearings, from the Social Security and Disability Determination Services communities, from medical and scientific experts, and from data based on our research. If you think you qualify for disability benefits based on a Compassionate Allowances condition, please visit http://www.socialsecurity.gov to apply for benefits.

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– John D. Miller is the founder/owner of Home Care Partners, LLC, a Massachusetts business providing private duty, personalized in-home assistance and companion care services to those needing help in daily activities and household functions. He can be reached at: (781) 378-2164; email: jdmiller@homecarepartners.biz ; or online at: www.homecarepartnersma.com

Timely re-post from the Social Security Administration as we approach Memorial Day…

“Traditionally, on Memorial Day we honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation.

The unexpected loss of a service member is a difficult experience for the family. Social Security helps by providing benefits to protect service members’ dependents. Widows, widowers, and their dependent children may be eligible for Social Security survivors benefits.

It’s also important to recognize those service members who are still with us, especially those who have been wounded. Just as they served us, we have the obligation to serve them. Social Security has benefits to protect veterans when an injury prevents them from returning to active duty.

Wounded military service members can also receive expedited processing of their disability claims. For example, Social Security will provide expedited processing of disability claims filed by veterans who have a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Compensation rating of 100 percent Permanent & Total (P&T). Depending on the situation, some family members of military personnel, including dependent children and, in some cases, spouses, may be eligible to receive benefits.

Service members can also receive Social Security in addition to military retirement benefits. The good news is that your military retirement benefit does not reduce your Social Security retirement benefit.

Service members are also eligible for Medicare at age 65. If you have health insurance from the VA or under the TRICARE or CHAMPVA programs, your health benefits may change, or end, when you become eligible for Medicare.”

You can learn more about Social Security survivors benefits at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/survivors.
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– John D. Miller is the founder/owner of Home Care Partners, LLC, a Massachusetts business providing private duty, personalized in-home assistance and companion care services to those needing help in daily activities and household functions. He can be reached at: (781) 378-2164; email: jdmiller@homecarepartners.biz ; or online at: www.homecarepartnersma.com

Are you ready to care for your aging parents?

According to a recent poll, almost half of our population have taken no steps, and made no plans, to care for elderly parents or family members. Take notice…the time will arrive for all of us. Realistically, this results in an emotionally charged scramble as a reaction to a parental emergency.

Take some time to prepare for an elderly parent and health issues. Get a handle on legal documents, bank accounts, savings and investment and professional contacts who can help the family gain access to your parents’ financial planning.

Is there a trusted financial advisor who has worked with your aging parents? Most investment strategies will change after retirement. Get an understanding as to resources, and any investment vehicles which may provide retirement income. Investments and stock portfolio, 401(k) or Roth IRA funds, veterans benefits, social security, long-term care insurance and government assistance such as Medicare and Medicaid, are all possible resources to investigate. Last week, I attended a seminar on long term planning…and there are certainly some creative annuity products in the marketplace to assist in generating retirement income.

Can your parents remain in their own home? Or are they interested in moving into a senior community? Once you understand the type of living situation and care level needed, you can set a budget and find sources of income to help pay for elder needs.

Get your family talking and develop relationships with the professionals who can make this otherwise difficult life transition a confident and positive one.
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– John D. Miller is the founder/owner of Home Care Partners, LLC, a Massachusetts business providing private duty, personalized in-home assistance and companion care services to those needing help in daily activities and household functions. He can be reached at: (781) 378-2164; email: jdmiller@homecarepartners.biz ; or online at: www.homecarepartnersma.com

There are changes being implemented in the Medicare program.

Medicare beneficiaries at higher income levels will feel the brunt of the cost change. For example, individuals with incomes above $85,000 (or more than $170,000 for married couples) will see the Part B premium increase dramatically. In addition to paying the $121.80 monthly base amount, a monthly surcharge ranging from $48.70 to $268 will apply — depending on your income level. (It is important to note that the income thresholds for 2016 are based on the income you earned in 2014.)

The good news for individuals who already collect Social Security with annual incomes below $85,000 (and couples below $170,000), is that a so-called “hold harmless” provision will kick in. It essentially says your Medicare increase cannot be greater than the Social Security cost of living adjustment (COLA). There are no increases to COLA this year.

In 2016, Social Security recipients below those income thresholds will continue to pay $104.90 in monthly premiums for Medicare Part B. Those enrolled in Medicare who do not yet collect Social Security and remain under the same income thresholds will now pay $121.80.

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– John D. Miller is the founder/owner of Home Care Partners, LLC, a Massachusetts business providing private duty, personalized in-home assistance and companion care services to those needing help in daily activities and household functions. He can be reached at: (781) 378-2164; email: jdmiller@homecarepartners.biz ; or online at: www.homecarepartnersma.com

The holidays can be busy, hectic, fun, and exhausting. Caring for elderly parents can be difficult with all the holiday activity swirling around you. Now is the time to note the benefits of professional in-home care.

Homecare staff can help with transportation to family parties, or to church. Or running out to pick-up that last minute gift.

Caregivers provide some socialization to those who may be house-bound. As well as assistance in personal care such as bathing, dressing and grooming.

Functional services such as housekeeping will help with the tidy-up preparation for family visits, as well as with holiday decorations. A little help can go a long way this time of year – or anytime, for that matter. Keep your elderly parents safe and comfortable with private duty homecare services.

Wishing you all a joyous holiday season, and a healthy new year!

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– John D. Miller is the founder/owner of Home Care Partners, LLC, a Massachusetts business providing private duty, personalized in-home assistance and companion care services to those needing help in daily activities and household functions. He can be reached at: (781) 378-2164; email: jdmiller@homecarepartners.biz ; or online at: www.homecarepartnersma.com

Location: Hingham Council on Aging, 224 Central St., Hingham, MA 02043

Date: 11am – 2pm, Friday, November 6th, 2015.

Event: “4th Annual…Informed Aging & Your Future” seminar will feature a panel of 8 elder specialists representing industries that cater to and provide professional services for the elderly and their families. Panelists from health care, legal, financial, domestic, and life-care planning arenas will be on hand to present information on the “industry of aging”, and shed light on the myriad of decisions confronted by seniors as they age in place. Topics include: estate planning, financial resources for home assistance, legal, assisted living options, medical care/end of life, and more.

No cost for entry. Event is free and all are welcome, regardless of whether they reside in Hingham or not. Lunch will be provided free of charge.

To register, please call:
Hingham Council on Aging
224 Central St
Hingham, MA 02043-2745
(781) 741-1458

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month. Personally, I know people who receive benefits through the Social Security disability insurance program, and the financial assistance is a great help in managing month to month. Thought I should re-post this information from the Social Security Administration…

The Social Security disability insurance program, or SSDI, is perhaps the most misunderstood program of Social Security. Some people may think that SSDI recipients have never worked and are taking advantage of the system by receiving money for minor impairments.

Nothing could be further from the truth. First, anyone who qualifies for SSDI must have worked enough to pay into the system and be “insured.” Second, Social Security has some of the strictest requirements in the world for disability benefits. To qualify, a person must not only have an impairment that will last one year or more, or result in death, but they must be unable to perform any substantial work.

Consequently, Social Security disability beneficiaries are some of the most severely impaired people in the country, and they greatly depend on their benefits. Learn more by visiting the website at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/disabilityfacts.

We also have incentives that give beneficiaries with disabilities — who are able — the opportunity to return to work. These work incentives include continued cash benefits for a period of time while you work, continued Medicare or Medicaid coverage, and help with education, training, and rehabilitation to start a new line of work. In some cases, we may even be able to deduct certain impairment-related work expenses from your countable income, making it possible to earn more and also remain eligible to receive benefits. Examples of these expenses are wheelchairs, transportation costs, and specialized equipment needed for work.

Social Security also offers the Ticket to Work program, which gives participants a “ticket” to go back to work while keeping their disability benefits. This program is free and voluntary. Ticket to Work gives access to an employment network, which offers assistance with job searches and placement, and vocational rehabilitation and training.

People with disabilities are challenged with both overcoming barriers and with convincing others that those barriers do not define them. Social Security is an earned benefit for millions of disabled individuals, and we can assist them in going back to work.

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– John D. Miller is the founder/owner of Home Care Partners, LLC, a Massachusetts business providing private duty, personalized in-home assistance and companion care services to those needing help in daily activities and household functions. He can be reached at: (781) 378-2164; email: jdmiller@homecarepartners.biz ; or online at: www.homecarepartnersma.com

On Wednesday, May 21, 2014, former Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary, Eric Shinseki, directed Veterans Health Administration (VHA) leadership to personally review their processes to ensure the VA is doing everything possible to schedule Veterans for their appointments.

Veterans Affairs has subsequently redoubled its efforts to provide quality care to Veterans and has taken steps at national and local levels to ensure timely access to care. The Veterans Health Administration has developed the Accelerating Care Initiative (ACI), a coordinated, system-wide initiative to accelerate care to Veterans. This action was promptly communicated to administrative leadership in the field on May 22, 2014. The implementation was launched the following day, on the morning of May 23rd.

The Accelerating Care Initiative allows VA providers to utilize non-VA medical care for eligible Veterans when the VA medical center cannot provide the care due to unavailability of the service because of a lack of timely capacity and/or capability. The purpose of the initiative is to strengthen access to care in the VA system, while also ensuring flexibility to use private sector care when needed in accordance with VA guidelines.

For additional information and details, see: http://www.nonvacare.va.gov/

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– John D. Miller is the founder/owner of Home Care Partners, LLC, a Massachusetts business providing private duty, personalized in-home assistance and companion care services to those needing help in daily activities and household functions. He can be reached at: (781) 378-2164; email: jdmiller@homecarepartners.biz ; or online at: www.homecarepartnersma.com

Most people return from war, and with time and support from family and friends, readjust. But everyone is different. How do you know when things are going in the wrong direction, and when you or someone you care about needs some help?

Veterans may feel overwhelmed with their inner thoughts, and have difficulty controlling their emotions. You may feel as if you are always on alert, jumpy and easily startled. You may have difficulty concentrating at school or at work. You might start to avoid crowds, public places, even family gatherings or any situation that makes you feel anxious. You may be anxious, irritable or quick tempered with family or friends. Some people get angry or very impatient with family members over little things like decision-making. After all, when you are in combat, decisions are made quickly without discussion. It’s a big adjustment to stay calm when your teenager is arguing about using the car or your six-year old is refusing to brush his teeth before school.

Intense feelings of guilt or fear are common—but so is the opposite extreme. Veterans dealing with post traumatic stress may feel numb, and find that it’s hard to trust others, or enjoy all the people and life activities previously experienced. Traumatic stress has changed the emotional balance in many Veterans.

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John D. Miller is the founder/owner of Home Care Partners, LLC, a Massachusetts business providing private duty, personalized in-home assistance and companion care services to those needing help in daily activities and household functions. He can be reached at: (781) 378-2164; email: jdmiller@homecarepartners.biz ; or online at: www.homecarepartnersma.com