Archives for posts with tag: veteran financial assistance

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

Breaking news on next year’s cost of living adjustment for seniors. Re-posted from AARP…

Benefits for more than 60 million Social Security recipients will go up next year by a mere 0.3 percent, the Social Security Administration announced Tuesday.

This is the smallest cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) since automatic raises began in the mid-1970s. And it comes after recipients received no bump up in benefits for 2016 because inflation was so low.

For retired workers the average monthly benefit in January will go up $5 to $1,360. But beneficiaries will likely find this small sum eaten up by higher premiums for Medicare Part B, which covers doctor and outpatient hospital visits, experts say.

“Over the last five years, Social Security COLAs have remained small or nonexistent at 1.7 percent or lower, even though every cent can matter to beneficiaries and their families,” Jo Ann Jenkins, AARP’s CEO, said. “After last year’s zero COLA, this year’s announcement doesn’t offer much help to the millions of families who depend on their Social Security benefits. As prescription prices skyrocket and Medicare premiums and other health costs increase, many older Americans have understandable concerns.”

The annual COLA is designed to prevent inflation from eroding Social Security recipients’ purchasing power. The Social Security Administration calculates it by comparing the third-quarter inflation rate — as measured by the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners (CPI-W) — to the inflation rate during the third quarter in the year a COLA was last determined.

If there was measurable inflation over that time, beneficiaries receive a COLA. If prices remained flat or even fell, there is no COLA.

The COLA also will have an impact on Medicare Part B premiums. Premiums for 2017 haven’t been announced yet, but the Social Security Administration warned: “For some beneficiaries, their Social Security increase may be partially or completely offset by increases in Medicare premiums.”

When there isn’t a COLA, Part B premiums remain flat for about 70 percent of Medicare beneficiaries. The burden of higher premiums then falls on the remaining 30 percent, which includes new beneficiaries and higher-income households.

Last year when there was no cost-of-living increase, Congress stepped in to minimize the impact of higher premiums on the 30 percent as well as to limit deductible increases for all.

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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

Heat related fatigue or illness effecting elderly parents can take many forms, including rapid breathing, weakness or fainting, headaches, and confusion.

First and foremost, replenish the elderly – or anyone suffering from heat related issues – with water, which is best served at room temperature. This will help to cool the body. Can they be moved to a cooler location in the house? Is there a fan to blow air over them? Certainly removing excess clothing will help. Allowing the skin to cool down as it emits water will help the body to lower temperature and stabilize.

Some additional tips for keeping seniors cool and comfortable:

— If you don’t have air conditioning, keep shades or drapes down and blinds closed on the sunny side of the house, but keep windows slightly open to allow for ventilation. Is there a finished basement in the house? Usually this room is much cooler.

— Keep electric lights off or turned down low, and turn off all unnecessary electrical appliances, such as computers and TV’s which generate a lot of heat.

— Have you ever walked into the kitchen during dinner preparation and felt the room hotter than the rest of the house? Avoid generating excessive heat. Minimize use of the toaster. Try to cook without the oven. And avoid heavy meals.

— Be aware that certain medications make it harder for your body to control its temperature and/or may make it easier for your skin to burn. This includes both common prescription and over the counter drugs. Consult your doctor or pharmacist regarding side effects of your medications.

— Use a fan in the house near the window to bring in the cooler air from the outside. But don’t use a fan to bring in hot air from the outside. Don’t use a fan in a closed room without windows or doors open to the outside.

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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

Came across this post recently…an interesting issue for seniors. Does the body metabolize prescribed meds?

According to the Department of Health and Human Services, approximately 200,000 older adults are hospitalized annually due to “adverse drug reactions”. And 55 percent of the elderly don’t take their medications according to the doctor’s orders.

For some, it is a vision problem – not being able to read the small print on prescription labels which can lead to potentially dangerous misuse. For others, it may be due to memory loss, dementia or Alzheimer’s disease and they simply forget to take their medications which can lead to life threatening situations. For a senior in a memory care unit, it is difficult for them to tell you a.) if they have taken their medications, and b.) if their medications are working properly. (And finally, these seniors may be unable or unwilling to advocate for themselves. They are blindly following orders.)

But, what if they are taking their medications as prescribed but they don’t have the ability to metabolize those medications? Not only are they throwing money away on medications that aren’t working, their health may be diminishing while they are on a “trial and error” medication. Have you ever heard a physician say, “take this for three weeks and if it doesn’t work, come back and we’ll try something else?” In an elderly person, sometimes you can’t afford to wait.

A lot of senior communities around the country have implemented the Metabolic Validation Program, via pharmacogenetic testing. By doing a simple buccal swab of the cheek, the healthcare team can now know scientifically if a medication has the ability to metabolize in that individual, as well as if they are having drug-on-drug interactions, or may need a dosage adjustment according to their rate of metabolism.

So what does it cost the individual or the facility? Medicare B covers the cost of the test and in some states, medicaid covers it as well. You might be asking yourself, “Will this bankrupt medicare?” The answer to that is no. Due to overspending on unnecessary medications, this test is actually a cost savings. For individuals on multiple medications this test can significantly reduce consumption of inefficient drugs.

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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

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

Are you ready to care for your aging parents?

Our nation’s senior population is expected double from 2012 to 2050. While some general health care costs will be covered by government programs, those seniors choosing to remain in their home and/or buy in to assisted living facilities will undoubtedly self-fund their home care costs. This burden will fall largely on individual seniors and families.

Yet, statistics show that while nearly half of our aging population is concerned about this need, very few are actually doing something about it.

Citing a recent survey conducted by “A Place For Mom” reveals that 42% of Americans with living parents have not discussed anything at all with their parents about their potential need for senior care. Survey results showed that just over one quarter (28%) of Americans with living parents either currently support, or feel they will need to support their parents financially in their senior years. But 86% of those people expressed concerns about their ability to do so (i.e., financially cover living expenses for elders.)

Don’t be a part of the 42% of Americans who may be waiting until a life-changing, emotionally charged event occurs. Now is the time to research and learn about costs and care options for your parents.

The tough conversation does not have to be painful. By starting early, families can avoid planning mistakes and make knowledgeable decisions about senior living and long-term care when the time comes. 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

I came across this information recently. It represents a summary of macro issues concerning our aging senior population…

“Increased access to private pay options will be critical to funding care for a rapidly growing senior population.

The growing senior population is increasing demand for senior care services. Medicare and Medicaid will only cover certain forms of care for those that can qualify. The Senior Living industry will need to do more to help educate the consumer about available options to “private pay” for senior care services.

Programs such as the Veteran’s Aid and Attendance Benefit, converting life insurance policies into a Long Term Care Benefit Account, Long Term Care Insurance and Annuities, senior loans and accessing equity in homes, as well as creating incentives to do more with savings, income and investments are all critical parts of how seniors today, and in the future, will be able afford the costs of senior care and housing.”

One of the major messages here…seniors have to take the responsibility to plan for their own living and health related expenses as they age. There is no “golden parachute” from the government or any other source. Elders need to financially plan for the living expenses associated with aging.
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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 Rotary Club of Scituate has launched its 2015 fund-raising campaign to continue to provide assistance to local charities serving Scituate and Marshfield residents. Your financial participation and support enables Rotary to assist many community charities and deserving service organizations.

    We need YOUR Help!

50% of the ticket sales will cover the cost of the prizes. The rest goes to support our local community, including: Veterans, High School Scholarships, Boys & Girls Clubs, Council on Aging, CORSE, local youth activities, fuel assistance, Cardinal Cushing School, and many other worthwhile causes..

Rotary’s COMMUNITY & CONNECTIONS 50–50 RAFFLE !
WINNERS RECEIVE:
FIRST PRIZE: $10,000.00
SECOND PRIZE : $2,000.00
THIRD PRIZE: $500.00

YOUR ODDS ARE FANTASTIC – ONLY 250 TICKETS WILL BE SOLD!!!
Tickets are $100.00 each. Winners will be announced March 20, 2015 — so hurry to buy your tickets!

Buy one or more tickets to enter the raffle – with a chance to Win $10,000!

Or, buy a ticket “share” with family/friends and split the Winnings!

To purchase tickets – please contact:
Lucille Sorrentino at 781 545 0870. email: lsorrentino@comcast.net
J.D. Miller at 781 378 2164. email: john.miller33@comcast.net

Make checks payable to Scituate Rotary Foundation – We greatly appreciate any/all monetary donations.

“SERVICE ABOVE SELF”
Scituate & Marshfield Rotarians “thank you” for helping us bring our best to others.

Many Veterans returning from war time service suffer from post traumatic stress disorder. Consider these facts:

— More than 2 million men and women have served in the military since 2001 during our nation’s conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
— 37,000 Massachusetts men and women have served in Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts, including branches of National Guard and Reservists.
— Approximately half of these enlisted veterans are deployed more than once, and many more than five times.
— There are many, many more current service members with families than in our nation’s past.

Symptoms of combat stress can occur anytime after returning home, and if the symptoms don’t go away, it’s important for individual service men and women to seek help. Do you know a veteran, or family friend, with behavioral symptoms which may include: difficulty concentrating, trouble sleeping, fatigue, constantly feeling on alert, feeling numb, feeling irritable, avoiding people and places that are stressful? Are they showcasing signs of memory problems, lack of concentration, and general anxiety?

As our veterans return to their communities following service deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan, they attempt to adjust to a new and different civilian life. For many veterans and families, there is a medical need for clinical care, counselling, and support services in order to deal with the invisible wounds of war.

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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