Benefits & Discount
From the Desk of Darlene Dawson x7676
Social Security Announces
1.6 Percent Benefit Increase for 2020
Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for more than 69 million Americans will increase 1.6 percent in 2020, the Social Security Administration announced today.
The 1.6 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) will begin with benefits payable to more than 63 million Social Security beneficiaries in January 2020. Increased payments to more than 8 million SSI beneficiaries will begin on December 31, 2019.
Social Security and SSI beneficiaries are normally notified by mail in early December about their new benefit amount. Most people who receive Social Security payments will be able to view their COLA notice online through their “My Social Security” account. People may create or access their my Social Security account online at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.
Information about Medicare changes for 2020, when announced, will be available at www.medicare.gov. For Social Security beneficiaries receiving Medicare, Social Security will not be able to compute their new benefit amount until after the Medicare premium amounts for 2020 are announced. Final 2020 benefit amounts will be communicated to beneficiaries in December through the mailed COLA notice and my Social Security Message Center.
IMPORTANT - KEEP THIS FOR YOUR RECORDS:
The benefit verification letter, sometimes called a “benefits letter,” or a “Social Security award letter,” serves as proof of your retirement, disability, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), or Medicare benefits. Please put this letter in a safe place and keep in case you ever need to provide a copy.
Pharmaceutical Assistance to the Aged and Disabled (PAAD) & Senior Gold Prescription Discount Program
The Pharmaceutical Assistance to the Aged and Disabled program,(PAAD) helps eligible New Jersey residents pay for prescription drugs, insulin, and syringes for injectable medicines used for the treatment of multiple sclerosis. The PAAD co-payment will be $5 for each PAAD covered generic drug prescription, and $7 for each PAAD covered brand name drug prescription. PAAD beneficiaries may pay less for generic drugs if their Medicare prescription drug plan charges them less than the $5 PAAD co-payment for generics.
You may be eligible for PAAD if you meet the following requirements:
• A New Jersey resident;
• 65 years of age or older, or 18 years of age or older and receiving Social Security Title II Disability benefits; and
• Annual income for 2019 of less than $27,951 if single or less than $34,268 if married; and
• Medicare-eligible PAAD beneficiaries are also required to enroll in a
Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan in NJ. PAAD will pay the monthly premium for certain standard basic Part D plans. The Federal Medicare Plan and/or PAAD will pay any costs above the PAAD copayment of $5
for each covered generic drug or $7 for each covered brand name drug, including premiums.
Senior Gold Prescription Discount Program, is a State-funded prescription program with a different co-payment structure and income eligibility guidelines than those of PAAD. You are eligible for Senior Gold if you meet the following requirements:
• A New Jersey resident;
• 65 years of age or older, or 18 years of age or older and receiving Social Security Title II Disability benefits; and
• Annual income for 2019 is between $27,951 and $37,951 if you are single or between $34,268 and $44,268 if you are married.
NOTE: All Medicare-eligible Senior Gold beneficiaries are also required to enroll in a Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan of their choice. They will be responsible for paying the monthly premium directly to the Medicare Part D plan. They also will be responsible for paying any late enrollment penalty imposed by Medicare for each month they were eligible to enroll in Medicare Part D but did not enroll.
When is Medicare Open
The Medicare Open Enrollment period is from October 15 until December 7, 2019. Changes made during this time will become effective January 1, 2020.
During the annual enrollment period (AEP), you can make
changes to various aspects of your coverage.
• You can switch from Original Medicare to Medicare Advantage, or vice versa.
• You can also switch from one Medicare Advantage plan to another, or from one Medicare Part D (prescription drug) plan to another.
• And, if you didn’t enroll in a Medicare Part D plan when you were first eligible, you can do so during the general open enrollment, although a late enrollment penalty may apply.
If you’re already enrolled in a Medicare Part D prescription plan,
or a Medicare Advantage Plan and you don’t want to make changes to your coverage for the coming year, you don’t need to do anything during open enrollment.
But, be aware that your benefits and premium could change from one year to the next. So even if you’re confident that you want to keep your current coverage for the following year, it’s important to make sure you understand any changes that may apply.
Project Lifesaver is a national program that uses radio technology to help locate missing persons. Participants wear a bracelet, equipped with a transmitter, which can aid specially trained Sheriff’s Officers in locating them once reported missing. The bracelet requires daily monitoring by the caregiver.
Accessing Benefits Has Never Been Easier
Officials who administer various social service programs have collaborated and figured out a way to reduce the difficulty of accessing programs by having one application screen for several. Additionally, each year the criteria for the programs change with the cost of living and its possible you are eligible now even if you were not last year. Here is a link
for the application if you would like to print it yourselves.
This application is on line and documentation can be uploaded
The following programs are included in this one application:
PAAD and Senior Gold- these are prescription programs that can offset the cost of prescribed medication.
Medicare Savings Programs- if you meet the criteria for this program Medicare will pay for your Part B premiums each month.
If you are found eligible for PAAD you may be eligible for other benefits like: Lifeline Utility Assistance –you will get a $225 yearly benefit to use toward paying utility costs
USF (Universal Service Fund) - Credit on natural gas or electric bill
Hearing Assistance to the Aged and Disabled -a program that provides free refurbished hearing aids for eligible low-income
SNAP - Nutrition program formally known as food stamps
On the actual application you will see the financial criteria for each program. This application is simple but does require an abundance of documentation to determine whether or not you qualify. If you need assistance or have questions please give me a call.
*** We are extending a warm welcome to Darlene Dawson who has joined the Senior Center staff as the Program Coordinator of Benefits. Darlene’s office is located across the hall from the art room. Stop on by to meet her, she can also be reached at 732 329-4000 x7676. Welcome Darlene!!
The Property Tax Reimbursement Program
The Property Tax Reimbursement Program reimburses eligible senior citizens and disabled persons for property tax increases. The amount of the reimbursement is the difference between the amount of property taxes that were due and paid for the "base year" (the first year that you met all the eligibility requirements) and the amount due and paid for the current year for which you are applying for the reimbursement, provided the amount paid for the current year was greater.
You must meet all the eligibility requirements for the base year and for each succeeding year, up to and including the current year to qualify for the reimbursement.
Residents who receive homestead benefits and/or property tax credits or deductions may also receive the property tax reimbursement if they meet the eligibility requirements.
You may be eligible for a reimbursement of the difference between the amount of property taxes you paid for the base year (the year you first became eligible) and the amount paid for the year for which you are applying for a reimbursement if you met all the following requirements:
• For 2017 and 2018, You must have been age 65 or older or receiving Federal Social Security disability benefits; and
•You owned and lived in your home since December 31, 2014, or earlier (and you still owned and lived in that home on December 31, 2018).
• You have owned and lived in your home (or have leased a site in a mobile home park on which you have placed a manufactured or mobile home that you own) since December 31, 2014 or earlier and
• You have paid the full amount of property taxes or (site fees paid if you are a mobile home owner) : and
• You meet the income limits for the base year and for each succeeding year, up to and including the year for which you are claiming the reimbursement.
For 2017: $87,268 or less and For 2018 $89,013 These limits apply regardless of marital/civil union status. AARP volunteers are able to assist you with filing your PTR's. If you file taxes with an accountant he/she can also file for you. Assistance and filing will be provided on a limited basis to senior members.
Medicare Counseling (S.H.I.P)
Assistance is available to help you understand Medicare information including supplemental Insurance, Medicare Advantage Plans (HMO’S) & Part D Drug coverage. Assistance is also available for medical claims, appeals & hospital billing problems & employer health plans in conjunction with Medicare. SHIP services are available to those with medicare and their caregivers or representatives.
Property Tax Deduction for Senior Citizens, Disabled Persons
Annual deduction of up to $250 from property taxes for homeowners age 65 or older or disabled who meet certain income and residency requirements. This benefit is administered by the local municipality.
The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) 1-800-510-3102 is designed to help low-income households meet home heating and medically necessary cooling costs. The maximum monthly income to qualify for a household of 1 is $1980 and for a household of 2 is $2,670.
The Universal Service Fund (USF)
1-866-240-1347. USF is a program created by the State of New Jersey to help make natural gas and electric bills more affordable for low-income households. If you are eligible, USF can lower the amount you pay for gas and electricity. The maximum monthly income to qualify for a household of 1 is $1733 and for a household of 2 is $2,337. In addition you must pay more than 3% of your annual income for electric, or more than 3% for natural gas. USF accepts applications all year.* You can apply for both LIHEAP and USF with one application; you may be eligible for both. Applications for USF accepted all year.
1-800-792-9745 a $225.00 annual benefit is available for seniors 65+ or persons receiving SSD benefit. Income must not exceed for a single person $26,575 or 32,582 for a married couple. Applications accepted all year.
Weatherization Assistance Program
732-828-4541 helps seniors, disabled residents and low income households weatherize their homes to improve heating system efficiency, conserve energy and decrease utility bills. The weatherization program can provide you with tools such as insulation, caulking, weather stripping and assistance to repair or replace windows, furnace/boiler, heat exchange or distributions systems.
TRUE Grant - New Program
The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities has created a brand new program called Temporary Relief for Utility Expenses (TRUE) Program funding to the Affordable Housing Alliance (AHA). This one-time TRUE Grant assistance, administered by the AHA, is intended for low to middle income New Jersey residents who are struggling to pay their electric and natural gas bills. The maximum grant is $750 for electric and $750 for gas service, depending on your balance owed. Funds will be allocated on a first come, first serve basis.
To be eligible you must:
- Be past due with your electric or gas account; and utility service not disconnected.
- Have paid at least four payments of $25 in the last six months. Three payments must be made 30 days before application; and
- Not be eligible or received LIHEAP or USF in the last year; and
- Annual income per client household size must fall within the following range:
Minimum Annual Income - ($23,772 - 1 person), ($32,052, 2 persons), ($40,332, 3 persons), ($48,612, 4 persons).
Maximum Annual Income - ($56,738, 1 person), ($74,197, 2 persons), ($91,655, 3 persons), ($109,113, 4 persons).
How to Apply:
Applications are available at the South Brunswick Senior Center or may be downloaded and submitted online at www.pseg.com/help or call 1-855-465-8783. Applications are also available at all PSE&G Customer Service Centers.
Applications must be submitted to:
Affordable Housing Alliance (AHA)
59 Broad Street Eatontown, NJ 07724
Fax: (732) 542-1263
Puerto Rican Action Board
90 Jersey Avenue
New Brunswick, NJ 08903
PRESCRIPTION ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS
PAAD- The Pharmaceutical Assistance to the Aged and Disabled, is a state funded prescription program, which helps eligible NJ residents with the cost of prescribed medications. Cardholders pay $5 for generic drugs and $7 for covered brand name drug. PAAD participants will use PAAD benefits together with Medicare Part D benefits for covered medications. PAAD will pay Medicare Part D premiums and deductibles.
2018 Income Guidelines
Single - less than - $27,951
Married - less than - $34,268
The Senior Gold Prescription plan provides prescription drugs to eligible New Jersey residents for $15.00 per prescription plus 50% of the remaining of each covered prescription. Once cardholders reach annual out-of-pocket expenses exceeding $2000 for single and $3000 for married couples per eligibility year, they pay only $15.00 per prescription for the balance of that eligibility period. A Medicare Part-D plan can be used in conjunction with Sr. Gold.
Applications for all programs are available at the Sr. Center or by calling 1-800-792-9745.
2017 Senior Gold Limits:
Single Income between $27,951 and $37,951
Married Income between $34,268 and $44,268
Hearing Aid Assistance to the Aged & Disabled provides a $100.00 reimbursement to eligible persons who purchase a hearing aid.
Eligibility Requirements for PAAD & HAAD
• You must be a NJ resident and your Income is less than $26,575 if you are single or less than $32,582 if you are married
• 65+ years of age or receiving SSD benefit under age 65
These programs provide a discount on your monthly bill and/or provide a reduction in installation (hook-up) fees.
Eligibility is determined based on your income or participation in other assistance programs. In general, if you participate in any of the following programs you also may qualify for telephone assistance: Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Temporary Assistance to Needy Families/Work First New Jersey (TANF), General Assistance, Lifeline Utility Credit/Tenants Lifeline Assistance, Pharmaceutical Assistance to the Aged and Disabled (PAAD), Food Stamp Program, Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP/HEAP),Medicaid.
Telephone assistance is available to you if you are a qualified residential telephone customer. When you are seeking telephone assistance, please keep in mind that each telephone company and/or each program has different eligibility requirements, different benefits available and different restrictions. Some programs have restrictions on the optional services available to participants.
The following list of telephone service providers participate in Lifeline Assistance and Link Up programs in New Jersey:
3) Virgin Mobile - To learn more about Assurance Wireless and to apply, New Jersey residents should call 1-888-898-4888, or visit www.assurancewireless.com
If you need assistance with applying for any of the above mention programs or more information please contact Darlene at 732-329-4000 x7676.
Middlesex County Multi-Assistance Program (MCMAP) Program provides assistance for the homebound frail/elderly, age 65 +, and disabled adults age 18-64 in need of services to help them remain safely in the community. Participants must require Activity of Daily Living (ADL) help.
• Must be a Middlesex County Resident
• Must be frail/elderly or disabled 18-64
• Must not be on Medicaid or any other subsidized home care program
• Income and & Assets combined yearly cannot exceed $50,000
MCMAP Services may include Home Healthcare, Social Adult Day Care, Medical Adult Day Care, Home Delivered Meals, Durable Medical Supplies and Medical Equipment and Home Modifications.
Jersey Assistance for Community Caregiving (JACC) Program
JACC- is a program that provides in-home services to seniors at risk of placement in a nursing facility. JACC includes an array of services designed to supplement assistance given by the individual’s caregiver network. Participants work together with a care manager to develop a plan of care to best meet their needs.
- NJ resident age 60 and older
- Requires a nursing facility level of care but wishes to remain at home
- Is not financially eligible for Medicaid Waiver Services
- Income for an individual is $42,600 or $57,420 annual income for a couple
- Has resources at or below 40,000 for an individual or 60,000 for a couple
- Has no alternate means to obtain the needed support
- Resides in a home or apartment that is not licensed.
JACC Services may include Care Management, Homemaker, Respite Care, Home Modification, Adult Day Care, Transportation and more.
If you any questions regarding these services please call Middlesex County Office on Aging & Disabled Services at (732) 745-3295.
NJ Veterans Memorial Homes
Provide Long Term Care, Respite Care, and Adult Day Care… If you are responsible for the long term care and well being of a New Jersey veteran, a New Jersey Veterans Memorial Home may be the right nursing home choice for your love one. Residents receive compassionate medical and nursing care 24 hours a day as well as a variety of on site recreational programs and off site trips. Services also include barber services, transportation, library, chapel, rec rooms and snack bars. Respite care is also available for caretakers who need a rest from the stress of caring for a veteran at home. Currently there are three homes located in New Jersey which are in the following locations Paramus, 201-967-7676, Ext. 294, Menlo Park in Edison 732-452-4272, and Vineland 856-696-6357.
Annual Deduction for Veterans: Annual deduction of up to $250 from property taxes due on the real or personal property of qualified war veterans and their unmarried surviving spouses. This benefit is administered by the local municipality.
Property Tax Exemption for Disabled Veterans:
Full exemption from property taxes on a principal residence for certain totally and permanently disabled war veterans and their unmarried surviving spouses. Unmarried surviving spouses of service persons who died on wartime active duty may also qualify. This benefit is administered by the local municipality.
NJ Transit Reduced Fare Coupons Reminder...
Coupons are available from Caryl at the Senior Center. If you're a senior citizen 62 years of age or older you can get a coupon book for 50% off fares on bus and trains when you ride with NJ TRANSIT. See Caryl for assistance with this program; if you are 62-64 you will fill out a NJ transit application with her. If you are over 65 you will just show your Medicare card and receive the coupons.
Water and Sewer Senior /Disabled Deduction
Any person residing in a dwelling owned by her/him to whom water and/or sewer services are charged may be eligible for a deduction it they are 65 or more years or less then 65 years of age and disabled according the Federal Social Security Act. Applications for customers already receiving discount will be mailed.
Applications are available at the center or by calling the W&S Department at ext.7329.
Need Help? Start Here --- Dial 211
Connect with a caring professional who knows community resources. When you dial 2-1-1 you will reach a live operator at a non emergency hotline 24 hours a day. The hotline assists callers with free and confidential help. The operator can link the consumer to private and government agencies located in their community. Whether it’s nursing care, emergency assistance, Housing, Respite Care, Transportation, Support Groups confidential help is available 24/7. Call 2-1-1 or click below for their website
Comcast Cable Customers
Seniors Citizens & disabled citizens who meet the eligibility requirements for Pharmaceutical Assistance for the Aged & Disabled (PAAD) will be eligible for a 10% discount on the Limited Basic Service Package. As of January 1, 2017, Maximum income limits are less than $26,655 if single; less than $32,680 for a married couple. Click her for: Comcast-Xfinity Website.
Motor Vehicle Discount
If you are a senior on PAAD you are eligible for a motor vehicle discount. To apply when your registration comes due you send a copy of your PAAD card and deduct the amount right off of what you owe on the bill. If your car is less than 2 years old, deduct $20.00. If your vehicle is more than 2 years old, deduct $7.50. This is not a reimbursement you just take it right off your bill.
AARP Driving Course
Completion of this course gives you a discount off your car insurance. Courses offered occasionally at the center or thru AARP. Go to their website for other class locations.
Comes to the Senior Center every Tuesday at 12:15 p.m.
INFORMATION & REFERRAL – We have a comprehensive listing of information on programs and services available to seniors and the disabled population of South Brunswick, including entitlement programs, senior discounts, housing alternatives, support services & more. Please make an appointment for help with benefit applications, Food Stamps, PAAD, SLMB, home energy, property tax rebate, etc.