Benefits & Discounts
Social Security Announces
2.0 Percent Benefit Increase for 2018
Monthly Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for nearly 61 million recipients will increase 2.0 percent in 2018. The 2.0 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) will begin with benefits in January 2018. Increased payments to SSI beneficiaries will begin on December 29, 2017.
The Benefits of an Online Social Security Account
At each stage of your life, my Social Security is for you. Your personal online my Social Security account is a valuable source of information beginning in your working years and continuing throughout the time you receive Social Security benefits.
If you Receive Benefits or Have Medicare, you Can:
Use a my Social Security online account to:
• Get your benefit verification letter
• Check your benefit and payment info and your earnings record
• Change your address and phone number
• Start or change direct deposit of your benefit payment.
If you Do not Receive Benefits, you can:
Use a my Social Security online account to get your Social Security Statement, to review estimates of your:
• Retirement, disability, and survivors benefits
• Earnings record
• Social Security and Medicare taxes you’ve paid
How do I create a my Social Security Online account?
To create an account, you must provide some personal information about yourself and give answers to some questions that only you are likely to know. Next, you create a username and password that you will use to access your online account. This process protects you and keeps your personal Social Security information private.
For additional information and to sign up for an account please visit
www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount or call Marie for assistance
2017 Fall Open Enrollment
Fall Open Enrollment is the time of year when you can change
your Medicare coverage. You can do this by joining a new Medicare Advantage plan or by joining a new stand-alone prescription drug plan (PDP). You can also return to Original Medicare with or without a stand-alone Part D plan from a Medicare Advantage plan during this time.
Listed below are six things to keep in mind while you are deciding on
your Medicare coverage for 2016.
• Fall Open Enrollment occurs from October 15 - December 7 of every year.
• If you enroll in a plan during Fall Open Enrollment, your coverage
starts January 1.
• In most cases, Fall Open Enrollment is the only time you can pick a Medicare Part D plan.
• If you have Medicare Advantage, you can also switch to
Original Medicare. To get Medicare drug coverage, you can join
a stand-alone Part D plan at this time.
• Review your Current Medicare Health and Drug Coverage.
• If you have a Medicare Advantage plan or a stand-alone Part D plan, you should receive an Annual Notice of Change (ANOC)
and/or Evidence of Coverage (EOC) from your plan. Review
these notices for any changes in the plan's costs, benefits and
rules for the upcoming year. If you are dissatisfied with any changes, you can make changes to your coverage during this time.
Even if you are satisfied with your current
Medicare coverage, take action and look at
other Medicare options in your area that may
better suit your individual needs in the
upcoming year. For example, even if you are
satisfied with your current Medicare Advantage or Part D plan, you
should check to see if there is another plan in your area that will offer
you better health and/or drug coverage at a more affordable price.
Moon: Medicare Outpatient Observation Status
Some seniors think Medicare made a mistake. Others are stunned when they find out that being in a hospital even for a couple of days doesn’t always mean they were actually admitted.
Instead, they received observation care, considered by Medicare to be an outpatient service.
The observation designation means they can have higher out-of-pocket expenses and fewer Medicare benefits.
What is observation care? Hospitals provide observation care for patients who are not well enough to go home but not sick enough to be admitted. This care requires a doctor’s order and is considered an outpatient service. The hospitalization can include short-
term treatment and tests to help doctors decide whether the patient meets the medical criteria for admission. Medicare officials have issued the so-called “two-midnight rule:”
Patients whose doctors expect them to stay in the hospital through two midnights should be admitted. Patients expected to stay for less time should be kept in observation. What effect does observation status have on patients’ care and expenses?
Because observation care is provided on an outpatient basis, patients usually also have co-payments for doctors’ fees and each hospital service, and they have to pay whatever the hospital charges for any routine drugs the hospital provides that they take at home for chronic conditions such as diabetes or high cholesterol.
Observation patients cannot receive Medicare coverage for follow-up care in a nursing home, even though their doctors recommend it. To be eligible for nursing home coverage, they must have first spent at least three consecutive days (or through three midnights) as an admitted patient, not counting the day of discharge.
Why are more Medicare patients receiving observation care instead of
being admitted? Medicare has strict criteria for admissions as an inpatient and usually won’t pay anything for admitted patients who should have been in observation care. Partly in responseto stepped up enforcement of these rules, hospitals in recent years have been placing more patients in observation.
Will the cost of my maintenance drugs be covered when I am in the hospital?
No, Medicare does not pay for these routine drugs for patients in the hospital in observation care. If you have a separate Medicare Part D drug plan, the coverage decision will be up to the insurer. You can submit to your Part D plan to see if they will cover negotiated costs. However, medicine to treat the symptoms that brought you to the hospital may be covered as an outpatient service.
How do I know if I’m an observation patient?
The only way to know for sure is to ask. “Unless people are in an observation unit, the difference between observation and inpatient care is basically indistinguishable,” said Toby Edelman, a senior policy attorney at the Center for Medicare Advocacy. Can I change my status in the hospital? If your doctor says you are too sick to go home and you are receiving services that can be provided only in a hospital, ask your doctor to admit you to the hospital by changing your status to inpatient. However, even if your doctor does that, you can be switched back
to observation status during your hospital stay.
National Do Not Call Registry
You can reduce the number of unwanted sales calls you get by signing up for the National Do Not Call Registry. It’s free. Visit donotcall.gov to register your number.
Most legitimate companies don't call if your number is on the Registry.
If a company is ignoring the Registry, there’s a good chance that it’s a scam. If you get these calls, hang up and file a complaint with the FTC.
How do I register?
Add your phone number for free by visiting donotcall.gov, or calling
1-888-382-1222 from the phone you want to register
If you register online, you will receive a confirmation email fromdonotcall.gov. You must click on the link in the email within 72 hours
to complete your registration.
How long does it take?
Your phone number should show up on the Registry the next day.
Most sales calls will stop once your number has been on the Registry for
31 days. You can verify that your number is on the Registry by visiting donotcall.gov or calling 1-888-382-1222.
If I register my number, will ALL unwanted calls stop?
No, the Do Not Call Registry prohibits sales calls. You still may receive political calls, charitable calls, debt collection calls, informational calls,
and telephone survey calls. In addition, companies may still call if you’ve recently done business with the company, or if you’ve given the company written permission to call
you. However, if you ask a company not to call you again, it must honor your request. Record the date of your request.
Reporting Illegal Calls
Where can I file a complaint about an illegal sales call or a robocall?
To file a complaint, visit donotcall.gov or call 1-888-382-1222
How to Apply online for Social Security Retirement Benefits
- Social Security offers an online retirement application that you can complete in as little as 15 minutes. It's so easy. Better yet, you can apply from the comfort of your home or office at a time most convenient for you. There's no need to drive to a local Social Security office or wait for an appointment with a Social Security representative.
- In most cases, once your application is submitted electronically, you're done. There are no forms to sign and usually no documentation is required. Social Security will process your application and contact you if any further information is needed.
- For additional information and to sign up for an account please visit
www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount or call Marie for help at ext.7676
Medicare Counseling (S.H.I.P)
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.
2017 Income Guidelines
Single - less than - $26,665
Married - less than - $32,680
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 $26,655 and $36,655
Married Income between $32,680 and $42,680
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 Marie 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 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. Or Marie at ext 7676
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 Christine 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 Christine 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.
The job bank will match seniors who are looking to earn extra dollars working part time with employers. There is an active database of local companies who have job openings. The Office on Aging will act as a referral source for seniors to these job opportunities. Assistance in job preparedness, resume writing and job search is also available. If interested stop by and complete a Job Bank Application today. Employers are welcome to call in their openings.
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 2 day 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 12:00 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.