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State receives $1.5 million to help elders

By Staff | Jun 5, 2009

Florida Receives $1.5 Million Federal Grant to Help Seniors, Others Access Medicare Benefits

TALLAHASSEE – The Department of Elder Affairs today announced that Florida has received a federal grant of almost $1.5 million to help elders, individuals with disabilities and their caregivers learn about and receive special assistance available through Medicare. Florida’s award was the largest among the 47 states that applied for a share of the funding.
The department received notification of the grant award from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, part of $25 million released to states nationwide for this program. Elder Affairs will use a portion of the grant for outreach and assistance activities by its SHINE (Serving Health Insurance Needs of Elders) program, and the rest will be distributed to the Area Agencies on Aging, Aging Resource Centers and Aging and Disability Resource Centers throughout the state.
“Medicare programs are a tremendous benefit to elders and many disabled Floridians, but in too many cases these residents don’t even know that they may be able to receive help paying their Medicare costs,” said Elder Affairs Secretary E. Douglas Beach in a prepared statement. “These funds will do much to help us reach those individuals and tell them about the help that’s available.”
The funds, from the federal Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008, will provide valuable support at the state and community levels to reach Floridians who are likely to be eligible for three different programs: the Low-Income Subsidy, Medicare Savings Programs and the Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Program. The outreach efforts are designed to find individuals who could benefit from these programs but don’t know the assistance is available or have been unable to apply for it. The initiative includes special targeting efforts aimed at rural areas of the state.
The local agencies will work through partnerships with community-based organizations. These partnerships will expand the reach of efforts to help elders and those with disabilities on Medicare learn more about their health benefits, receive information on other services available and remain independent and living in their communities as long as possible.
SHINE is a statewide volunteer program that provides Medicare beneficiaries and their caregivers with free, unbiased and confidential one-on-one assistance on a wide variety of Medicare and health insurance topics.
For more information about the SHINE program or for free personalized assistance, call the Florida Elder Helpline toll-free at 1-800-963-5337 or visit www.FloridaSHINE.org. If you’re interested in learning more about the benefits available for you, or if you need help filling out an application, call to set up an appointment with a local SHINE volunteer counselor. For more information about the Department of Elder Affairs, call the Florida Elder Helpline or visit elderaffairs.state.fl.us.

Source: Department of Elder Affairs