Don't Mess with Success in Texas
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Don't Mess with Success in Texas

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March 15, 2012

Thanks to MIPPA grant funding, Texas area agencies on aging (AAAs) and aging and disability resource centers (ADRCs) have been able to conduct more benefits outreach to previously underserved individuals and communities. These efforts have resulted in a significant increase in telephone calls and drop-in visits requesting information, referrals, and in many cases, actual completion of an application for several programs, such as the Part D Low-Income Subsidy (LIS), public utility assistance, rent assistance, housing, transportation, and the Medicare Savings Programs (MSPs).

Here are just three examples of individuals who’ve been helped in the last year:

Catching the bus to recertification

Mrs. A called the ADRC of El Paso and Far West Texas while she was waiting for a bus. She had seen a bus pass by that had an advertisement for Extra Help and the ADRC’s phone number, and decided to call to see if there was any help available to pay her medical bills. 

During the home visit, it was discovered Mrs. A’s Medicaid assistance had ceased because she had not returned her recertification application. Mrs. A speaks only Spanish and the correspondence was in English. An ADRC counselor helped her quickly submit her recertification and within 12 days, while at her doctor, she was informed the benefit had been reinstated, and she didn’t have an outstanding balance on her account.   

Finding help and a home

Ms. P, a younger adult with a disability, was living in a hotel room with a small dog. The room cost Ms. P $600 per month, leaving little to no money for her transportation or medication. 

The Heart of Texas AAA helped Ms. P to apply for LIS and MSP, and through a partnership with a local church, located an apartment for her. The church was also able to help with the move to the apartment at a reduced rate.

However, while Ms. P awaited her LIS and MSP enrollment papers, she was unable able to travel to the nearby post office to get a key to her new mailbox. The AAA arranged for the post office to deliver the key, and Ms. P eventually was able to receive her medications, enroll in QMB, move into her new apartment, and keep her dog.

Reducing costs, helping family

A benefits counselor at the AAA of North Central Texas assisted a 102-year-old woman who was living in a retirement community. While the woman’s primary concern was replacing her hearing aid, the counselor learned the woman had significant expenses her family was helping to pay for:

  • Her rent was double her Social Security income.
  • Two prescriptions cost her $80 a month.
  • The family also helped pay her supplemental insurance ($300 a month), and food costs ($225 a month).

The counselor spoke with the family about the Medicare Savings Program, Extra Help, and Food Stamps, and helped them apply for these programs. In the end, the beneficiary’s son reported that the family would save over $500 a month with these benefits.

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