New Report Finds Millions of Low-Income Older Adults are Missing Out on Help with their Health Care, Prescription, Food, and Utility Costs
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New Report Finds Millions of Low-Income Older Adults are Missing Out on Help with their Health Care, Prescription, Food, and Utility Costs

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February 14, 2012

n4a Media Contact NCOA Media Contact
Lisa Cohen Ken Schwartz
310-395-2544 202-600-3131
lisa@lisacohen.org ken.schwartz@ncoa.org

NCOA and n4a Launch National Campaign to Connect Low Income Americans with Vital Resources

Washington, D.C. – A report released today by the National Council on Aging (NCOA) and the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a) finds that millions of Americans are missing out on over $20 billion in free and low-cost support that is available to help pay for health care, prescriptions, food, and utilities. 

Ironically, the report, The Senior Disconnect: Millions Losing out on Billions in Benefits, also finds that the number one reason caregivers and older adults call the Eldercare Locator, a nationwide service that connects people to senior services, is to see if support is available in their communities.

NCOA and n4a have launched a national campaign to connect eligible Americans with free and low-cost resources that are available to help them with everything from paying heating bills, getting food assistance, accessing disaster relief, and receiving financial assistance for health care.

“Millions of low-income Americans who are struggling to make ends meet are missing out on billions of dollars of services and benefits that can help them,” said James Firman, president and CEO of NCOA. “As a result, we are launching a national campaign to educate older adults about the support that is available – and the steps they need to take to get signed up.”

The You Gave, Now Save campaign directs the public to two simple resources that can help people connect with potential support. 

  • NCOA’s BenefitsCheckUp® is a free, comprehensive online screening tool that contains over 2,000 public and private programs for low-income people with Medicare.

  • The Eldercare Locator, a public service of the U.S. Administration on Aging, (available toll-free 1-800-677-1116 and online) connects older adults and their families to local agencies and organizations that can assist them with applying for support from a variety of programs.

“As the baby boomer generation matures, the aging population in America is growing and it is critical to make sure older adults are aware of the services available to help them remain living independently in their homes and communities,” said Kathy Greenlee, Assistant Secretary for Aging. “There are many effective low-cost and no-cost services available and through the You Gave, Now Save campaign, we hope many more eligible seniors will start to benefit from them.”

“It is no secret that millions and millions of Americans are struggling right now, but help is just a phone call away,” said Sandy Markwood, CEO of n4a. “The aging network is coming together to do everything we can to communicate with older adults and caregivers who demand these services, and let them know that support is available. This campaign is about connecting those in need with the support that is right at their fingertips.”

Key findings from the report include:

  • In 2011 alone, BenefitsCheckUp® screenings identified over $1.2 billion in benefits that users may be eligible to receive, but are currently not getting.
  • 71% of all BenefitsCheckUp® users were missing out on benefits they were potentially eligible to receive.
  • “Financial benefits” is the number one reason people call the Eldercare Locator.

To view the complete report released today, or to learn more about the You Gave, Now Save campaign, visit www.aoa.gov or www.facebook.com/yougavenowsave.

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About n4a  The National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a) is to build the capacity of its members to help older persons and persons with disabilities live with dignity and choices in their homes and communities for as long as possible. Contact n4a at 202.872.0888 or www.n4a.org | www.facebook.com/n4aaction

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About NCOA  The National Council on Aging (NCOA) is the nation’s leading nonprofit service and advocacy organization representing older adults and the community organizations that serve them. Our goal is to improve the health, independence, and economic security of 10 million older adults by 2020. For more than 60 years, NCOA has been a trusted voice and innovative problem-solver helping seniors navigate the challenges of aging in America. We work with local and national partners to give older adults tools and information to stay healthy and secure, and we advocate for programs and policies to improve the lives of all seniors, especially the most vulnerable. For more information, please visit www.ncoa.org.

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