69 organizations in 36 states now providing in-person assistance
Arlington, VA (Feb. 6, 2018) – Millions of older Americans don’t know they’re eligible for benefits programs to help pay for daily expenses—or how to apply. The National Council on Aging (NCOA) is helping solve this problem through its growing network of Benefits Enrollment Centers (BECs).
Recently, NCOA added 20 new BECs, allowing low-income Medicare beneficiaries in 69 communities across 36 states to get personalized assistance enrolling in programs that pay for health care, prescriptions, food, utilities, and more.
“Half of people with Medicare live on incomes of less than $26,200 a year, and they often lack the resources needed to meet basic living expenses,” said Leslie Fried, Senior Director of NCOA’s Center for Benefits Access, which oversees the network. “The BECs provide one-on-one assistance that is essential for older adults trying to access vital programs that often have confusing applications or complicated eligibility requirements.”
In 2017 alone, the BECs helped nearly 88,000 individuals apply for more than $314 million in money-saving benefits. BECs use NCOA’s free online BenefitsCheckUp® tool to screen individuals for more than 2,500 benefits—including Medicare Savings Programs, Part D Extra Help, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)—and to help them apply for and use those benefits. BECs are funded through the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act (MIPPA), administered at the federal level by the U.S. Administration for Community Living.
Several of the new BECs will prioritize outreach to individuals historically under-enrolled in benefits or who face unique challenges to accessing services. These include:
- Minority populations and individuals with disabilities (specifically the Navajo Nation, Hispanics/Latinos, and Asian Americans)
- The homeless and those transitioning out of homelessness
- Seniors facing foreclosure or living in distressed neighborhoods
“Many of the 10,000 baby boomers turning 65 every day are not prepared to be economically secure for another 20 or 30 years, and one unexpected expense can send them into crisis,” added Fried. “The growth of the BEC network will allow NCOA and our partners to more quickly provide support in these difficult times.”
The newest BECs are:
- AgeSmart Community Resources (Belleville, IL)
- Aging & Long Term Care of Eastern WA (Spokane, WA)
- The Alliance for Aging (Miami, FL)
- Anchorage Senior Activity Center (Anchorage, AK)
- Bear River Area Agency on Aging (Logan, UT)
- Council on Aging of Buncombe County (Asheville, NC)
- District Three Governmental Cooperative (Marion, VA)
- Ecumenical Social Action Committee, Inc. (Boston, MA)
- Elderbridge Agency on Aging (Mason City, IA)
- Five County Association of Governments/Area Agency on Aging (St. George, UT)
- Little River Medical Center (Little River, SC)
- Native American Disability Law Center (Farmington, NM)
- North Central Area Agency on Aging (Hartford, CT)
- North Dakota Center for Persons with Disabilities (Minot, ND)
- Northwest Kansas Area Agency on Aging (Hays, KS)
- Partners in Care Foundation (Los Angeles, CA)
- Tri-Valley, Inc. (Dudley, MA)
- Watts Labor Community Action Committee (Los Angeles, CA)
- Westchester Community Opportunity Program, Inc. (Elmsford, NY)
- The Whole Person (Kansas City, MO)
For a list of the full BEC network, visit ncoa.org/becs.
The National Council on Aging (NCOA) is the national voice for every person’s right to age well. NCOA empowers individuals with trusted solutions to improve their own health and economic security—and protects and strengthens federal programs that people depend on as they age. Working with a nationwide network of partners and directly with individuals, NCOA’s goal is to improve the lives of 10 million older adults by 2020. Learn more at ncoa.org and @NCOAging.