FEMA: Senior benefits not affected by disaster aid
Seniors can apply for federal disaster assistance without sacrificing Social Security benefits, paying more taxes or dropping their income-based benefit programs, according to a Federal Emergency Management Agency news release.
The timely reminder comes amid recent disasters such as the deadly fertilizer-plant explosion in West, Texas, which also resulted in tremendous property loss.
“We want to reassure seniors not to be afraid to apply for assistance. FEMA assistance is available to all eligible survivors to include senior citizens,” FEMA Federal Coordinating Officer Kevin L. Hannes said in the release. “Receiving disaster funds will not impact non-FEMA assistance or assistance from other programs.”
Learn more about federal disaster help - including steps to apply - at FEMA's website. > Go
Ballet Austin celebrates seniors with free classes
Jazz? Tap? Conditioning? Contemporary choreography? Try these and more during Ballet Austin's day of free drop-in dance and fitness classes for adults 60 and older on May 29, 2013, at 501 W. Third Street in downtown Austin.
From ballet to bone-building, participants can enjoy sessions of varying ability level, intensity and impact as the Ballet company celebrates the 20th annual National Senior Health & Fitness Day. Learn more at Area Agency on Aging's calendar page. > Go
May named Older Americans Month
CAPCOG's Executive Committee has approved a resolution designating May as Older Americans Month in the 10-county capital area.
The action supports a national designation by the U.S. Administration on Aging, which has adopted the theme "Unleash the Power of Age" for the monthlong observance.
More than 243,973 adults aged 60 and older call the CAPCOG region home, according to the resolution, presenting an opportunity to learn from and engage community elders, recognize their successes and benefit from their important contributions.
CAPCOG's Area Agency on Aging, for example, offers programs and services to support the health, safety, and well-being of older individuals.
The resolution, adopted April 10, 2013, additionally encourages all local governments among Bastrop, Blanco, Burnet, Caldwell, Fayette, Hays, Lee, Llano Travis and Williamson counties to adopt similar resolutions celebrating seniors and their role in the region.
Volunteers sought for benefits counseling
CAPCOG Area Agency on Aging’s Benefits Counseling Program, whose certified staff helps older adults and other eligible consumers in Central Texas navigate Medicare issues such as health care coverage, plan enrollment, fraud prevention and more, is seeking caring volunteers.
The program has scheduled a free four-part series of volunteer training sessions from April through August 2013. Volunteers will learn about topics ranging from Medicare programs, eligibility guidelines and prescription drug coverage to documentation requirements, Medigap insurance and community outreach.
Training also will include hands-on practice with mock consumer phone calls.
Applicants are encouraged to reserve class spots early by calling 512‐916‐6022 or sending an email to email@example.com. Space is limited, and registration closes five days before each class.
Please note: Insurance agents, insurance brokers, and financial planners are not eligible to volunteer with the Benefits Counseling Program.
Research study features free computer classes for older adults
A research study to help older adults of all skills levels access reliable health information online will feature free computer classes at Austin's Little Walnut Creek Library starting in February 2013.
The classes, part of the Electronic Health Information for Lifelong Learners project with the University of Texas, will comprise four-week sessions that run from 10 a.m. to noon Mondays and Wednesdays, 10 a.m. to noon Tuesdays and Thursdays or 1 to 3 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays. Participants will be asked to complete questionnaires before and after class.
To sign up for a free class - space is limited, and participants must be at least 60 years old - call 512-471-9407.
Social Security benefits rise 1.7 percent for 2013
Nearly 62 million beneficiaries will see a 1.7 percent boost in their monthly Social Security and Supplemental Security Income benefits in 2013, the Social Security Administration announced in a news release. Increased payments to SSI recipients will begin Dec. 31, 2012, followed by the Social Security adjustment set to start January 2013.
Upcoming increases in Medicare premiums may offset part or all of the 2013 cost-of-living adjustments for some Social Security and SSI beneficiaries. Details on Medicare changes will be available at the program's website.