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Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

Social Services

What is Public Assistance?

Some social welfare programs are called PUBLIC ASSISTANCE because people must be poor (according to legal standards) in order to receive benefits; benefits are paid out of general-revenue funds. Public assistance programs (what most people simply call "welfare") include TANF, Foodstamps, medicaid, SSI, school breakfast and lunches and General Assistance (DiNitto, 2005)

Public Assistance is temporary cash benefits for needy individuals and families in order to bring financial stability. the benefit consists of basic allowance, home energy allowance, and shelter allowance. the basic allowance can be used for food, clothing, transportation, etc. Ther is a provision in the form of a "welfare-to-work" policy in effect that requires participants in public assistance programs to undergo job training to find work. Should you accept public assistance, you will have to make regular contact with a caseworker and meet welfare-to-work requirements. For further information contact your local Department of Human Services or Social Services. Emergency Assistance: You may be able to get emergency assistance if you have suddenly become homeless.


What are Social Insurance Programs?

Some social welfare programs are called social insurance because theya re designed to prevent poverty. Workers and their employers pay into these programs; then upon retirement, disability, or unemployment, those who paid into the program are entitled to benefits, regardless of their wealth. Social insurance programs include Social Security, Medicare, unemployment insurance and workers compensation. (DiNitto,2005)


What are Social Services Programs?

These social welfare programs are labeled social services because they provide care, sounseling, education, and other forms of assistance to children, older adults, those with disabilities or other particular needs. Examples of social services are child protective services, day care, independant living services and mental health care. (DiNitto, 2005)


What is Social Security Worker/Retiree Benefits?

Social Security is a federal entitlement program administered by the Social Security Administration. This program is for an individual that has worked sufficient quarters (40 calendar credits) of taxes paid into the Social Security system and is entitled to the Social Security retirement benefits. This program provides a montlycash benefit to retired workers and their eligible dependents and survivors. there is no limit on assets or unearned income. there are earning limits however under the age of 65 who receive Social Security payments, but not for those age 65 and above. Retirement benefits are as follows: -Full at age 65, reduced at age 62 To find out how much you will be receiving in benefits, you can request a copy of your Personal Earnings and Benefits Estimate from Social Security. For more information you can call Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213 or visit their website at www.ssa.gov Inquires can be made at any time but its highly recommended that questions about filing a claim should be done at least three (3) months before your 62nd or 65th Birthday.


What is S.S.D.?

Individuals who have earned 40 calendar credits and who are deemed disabled before the age of 65 may apply for Social Security Benefits. Eligibility of Family Members The following individuals may receive benefits of qualifying insured workers: -Spouse, if age 62 or older even if he or she has never worked. -Spouse, ant any age, if caring for a child under 16. -Unmarried children under 18, or up to 19 if attemding elementary or secondary school full-time. -Divorced spouse if was married to retiree at least 10 years and is 62 or older. -The child of an insured worker at any age, of he or she was disabled before age 22 and will permanently be disabled.


What is Social Security Survivor/Widow(er) Benefits?

The following individuals may receive benefits of qualifying insured workers: -A widow/widower of an insured worker at age 60 or older. -A widow/widower (of any age) of an insured worker if they are caretaker of the insured child who is under 16 or disabled. -A widow/widower who remarries after age 60 is entitled to the same widow/widower benefits as if the remarriage did not take place. -Unmarried children under 18 -Dependent parents of insured workers at age 62 or older. -Inquire further about stepchildren, adopted children and grandchildren.


What is Medicare?

Medicare is a health insurance program that is part of the Social Security Act. All persons 65 or over who qualify for Social Security benefits are eligible for Medicare, regardless of income. Medicare also protects disabled people under age 65 who have been entitled to Social Security Disability payments for atleast two years, and certain others with permanent kidney failure. For more information you can call 1-800-MEDICARE (63342273). You can also visit their website at www.medicare.gov Medicare has two parts: Part A and Part B Part A - Medical Hospital Insurance Part A provides payment and basic protection against costs of -Inpatient hospital care - Post-hospital skilled nursing facility care (up to 100 days) -Home health care and hospice care. Part B - Medicare Medical Insurance Part B provides medically necessary physician's services, medical services, durable medical equipment and supplies, home health care services, outpatient hospital services and therapy as wella s other services.


What is the Qualified Beneficiary Program?

This program is also known as Medicare Buy-n. This program provides low-income Medicare beneficiaries with the funds to cover the cost of certain premiums, deductibles, and co-payment costs. In general, an individual must have the following in order to qualify for this program: -Entitlement to Medicare Part A & B -Income (annually) must be at or below the national poverty guidelines.


What is the Specified Low Income Medicare Beneficiary Program?

State Medicaid provides for the Medicare Part B premiums of individuals who are entitled to Medicare Part B and who meet the following in order to qualify for this program: -Have an income greater than 100% and less than 120% of the percent of the poverty level. -Assets and resources must not exceed twice the Supplemental Security Income resource standard. For more information you can call 1-800-MEDICARE (63342273). You can also visit their website at www.medicare.gov


What is HMO?

Health Maintenance Organizations for Medicare Beneficiaries is a type of Medicare Health Plan that is available in most areas of the country. Plans must cover all Medicare Part A and Part B health care. Some HMO's cover extra benefits, like extra days in the hospital. In most HMOs you can only go to doctors, specialists, or hospitals on the plan's list except in an emergency. Your costs may be lower than in the Original Medicare Plan. (www.medicare.gov)


What is Medicaid?

Medicaid pays for medical care and services for low-income families and individuals. Services include but are not limited to physicians and hospital care, dental care, home care, institutional care, prescription drugs, equipment and supplies. Individuals that receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Public Assistance are automatically eligible. Medicaid is a state administered program and each state sets its own guidelines regarding eligibility and services. Contact your State Health Department or local Medicaid office for further information. For general information, log onto the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services website at www.cms.hhs.gov


What is Supplemental Security Income (SSI)?

SSI is a federal income supplement program that provides monthly financial aid to low-income, aged, blind and disabled. This program is funded by general tax revenues. The assistance offered by this program may be in addition to the Social Security Retirement, Disability, Spouse Widow/Widower benefits and-or any other income. It should be noted that the more income you have the lower the SSI benefit. To inquire further about this program you can contact the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213. You can also get further information at www.ssa.gov/notices/supplemental-security-income/


What are Hill Burton Facilities?

These are 300 health care facilities nationwide that are obligated to provide free or reduced-cost care to patients.This comes as a result of grants and loans from construction and modernization given from 146 - 1997 from a law passed by Congress. In return for the grants, the facilities agreed to provide services to persons unable to pay and to make their services available to all persons residing in the facility's area. Fir more information or for a listing of Hill-Burton Facilities, call their helpline at 1-800-492-0359. You can also view this information at www.hrsa.gov/hillburton/