Senior citizens learn about benefit programs
TERRY AHNER/TIMES NEWS Sally Watson (left) of Lehighton receives instruction from K. Tucker Landon, a volunteer with RSVP, as part of the BenefitsCheckUp program Wednesday at the Village at Palmerton.
For senior citizens on fixed incomes, it sure is helpful to know whether they can receive federal, state and local benefit programs.
With their curiosity piqued by that very prospect, seniors came out to the Village at Palmerton on Wednesday to meet with representatives from BenefitsCheckUp.
Jean Zimmerman, Pa Retired Senior Volunteer Program Carbon County Coordinator, said seniors merely had to fill out a questionnaire to have their information run through a computer program.
In turn, BenefitsCheckUp searches for programs that help pay for prescription drugs, heating bills, housing/rent, meal programs, legal services, medical costs, in-home services, tax relief, veteran's benefits, employment, volunteer opportunities and helpful information and resources, said Zimmerman.
Zimmerman said there's no risk of breach of privacy. No personal information, such as telephone numbers, Social Security numbers, names or addresses, are ever used on the Internet. The program does require basic information about monthly expenses and income, prescriptions and Zip code, she said.
"We help senior citizens to see what benefits, federal of state, they're eligible for," Zimmerman said. "It's a good resource guide."
A program of the Pa. Senior Corps, RSVP is sponsored by Diakon Social Lutheran Ministries, Zimmerman said.
"We're trying to get as many people," she said. "They don't know what's out there."
Sally Watson, 73, of Lehighton, said she was glad she attended the function.
"I came to see if I would be eligible for some of the programs," Watson said. "They've been helpful."
A service of the National Council on Aging, Zimmerman said BenefitsCheckUp is the nation's most comprehensive Web-based service to screen for benefits programs for seniors with limited income and resources.
For more information, visit www.benefitscheckup.org.