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How can seniors learn more about benefits available to them?

BenefitsCheckUp is a web-based service that helps seniors. It is especially helpful for those with limited income and resources, their family members and, social service organizations. It connects people to over 2,000 public and private programs.

Many adults over 55 need help paying for basic needs. Some of the benefits screened for are health care services, prescription drugs, rent assistance, in-home services, meals, heat, and energy assistance, and transportation.

The screening tool can also be a help to younger adults with disabilities and to their caregivers. The program can often screen for benefits that people are unaware of or unlikely to have.

BenefitsCheckUp is a free service provided by the National Council on Aging (NCOA). The website for this service is www.BenefitsCheckUp.org. Since 2001, millions of people have used BenefitsCheckUp to find helpful programs.

To start using BenefitsCheckUp, people click on an online questionnaire. The questionnaire asks the user a series of questions. The program then produces a “report card” explaining what benefit programs the user may be eligible for and how to apply for them.

It is a completely confidential service. Users do not need to give their names, addresses, telephone numbers, or social security numbers. Users only need to enter their age, income, and zip codes and BenefitsCheckUp will identify programs for which they may qualify.

BenefitsCheckUp has recently been updated to include some new features. For instance, users can select a program category (like health care, tax relief, transportation) and quickly screen only for that category. There is also a new resources library. This library includes a search by state for various fact sheets.

This article was written by Karla Perry and appeared in The Alert: Volume 33, Issue 1 and reprinted with permission from The Alert, a publication of The Legal Aid Society of Cleveland.

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