What is Benefits Counseling?
Elder or Disability Benefit Specialists can provide you with accurate and current information about private and government benefits and programs that you may be entitled to. They help to sort through the maze of benefits, the varying eligibility requirements and application processes. Benefits specialists can also help when people run into problems with Medicare, Social Security, and other benefits.
Disability Benefit Specialist
The Disability Benefit Specialist (DBS) provides services to people ages 18 to 59 with physical disabilities, developmental disabilities, mental illness and substance abuse disorders. The DBS provides information about public and private benefit programs including assistance with application and appeal procedures. The DBS can also:
- Provide assistance in determining which benefits and programs you may be entitled to;
- Help you to fill out applications for benefits, programs and services;
- Talk with you about your choices and the programs or services that might best meet your needs;
- Provide referrals, assistance and support on other matters including disability rights and the impact of earnings on financial eligibility for public benefits;
- In some cases, you may also receive representation in formal appeals related to denials of eligibility, termination of benefits or overpayment of public and private benefits.
Elder Benefit Specialist
About Elder Benefit Specialists
The Elder Benefit Specialist Program is a federal and state mandated advocacy program, funded through the Older Americans Act and State dollars. Elder Benefit Specialists are trained in the areas of benefit and entitlement programs as well as other issues. The Greater Wisconsin Agency on Aging Resources in Madison, Wisconsin provides in-depth, on-going training and assistance.
The Elder Benefit Specialist works with county residents 60 years of age and older, regardless of financial status.
Who Should Use the Service?
- Anyone 60 years of age or older who is having a problem in securing a public or private benefit.
- Older persons who just want to know more about any private or public benefit.
- Older persons who need help in organizing the paperwork that comes with applying for benefits, and
- Older persons who have been denied a benefit that they think they are entitled to receive.
How Can the Elder Benefit Specialists Help?
- Provide accurate and current information on your benefits
- Suggest alternative actions to secure benefits or appeal denial of benefits
- Advocate on your behalf with the other parties involved
- Explain what legal action or other possible solution is required
What can the Elder Benefit Specialists Help With?
- Medicare and Medicare Supplemental Insurance
- Medical Assistance (MA) and Low Income Subsidy Programs (QMB, SLMB, SLMB+)
- Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Senior Care and Medicare Part D
- Foodshare (food stamps) and Energy Assistance
- Other Legal, Benefit and Consumer Problems
How Do I Contact the Elder Benefit Specialist?
All it takes to contact the Elder Benefit Specialist is a phone call. Some questions can be answered over the phone. Appointments can be made to meet at the office of the Benefit Specialist. The phone number is (608) 328-9366. Elder Benefit Specialists also perform monthly outreach during scheduled hours at various sites around the County. Call the Elder Benefit Specialist to request information about the scheduled outreach site visits or find the schedule in The Bridge which is located on our website. Arrangements can also be made for home vists.
What About Confidentiality?
All files and correspondence are kept locked, and your conversations with the Benefit Specialist will remain confidential. You may be asked to sign a release of information so the Benefit Specialist can inquire on your behalf.
What Is the Cost?
There is no charge for the services a Benefit Specialist provides. However, persons assisted by the program are strongly encouraged to make a donation towards the cost of the service. Service will not be refused or limited in any way if a contribution is not made.