The Benefits Counseling program is addressed in the Older Americans Act of 1965. Insurance benefits and public benefits are the primary areas of involvement, with the requirement to give priority to older individuals with greatest economical need. In addition to providing counseling services, outreach activities are conducted to inform older individuals of available benefits. The Texas Administrative Code defines these two components as Legal Assistance and Legal Awareness.
Benefits Counseling is available through the Area Agency on Aging to provide information and assistance about health insurance options, public benefits and entitlements. Help is available for persons 60 years and older and to Medicare beneficiaries of any age. Benefits Counselors can also provide intervention and advocacy when it is needed, and have access to advice from lawyers who staff the Legal Hotline for Older Texans.
Specifically, trained AAA staff assists clients in understanding public and private benefits. Assistance with pathways to finding a Medicare supplemental policy, questions about Social Security benefits, questions about insurance claim forms and hospital and doctor bills, or help with filling out a form to start Medicaid benefits are some of the areas where clients can find assistance. Benefits Counselors confer with clients over the telephone, in the office, or will make home visits where it is more convenient for the client. At the time that a client calls or comes in to the office, a particular need is targeted. The client and Benefits Counselor fill out an intake information form which the client signs giving permission for counselor assistance. Care is taken to maintain client confidentiality.
For more information contact Lisa Valencia at 325-223-5704, toll free at 1-877-944-9666, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.