BenefitsCheckUp Helps Brighten Seniors' Holidays

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Thanks to the National Council on Aging's (NCOA) BenefitsCheckUp®, a free and confidential online service that helps seniors determine what benefits they qualify for and how to claim them, older Americans can receive a gift that lasts the entire year - savings on their prescription drugs, health care, in-home services, utilities, and more.

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Money can be tight around the holidays, especially for older Americans with limited means.

The holiday season is a time full of joy, cheer, and family togetherness. But it also brings a variety of unique challenges to older Americans, especially those with limited means, when money can be particularly tight around the holidays. In fact, over 3.5 million seniors over the age of 65 have incomes below the poverty threshold and over 8.4 million have incomes below 150% of the thresholds.

Thanks to the National Council on Aging's (NCOA) BenefitsCheckUp, a free and confidential online service that helps seniors determine what benefits they qualify for and how to claim them, older Americans can receive a gift that lasts the entire year - savings on their prescription drugs, health care, in-home services, utilities, and more.    

Of particular timeliness is how BenefitsCheckUp can assist the more than 3 million people who are eligible for but have not enrolled in the Extra Help through Medicare's Prescription Drug Coverage (also known as Part D). The BenefitsCheckUp Extra Help enrollment feature can also be especially helpful to the more than 630,000 who were "deemed eligible" for the Extra Help in 2006, but who have recently lost their automatic eligibility for this assistance and must now apply for it. If someone qualifies, they can save on average $3,700 a year since Medicare's Extra Help will pay their cost sharing and they will have no gap in coverage (the donut hole).

"If someone with Medicare has limited income and resources, there's no reason not to apply for the Extra Help," said James Firman, NCOA president and CEO.

Developed and maintained by the NCOA, BenefitsCheckUp is the nation's most comprehensive Web-based service to screen for benefits programs for seniors with limited income and resources. In addition to the Extra Help, it includes more than 1,350 public and private benefits programs from all 50 states and the District of Columbia that pay for prescription drugs, heating and cooling bills, rent, meal services and nutrition, legal matters, medical costs, and Alzheimer's care.

"Money can be tight around the holidays, especially for older Americans with limited means." said Stuart Spector, NCOA's senior vice president of Benefits Access. "One of the best gifts seniors can get is the news that they qualify for additional benefits such as help with prescription drugs, health care and even energy bills - it's a gift that lasts the entire year and is particularly welcome during the expensive holiday season."

For more information on BenefitsCheckUp, visit http://www.BenefitsCheckUp.org.

About the National Council on Aging

Founded in 1950, the National Council on Aging is a charitable organization dedicated to improving the health and independence of older persons and to increasing their continuing contributions to communities, society, and future generations. For more information on NCOA, visit National Council on Aging (http://www.ncoa.org).

About BenefitsCheckUp

Developed and maintained by The National Council on Aging (NCOA), BenefitsCheckUp® is the nation's most comprehensive Web-based service to screen for benefits programs for seniors with limited income and resources. It includes more than 1,350 public and private benefits programs from all 50 states and the District of Columbia, such as: prescription drugs, energy assistance, housing and rent assistance, nutrition (including Food Stamps), legal, health care, property tax rebates, Veterans benefits, home care, transportation, and employment and volunteer opportunities. Since 2001, millions of people have used BenefitsCheckUp to find benefits programs that help them pay for prescription drugs, health care, rent, utilities, and

other needs. For more information on BenefitsCheckUp, visit http://www.benefitscheckup.org

This press release was distributed through eMediawire by Human Resources Marketer (HR Marketer: http://www.HRmarketer.com) on behalf of the company listed above.

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