Elder Benefit Specialist

An Elder Benefit Specialist is a person trained to help older adults who are having a problem with their private or government benefits by cutting through the "red tape" of the various federal, state, and county systems. They help older adults figure out what benefits they are entitled to and tell them what they must do to receive them. The ADRC of Ozaukee County Elder Benefit Specialist receives on-going training in the areas of benefit and entitlement programs, as well as legal issues affecting older adults. A Senior Law Attorney provides supervision and support to the Elder Benefit Specialist.

Eligibility
Ozaukee County residents age 60 years or older who are having a problem securing a public or private benefit are eligible for help from the ADRC of Ozaukee County Elder Benefit Specialist.

Who should seek help from the Elder Benefit Specialist?
Persons who:
  • Have been denied a benefit that they think they are entitled to receive
  • Need help organizing the paperwork and applying for benefits
  • Want to know more about their benefits
The Elder Benefit Specialist is an advocate who can:
  • Advocate on the older adult's behalf with other involved parties.
  • Explain benefit programs and qualifications.
  • Explain what legal action or other possible solution is required and, if necessary, make a referral to an attorney or other agency.
  • Help cut the "red tape" of complicated paperwork by providing assistance and accurate information over the phone or in person.
  • Suggest actions that can be taken to secure benefits or appeal negative decisions related to public benefits and insurance payments.
Representation may take the form of paper reviews and reconsideration through the appeals process, including in-person hearing before an administrative law judge or a hearing officer.

In which specific areas can an older adult expect assistance from the Elder Benefit Specialist?
Services provided include information, assistance, and advocacy on a variety of topics, including such area as:
  • Consumer / Finance - Collection practices and unfair sales practices or fraud
  • Elder Rights - Disabilities issues, elder abuse and neglect, and nursing home resident rights
  • Health Care Financing - Medicare, Medical Assistance (Medicaid), Medicare Supplement Insurance, Spousal Impoverishment, and billing problems with medical providers
  • Housing - Landlord / tenant issues, public housing, and Homestead Tax Credit
  • Income Maintenance - Social Security / Disability, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Energy Assistance, and Food Stamps
  • Medicare Part D - Medicare's prescription drug coverage.
  • Retirement 101 Workshop - Informational workshops for those nearing retirement, recently retired, or with general questions about programs.
  • Surrogate Decision Making - Advance Directive (Power of Attorney for Health Care and Living Wills), guardianship, and representative payee issues
The Ozaukee County Elder Benefit Specialist Program is funded by Title III of the Federal Older Americans Act, the State of Wisconsin Elder Benefit Assistance Program, Ozaukee County, and donations. Because Ozaukee County's Elder Benefit Specialist Program is operated under the Older American's Act's guidelines, there are no charges for services. Donations are accepted and encouraged in order to provide additional services to clients.