Social Security and Other Benefit Programs

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1 Social Security and Other Benefit Programs Chapter There are several benefits programs available to people over certain ages, their spouses, and their dependents. This chapter will discuss eligibility requirements, family benefits, the application process, and the appeals process for several state and federal benefits programs. In addition, this chapter will provide an overview of programs for seniors who may need additional help with food, shelter, or caregiving support. In this chapter Section - Section -2 Section -3 Section -4 Section -5 Section -6 Section -7 Social Security Social Security Disability (SSD) Railroad Retirement Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Employee Pensions State Financial Programs Additional Programs for Seniors Find definitions for these terms (indicated in bold) in the glossary: Credits Reconsideration Social Security Supplemental Security Income

2 Chapter Social Security and Other Benefit Programs - Social Security Social Security is a federal program managed by the Social Security Administration (SSA) that provides income to eligible workers and their families when the worker retires, becomes severely disabled, or dies. General Eligibility To qualify for Social Security benefits, you must have worked in a job where you or your employer paid the Social Security tax. You must have worked a certain amount of time to earn quarters of coverage, or credits. The number of credits you earn while you work depends upon your covered wages. When you earn enough credits, you become eligible for benefits. The amount of benefits you will receive each month depends upon the amount of your average yearly earnings. Find more Social Security info online at To find out how many credits you have or need to qualify for benefits, contact the Social Security Administration or your local Social Security office. The Social Security Administration also provides a benefit estimate. If you work and file an income tax return, you should already be receiving an annual Personal Earnings and Benefit Estimate Statement which you can calculate online at If your earnings record is incorrect, you can give your local Social Security office proof of additional wages, such as your W-2 forms. If you do not have your W-2 forms and cannot get any other evidence from your employer, it is possible to have statements from your fellow employees accepted as proof of additional wages. Benefit Eligibility You must meet the following requirements to be eligible for retirement benefits: You have a minimum of 40 credits; You are age 62 or older (see section below on early retirement); and You are retired or are employed with limited earnings. 2 Legal Issues for Older Adults

3 Family Benefits Section - Social Security Spouse If you are the spouse of a qualified worker, you may be eligible for up to one-half of your spouse s benefit. You cannot collect benefits until the eligible spouse files for Social Security. You can take spousal benefits as early as age 62 but doing so will reduce the overall benefit. If you are caring for a child under the age of 6 or a disabled child, you may be eligible for the benefit earlier than age 62. Chapter If you qualify for Social Security on your own work credit history, you will be paid your benefit amount first. If your benefit is less than half of your spouse s benefit, you will get a combination of benefits to bring you up to equal half of your spouse s benefit. You may defer your own benefits, up to age 70 and still collect spousal benefits. If you delay your Social Security benefit, remember to avoid the late enrollment penalty for Medicare by enrolling at age 65. Divorced Spouse If you are the divorced spouse of a qualified worker, you can receive benefits on your former spouse s Social Security benefit if you: Were married to your former spouse for at least 0 years; Are age 62 or older; *Or younger than 62 and caring for a child who is younger than 6; Are not remarried; and Are not eligible for a higher benefit based on your own earned credits. In some cases, a former spouse may receive benefits even if the wage earning spouse does not. Surviving Spouse You can receive benefits as a surviving spouse if your spouse dies fully insured and you are age 60 or age 50 and disabled. 202 Edition 3

4 Chapter Social Security and Other Benefit Programs Surviving Divorced Spouse You can receive benefits as a surviving divorced spouse if your former spouse died fully insured and you: Are at least age 60, or age 50 and disabled; Were married to your former spouse for at least 0 years; and Are not eligible for a higher benefit based on your own earned credits. If you are already entitled to benefits as an aged or disabled surviving divorced spouse and remarry, the benefits will continue regardless of your age at the time of your remarriage. Dependents To be eligible, a dependent must be under age 8, under age 9 and attending school, or disabled before age 22. Each eligible child will receive up to one-half of your full benefit, up to a certain limit. An unmarried qualifying dependent child may also eligible for survivor benefits. Death Benefits A surviving widow(er) or dependent children can receive a lump sum death benefit of $255 in addition to monthly survivors benefits. Early Retirement and Full Retirement Age You can begin collecting early retirement benefits at age 62 but your monthly benefit amount will be permanently reduced if you opt for early retirement. Full retirement age depends on the year you are born. For those born before 937, full retirement benefits are available at age 65. The full retirement age gradually increases until topping off at age 67 for people born after 959. For the amount of the reduction in your case, contact your local Social Security office. 4 Legal Issues for Older Adults

5 Table. Full Retirement Age by Birth Year Section - Social Security Chapter Birth Year Full Retirement Age and 2 months and 4 months and 6 months and 8 months and 0 months 960 and later 67 You will not receive a payment until age 62 even if you retire younger. Benefits do not increase while unemployed. Earnings After Retirement If you retire before your full retirement age but then return to work, your employment earnings may reduce the amount of Social Security benefits you receive until you reach full retirement age. Your Social Security benefit level will not be affected during this time if your earnings stay under the annual exempt amount. See Table.2 for exempt amounts and total benefit reduction. Table.2 benefit Reduction After Returning to Work After Retirement Year 202 Exempt Amount Benefit Reduction Under full retirement age $4,640 $ for every $2 earned Year you reach full retirement age Full retirement age and older $38,880 $ for every $3 earned n/a No reduction You should immediately report extra earnings to your local Social Security office. If the money you earn after retirement would increase your monthly benefit amount, the amount will be automatically recalculated and sent to you. If high earnings result in your being overpaid Social Security benefits, you may have to pay them back. 202 Edition 5

6 Chapter Social Security and Other Benefit Programs -2 Social Security Disability Benefits (SSDI) Disability is defined as a medically established physical and/or mental impairment that stops you from having substantial gainful employment and is expected to last longer than twelve months or result in death. It is not enough to show that you can t do your former job. If you have at least twenty earned credits in the ten years immediately before you become disabled, you may be eligible for disability benefits (SSDI) before you reach age 65. The amount of your SSDI is based on your lifetime earnings before your disability began and not the degree or severity of your disability. If you do not have enough work credits, you still may qualify for Supplemental Security Income. See SSI section below for more information. If you qualify for disability benefits, your children, spouse, and former spouse may also qualify for benefits, as described in the retirement benefits section above. You will automatically be enrolled in Medicare and will start receiving benefits twenty-four months from the month you are entitled to receive disability benefits. See Chapter 2 for more on Medicare See Chapter 3 for more on Medicaid People with end-stage renal disease will get Medicare beginning the third month after their first course of dialysis or the month of a kidney transplant. People with Lou Gehrig s Disease will receive Medicare beginning with the month they become entitled to disability benefits. How to Apply To apply for Social Security benefits, set up an appointment at your local Social Security office, call SSA s toll free number ( ), or go online at (See Chapter 4, Resources, for local office locations.) 6 Legal Issues for Older Adults

7 Section -2 Social Security Disability Benefits (SSDI) You must have an original or a certified copy of the following documents at the time you apply: Chapter Your Social Security number; Your birth certificate or other proof of your date of birth; The previous year s W-2 forms or self-employment tax return; Military discharge papers (if applicable); Spouse s birth certificate and Social Security number (if applying for spousal benefits); See Chapter 4, Resources, for local social security office locations. Children s birth certificates and Social Security numbers (if applying for dependent benefits); Proof of citizenship or lawful alien status; Name, routing and account number of financial institution that will receive the payments; Proof of age for all applicants on your account; Marriage certificate for all benefits going to your spouse or dependent children; A divorce decree for any benefit going to your former spouse; and Proof of the worker s death, if you are applying for survivors benefits. Your Right to Appeal You may appeal the decision if Social Security denies, reduces, or ends your benefits. You may also appeal if Social Security says it overpaid you. The appeal request must be in writing and submitted within 60 days from the date you receive the initial decision letter from the Social Security Administration. You can start the appeals process on the Internet at You may have a lawyer, paralegal, or other person represent you throughout the process. Usually there is no cost to speak with a lawyer who practices Social Security law unless your case is won. 202 Edition 7

8 Chapter Social Security and Other Benefit Programs The appeals process includes the following steps:. Reconsideration: Social Security will complete a full review of your claim. It will be reviewed by someone who was not involved in the decision you are appealing. 2. Hearing: If you lose the reconsideration, you may request a hearing before an administrative law judge. This is your chance to explain your situation and bring witnesses. You must request a hearing within 60 days of receiving the reconsideration decision. 3. Appeals Council Review: If you lose the hearing, you may ask the Appeals Council to review the decision. You have 60 days from the date of the administrative law judge s decision to request this review. 4. Judicial Review: If you disagree with the Appeals Council s review or the Appeals Council decides not to review your case, you can file a lawsuit in a federal district court within 60 days from the date of the Appeals Council s decision. You can get more information on how to prepare for Social Security appeals See Chapter 4, Resources, for list of Legal Aid Services. from your local Legal Aid Services office. (See Chapter 4, Resources, for a list of Legal Aid Services.) If you have been receiving benefits, and you receive notice that you are no longer eligible because your condition is not disabling, you can request they continue during the appeals process. You must inform Social Security that you would like the benefits to continue within 0 days of the date you receive the decision letter. If you lose your appeal, you may have to pay the money back. Direct Deposit Social Security, like all federal benefits, must be paid directly into your bank account through a direct deposit. There are a few limited exceptions to this rule. If you don t already have a bank or credit union account, shop around. Avoid financial institutions that charge high fees. 8 Legal Issues for Older Adults

9 Section -3-3 Railroad Retirement Railroad Retirement Chapter The federal Railroad Retirement Board handles this benefit program for eligible workers and their families. General Eligibility Railroad Retirement benefits are based on months of service and earnings credits. Employees of railroads engaged in interstate commerce, some related industries, railway associations, and national railway labor organizations qualify for Railroad Retirement after 0 years of credited work (five years for credited work performed after 995). Retirement Benefits Railroad employees with at least 30 years of service on or after January, 2002, can get full benefits (called annuities ) at age 60. The rate paid depends on the employee s earnings. Employees with fewer than 30 years of service (but at least 0 years) can get reduced benefits at age 62 and full benefits at full retirement age (65 67 depending on the year you were born). Spousal Benefits A spouse may be eligible for retirement benefits depending on the employee s age at retirement and years of railroad service. A spouse of any age can receive spousal annuity benefits when the employee qualifies for a retirement annuity, as long as the spouse is caring for the employee s unmarried minor child or a child who became disabled before age 22. Divorced Spouses A divorced spouse may be eligible for an annuity if: ) he or she was married to a retired eligible employee for at least 0 years; 2) he or she has not remarried; and 3) both are at least one month older than 62 when the ex-spouse applies. 202 Edition 9

10 Chapter Social Security and Other Benefit Programs Earnings After Retirement No benefits are available in any month in which a retired railroad employee works for a railroad industry covered by the retirement benefit law. Other kinds of earnings may result in reductions in benefits, similar to the reductions for Social Security retirement. Disability Benefits A railroad employee with at least 0 years of credited service (or five years of service since 995) who becomes totally disabled (same definition as used for SSDI see section above.) from their ability to work can qualify for an Annuity Based on Total Disability. For employees age 60 or older with 0 years of service, or of any age with at least 20 years service, an Annuity Based on Occupational Disability is available if they have regular current connection. Regular current connection is defined as having worked for the railroad at least 2 of 30 months before the annuity begins or at least 2 months without significant nonrailroad employment, with some exceptions, between the end of the 30 month period and the month in which the annuity begins. This benefit is for employees who are permanently disabled from their regular railroad occupation. In some cases, disabled employees can get additional ( supplemental ) benefits when they turn age 60 or 65, but they must meet several requirements to do so. Survivors Benefits The benefits available to surviving spouses and children are similar to those offered by Social Security. For families who qualify, there is also a death benefit. How to Apply You must apply to receive any kind of benefit for yourself or your family. Call the nearest Railroad Retirement Board office to schedule an appointment to apply for benefits; be sure to ask what documents you will need to bring to show that you are eligible. 0 Legal Issues for Older Adults

11 Your Right to Appeal Section -4 Supplemental Security Income (SSI) If the Railroad Retirement Board denies, reduces your benefits, ends your benefits or claims it overpaid you, you may appeal its decision. You can be represented by a friend, family member, paralegal or lawyer. The appeal process is very similar to that for Social Security benefits. Chapter -4 Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a federal program funded by general tax revenue. It provides a basic level of income to anyone with limited income and resources who is age 65 or older or who is blind or disabled. You do not need to have a work history or be eligible for Social Security to be eligible for SSI. However, if you are receiving Social Security benefits, you may also qualify for SSI if your income remains under the stated limit and you meet the resource limitations. Eligibility To be eligible for SSI payments, you must meet all of the following requirements: Be age 65 or older, disabled, or blind; Have limited income and resources; Meet the citizenship or qualified alien status requirements; Be a resident of one of the states, D.C., or Northern Mariana Islands; Not be absent from the country for more than 30 consecutive days; Apply for other cash benefits you may be eligible for; Give the SSA permission to request financial records; Meet certain other requirements outlined below; and File for SSI. 202 Edition

12 Chapter Social Security and Other Benefit Programs Disabled is defined as having a physical or mental condition that keeps you from working that is expected to last at least 2 months or result in death. (A different standard applies for children.) Blind means your vision, with corrective lenses, is no better than 20/200 in your stronger eye or your visual field is 20 degrees or less. Income includes money earned from work, free housing and food, and money received from other sources including friends and family, Social Security, and VA benefits. The first $20 of income is excluded as is the first $65 of earned income plus half of your earnings over $65. The monthly income limit for 202 is $698 for an eligible individual and $,048 for an eligible individual with an eligible spouse. The limit usually rises each year to reflect cost of living increases. If your income is below the limit, your eligible benefit will be reduced by the amount of your countable family income. The amount you will collect is reduced by the applicable income you receive minus the excluded amounts. These rules change periodically. If you think you qualify for SSI, contact Social Security to file an application. Your Countable Resources must be less than $2,000 for one person or $3,000 for a couple. Countable resources include cash on hand, bank accounts, and stocks and bonds. Countable resources do not include up to $500,000 in equity of your current residence, certain personal belongings such as your automobile, life insurance policies with face value of less than $,500, immediate family burial plots, and burial funds. Always check with Social Security to determine if your property is a countable resource. You may be ineligible for SSI for up to 36 months if you give away or sell countable resources for less than face value to reduce your resources below the stated limit. 2 Legal Issues for Older Adults Legal Book for Seniors.indb 2 3/9/202 0:38:38 AM

13 Section -4 Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Important Note: A person who receives SSI can qualify for Medicaid to help pay health care bills. Even a few dollars of SSI benefits enables a person to obtain Medicaid coverage. In most instances, you must apply separately for Medicaid. Someone who gets SSI also may also be eligible for Medicare prescription coverage. Chapter How to Apply Call the Social Security Administration to apply for SSI. You can apply over the telephone or set up an appointment at your local office. You can also appoint a representative to help you with the process. Have the following original documents (or certified copies) available when you apply: See Chapter 2 for more on Medicare See Chapter 3 for more on Medicaid Your Social Security card or number; Proof of your age such as a birth certificate; Proof of citizenship or alien status record; Proof of income (pay stubs, tax returns, bank statements, self employment information, etc.); Information about where you live (your latest property tax bill, assessment notice, or rent receipt); All of your bank statements and other financial records; Life or disability insurance policies; Information about your spouse s income and resources, if you are married; Motor vehicle documents for all motorized vehicles; Medical records or other documents showing you have a disability; Work history for the last 5 years including title, type of work, employers, dates and hours worked. Make sure to keep copies of everything you provide and the name of the person you work with from Social Security. 202 Edition 3

14 Chapter Section 4 See Chapter 4, Resources, for contact information. Social Security and Other Benefit Programs Overpayment An overpayment can occur if you receive more SSI than you are entitled to due to a change in circumstance or an incorrect calculation. If you receive an overpayment notice and think the Social Security Administration made a mistake, you can ask for an appeal. You must do so within 0 days of the date on the notice. Even if you agree you were overpaid, you still have the right to request a waiver of the overpayment. You can get this waiver if you cannot afford to repay the money and were without fault in causing the overpayment. Contact the local Social Security office, or seek legal help from the legal aid office nearest you. (See Chapter 4, Resources, for contact information.) Appeals The appeal process for SSI is the same as for Social Security. You must begin your appeal online at -5 Employee Pensions A pension plan is an agreement between an employee, an employer and, for some jobs, the employee s union. Sometimes only the employer contributes to the pension fund, and sometimes the employee does as well. Employers are not required to have pension plans. Federal law provides some stability for private pension programs. The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 974 (ERISA) sets the standards for private pensions. It also provides guaranteed pensions in some cases. Your Right to Participate If a pension is offered at your place of employment, you must be permitted to participate if you are 2 or older or if you have worked there for at least one year. This means your time at the job will be counted toward qualifying for retirement benefits. 4 Legal Issues for Older Adults

15 Your Right to Information Section -5 Employee Pensions ERISA requires that all plan rules be in writing. The plan administrator must explain all facts and rules about your employee benefit plan. You can get the plan rules, your employment records, and a statement of the credit you have earned to date. You can then determine when you will be eligible for benefits and calculate the approximate amount of your benefits. You also may request copies of the Plan and Trust and a plan description, which outlines your rights, from the plan administrator. Chapter Eligibility for Benefits You earn credits by working in a job covered by an employee benefit plan. The plan rules specify how much work an employee must do to earn a year of credit. The rules also explain how many years of credits you need to qualify for benefits. Absences from Employment Employees who work for a short time or who have long absences from work may not be eligible for benefits. Find out how your employee benefit plan handles absences from work. Payment of Pension Benefits If you have not done so, it is wise to contact your plan administrator about pension benefits. The plan administrator has 30 days from your inquiry to give you written notice of your benefit amount and when you are entitled to receive it. Some plans may offer early retirement benefits and disability benefits. Some plans may give you a lump sum payment if the amount of your benefit is less than $3,500. When you select what type of retirement benefit you want, your spouse will usually be notified and asked to sign a release or consent form. Most private employee benefits are treated as taxable income once you start collecting them. 202 Edition 5

16 Chapter Social Security and Other Benefit Programs Social Security and Pension Benefit Under some pension plans, Social Security and pension benefits are integrated, which means that the amount of the pension can be reduced by all or part of your Social Security payment. Since 988, plans are required to leave at least half of your pension in the plan. Survivors Pension Benefits Under most pension plans, employees can choose to have pension payments go to their surviving spouse. Check to see whether survivors benefits and early death forfeiture clauses are in your pension. Early death forfeiture means that your spouse does not receive benefits if you die before the early retirement age in the plan. If you die while you are eligible for employee benefits under an employee benefit plan, your spouse may receive a death benefit. If you wish to have someone else receive this death benefit, arrangements must be made with your plan administrator. Your Right to Appeal The plan administrator is required to let you know, in writing, if your application for benefit payments is denied. The plan administrator must give you specific reasons for the denial. You have the right to a full review of the denial by all the trustees of the plan. If you are still unhappy with the decision, you may file a lawsuit in federal district court. -6 State Financial Programs Oregon s Department of Human Services Seniors and People with Disabilities See Chapter 4, Resources, for a list of AAA offices. office (SPD) controls several financial aid programs. In most counties, the local Area Agency on Aging (AAA) handles the programs. (See Chapter 4, Resources, for a list of AAA offices.) Most AAA offices provide information and referral services. AAA can tell you where to apply for food stamps, emergency help, help for winter heating, medical help and other community programs. 6 Legal Issues for Older Adults

17 Section -6 State Financial Programs Other programs include meals, transportation, counseling, case management, respite for family caregivers, protective services, and in-home support services. Check with your local AAA office or senior center to see if other programs are available. AAA offices can direct you to your local senior center. You should call to find out for certain if you are eligible for these programs and always apply in writing. You have the right to appeal a denial. Chapter Temporary Assistance for Needy Families If your children, grandchildren, or other relatives younger than 8 live with you and rely on you for their care, you may be eligible for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). TANF provides money to low income families and provides housing, child care, and collection of child support from absent parents. Contact your local Children and Family Services office for more information. See Chapter 4, Resources, for a list of AAA offices and TANF. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) The state issues food benefits under a federal program. These benefits are distributed through an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) and the Oregon Trail Card. SNAP helps people buy food. You cannot use SNAP benefits to purchase pet food, soap, paper products, tobacco, or alcohol. Low-income people of any age may qualify. If you qualify, the amount you receive depends on your income, needs, and family size. If you are now receiving SSI or benefits from a similar program, you may automatically qualify for SNAP but you must apply. To qualify, your monthly income must be less than $,679 per month for an individual or $2,268 for a couple. If you are disabled or over age 60, the amount may be larger. Contact your local AAA office to check your eligibility. Your Right to Appeal If you disagree with a SNAP decision, you may request a hearing. You have 90 days to appeal from the date of a decision that denies benefits. If you are already receiving benefits, appeal within 0 days from the date of the decision 202 Edition 7

18 Chapter Social Security and Other Benefit Programs in order to continue your benefits during your appeal. Continuation of your benefits after the appeal depends on the outcome of your particular case. Contact your local AAA office for more information. Consumer Grievances You have the right to make a written complaint about poor treatment by a state worker. To make a complaint, ask for a grievance form (available from the agency). Complete the Consumer section, and return it to the office. Doing this may make the agency review your case to make sure you get the services you deserve. Complaining also causes a supervisor to discuss your See Chapter 4, Resources, for a list of AAA offices. complaint with the worker. The agency cannot discriminate against you for making a complaint. You can contact your local AAA or the Governor s Advocacy Office in Salem. (See Chapter 4, Resources, for office locations.) Elderly Rental Assistance The elderly rental assistance program helps low income seniors who pay rent at a property that qualifies based on its property taxes. In addition, the following must apply: You or your spouse/registered domestic partner must be age 58 or older on December 3 of the preceding year; Your annual total household income must be less than $0,000; You must pay more than 20 percent of your household income for rent, fuel, and utilities; See Chapter 4, Resources, for Oregon Department of Revenue contact infomation. You lived in Oregon on December 3 of the preceding year in a rental home subject to property tax; and If you and your spouse/registered domestic partner are between ages 58 and 65, your combined assets must not exceed $25,000. There is no limit on assets if you or your spouse is over age 65 Contact the Oregon Department of Revenue for Form 90R to fill out and file with your tax return. (See Chapter 4, Resources, for contact information.) 8 Legal Issues for Older Adults

19 Section -7-7 Additional Programs for Seniors Additional Programsfor Seniors Chapter To find out more about the following programs, contact your local senior center or AAA office. (See Chapter 4 for a list of offices.) Emergency Help Emergency assistance may be available for low-income persons who need help with energy costs, weatherization, food, shelter, and transportation. See Chapter 4, Resources, for a list of AAA offices. Family Caregiver Support Program The Family Caregiver Support Program is a statewide program providing respite care, supplemental services, and products to make caregiving easier for caregivers of family members who are over age 60, and for people over age 60 who are caring for minor children. Meals Some community programs serve hot meals at noon or deliver meals to your home. Oregon Food Bank The Oregon Food Bank and many community organizations and churches also offer food to Oregonians. Oregon Project Independence Oregon Project Independence is a program that provides help for people who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer s disease or related dementia disorders, are age 60 years or older, meet the state's long term care priority rule, and are not receiving Medicaid long term care services. Services include home care, assisted transportation, respite/adult day care, home meal deliveries, and case management. There is an hourly fee for services. 202 Edition 9

20 Chapter Social Security and Other Benefit Programs Senior Community Service Employment Program Senior Community Service Employment Program is a federally funded program that provides on-the-job training for people age 55 and older. Older adults work at community service assignment four hours a day, five days a week, for minimum wage. Senior Farm Direct Nutrition Program Provides low-income seniors with checks to purchase Oregon raised fruits, vegetables, and herbs at approved fruit stands and farmer s markets. Spousal Pay The Spousal Pay Program is an in-home support services program that allows payment for services that are provided by the spouse of an eligible person. Individuals must be eligible for Medicaid, require help with activities of daily living, and qualify for in-home services. The spouse must provide services that exceed what would usually be expected of a husband or wife. The spouse must be capable of meeting the individual s service needs. Other services may include: counseling; home repair and modification; in-home support (help with housekeeping or personal care); protective services (investigating reports of abuse or neglect of elderly and disabled persons); public guardianship; conservator programs; and help with choosing a long term care setting. A Final Note If you think you might be eligible for one or more of the programs listed in this chapter, contact the proper agency and fill out an application. Do not be discouraged from applying! Insist on completing an application even if an agency tries to turn you away. If you complete your application, the agency must tell you in writing if it thinks you are not eligible for benefits and why. If you think this decision is wrong, you can appeal. 20 Legal Issues for Older Adults

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