Senior Services. A word from Lindsay

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1 ISSUE 14 Senior Services A RESOURCE FOR ORGANISATIONS WORKING IN THE SENIORS COMMUNITY April 2014 Website: effect in April. A word from Lindsay Change is a common theme in this newsletter. Changes to the way the Government delivers housing assistance took The 1 April Annual General Adjustment meant changes to payment rates. Negotiations with medical alarm suppliers mean four companies will be MSD - accredited from 5 May The number of business outlets offering discounts to older New Zealanders through the SuperGold programme is constantly growing and is now over 11,000. Read more about these and other changes inside this newsletter. Regards Lindsay Meehan General Manager Senior Services Article Page 11,000 reasons to use your SuperGold Card 2 Information on monitored medical alarms paid through Disability Allowance 2 Grey Power Electricity 2 Social housing changes 3 1 April rates changes 3 Why not fill in the New Zealand Superannuation application online? 3 Seniors brochure updated 4 Get your free flu vaccination now 4 Opportunity for tradespeople in Christchurch 4 Rest home information easier to find online 5 Get free loan advice 5 Invitation to join Age Concern s SeniorVoice 5 Getting in touch with Senior Services 5

2 11,000 reasons to use your SuperGold Card Information on monitored medical alarms paid through Disability Allowance The Ministry of Social Development has undertaken an open and competitive selection process for determining which medical alarm suppliers will be accredited to supply monitored medical alarms paid through Disability Allowance. The SuperGold programme now has more than 11,000 business outlets offering discounts to over 630,000 older New Zealanders. Surpassing 11,000 business outlets is another milestone for the programme, further increasing the opportunities for cardholders to access discounts across the country. The latest business recruitment campaign has focused on expanding the programme in rural, provincial and city fringe locations, targeting businesses in automotive, grocery, retail, legal services and trade. The campaign exceeded all expectations recruiting 800 new SuperGold participating businesses. In the last two years the number of participating businesses has more than quadrupled. Around half of the businesses added in the latest campaign are located outside of the main city centres. SuperGold Card holders can also do their part in getting more organisations to join up by talking with local business owners who are not already in the scheme and encouraging them to sign on. Businesses offering SuperGold Card discounts in each region can be found at: MSD has negotiated with medical alarm suppliers to ensure our clients are receiving a quality service at a competitive price. As a result of this accreditation review, four companies will be MSD-accredited for the supply of medical alarm services from 5 May These four companies are (in alphabetical order): ADT Security Chubb New Zealand Limited Freedom Alarms Limited St John. Bupa Care Services Ltd and Tunstall Lifecare will continue to be MSD-accredited up until 4 May Clients can remain with their current supplier or transfer to one of the suppliers who will be MSD-accredited from 5 May Clients do not have to change supplier unless they wish to do so. MSD will continue to fund a client s medical alarm cost through Disability Allowance if they choose to stay with their current supplier. Read more on our website: Grey Power Electricity Grey Power Electricity is a collaboration between Grey Power Federation Inc. and Pulse Energy to give Grey Power members access to low cost power, easy-to-read bills, and a friendly New Zealand based call centre dedicated to serving Grey Power customers. Read more at: SENIOR SERVICES ( 2/5

3 Social housing changes 1 April rates changes From 1 April 2014, some payment rates increased based on the updated Consumer Price Index of 1.38%. New Zealand Superannuitants received a 2.66% increase so that the married rate continued to equal 66% of the average net wage. The Annual General Adjustments include: The Ministry of Social Development now manages applications for social housing and refers people on the waitlist to social housing providers. The Government has also opened up the income-related rent subsidy to more housing providers. This means people on the waitlist for social housing could be referred to Housing New Zealand or to a registered community housing provider when a suitable property becomes available. The Ministry is responsible for: assessing people's eligibility for social housing assessing people's need for a house managing the waitlist for social housing referring people to housing providers calculating and administering incomerelated rents paying the income-related rent subsidy to housing providers. People age 65 or over wanting more information about social housing can visit our website at: More information is also available at: rates and thresholds for main benefits, Student Allowances, Student Loan Living Costs and the Foster Care Allowance rates and thresholds for some supplementary assistance thresholds for the Community Services Card New Zealand Superannuation and Veteran s Pension. Payment rates can be viewed at: Why not fill in the New Zealand Superannuation application online? Senior Services interactive online New Zealand Superannuation application form will guide people through just the questions they need to answer. Once a person has finished and submitted the application, they ll get a confirmation message with their application number and details of their next steps. In many cases, if people use the online application form, they don t need an appointment about their application. The online application form is at: SENIOR SERVICES ( 3/5

4 SENIOR SERVICES ISSUE 14 / APRIL 2014 Services for Seniors brochure updated Opportunity for tradespeople in Christchurch The updated April 2014 version of the Services for Seniors brochure is now available with updated content. With the post-earthquake rebuild in Christchurch, Canterbury employers are seeking tradespeople across a wide range of trades. To get a copy: download it from the Senior Services website at: phone us on visit a local service centre. Get your free flu vaccination now People 65 and over can get free influenza immunisation to protect them from this serious illness. Influenza is not just a bad cold. It is a serious disease that can kill and may lead to serious complications and hospitalisation, particularly if people have an existing medical condition like heart or lung disease or diabetes. People should aim to get vaccinated as soon as possible after the vaccine becomes available (usually from March). Tradespeople 65 years and over looking for work are encouraged to register at The Base Work Services at Papanui, Christchurch. The Base helps businesses find employees and is always looking for painters, carpenters, plasterers, hammer hands, brick and block layers etc. All people need is a basic electronic CV ed to The Base, their own transport to get to the work sites, and some identification such as a Driver Licence. For more information contact Kate Smart at The Base Work Services: Phone: People can also view vacancies directly at Call your doctor or nurse to make an appointment. For more information call 0800 IMMUNE ( ) or visit: SENIOR SERVICES ( 4/5

5 Rest home information easier to find online A new website makes it easier to find rest home information. The website helps people find aged care providers in their area and answers common questions about rest homes, hospital and dementia care. For more information go to: From the site people can also view the latest audit reports of rest homes which are on the Ministry of Health website. These reports outline a rest home s standards for quality and safety and can be read here: Get free loan advice If people are worried about a loan or want to make a complaint about a finance company, they can call the Consumer Affairs loan complaints line on It s a free call for free advice on loans. There is more information about dealing with loans and debt, and help to get out of financial difficulty on the Consumer Affairs website at: Invitation to join Age Concern s SeniorVoice Age Concern New Zealand s SeniorVoice group gives people aged 60 and over a chance to share their views on topical issues concerning older people. To learn more or sign up, visit And finally a reminder.. getting in touch with Senior Services Senior Services provides access to entitlements and financial assistance such as New Zealand Superannuation, Community Services Card, Veteran s Pension, Residential Subsidies and overseas pensions. It may also be able to help with some accommodation and health related costs. People can: access their website at to search for information and find answers to common questions by using the Ask a question tool send an to with a question and receive a personalised answer call them on between 8am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, to ask a question or get advice book an appointment to meet a case manager by phoning send mail to their postal address: Senior Services Ministry of Social Development PO Box 5054 Wellington 6145 If a person s hearing is impaired they can use: - Deaf Link free-fax: Telephone typewriter (TTY): Text: So if anyone has a seniors-related question or needs information, please use the above information to contact Senior Services. SENIOR SERVICES ( 5/5

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