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Some Financial Help From Social Security

I have written several articles, in the past years, about the Well Spouse Foundation. I became a member of this organization decades ago. The book Mainstay, by Maggie Strong, was really the start. When I read this book, written by a young woman when her husband became ill with Multiple Sclerosis, I felt I had found a friend who was dealing with the same emotions that I was coping with. Mainstay was the impetus that led to the Well Spouse Association. It is a wonderful organization that provides support for the spouses of the chronically ill.


 


Through their newsletter, “Mainstay,”(which I have often referred to as a support group in your mailbox) many well spouses get emotional and practical help. Their many programs include respite weekends, forums, listings of local support groups, book reviews, and online discussions that give many well spouses their only contact with others who are dealing with the same problems, situations and emotions.


 


Their Mentor Program is online support for members providing one to one support for a well spouse from a veteran caregiver.  For members without e-mail who want to communicate with other well spouses, their Round Robin Letter Writing Groups consists of communication among five to seven well spouses.


 


Always keeping an eye on what is current or new from the government agencies that can help us, the Well Spouse Association keeps its members informed of programs that might help us financially. Around Mother’s Day, I received this information that I thought I should share with my U.S. readers. I hope it can be of financial help to some of you.

 

                                                          * * * * *

 

Help Your Mom Save $3,600!
By Everett M. Lo

Social Security Administration in New York



People all over the country are helping their moms save as much as $3,600 per year on the cost of prescription drugs. You can too!
 
We all know the high cost of medicine can be a burden on mothers who have limited income and resources. But there is extra help available through Social Security that could pay part of her monthly premiums, annual deductibles and prescription co-payments.
The extra help could be worth up of $3,600 per year.
 
To figure out whether your mother is eligible, Social Security needs to know her income and the value of her savings, investments and real estate (other than the home she lives in). To qualify for the extra help, she must be receiving Medicare and also have:
 
Income limited to $15,600
for an individual or $21,000 for a married couple living together. Even if her annual income is higher, she still may be able to get some help with monthly premiums, annual deductibles and prescription co-payments. Some examples where income may be higher include if she or her spouse support other family members who live with them; Have earnings from work; or live in Alaska or Hawaii; and (have)
 
Resources limited to $11,990
for an individual or $23,970 for a married couple living together. Resources include such things as bank accounts, stocks and bonds. We do not count her house and car as resources.
 
Social Security has an easy-to-use online application that you can help complete for your mom. You can find it at http://www.socialsecurity.gov. To apply by phone or have an
application mailed to you, call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) and ask for the Application for Help with Medicare Prescription Drug Plan Costs (SSA-1020). Or go to the nearest Social Security office.
 
To learn more about the Medicare prescription drug plans and special enrollment periods visit
http://www.medicare.gov or call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227; TTY 1-877-486-2048).
 
So, this Mother’s Day, help your mom save up to $3,600 a year on her prescription drugs. Long after the candy and flowers are gone, the extra help through Social Security will keep on giving.

 

                                                          * * * * *

 

I hope this will help some of you ease the financial burden of chronic illness a bit. For more information on the Well Spouse Association, contact Well Spouse Association, 63 West Main Street, Suite H Freehold, NJ 07728 or you can call 800-838-0879, 732-577-8899 or fax 732-577-8644. Their e-mail address is info@wellspouse.org and their website is www.wellspouse.org. It may be one of the most supportive things you do for yourself as a well spouse.


 


You can reach me at annnovick@hotmail.com

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More Articles from Ann Novick

When one is blind one learns to use Braille to read. When one cannot walk, a wheelchair gives mobility. Sign language allows a mute person to speak and ocular implants assist in hearing when one is deaf. These are all compensatory strategies that help a person function despite his disability. But compensatory strategies are not just for physical problems. Understanding our psychological weaknesses and setting up our lives to ensure that we are not tempted to repeat our past mistakes, is as necessary as any aid to the disabled.

Well spouses have often discovered that their friends and relatives, despite their closeness to the situation, often don’t realize the tremendous emotional impact living with chronic illness has on the family. With the best intentions, suggestions, ideas and criticism are offered, based on the non-experience of those with healthy families. Even when the good intentioned get a taste of the difficulties, it is sometimes not enough for them to then identify and understand what the family of the chronically ill must face on a constant basis.

Over the past two weeks I have shared letters from a therapist and a well spouse. Both of the letters gave personal insights into the process of losing hope, how we react when that happens and some ways of coping when test scores, diagnosis and just simple repetitive behavior indicate that change for the better is impossible.

Dear Ann,

I’ve read your last few articles on psycho-neurological testing (Oct.8-22) with interest. As a therapist who has counseled couples dealing with chronic illness, I’d like to give you another perspective.

Dear Ann,

Your articles on the Neuro-Psychological Testing were right on (October 8-22). My husband underwent testing twice and your articles explained it things exactly the way they were. Besides the test, we also tried therapy.

Very often when we can’t face our big hurts or big loses we focus on the little ones. We can discuss those. We can cry over the small loses, be angry at the smaller hurts even though it may look trite and sound ridiculous to others.

Over the last two weeks we have been discussing one way in which well spouses can determine whether behavior displayed by their ill partners is caused by their illness or is a way they have chosen to act. We have focused on Psycho-Neurological testing, what it can tell us, as well as its pros and cons.

Last week I discussed a question that haunts many well spouses: not knowing if the difficult and often inappropriate behavior frequently displayed by their partners are caused by the disease and therefore not-controllable, or if the behavior is a choice the spouse makes and can therefore be changed. This doubt can be the source of much frustration and many marital disagreements. One way of alleviating this doubt is by having a psycho- neurological work up done. But that path is not so simple.

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