Benefit Bulletin: April 2012

Benefit Bulletin: April 2012

Millions of Seniors Are Losing Benefits

A new report has found that millions of senior Americans are missing out on over $20 billion in benefits that help pay for healthcare, prescriptions, food, and utilities. TSCL is concerned that many Notch Babies may be missing out on these benefits that help those with limited income and resources, because they may not realize they are eligible. Many seniors struggle to pay for daily necessities like healthcare, medicine, housing, home energy and food. In addition many of these same older adults have one or more chronic health conditions like cancer, heart disease, diabetes, or arthritis resulting in higher healthcare costs and limitations on daily activities.

But financial problems are more likely to compound for Notch Babies and their families because Notch Babies received Social Security benefits lower than those of other retirees having similar work and earnings histories, and they are at the age when many have exhausted their retirement savings and other resources. According to U.S. Census data, 9 percent of men and 14 percent of senior women over 85 have incomes lower than the U.S. poverty level — $11,170 for single seniors in 2012. A core set of benefits is available to low-income seniors including:

• Nutritious food through the Supplemental Nutrition Program (SNAP).

• Access to Medicare and Medicaid including community-based long-term care support and services and programs that make Medicare more affordable.

• Heating and cooling assistance, the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).

• A minimal source of supplemental benefits for seniors with extremely low benefits (Supplemental Security Income, or SSI).

To learn more about benefits, Notch Babies or a family member helping on their behalf can get personalized assistance to screen and apply for benefits. If you have accesses to the internet use the BenefitsCheckUp screening tool by visiting If you don’t have computer access call the Eldercare Locator at 1-800-677-1166.

TSCL continues to work with Members of Congress to pass “The Notch Fairness Act,” legislation which would provide Notch Babies born 1917 through 1926 with a settlement of $5,000 or a choice of higher monthly benefits. What you can do: Urge your Members of Congress to co-sponsor and pass “The Notch Fairness Act,” H.R. 1001 and S. 118! To learn more about the status of Notch legislation, give us a call 1-800-333-8725.