Senior Gazette

Summer 2009
by Carol Schmitkons, Director,
Amherst Township Senior Service Office (ATSSO)

Home-Delivered Meal Program

A variety of food choices at prices geared to income level are available to those over 60 or disabled adults over 18. Call 988-5822 for more details. ATSSO is also looking for 2 more meal drivers.

Food Assistance Programs

The Ohio Food Assistance Program is a nutrition assistance program. Those who qualify for benefits receive an electronic card that works just like a debit or credit card at the grocery store. For program information call Marcia Kubach, "Food Assistance Program Outreach Coordinator" for the Second Harvest Food Bank, at (440) 326-4825.

The OBB Benefits Check Up's new web-based service is another way to find assistance with paying for food. It provides easy access to information about the federal SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program). It can assist older Americans or their caregivers with finding information about local food programs, eligibility standards, application information and state-specific hotline phone numbers.

Economic Difficulties?

The Ohio Benefits Bank (OBB) at www.OBB.Ohio.Gov is a web-based computer program designed to connect low- and moderate-income Ohioans with access to information about tax credit and public benefits. Ohioans can also check potential eligibility for other work support benefits such as health care coverage, home energy assistance, child care subsidies, and food stamps at an OBB site.

8:00 A.M. – NOON  (M-F)

Special Pension

"Veterans Aid & Attendance Special Pension" is for Veterans and/or surviving spouses serving from WWI to present. It is not dependent on service-related injuries.

It does help to pay for in-home care, a nursing home or an assisted living facility. To qualify, an individual must (by a doctor's order) require help with eating, bathing, dressing or incontinence care. Those who are blind or are a nursing home patient due to mental or physical incapacity also qualify.

It does not pay for a person needing housekeeping, part-time or respite care. For more detailed information call Lorain County Veterans Services at 284-4625.

The Ohio Department of Aging proudly announces Boomerang, a free, lifestyles e-mail newsletter for baby boomers and "young" seniors. Subscribe at:

When COBRA Strikes

The new Stimulus Plan provides a 65% subsidy for COBRA continuation premiums for up to nine months covering workers, and their families, who have involuntarily been terminated from their jobs between September 1, 2008 and December 31, 2009. Those who initially failed to elect COBRA because it was unaffordable would be given an additional 60 days to elect COBRA and receive the subsidy.

Gas Choice Agreement's Fine Print
(from "Ohio Consumer Counsel News")

You can save money on your electric bill every month by completely turning off electronic equipment. Household appliances and electronics contribute to a majority of the expenses seen on monthly electric bills. What consumers may not know is a significant portion of that expense could be the result of items that are not in use. Computers, video game consoles, digital clocks, televisions, refrigerators and cell phones still use power even when they are "off." Items that use a remote control, have an external power supply (like an AC adapter), have digital displays, battery chargers or soft-touch key pads are all examples of "vampire" or "standby" power products that can drive consumer's electric bills up.

The amount of power these items use in standby mode can be startling. While most devises use much less electricity while in standby mode, combined they can account for up to 10% of your monthly bill. The largest power vampires are desktop computers, laptop computers and digital cable boxes with DVR's. Even PS3/Xbox, 360/Wii, TVs, DVD players, charged cell phones, cable modems and the LCD in CPU monitors use 1-5 watts.

Some standby power is necessary. It's what makes conveniences convenient. While it may be impossible to eliminate it, there are ways to reduce it. Unplug items not regularly used. Attach several similar items, like computer equipment, to a plug strip and turn it off while away. Items like cable boxes and Internet modems, which rely on standby power to send information, should be connected to a different circuit so the connection is not lost.

Social Security News

Compassionate allowances are a way for Social Security offices to quickly identify diseases and other medical conditions that qualify to expedite SSDI claims.

Under this newly created list of 50 impairments, Social Security offices can now act in a matter of days rather than months or years. For more information visit the following website:

Prescription Drug Plan Publications

Receive the new free publication for Medicare beneficiaries wishing to save money on "Part D" prescription drug plans by calling 1-800-772-1213.

Gas Choice Agreement's Fine Print
(from "Ohio Consumer Counsel News")

The Ohio Consumer Counsel (OCC) advises consumers to become familiar and understand all supplier contract language before enrolling. It is the consumer's responsibility to understand any agreement's fine print. Be sure to check out the following before completing your enrollment agreement:

  • Does the agreement automatically renew upon completion?
  • Would automatic renewal subject you to a higher rate?
  • Is your rate fixed or variable?
  • Are there additional fees for enrollment, transfer or cancellation?
  • Is the supplier a certified Choice Program participant?

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