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Elder Affairs to help seniors enroll for benefits

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Special to the Citizen
More than 10,000 low-income Florida elders — some of whom live in Levy County — who haven’t been able to apply online for food stamps will now be able to get personal help at an office location or via the Elder Helpline.
A pilot project funded by a $500,000 grant will help the Florida Department of Elder Affairs reach its goal of enrolling 5 percent of the eligible seniors, a total of 10,180 seniors who are eligible for food stamps but do not receive them.
 Florida’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as the food stamp program, requires that most applicants fill out their requests online.
However, a large portion of Florida’s 4.45 million seniors are not regular computer users, and statewide 58 percent of eligible elders do not participate in SNAP.
The three-year pilot project will enable elders who are reluctant or unable to visit an office location or apply online to call the state’s Elder Helpline and have a trained professional enter the online data for them.
The pilot project will be conducted in 35 of Florida’s 67 counties, served by five Area Agencies on Aging. The five selected areas have the highest number of low-income elders with the lowest usage of food stamps. In those counties, 72 percent of eligible elders do not participate in SNAP.
Elder Affairs is working with the state Department of Children & Families, the agency that receives SNAP applications, to make the system work smoothly for Florida elders.
Seniors looking for help with a SNAPS application should call the Elder Helpline toll-free at 1-800-963-5337.

Need Immediate Help?

n Elder Helpline:
1-800-96-ELDER (1-800-963-5337)
n Report Elder Abuse:
1-800-96-ABUSE (1-800-962-2873)
n Statewide Senior Legal Helpline:
1-888-895-7873

State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program
Public Meeting Notice
Oct. 21, 12:30 p.m.-2:30 p.m.
Haven Hospice, 4200 NW 90th Boulevard, Gainesville,