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Home > Disability > What's New > What's New Archives

What's New Archives

Past Highlights of our Disability/What's New Page

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Medicare Open Enrollment period extended beyond December 7th deadline for Western New Yorkers affected by last month’s severe winter storm.

As part of our new Community Health Advocate Program (see below), we will periodically send out health related updates and key information.

The following is excerpted from a recent article that appeared in the Buffalo News.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services [CMS] are granting additional time to sign up for traditional Medicare or Medicare Advantage for area seniors and other enrollees [Social Security Disability beneficiaries after 24 months of eligibility] who aren’t able to choose a plan by the original Sunday [12/7/14] deadline.

CMS hasn’t set a new deadline for local Medicare enrollees, and the agency still is encouraging beneficiaries to select a plan by Sunday to make sure their medical and prescription drug coverage are in place by Jan. 1.

But people who saw their enrollment efforts delayed by the storm will have more time to pick a plan for next year. Enrollees seeking to sign up after Sunday should call (800) 633-4227, where their requests will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

CMS offered a similar deadline extension in 2012 to seniors and other enrollees living in areas affected by Hurricane Sandy.

Medicare beneficiaries can avoid $104.90 Part B monthly premium by enrolling in one of 3 Medicare Savings Plans (MSPs):

See QMB, SLMB, and QI-1 Medicare Savings Programs At-a-Glance, available on our website at http://www.nls.org/files/At%20a%20Glance%20Advocate%20Info%20Sheets/QMB%20SLMBI%20QI-1%202014%20FINAL%205-16-14.pdf (based on 2014 income limits; 2015 income limits generally announced during first quarter of year).

A few key facts about MSPs:

  • Income limits are modest (countable income ranges from $973 monthly in QMB to $1,313 in QI-1) but there are no asset limits.
  • MSPs must follow SSI rules for counting income, meaning that no more than half of monthly wages will count when determining eligibility.
  • You apply for MSP at local Department of Social Services Medicaid office.
  • If eligible for an MSP, Medicaid will pay full Part B premium including any late enrollment penalties.
  • If eligible for QMB, Medicaid will pay the Part B premium as well as any deductibles and copayments. For both SLMB and QI-1 will pay premium only.

For more information about this or any other health-related issues, contact our Community Health Advocate (CHA) program at Neighborhood Legal Services:

  • Our CHA advocate is Charles Marinaccio, 847-0650 or cmariaccio@nls.org
  • Charles has the most expertise in issues affecting persons with disabilities, but CHA services not limited to disabled.
  • Will take calls, emails from both individuals and agencies calling on their behalf.
  • You can call Charles on a range of Medicaid and Medicare issues.
  • Our CHA services are generally brief and will focus on a range of eligibility issues (for the health benefit or for individual services).
  • Where appropriate can make referrals for additional services.

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National Assistive Technology Advocacy Project

Fall 2013 AT ADVOCATE Newsletter now Available!

"State Vocational Rehabilitation Agencies As Assistive Technology Funding Sources -
VR Agencies Remain an Important Source of AT Funding for Individuals with Disabilities Preparing for Work"

Click on this link to download Fall 2013 AT Advocate Newsletter

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THREE-PART TELECONFERENCE SERIES, FOCUSED ON ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY FUNDING

October 23, 2013 – “Funding of Cutting Edge Equipment through State Medicaid Programs”; speakers, Diana M. Straube, Esq. and James R. Sheldon, Esq., National AT Advocacy Project

November 20, 2013 - “Using Your State’s General Curriculum Mandates to Fund AT in the Public School”; speaker, Ronald M. Hager, Esq., National Disability Rights Network

December 18, 2013 – “Funding of AT through State Vocational Rehabilitation Agencies”; speakers, Ron Hager and Jim Sheldon

Click on this link to access the teleconference handouts

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NEWSLETTER - National Assistive Technology Advocacy Project

The new Summer 2013 issue of the AT ADVOCATE, a publication of the National Assistive Technology Advocacy Project, is now available on our website as a PDF document for download. Our Summer 2013 issue, “Services to PreSchool Children with Disabilities Under the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act,” features information on using IDEA’s Part B and Part C provisions to fund Assistive Technology devices and services.

Click on this link to access the PDF Version of the Summer 2013 AT Advocate Newsletter

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State Alternative Financing Programs - A Source of Low-Cost Loans to Fund AT for Individuals with Disabilities

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Western NY WIPA Project Back In Business
Click this link "Western NY Work Incentives Planning and Assistance Project (WIPA)"
Free Benefits Counseling to Social Security or SSI Beneficiaries who Work
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CMS Letter to Texas Medicaid Clarifies that Ceiling Track Lifts Can be Covered

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Briefs Available in Medicaid Standing Wheelchair Appeal

In Koenning v. Suehs a district court in Texas ruled that Texas Medicaid’s outright exclusion of coverage for standing wheelchairs for adults, without considering medical necessity, violated various provisions of the Medicaid Act. The State of Texas has appealed (appeal pending as Koenning v. Janek).

The following Fifth Circuit Briefs are available:

Brief of Plaintiffs

Brief of Defendant (Texas Medicaid)

Brief of Amicus Curiae (The ARC, et al.)

This brief is co-authored by Diana Straube and Jim Sheldon of Neighborhood Legal Services.

Brief of Amicus Curiae (Constitutional Accountability Center)

Reply Brief Defendant (Texas Medicaid)



Funding of AT Manual Series

"The Vocational Rehabilitation Agency's Obligation to Fund AT to Support Employment Preparation" - February 2013


Newsletters

IMPACT Newsletter - Fall 2012

AT Advocate Newsletter - Summer 2013


Buffalo Office

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237 Main Street, 4th floor
Buffalo, New York 14203
 
Tel: (716) 847-0650
Fax: (716) 847-0227

Serving Erie County

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Neighborhood Legal Services, Inc.
225 Old Falls Street, 3rd Floor
Niagara Falls, New York 14303

Tel: (716) 284-8831
Fax: (716) 284-8040

Serving Niagara County

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Neighborhood Legal Services, Inc.
45 Main Street
Batavia, New York 14020

Tel: (585) 343-5450
Fax: (585) 343-5503

Serving Orleans, Genesee & Wyoming Counties

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