Wednesday workshop can save seniors money

Melonie McLaurin | Daily Journal Mike Minnick of Legal Aid of North Carolina explains three money saving programs for low income Medicare recipients. These will be the highlight of Wednesday’s free workshop at the East Rockingham Senior Center.

ROCKINGHAM — Qualifying seniors in Richmond County are missing out on benefits to which they are legally entitled, and Mike Minnick of Legal Aid of North Carolina hopes to help as many as he can during a clinic Wednesday.

“One is that people on Medicare who fall within a certain percentage of the poverty line could be missing nearly $105 dollars per month,” Minnick said. “That money is taken out of their monthly Medicare checks, off the top, so many people aren’t aware of it. Qualified applicants can avoid that monthly deduction, saving nearly $1,300 per year.”

Another program Legal Aid NC will promote can save qualified applicants around $4,000 annually on prescription medications.

“And for those people we can submit their applications online from right here,” Minnick said. “All of the others are paper applications and we can help qualifying seniors to fill out that paperwork.”

Paperwork is often a barrier to seniors when it comes to applying for SNAP benefits, Mennick said. That’s another feature of Wednesday’s clinic.

“Many people find they are entitled to very little in SNAP (formerly food stamp) benefits,” he said. “The hassle of applying for as little as $16 a month just doesn’t interest them very much. But at the end of the year, even $16 adds up to $200. I don’t think any senior would turn down a check for $200.”

These programs are for low income Medicare recipients and disabled adults who may not realize they qualify for Medicare Part B of D coverage for no cost.

“I will give a short presentation explaining the benefits, and then we’ll schedule 10 to 15 minute consultations with an attorney or law student,” Minnick said. “The information we gather from applicants during individual screenings shows us what they are qualified for.”

Interested seniors or disabled adults should bring the following information with them on Wednesday:

  • proof of residency
  • proof of identity (a driver’s license or state ID card, Medicaid or Medicare card or social security card)
  • proof of citizenship
  • proof of income
  • proof of assets (including cash on hand, checking and savings accounts, stocks or bonds, pension or retirement accounts, and other assets)

Legal Aid of North Carolina is partnering with the National Council on Aging to provide the free workshop 12:30 p.m. Wednesday at the East Rockingham Senior Center, located at 135 Safie 6th Street, Rockingham.

“We will have two more of these workshops later in the year,” Minnick said. “And people can feel free to contact us at any time.”

Legal Aid NC’s Rockingham office is located at 225 South Hancock Street, Suite E, across from the parking lot behind the old courthouse. The office is open Monday — Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For more information contact Legal Aid NC in Rockingham at 910-817-7670.

Reach reporter Melonie McLaurin at 910-817-2673 and follow her on Twitter @meloniemclaurin.