Posts Tagged ‘help with bills’

Free Caregiver Resource eBook: 8/26/12 Only!

Very important for those who are caregivers or know they will be one day soon.

 On 8/26/12 from 12 AM to 11:59 PM, my “Taking Care of Mom and Dad” eBook will be free on!

You don’t need a Kindle to get it – a PC, Android, or any number of eReaders will do just fine. Amazon has a free download for you to use. Download the reader and then download the eBook!

This book is regularly $6.99. If you have a need or know any followers that need help with caregiving, please share/tweet/google+ or do whatever you need to. I am happy to give this away for one day.

In order to get the eBook, click on the icon to the right or right here: 


Help with Utility Bills in this Summer Heat

***I’m sorry I have been out of pocket for several days. An old back injury has had me under the weather.****

It was announced last week that LIHEAP (Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program) funds were released by the President. This is for any person who meets certain guidelines in order to pay their summer heating bill. The funds are not always released during the summer but this year, they have been. One of the categories is for seniors 60 years old and older or any disabled adult. There are other target markets who are eligible to apply as well. This website:
is incredible! Go there, click on yours or your loved one’s state and information specific to that state will appear including income guidelines, where to apply, how to apply, and what to bring. It may or may not tell you when – but simply call the number listed in that area and ask when the first day to apply will be. They will tell you. Generally, it is between July 9 and August 1.

This year, in Oklahoma, applications will begin on July 9 at the local OKDHS offices. It is on a first come, first served basis so you must go quickly and early on the first day because they only have so much money.

The money – $150 for one person and $200 for a two-person household, is paid directly to the electric company. If there is less bill than allotment, it will carry over to the next month until the funds are spent. This money is meant to encourage seniors and others to use air conditioning in order to stay healthy!

Go check it out now!!

New eBook for Caregivers

I am very excited to announce that my newest eBook has been released on Amazon in the Kindle Bookstore. The title is: Taking Care of Mom and Dad: A Baby Boomer’s Resource Guide. I cannot tell you how happy I am to finally have this completed. I worked for a very long time to put together all the information. I used all 20 years working with Seniors in putting together a comprehensive handbook for caregivers thrust into service, not knowing the first thing to do or first place to look for help. This is particularly helpful if you are caregiving from afar.

This is not a book that tells you how to deal with emotional issues, it is a book that is practical and comprehensive explaining different federal programs and how they work with a state. I show you the correct agency to contact through phone, address, or email who can give you state-specific information. While most of this CAN be found, you must be well-versed in Aging Service vernacular and acronyms which often change from state to state and program to program. It also clearly explains requirements in most elder-driven social programs as well as components that each state is required to offer.

If you have the correct reader, all sites (including the table of contents ) are clickable – they have been checked and re-checked to assure no dead links. You do not have to have a Kindle in order to read the eBook – I do not have one – you can download the Amazon reader for personal computers, blackberry, android, iPads, iPhone, MAC, and Windows phone 7.

Maybe you do not need this information, but if you know someone who does, please pass it along to them. The information presented in the eBook may be used by anyone in any of the states or territories within the U.S.

Seniors and the Farmer’s Market

Fresh Strawberries

Fresh Strawberries From the Farmer's Market

My mom lives in senior independent living apartments.  She and several of her friends regularly go
to the farmer’s market together on Wednesdays and Saturdays to purchase locally grown produce.  Each Wednesday and Saturday evening the ladies take a little of their produce and make a big salad, squash casserole, green beans and new potatoes or any number of things they pick up that morning and have a pot luck.  That way, they all get to taste a little of everything while keeping their primary purchases for themselves. It’s also a good way for them to get together and chat over a good (and healthy) meal.  Some in their group were having a difficult time keeping up with the cost of fresh produce until last year when Oklahoma got their first Senior Farmer’s Market Program (SFMP) grant.  It helps the senior and it also helps the local farmers sell more of their goods.

In a person’s later years it’s important to maintain a healthy diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables. As you may have noticed on your latest trip to the grocery store fresh produce can be costly. Often the elderly are on very tight, fixed budgets and they may have to opt for cheaper
processed foods most of the time. The senior farmer’s market program helps seniors augment their meals with fresh produce during the local growing season.

The Senior Farmer’s Market Program (SFMP) is a grant offered by Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).  In my state, it is a partnership between FNS, The Oklahoma Dept. of Human Services; Electronic Payment Systems Unit and Aging Services Division, Oklahoma Dept of Agriculture and select farmer’s markets who
choose to participate.  This program provides eligible seniors, 60-years-old and older the chance to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables from local growers.

Not all states offer a Senior Farmer’s Market Program. However, each state may apply for a grant to do so. For more information on the USDA program you can go here.  Oklahoma, the state I live in, is the only state offering SFMP on Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT).  All other states use a
voucher system.  I do not know how the voucher system works but I can explain how our system works:

The state Aging Services (ASD), a division of the Oklahoma Department of Human Services, distributes applications once a year to Area Agencies on Aging (Triple A’s) serving the counties in which there are participating farmer’s markets.  The Triple A’s market the program, collect the applications, and send them back to ASD. Staff at ASD organize the applications and send them to the Electronic Payment Systems (EPS) unit of the Finance Division of the Oklahoma Department of Human Services.  EPS gives final approval sending EBT cards to approved seniors.  Instructions for activating the cards works much like a bank or credit card.  The seniors then take their activated cards to a participating farmer’s market where a volunteer with a Point of Purchase machine helps the senior draw however many tokens they wish.

This year qualifying Oklahoma seniors received $50 for the summer growing season. Spending $5-$10 each week is recommended.  The seniors then receive their tokens to use at a local grower’s booth purchasing anything from onions and tomatoes to plums and blackberries.  The senior may only use the SFMP card at the farmer’s market. The State Director of Oklahoma EPS can track expenditures and if the card is used at a grocery or convenience store, the card can be shut down.  This is not a food stamp (SNAP) card, does not have the same income guidelines, and may not be used as a food stamp card.

It’s too late to apply this year, but next Spring call your local Triple A or Aging Services Division and ask if your state offers the Seniors Farmer’s Market Program and then help the senior you love to apply. The USDA maintains a SFMNP State Agency Contact List and you can go there to find out who to contact in your state about the program.

You may want to offer to help them fill out the application and later take them to the local farmer’s market to spend their benefits.
It’s a great program that offers an enriched diet to seniors over the summer!

The Weather is Hot and the Bills are High!

How do you help your parents stay cool when electricity has become so costly?

It Hot Out There!

They keep the temp in their home at 80, not because they are cold but because they cannot afford the bill. There may be help available. It is called ECAP. Energy Crisis Assistance Program. It may also be called LIHEAP, depending on what part of the country you live in. LIHEAP stands for Low Income Energy Assistance Program.

LIHEAP is a federally funded program that helps low income individuals stay happy and healthy in their own homes by paying part of the energy bill. The payment is generally around $200. One time during the summer and one time during the winter, not on a monthly basis. The first Monday in December is usually the time to apply for winter help and you must apply each time. LIHEAP is available in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Indian tribes, and U.S. Territories.

If you would like to help your parent apply this is what you will need:
Recent copies of the utility bills.

A recent payroll stub or other proof that shows current gross income.

Documentation showing income from Social Security, Unemployment Insurance, Pension Funds, disability, etc.

Final Utility Termination Notice (if you’ve received a shut-off notice from your energy company).

Proof of present address (e.g., rent receipt, lease or deed, property tax bill).

Proof of total members living in your household (e.g., birth certificates, school records, etc.).

Social Security cards (or numbers) for all persons living in your household.

Proof of U.S. citizenship or permanent residence.

The most important thing to remember is that ECAP/LIHEAP is not guaranteed. It is available only if the President releases the funds. They are given out on a first come/first served basis.

It is also important to remember that these funds will be paid directly to the company and not to the applicants.

Go to this link to see where to apply in your loved ones state:

If you cannot get the link to work, call 1-866-6746327 Monday thru Friday from 7:00AM – 5:00PM Mountain time.

I believe funds will be released this year (2011) on July 11 and you must check with your state’s application facility to see how you can apply.

You can read more about it here:

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