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Elder Benefit Specialists

Locate your County and Tribal Benefit Specialists

Elder Benefit Specialist Program Services Summary Reports:

State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP)

EBS Program Guidlines for Social Security or SSI Disability Applications, Reconsiderations and Hearings (P-00627A, PDF 540 KB)

Guidelines for EBS Program Trainings (P-00543, PDF 137 KB)

Guidelines for EBS Vacancies (P-00627, PDF 157 KB)

Guidelines for Caseload Management (PDF 105 KB)

Policies (see Chapter 9 for EBS policies starting on page 211)

Sample EBS Position Description (PDF 24 KB)

What is an Elder Benefit Specialist?

An elder benefit specialist is a person trained to help older persons who are having a problem with their private or government benefits. They  receive ongoing training and are monitored by attorneys knowledgeable in elder law. The attorneys are also available to assist older persons in need of legal representation on benefit matters.

Program brochures are available in English, Hmong and Spanish. (PDF 86 KB)

Who should seek help from an Elder Benefit Specialist?

  • Older persons who just want to know more about any private or public benefit.
  • Older persons who need help in organizing the paperwork to apply for benefits.
  • Older persons who have been denied a benefit that they think they are entitled to receive.

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What can an Elder Benefit Specialist do?

  • Provide accurate and current information on your benefits.
  • Suggest alternative actions that you can take to secure benefits or appeal denials of benefits.
  • Advocate on your behalf with other parties.
  • Explain what legal action or other possible solution is required.
  • Refer you to an appropriate attorney when necessary.

Benefit specialists can help you with a variety of programs and issues, including:

  • Medicare; Medicare Part D
    • Medicare Health plan decisions need to be made between October 15th - December 7th. Contact an Elder Benefit Specialist for more information. Also visit:  www.medicare.gov (exit DHS)
  • Medicare Supplemental Insurance;
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI);
  • Social Security;
  • Medical Assistance;
  • Consumer problems;
  • Age discrimination in employment;
  • Homestead Tax Credit;
  • Housing problems;
  • Supportive Home Services;
  • Food Stamps;
  • Other legal and benefit problems.

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Who is eligible for Elder Benefit Specialist services?

Anyone 60 years of age or older who is having a problem in securing a public or private benefit is eligible for the Elder Benefit Specialist program.

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What does the Elder Benefit Specialist service cost?

The program is supported with funds from the State of Wisconsin and the federal Older Americans Act. Most Elder Benefit Specialist programs also receive federal funds through the State Health Insurance Assistance Program. There is no charge for the service, but persons assisted by the program are encouraged to make a donation towards the cost. All donated funds will be used to expand the program. Services will not be refused or limited in any way if a contribution is not made.

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Who provides Elder Benefit Specialist services?

Services are either provided directly by county or tribal aging units or they are contracted by these entities to another agency. The area agencies on aging contract for training and support of the benefit specialists by attorneys. The State Bureau on Aging and Disability Resources in the Wisconsin Department of Health Services coordinates the program statewide.

For more information, contact the county or tribal benefit specialist nearest you. Ask specifically for the benefit specialist when calling. To receive the best service, it is advisable to schedule an appointment in advance.

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Last Revised: April 18, 2014