Resources, services & support for seniors and their families.

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Phone: (815) 723-9713 or (800) 892-1412 | Email: seniorservices@agingspecialists.org

Frequently Asked Questions

Our mission is to enhance the quality of life for older persons.

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FAQs

We’re Here to Help

The staff of Senior Services Center of Will County is asked a variety of questions regarding the services they provide. Some of those questions include information on home support services, housing options, transportation, financial assistance programs, pharmaceutical assistance and property tax relief. Below are some of the more frequently asked questions:

Where can I find help filling out tax forms?

Free income tax information and return preparation for low and middle income individuals, age 60 and older, is provided by Volunteer Income Tax Assistance. This service is available from February 1 through April 15 of each year. Contact Senior Services Center of Will County at (815) 723-9713 or (800) 892-1412 for a referral to a counseling site in your area. If you have a specific tax related question, the AARP Tax Aide website will allow you to submit a question online or help you locate an IRS-trained volunteer.

My utility bills are so high. What help is available?

Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) – provides a one-time yearly benefit to low-income households for winter heating bills. An overdue bill or disconnect notice is not required, nor do you have to own your own home or pay energy bills directly to be eligible for assistance. Call Will County Center for Community Concerns at (815) 722-0722 to schedule an appointment to apply for LIHEAP assistance.

How can I keep my property tax costs down?

There are several options available to seniors age 65 and older:

 

Circuit Breaker: If you pay property taxes or mobile home taxes on your home; or if you rent; or if you live in a nursing, retirement, or shelter care home that was subject to property taxes; you may be eligible for a yearly property tax grant called Circuit Breaker. This is available to seniors with a household income under $22,218 ($29,480 for a household of two). This program also allows a discount on your automobile license plate. You can find out more information at the Circuit Breaker/Illinois Cares Rx website or you can call Senior Services Center of Will County at (815) 723-9713 or (800) 892-1412.

 

Senior Homestead Exemption: When you (or your spouse) turn 65, the Senior Homestead Exemption will allow annual savings on property taxes regardless of income. Contact the Will County Supervisor of Assessments at (815) 740-4648 to apply.

 

Property Tax Deferral: Property owners, who have a total household income of $50,000, or less; fire and casualty insurance; and no delinquent real estate taxes,may elect to defer all or part of their property tax payments. Taxes would be repaid once the home is sold or when the taxpayer dies, with interest at 6% annum. Contact the Office of the Will County Treasurer at (815) 740-4675.

 

Senior Citizen Assessment Freeze Homestead Exemption: this exemption freezes the equalized assessed value of an individual’s property at the base amount and prevents any increase due to inflation. The base year is the year prior to the year you first qualify and apply for the exemption. The assessment freeze exemption does not freeze the amount of you property tax bill, which will still increase if the tax rate increases. Your assessment and tax bill may also increase if you add improvements to your home. To be eligible, you must be 65 years of age or older and have a total household income of no more than $55,000 in the previous calendar year. You must apply by October 1 with the Will County Supervisor of Assessments at (815) 740-4648.

 

Mobile Home Exemption: Seniors who live in mobile homes, which do not have permanent foundations, are eligible for a 20 percent reduction in the mobile home privilege tax. Call the Will County Clerks office at (815) 727-8592.

Is there help with paying for my prescriptions?

Yes, there are several options for seniors who want to receive prescription discounts. Some are:

 

Illinois Cares Rx is part of the Circuit Breaker property tax relief program and offers two different plans, Basic and Plus. Both plans will pay monthly premiums for a coordinating Medicare drug plan, annual deductibles, and will help pay other drug costs. Both plans require you to apply each year to qualify. There are two options available to enroll:

  1. File your application on the internet at www.cbrx.il.gov.
  2. Fill out and mail the paper Form, IL-1363, to the Illinois Department on Aging. To obtain Form IL-1363, call the Senior HelpLine at (800) 252-8966 or (888) 206-1327 (TTY).

There are eligibility requirements for Illinois Cares Rx. For eligibility information, go to www.illinoiscaresrx.com or call Senior Services Center of Will County at (815) 723-9713.

 

Will County Prescription Drug Cards are available to all county residents through Caremark. The discount card is free, provides an average of 20% off retail prices, and is accepted at 57,000 pharmacies nationwide. Some pet medications may be covered. For information visit the Caremark website, or phone toll free to (877) 321-2652 for locations where these discount cards are available.

 

AIDS Drug Assistance Program provides assistance to persons who are HI V positive and not eligible for Medicaid. For more information, contact (800) 825- 3518 or visit www.idph.state.il.us.

 

Veterans may receive their prescription drugs from a VA facility for free or at a reduced rate. For the nearest location of your local Veterans Affairs office or VA facility, call (800) 827-1000 or visit www.va.gov.

I've heard about Home Delivered Meals. What are they and how can I get them?

Home Delivered meals are generally a hot meal delivered to the door of an eligible senior in order to enable them to remain living in the community. Each meal contains at least one-third of the daily requirements for nutrients and calories. Servings include a meat or protein entrée, potato or starch, salad, vegetable, fruit or dessert, milk and bread.

 

To request meals for yourself or someone else, contact the Senior Services Center of Will County at (815) 740-4225 or (800) 892-1412. The meals are provided by Senior Services Center of Will County and funded from Title III of the Older Americans Act through Northeastern Illinois Area Agency on Aging.

I read that you provide “Choices for Care” home visits. What exactly is that?

Choices for Care is a program that helps families discover their options for long term care. A trained, professional case manager will provide a free consultation that includes an assessment of your needs, a review of service options and costs, and assistance in developing your plan of care. An array of services are discussed including services such as homemaker, home health, home delivered meals, emergency response, adult day services and nursing facility care.

 

The case manager will ask you questions about your ability to perform certain tasks, such as cleaning, preparing meals, personal care and your ability to get around. They will then help to identify your needs and give you options you can choose that are appropriate and affordable. There is no charge for this service. To learn more about Choices for Care, or to arrange for a free assessment, call Senior Services Center of Will County at (815) 723-9713 or (800) 892-1412. For residents of other areas in Illinois, call the Illinois Department on Aging at (800) 252-8966.

Medicare Part D

(Partially taken from MedicareRightsCenter)

How will the new drug benefit work?

If you have Medicare, you can get prescription drug coverage beginning January 2006 one of two ways:

  1. A prescription drug plan (PDP), from a private company. You will continue to get coverage for your other medical services (such as doctor visits and hospital stays) through Original Medicare.
  2. A Medicare private plan, like an HMO or PPO, that offers medical and hospital benefits in addition to drug coverage. You can enroll between November 15 and May 15 and change plans once a year between November 15 and December 31.

What is Extra Help (Low-Income Subsidy)?

Extra-Help, or Low-Income Subsidy, is an application for people to get help in paying their Medicare drug costs. You may qualify for extra help with your Medicare drug costs, if your income is below $14,355 ($19,245 for couples) and your resources are less than $11,500 ($23,000 for couples).

 

If you have Circuit Breaker or SeniorCare, you should apply for help through the Social Security Administration (SSA) using the agency’s print or online application. Those who may be eligible for extra help should receive an application in the mail between May and August. If you have Medicaid or Medicare Savings Program (MSP), or you receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI), you automatically qualify for help-you do not have to apply.

 

If you have drug coverage through Medicaid: You will lose your Medicaid drug coverage on December 31 and get your drug coverage through Medicare as of January. You will still keep your other Medicaid benefits. You will automatically get extra help paying for your Medicare drug costs, but you should enroll in the Medicare drug plan that best meets your needs or you will be automatically enrolled in a randomly selected plan.

Will all my drugs be covered?

Each drug plan will have its own list of covered drugs (called a formulary). You will have to pay the full cost of drugs not on the formulary and about 25% of the cost of other drugs. You must also fill your prescription at a pharmacy in your plan’s network.

How much will I pay for drug coverage?

You will pay a monthly premium, annual deductible and coinsurance, all of which may vary by plan. After you spend a maximum amount out of pocket, $3,600 in a year, you will only have to pay 5% of the cost of each covered prescription you fill. If your income is low, you can get extra help paying for these costs.

How will the benefit work with the drug coverage I have now?

That will depend on your current coverage. Some drug insurance plans, like retiree plans and Illinois Pharmaceutical Assistance Programs, will supplement your Medicare drug coverage. Call the company that provides your current drug coverage to find out how it will work with the Medicare drug benefit.

Who do I contact for more information?

For general information about Medicare Part D and the Extra Help (Low–Income Subsidy) Application:

 

Senior Services Center of Will County
251 N. Center St.
Joliet, IL. 60435
(815) 723-9713
(800) 892-1412
TDD (815) 723-1718

 

Senior Health Insurance Program
Illinois Department of Insurance
320 W. Washington St.
Springfield, IL. 62767
(800) 548-9034
(217) 524-4872

 

Social Security Administration
(800) 772-1213
(800) 325-0778

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