October 2024

Affected by Hurricane Idaila?

FEMA has information to help you prepare for, respond to, and recover from disasters specific to your location.

Currently, there is one active disaster declaration in Florida. If you live in Jefferson, Madison, or Taylor counties and had personal property damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Idalia, FEMA may provide financial assistance under the Other Needs Assistance provision of the Individuals and Households Program. Note: If you have insurance, you should file a claim with your insurance company immediately. FEMA assistance cannot help with losses already covered by insurance.

The assistance is intended to meet the basic needs of the household, not to restore all personal property items to a pre-disaster condition.

FEMA assistance to repair and replace personal property falls within the following categories:

  • Appliances: Includes standard household appliances, such as a refrigerator, washing machine
  • Clothing: Essential clothing needed due to loss, damage, or contamination.
  • Room furnishings: Standard furnishings found in a bedroom, kitchen, bathroom and living room.
  • Essential Tools: Tools and equipment required by an employer as a condition of employment and items required as a condition of an applicant’s or household member’s education.
  • Accessible Items: FEMA also provides assistance with damaged personal property items required for qualified applicants with disabilities.

Applicants must meet the following conditions to receive Personal Property Assistance:

  • If you received a referral to apply for an SBA Disaster Loan, you must have submitted the application and received a denial.
  • The item needs to be repaired or replaced due to disaster damage.
  • The occupants of the household have an unmet disaster-related need for the damaged item. (FEMA may not provide assistance if the applicant can meet that need with another similar item in their possession or available to the household.)
  • The item was owned and being used by occupants of the household.

FEMA does not provide assistance for furnishings and/or appliances provided by a landlord.

Items used by guests and relatives who were not members of the pre-disaster household are not eligible for assistance.

There are many ways to apply for FEMA assistance. You can go online to DisasterAssistance.gov, use the FEMA app for smartphones, visit a Disaster Recovery Center (DRC Locator (fema.gov) or call 800-621-3362. Help is available in most languages. Phone lines are open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. ET, seven days a week.

Resources: https://www.fema.gov/disaster/4734

Enhanced Home Care for the Elder (eHCE) Program

Helping seniors with their home

Was your home affected by the recent hurricane or storms this summer? The Enhanced Home Care for the Elderly (eHCE) program focuses on low-cost, high-impact interventions that create lasting benefits – especially for older adults who would otherwise be at risk of moving to an assisted living facility or nursing home.

Qualifying seniors are eligible for up to $6,000 to use for enhancements including:

  • Home Modifications (grab bars, widening doors, adding ramps, lowering cabinets, home repairs, etc.)
  • Enhanced Chore (such as heavy yard work, deep cleaning homes and carpets, waste removal)
  • Pest Control (initial spraying, monthly spraying, and/or tenting for severe infestations)
  • Weatherization (including items such as door flashing, caulking, and repairing windows, energy audit, duct repairs, installation of smart thermostats, etc.)
  • Appliances (including front loading washers and dryers, smart appliances, etc.)
  • Senior Friendly Hardware Devices (electronic medication minders, ring doorbells and other smart home security devices, etc.)

Adults must be 60 years old or older and at risk of nursing home placement based on a formal assessment. Assessment and services are provided through local Community Care for the Elderly Lead Agencies in partnership with Advantage Aging Solutions.

To access the eHCE program, please call the Elder Helpline at 1-866-467-4624. 

Individuals and Household Program

Helping the uninsured with disaster recovery

Individuals and Households Program (IHP) provides financial and direct services to eligible individuals and households affected by a disaster, who have uninsured or under-insured necessary expenses and serious needs.

IHP assistance is not a substitute for insurance and cannot compensate for all losses caused by a disaster. The assistance is intended to meet your basic needs and supplement disaster recovery efforts.

IHP Assistance may include:

  • Funds for temporary housing while you are unable to live in your home, such as rental assistance or reimbursement for hotel costs
  • A temporary housing unit, if approved for the disaster, when you are not able to use rental assistance due to a lack of available housing resources
  • Funds to support the repair or replacement of owner-occupied homes that serve as the household’s primary residence, including privately-owned access routes, such as driveways, roads, or bridges
  • Funds for hazard mitigation assistance to help eligible homeowners repair or rebuild stronger, more durable homes
  • Funds for other uninsured or under-insured disaster-caused expenses and serious needs

To apply for the Individuals & Household Program, please visit: https://www.fema.gov/assistance/individual/program#apply

Resources: https://www.fema.gov/disaster/4734

Medicare Moments

Medicare Open Enrollment Part II: Choosing A New Plan

Did you know that Medicare’s annual Open Enrollment Period (October 15 to December 7) is the one time of year that most beneficiaries make changes to their coverage? If you have reviewed your present plan, are aware of coming changes that will affect you, foresee increased out of pocket expenses, and have decided to look at other plans, you’ll want to know where to obtain the best healthcare coverage and at the lowest cost. 

Changes You Can Make during Open Enrollment:

  • From Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan or vice versa
  • From one Medicare Advantage plan (Part C) to another
  • From one Medicare prescription plan (Part D) to another
  • Join a Part D plan (late enrollment penalty might apply)
  • Drop your existing Part D coverage altogether

How to Find a Plan that is Best for You:

Go to Medicare.gov to learn about Original Medicare (Parts A & B) benefits and use the Medicare plan finder and compare similar plans side by side such as:

  • Medicare Advantage plans
  • Prescription drug plans
  • Medigap (Medicare Supplement Insurance)policies
  • Part D & Medigap

Seek the help of a trained SHINE Medicare Counselor, who will:

  • Research Medicare and find answers for you,
  • Assist you with plan comparisons so you can choose the best plan that fits your needs,
  • Explain programs that could save you money on premiums and prescriptions, and
  • Guide you through enrolling in a new plan.

To get more information about Medicare Open Enrollment, call the Elder Helpline 

1-866-467-4624 and ask to speak with a SHINE Counselor.

Next Edition of Medicare Moments: How Medicare Works with Military Benefits

SHINE is a program of the Florida Department of Elder Affairs and is offered locally by Advantage Aging Solutions.

SHINE provides free and unbiased health insurance counseling through a network of volunteers; empowering Florida seniors to make informed health choices.

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