New Initiative to Help Seniors, Adults with Disabilities Maintain Independence

New Initiative to Help Seniors, Adults with Disabilities Maintain Independence
The Tennessee Justice Center (TJC) has launched a new program, called Independence, that will help seniors and adults with disabilities retain their independence in the communities where they live. The program will assist seniors in accessing long-term care services, as well as programs to help them pay monthly bills. Over 200,000 Tennessee seniors and adults with disabilities do not have enough money to pay the rising costs of health care and medical bills.
Independence builds on TJC’s long-standing commitment to helping seniors and adults with disabilities live independently, and will support seniors and adults with disabilities in securing a more comfortable and affordable living environment.
Independence includes two areas of advocacy. First, it continues TJC’s work providing legal representation and advocacy to help individuals to obtain community-based services they need through Tennessee’s long-term care program, CHOICES.  Second, Independence staff will assist with enrolling seniors and adults with disabilities in five core public benefits, including paying for Medicare premiums and expenses, drug costs, food, home energy, and health care. Independence assists in completing applications and all other enrollment steps for seniors and adults with disabilities across Tennessee.
Independence fills a gap for the state’s low income seniors and people with disabilities. Tennessee has a rate of poverty among seniors that is higher than the national average, with poor health outcomes and high food insecurity. (http://cdnfiles.americashealthrankings.org/SiteFiles/StateProfiles/Tennessee-Senior-Health-Profile-2015.pdf; http://www.ncpssm.org/Document/ArticleID/99/Senior-Population-Poverty-Rate-by-State).
Many of these individuals are eligible for public programs that would help them meet their needs but need help applying for and accessing these programs. Independence will help them understand and enroll in these programs. The program will focus special outreach efforts on the high-impact communities of Davidson and Shelby Counties, but it is available to any eligible Tennessean.
Over twenty years, TJC has built strong relationships with seniors and people with disabilities and with the individuals and agencies that serve them. Critical partners in this program include the Nashville Mayor’s Office and Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare in Memphis. TJC looks forward to working with many other partners that intersect with this population throughout the state.
The new program is made possible with funding from the National Council on Aging and the West End Home Foundation. To learn more about the Independence, including how to enroll, visit www.tnjustice.org/independence or call 877-608-1009, ext. 203.

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