Social Services

Senior Monongalians has a Social Services Coordinator and
SHIP Counselor assist seniors and their families.  Our Social Service staff works with clients to understand & enroll in Medicare Part D, finding answers to Social Security questions, directing clients to utility assistance programs, senior
housing options, and much more.

Important & Useful Links:

Summer Phone Scam

posted Jun 19, 2017, 5:17 AM by Senior Monongalians

WASHINGTON – The Internal Revenue Service today warned people to beware of a new scam linked to the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS), where fraudsters call to demand an immediate tax payment through a prepaid debit card. This scam is being reported across the country, so taxpayers should be alert to the details.

In the latest twist, the scammer claims to be from the IRS and tells the victim about two certified letters purportedly sent to the taxpayer in the mail but returned as undeliverable. The scam artist then threatens arrest if a payment is not made through a prepaid debit card. The scammer also tells the victim that the card is linked to the EFTPS system when, in fact, it is entirely controlled by the scammer. The victim is also warned not to contact their tax preparer, an attorney or their local IRS office until after the tax payment is made.

“This is a new twist to an old scam,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. “Just because tax season is over, scams and schemes do not take the summer off. People should stay vigilant against IRS impersonation scams. People should remember that the first contact they receive from IRS will not be through a random, threatening phone call.”

EFTPS is an automated system for paying federal taxes electronically using the Internet or by phone using the EFTPS Voice Response System. EFTPS is offered free by the U.S. Department of Treasury and does not require the purchase of a prepaid debit card. Since EFTPS is an automated system, taxpayers won’t receive a call from the IRS. In addition, taxpayers have several options for paying a real tax bill and are not required to use a specific one.

Tell Tale Signs of a Scam:

The IRS (and its authorized private collection agencies) will never:

  • Call to demand immediate payment using a specific payment method such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. The IRS does not use these methods for tax payments. Generally, the IRS will first mail a bill to any taxpayer who owes taxes. All tax payments should only be made payable to the U.S. Treasury and checks should never be made payable to third parties.
  • Threaten to immediately bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have the taxpayer arrested for not paying.
  • Demand that taxes be paid without giving the taxpayer the opportunity to question or appeal the amount owed.
  • Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.

For anyone who doesn’t owe taxes and has no reason to think they do:

  • Do not give out any information. Hang up immediately.
  • Contact the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration to report the call. Use their IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting web page. Alternatively, call 800-366-4484.
  • Report it to the Federal Trade Commission. Use the FTC Complaint Assistant on FTC.gov. Please add "IRS Telephone Scam" in the notes.

For anyone who owes tax or thinks they do:

The IRS does not use email, text messages or social media to discuss personal tax issues, such as those involving bills or refunds. For more information, visit the “Tax Scams and Consumer Alerts” page on IRS.gov. Additional information about tax scams is available on IRS social media sites, including YouTube videos.

Alzheimer's University

posted Jun 6, 2017, 7:40 AM by Senior Monongalians   [ updated Jun 12, 2017, 9:28 AM ]

MORGANTOWN
July 11 • 8:30AM-2:45PM

Mon General Hospital 
Register online - Morgantown

The Alzheimer's Association will host a series of Alzheimer's & Dementia Universities throughout our Chapter territory. Alzheimer's & Dementia University for Families and Professionals is a one-day conference. Social Work & Nursing CEUs and Physician CMEs anticipated (for additional fee). The registration fee is $10 for family and professional caregivers. Each University will have lunch provided. Workshop topics are designed to meet the needs of both professional and family caregivers.

Workshop Topics Include:

  • Working with Your Doctor 
  • Planning for Care: Legal and Financial Considerations
  • Preserving Dignity 
  • Connections in Your Community

2017 Alzheimer's & Dementia University Schedule

TRI-STATE | Huntington
May 4 • 8:30AM-2:45PM
Cabell Huntington Hospital 
Harless Auditorium
Register online - Tri-State

EASTERN PANHANDLE | Shepherdstown
May 10 • 8:30AM-2:45PM
Shepherd University
Register online - Eastern Panhandle

SOUTHERN | Beckley
May 16 • 8:30AM-2:45PM
WVU Tech - Beckley Campus 
Carter Hall Auditorium
Register online - Southern

NORTH CENTRAL | Bridgeport
May 23 • 8:30AM-2:45PM
Steptoe & Johnson PLLC
Register online - North Central

SOUTHEASTERN OHIO | Athens, OH
June 7 • 8:30AM-2:45PM
Athens Community Center 
Room B
Register online - Southeastern Ohio

CHARLESTON
June 20 • 8:30AM-2:45PM
University of Charleston 
School of Pharmacy
Register online - Charleston

NORTHERN PANHANDLE | Wheeling
June 27 • 8:30AM-2:45PM
West Liberty University
Highlands Center 
Register online - Northern Panhandle

MORGANTOWN
July 11 • 8:30AM-2:45PM
Mon General Hospital 
Register online - Morgantown

Medicare Update from the CMS

posted Jun 2, 2017, 8:58 AM by Senior Monongalians

CMS NEWS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 30, 2017

Contact: CMS Media Relations

(202) 690-6145 | CMS Media Inquiries<http://links.govdelivery.com:80/track?type=click&enid=ZWFzPTEmbXNpZD0mYXVpZD0mbWFpbGluZ2lkPTIwMTcwNTMwLjczOTQ0NDMxJm1lc3NhZ2VpZD1NREItUFJELUJVTC0yMDE3MDUzMC43Mzk0NDQzMSZkYXRhYmFzZWlkPTEwMDEmc2VyaWFsPTE3OTgwNDEwJmVtYWlsaWQ9cmViZWNjYS5hLmdvdXR5QHd2LmdvdiZ1c2VyaWQ9cmViZWNjYS5hLmdvdXR5QHd2LmdvdiZ0YXJnZXRpZD0mZmw9JmV4dHJhPU11bHRpdmFyaWF0ZUlkPSYmJg==&&&100&&&http://go.cms.gov/media>





New Medicare cards offer greater protection to more than 57.7 million Americans
New cards will no longer contain Social Security numbers, to combat fraud and illegal use

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is readying a fraud prevention initiative that removes Social Security numbers from Medicare cards to help combat identity theft, and safeguard taxpayer dollars. The new cards will use a unique, randomly-assigned number called a Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI), to replace the Social Security-based Health Insurance Claim Number (HICN) currently used on the Medicare card. CMS will begin mailing new cards in April 2018 and will meet the congressional deadline for replacing all Medicare cards by April 2019. Today, CMS kicks-off a multi-faceted outreach campaign to help providers get ready for the new MBI.

"We're taking this step to protect our seniors from fraudulent use of Social Security numbers which can lead to identity theft and illegal use of Medicare benefits," said CMS Administrator Seema Verma. "We want to be sure that Medicare beneficiaries and healthcare providers know about these changes well in advance and have the information they need to make a seamless transition."

Providers and beneficiaries will both be able to use secure look up tools that will support quick access to MBIs when they need them. There will also be a 21-month transition period where providers will be able to use either the MBI or the HICN further easing the transition

CMS testified on Tuesday, May 23rd before the U.S. House Committee on Ways & Means Subcommittee on Social Security and U.S. House Committee on Oversight & Government Reform Subcommittee on Information Technology, addressing CMS's comprehensive plan for the removal of Social Security numbers and transition to MBIs.

Personal identity theft affects a large and growing number of seniors. People age 65 or older are increasingly the victims of this type of crime. Incidents among seniors increased to 2.6 million from 2.1 million between 2012 and 2014, according to the most current statistics from the Department of Justice. Identity theft can take not only an emotional toll on those who experience it, but also a financial one: two-thirds of all identity theft victims reported a direct financial loss. It can also disrupt lives, damage credit ratings and result in inaccuracies in medical records and costly false claims.

Work on this important initiative began many years ago, and was accelerated following passage of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA). CMS will assign all Medicare beneficiaries a new, unique MBI number which will contain a combination of numbers and uppercase letters. Beneficiaries will be instructed to safely and securely destroy their current Medicare cards and keep the new MBI confidential. Issuance of the new MBI will not change the benefits a Medicare beneficiary receives.

CMS is committed to a successful transition to the MBI for people with Medicare and for the health care provider community. CMS has a website<http://links.govdelivery.com:80/track?type=click&enid=ZWFzPTEmbXNpZD0mYXVpZD0mbWFpbGluZ2lkPTIwMTcwNTMwLjczOTQ0NDMxJm1lc3NhZ2VpZD1NREItUFJELUJVTC0yMDE3MDUzMC43Mzk0NDQzMSZkYXRhYmFzZWlkPTEwMDEmc2VyaWFsPTE3OTgwNDEwJmVtYWlsaWQ9cmViZWNjYS5hLmdvdXR5QHd2LmdvdiZ1c2VyaWQ9cmViZWNjYS5hLmdvdXR5QHd2LmdvdiZ0YXJnZXRpZD0mZmw9JmV4dHJhPU11bHRpdmFyaWF0ZUlkPSYmJg==&&&101&&&https://www.cms.gov/medicare/ssnri/index.html> dedicated to the Social Security Removal Initiative (SSNRI) where providers can find the latest information and sign-up for newsletters. CMS is also planning regular calls as a way to share updates and answer provider questions before and after new cards are mailed beginning in April 2018.

For more information, please visit: https://www.cms.gov/medicare/ssnri/index.html<http://links.govdelivery.com:80/track?type=click&enid=ZWFzPTEmbXNpZD0mYXVpZD0mbWFpbGluZ2lkPTIwMTcwNTMwLjczOTQ0NDMxJm1lc3NhZ2VpZD1NREItUFJELUJVTC0yMDE3MDUzMC43Mzk0NDQzMSZkYXRhYmFzZWlkPTEwMDEmc2VyaWFsPTE3OTgwNDEwJmVtYWlsaWQ9cmViZWNjYS5hLmdvdXR5QHd2LmdvdiZ1c2VyaWQ9cmViZWNjYS5hLmdvdXR5QHd2LmdvdiZ0YXJnZXRpZD0mZmw9JmV4dHJhPU11bHRpdmFyaWF0ZUlkPSYmJg==&&&102&&&https://www.cms.gov/medicare/ssnri/index.html>

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Phone Scam Targeting Veterans

posted May 15, 2017, 9:51 AM by Senior Monongalians

https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/phony-telephone-number-scam-targets-veterans?utm_source=govdelivery>
by Carol Kando-Pineda  


Attorney, FTC's Consumer & Business Education
There's a new scam out there, preying on veterans who are making decisions about their medical care. The Veterans Choice Program (VCP) is an initiative of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The program allows certain eligible vets to use approved health care providers who are outside of the VA system. Veterans or families can call the VCP's toll-free number to verify their eligibility for the program. Here's the problem: Scammers have set up a phony telephone line that very closely resembles the VCP's real telephone number.
Read more ><https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/phony-telephone-number-scam-targets-veterans?utm_source=govdelivery>

Open LIEAP Enrollment

posted Feb 9, 2017, 7:45 AM by Senior Monongalians

The open intake for LIEAP applications will begin on February 6, 2017 and will end on February 17, 2017.  All applications must be received or post marked no later than February 17, 2017.  Anything received later than this must be denied.  This program will run until the funds have been exhausted.   The application process does not require a face to face interview.  For all applicants that have a PSC regulated utility for their main source of heat a utility bill is required.   Applicants that heat with bulk fuels must provide verification of their bulk fuel supplier.  Applicants may also apply online at www.wvinroads.org.  We will send an announcement out once funds are exhausted and we decide to close the program. 

Dangerous W-2 Phishing Scam Evolving; Targeting Schools, Restaurants, Hospitals, Tribal Groups and Others

posted Feb 9, 2017, 6:03 AM by Senior Monongalians

WASHINGTON – The Internal Revenue Service, state tax agencies and the tax industry issued an urgent alert today to all employers that the Form W-2 email phishing scam has evolved beyond the corporate world and is spreading to other sectors, including school districts, tribal organizations and nonprofits.

 

In a related development, the W-2 scammers are coupling their efforts to steal employee W-2 information with an older scheme on wire transfers that is victimizing some organizations twice. “This is one of the most dangerous email phishing scams we’ve seen in a long time. It can result in the large-scale theft of sensitive data that criminals can use to commit various crimes, including filing fraudulent tax returns. We need everyone’s help to turn the tide against this scheme,’’ said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen.

 

When employers report W-2 thefts immediately to the IRS, the agency can take steps to help protect employees from tax-related identity theft. The IRS, state tax agencies and the tax industry, working together as the Security Summit, have enacted numerous safeguards in 2016 and 2017 to identify fraudulent returns filed through scams like this. As the Summit partners make progress, cybercriminals need more data to mimic real tax returns.

 

Here’s how the scam works: Cybercriminals use various spoofing techniques to disguise an email to make it appear as if it is from an organization executive. The email is sent to an employee in the payroll or human resources departments, requesting a list of all employees and their Forms W-2.  This scam is sometimes referred to as business email compromise (BEC) or business email spoofing (BES).

 

The Security Summit partners urge all employers to be vigilant. The W-2 scam, which first appeared last year, is circulating earlier in the tax season and to a broader cross-section of organizations, including school districts, tribal casinos, chain restaurants, temporary staffing agencies, healthcare and shipping and freight. Those businesses that received the scam email last year also are reportedly receiving it again this year.

 

Security Summit partners warned of this scam’s reappearance last week but have seen an upswing in reports in recent days.

 

New Twist to W-2 Scam: Companies Also Being Asked to Wire Money

In the latest twist, the cybercriminal follows up with an “executive” email to the payroll or comptroller and asks that a wire transfer also be made to a certain account. Although not tax related, the wire transfer scam is being coupled with the W-2 scam email, and some companies have lost both employees’ W-2s and thousands of dollars due to wire transfers.

 

The IRS, states and tax industry urge all employers to share information with their payroll, finance and human resources employees about this W-2 and wire transfer scam. Employers should consider creating an internal policy, if one is lacking, on the distribution of employee W-2 information and conducting wire transfers.

 

Steps Employers Can Take If They See the W-2 Scam

Organizations receiving a W-2 scam email should forward it to phishing@irs.gov and place “W2 Scam” in the subject line. Organizations that receive the scams or fall victim to them should file a complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3,) operated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

 

Employees whose Forms W-2 have been stolen should review the recommended actions by the Federal Trade Commission atwww.identitytheft.gov or the IRS at www.irs.gov/identitytheft. Employees should file a Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit, if the employee’s own tax return gets rejected because of a duplicate Social Security number or if instructed to do so by the IRS.

 

The W-2 scam is just one of several new variations that have appeared in the past year that focus on the large-scale thefts of sensitive tax information from tax preparers, businesses and payroll companies. Individual taxpayers also can be targets of phishing scams, but cybercriminals seem to have evolved their tactics to focus on mass data thefts.

 

Be Safe Online

In addition to avoiding email scams during the tax season, taxpayers and tax preparers should be leery of using search engines to find technical help with taxes or tax software. Selecting the wrong “tech support” link could lead to a loss of data or an infected computer. Also, software “tech support” will not call users randomly. This is a scam.

 

Taxpayers searching for a paid tax professional for tax help can use the IRSChoosing a Tax Professional lookup tool or if taxpayers need free help they can review the Free Tax Return Preparation Programs. Taxpayers searching for tax software can use Free File, which offers 12 brand-name products for free, atwww.irs.gov/freefile. Taxpayer or tax preparers looking for tech support for their software products should go directly to the provider’s web page.

 

Tax professionals also should beware of ongoing scams related to IRS e-Services. Thieves are trying to use IRS efforts to make e-Services more secure to send emails asking e-Services users to update their accounts. Their objective is to steal e-Services users’ credentials to access these important services.

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National Family Caregiver Month

posted Nov 8, 2016, 9:10 AM by Senior Monongalians


10 Tips for Family Caregivers

posted Nov 8, 2016, 7:04 AM by Senior Monongalians

  1. Seek support from other caregivers.  You are not alone!
  2. Take care of your own health so that you can be strong enough to take care of your loved one.
  3. Accept offers of help and suggest specific things people can do to help you.
  4. Learn how to communicate effectively with doctors.
  5. Caregiving is hard work so take respite breaks often.
  6. Watch out for signs of depression and don't delay getting professional help when you need it.
  7. Be open to new technologies that can help you care for your loved one.
  8. Organize medical information so it's up to date and easy to find.
  9. Make sure legal documents are in order.
  10. Give yourself credit for doing the best you can in one of the toughest jobs there is!

Medicare Part D Open Enrollment

posted Nov 4, 2016, 7:24 AM by Senior Monongalians

The open enrollment period for Medicare Part D is currently ongoing.  Senior Monongalians has
SHIP (Senior Health Insurance Program) counselor that can help you narrow down your health coverage options.  If you already have coverage, it is advised to check see if your current coverage is still the best option.  Appointments are required.  Call Luanna for an appointment at 
304-296-9812.  This is a free service for older adults and their families. 

SNAP FAQ: Using SNAP at Your Local Farmers Market

posted Sep 14, 2016, 7:45 AM by Senior Monongalians

Did you know SNAP dollars could be used to buy food at your local farmers market? Learn how it works in our latest video, and if you aren’t yet enrolled in SNAP, check out our video from last month, which covers 
SNAP basics and how to apply.

For people who get SNAP benefits, local farmer’s markets are a great place to get healthy foods and support the local economy. Plus, the market near you may even give you a little extra to spend. They are also a great place to meet new people.

What can you buy at a farmers market with SNAP?

Farmers markets, like FRESHFARM Markets in Arlington, VA, feature tons of vendors selling everything from meats, poultry, fruits, and vegetables to bread, handmade pasta, cheese, and more. Nearly everything at farmers markets is available for purchase with your SNAP dollars, except a few things, like fresh flowers or soap. For a complete list of what you can and cannot buy with your EBT card, check out this list of eligible SNAP items. All in all, farmers markets are a great grocery store substitute for SNAP recipients because they offer nothing but fresh, local foods and are a one-stop shop for everything you could need to fill your fridge.

How to use your EBT card at farmers markets

When you arrive at your local farmers market, look for a market information table, and tell the person at the table that you would like to use your SNAP dollars to purchase food. The person will need to swipe your EBT card—so make sure you have it handy—and then they will give you tokens to use—one token for every SNAP dollar you want to spend. The tokens never expire—so don’t worry if you end up taking out too many—but they cannot be exchanged.

How to double your SNAP dollars at farmers markets

Some farmers markets, like FRESHFARM Markets, even have what’s called a Match Incentive Program, which means the farmers market will match every dollar you spend, up to a maximum amount of $10. For example, you could potentially take home $20 worth of food, but only spend $10 of your own SNAP dollars. Not every farmers market participates in the matching program, so contact a farmers market near you first to see if they offer the program. For a complete list of farmers markets, visit the National Farmers Market Directory.

Get the most out of your SNAP dollars

One way to make the most of your grocery budget is to plan your meals before you shop. Start by making a list of everything you need. That will make sure you don’t forget to buy something and will help you get more for your SNAP dollars. You have quite a bit of freedom on how to spend your SNAP benefits at the farmer’s market and at the grocery store. Bread, cereal, fruits, veggies, meat, fish, poultry, and dairy products all can be purchased with SNAP. You can’t use SNAP for things like hot meals or alcoholic beverages, but food items like ice cream can be purchased with SNAP.

For more information and to watch a video, visit click here

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