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Action plan for assistance - USA

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  • 1. Action Plan For Assistance Anywhere USAThere are many ways to get assistance within your state and county. The followingsteps will explain how to find the assistance you qualify for from public agencies aswell as where to obtain assistance through organizations in your community.Step 1 – If you are out of work/lost your job – contact your Departmentof Labor office o find out your eligibility to file for unemployment.http://www.dol.gov/ - Federal: Look up you local office. • Your social security number. A claim cannot be filed without a social security number. • Employer-issued separation letter or notice, if one was provided. • Names and addresses of all employers for the last 18 months and the dates worked for each. • Proof of immigration status if not a U.S. citizen. • Personal check with account number and bank routing number if you want benefits deposited directly into to a checking or savings account. • Claims are effective on the date they are filed and are not retroactive to the last day worked.You may be eligible for insurance coverage from your previous employer via COBRA.Currently there is a reduction in Premium program available: (play pays approx 65% of thepremium for up to 15 months) – to learn more:http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/faqs/faq-cobra-premiumreductionEE.htmlStep 1 – Unemployment Notes:__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
  • 2. Step 2 – Apply for public assistance. File for Public Assistance – check to see which agency (ex: Department of Familyand Children Services, Human Resources, etc.) in your county handles filing forfood stamps, WIC, TANF, and other programs. Call ahead of time to see if you need an appointment to apply for assistance. When you apply take the following: Be sure to call ahead of time to see if you need an appointment at your office to apply for assistance. When you apply take the following: ***Very important: Take a Picture ID, Social Security card for all people in household, Green Card/immigration papers Copy of bills – mortgage, utilities, car payments, insurance, child care bills, etc. Proof of income for household (both spouses if married) – pay stubs for at least a month,child support payments, alimony payments, etc.**** Temporary Assistance for Needy Families – Based on very low or no income for thehousehold Food Stamps – You may qualify even if employed – based on total income for householdand expenses Childcare Assistance Medicaid – Insurance for uninsured children – based on income (if you do not qualify for Medicaid ask about any state insurance program) WIC – Food program for children under 4 years old For more info: www.fns.usda.gov/wic2. Health Department – Some counties require that you apply for WIC at their healthdepartment. You can also call and see what services they provide – example:immunizations, hearing screenings, etc. For more info on WIC: www.fns.usda.gov/wic3. Call United Way 211 - http://www.211.org/ (list of organizations in your area)If a women is in need of emergency housing – contact your local United Way to findorganizations that offer emergency housing assistance (see info above)4. Free School Lunch - if you have children in Public schools – obtain an application fromyour school or cafeteria manager to apply for the free lunch program. If you are on foodstamps – you should automatically qualify for the free lunch program. (Be sure to fill in yourcase number on the form to expedite)To learn more: http://www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/lunch/Step 2 – Public Assistance Notes:_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
  • 3. Step 3 –Finances/Bills/BudgetIt is very important to contact your creditors and utility companies BEFORE you getbehind on payments. They may work out partial payment arrangements with you ifyou are proactive and contact them before you become delinquent. 1. Call your mortgage company and ask if one payment can be added to the end of the mortgage, if you can pay interest only payments for a specified time, or if they will spread any past due amounts over the next few months. You can also ask about a Forbearance or Loan Modification. If they will not work with you to come up with a workable solution, contact NACA – www.naca.org and apply for the Home Save program. 2. Contact your bank concerning any loans you have – and ask if a payment can be added to the end of the loan – if a grace period can be extended – or if a lower payment can be made until you are able to make full payments. 3. Contact Utility Companies BEFORE they become overdue and see if a payment plan can be arranged. Also inquire about agencies that might assist you in paying your bill. 4. Pay your bills with cash on hand – you can get assistance for food easier than for money. 5. Trim excess expenses – go to standard cable, basic phone services, free or low-cost internet services, and basic cell phone services or disconnect until you can afford it. 6. Look into a loan on your 401K if necessary. 7. Use the online budget calculator at http://www.crown.org/Tools/budgetguide.asp - good baseline for developing a budget.Note: The agencies below that will assist you with rent, utilities, etc. – however theymay only cover a bill for 1 month. Try to contact at the beginning of the month –funds are usually dispersed then.Step 3 – Bills Notes:_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
  • 4. Step 4 – HealthCare and Prescription Coverage If you have lost your job – check with the benefits department from your lastemployer to find out the cost to continue your health insurance under Cobra. Youcan usually extend your health insurance for 2 years – however if you can not affordthe premium - inquire when you apply for public assistance or contact your localhealth department to see if you and your family qualify for state or county healthcareprograms.Prescription Coverage TIPS FOR SAVING MONEY ON PRESCRIPTIONSAsk your physician’s office if there are any samples available.Ask your physician if you can substitute a generic drug for the brand name.Ask your pharmacist to recommend a less expensive substitute, then check with yourphysician to make sure the substitutions are appropriate for you.Shop around at different drug stores for the best price. Be sure the pharmacist knows all themedications you are taking including any over the counter medications.Find out how long you will have to take the prescribed medication so you do not end upwith more of the medication than you may need.Ask if your pharmacist is willing to match a lower price offered by anotherpharmacy/drugstore.Ask your pharmacist about senior discounts.You may be able to purchase less than the full prescription, if you are only able to buy aportion of the medication at a time. Discuss this with your pharmacist.If you/or your spouse have been in the military, you may be able to get your medications atlower cost. Contact the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System to update youraddress at 1-800-538-9552. Tricare is the Pharmacy program for the military and can bereached at 1-800-903-4680. You may also contact the Atlanta VA at 404-321-6111. MANUFACTURERS’ AND STORE DRUG DISCOUNTS Call for further information or check their websites to ask about specific drug coverage on these programs.Check your local pharmacies to see if they offer free antibiotics or low cost generic drugs• Walmart.com - 30 day supply of select generic drugs for $4• Target.com - 30 day supply of select generic drugs for $4• Kmart.com - 3 month supply of select generic drugs for $15• Pharmacy Discount Network - Get a free pharmacy savings card that you can use instantlyand start saving up to 75% on thousands of prescription drugs.• pparx.org - find the RX program for your state
  • 5. • Eli Lilly - With the "LillyAnswers" discount card, low-income seniors can get a 30-daysupply of Lilly retail drugs such as Prozac and Vista, an osteoporosis drug for just $12 amonth. To qualify for the card, seniors must have income of less than $18,000 a year assingles or $24,000 as couples. The card will be honored at CVS, Longs and Wal-Martpharmacies. Call 1-877-RX-LILLY to apply.• GlaxoSmithKline - GSK is starting the "Orange Card" program, which gives elderly peoplewho qualify 25 percent off their prescriptions. You must be 65 or older and have annualincomes of at or less than $26,000 for individuals or $35,000 for a couple. Check back to thissite for updates on how to register. To read an article about the GSK plan, click here.• Together Rx Card: - Call 1-800-865-7211 for more information. Receive 20% - 40%savings on select drugs. Several drug companies participate: Abbott Laboratories,AstraZeneca, Aventis Pharmaceuticals, Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, GlaxoSmithKline,Johnson & Johnson, Novartis. Annual Income Below: $28,000/Individual or$38,000/Couple.• Phizer – savings programshttp://www.pfizerhelpfulanswers.com/pages/Find/FindAll.aspx• Rxaminer - For a $10 fee, Rxaminer will permit users to enter all current prescriptions andreturns a list of available generic or other suggested brands for less money.• The Medicine Program - The prescription discount program is available to those withfamily incomes ranging from below the national poverty level to $60,000 who dont havehealth insurance. Call 573-996-7300 and ask for an application. Or, check the Phrma Website Phrma.org for a list of drug companies.More tips to consider: • Consider online purchases that could typically save 20% to 30%. • Many consumers find very low prices purchasing prescription drugs from Canada. • Are you over age 50? AARP offers discounts on mail-in orders. • Are you a member of a managed care health program? Consider a 90-day supply of your medicine vs. a one-month supply. Youll pay one co-payment vs. three. • Ask if your medication is cheaper in a higher milligram dose. Then, cut the tablet as needed for your proper dose. This method can save up to 75% of the cost. • Always ask if a generic brand of your prescribed medicine is cheaper. The following information is for specific needs:To get assistance with child support – check the Federal Office of Child Supportwebsite: http://www.acf.dhhs.gov/programs/cse/ - to find an office in your area.
  • 6. Step 5 – Last but not least - Be sure to make time for fun and relaxationWhen going through difficult times – it is important to find time to relax and to havefun - it can help you keep a positive attitude. Some great ideas – free or low-cost: 1. Go to your local library and check-out books and videos. There is no charge for checking out videos – pop some popcorn and have a movie night! 2. Look through your paper and find free events in your community – concerts – art exhibits – parades – much to do in Metro Atlanta! 3. Contact your Parks and Recreation Department and see if they have any free activities for families. 4. The National Parks Department offers events at parks throughout your nation. Go to their website for more information: http://www.nps.gov/parks.html (also check Parks in your state). 5. Pack a picnic and go to a favorite spot outdoors for dinner – enjoy a sunset… 6. Go to your Chamber of Commerce and get a guide to your county – make a trip to see historic sites. 7. Go camping – great way for a family to get away and enjoy the outdoors or even camp in your backyard – make Smore’s - look at the stars… 8. Contact Local Churches and find out what activities they have for members in your family. 9. Go to a local high school ball game –- bring a thermos filled with hot chocolate to a football game – and feel the enthusiasm! 10. A good way to reduce stress – EXERCISE - take a walk – or ride a bike – jog – swim at a city pool… 11. Volunteer – in helping others you will find great reward. 12. If you are not a member of a church – visit local churches. The messages can be very inspiring and can really make a difference in your week. Remember – God loves you – and is there for you during this difficult time. “If you are tired from carrying heavy burdens, come to Me and I will give you rest... rest for your soul.” Matthew 11:28-30 Website: www.thelifeboat.info email: thelifeboat.info@comcast.net