National Center for Benefits Outreach and Enrollment
The Purpose of the Program and How it Works
Many older Americans are eligible for, but do not receive federal and state benefits ranging from income supplements and energy assistance to health care assistance. It is estimated, for example, that 2 to 3 million low-income beneficiaries are eligible for, but are not receiving, low-income subsidies under the Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit. The National Center for Benefits Outreach and Enrollment (Center) was funded by AoA beginning in 2008 to begin to address this issue.
The Center, operated by the National Council on Aging (NCOA), is designed to accomplish a number of objectives
- Increase the use of Web-based decision support, screening and enrollment tools among the aging and disability services networks, consumers, families and caregivers
- Foster the use of cost-effective benefits outreach and enrollment strategies by aging and disability services providers to find and enroll people with limited means in public benefits
- Maintain and enhance the usability of current benefits screening and enrollment systems including the Web-based service offered by NCOA, BenefitsCheckUp
- Provide training and technical assistance to the aging and disability services networks regarding cost-effective, promising practices and other topics related to benefits outreach and enrollment
- Develop an online information clearinghouse on promising practices related to benefits outreach and enrollment
In addition to supporting the broader aging and disability networks, the Center will create a network of benefits enrollment centers throughout the country. These centers will be established at existing aging and disability network provider organizations (including Aging and Disability Resource Centers, Area Agencies on Aging, State Health Insurance Assistance Programs, Centers for Independent Living, and other community-based organizations). They will conduct outreach and provide one-on-one enrollment assistance to seniors and younger adults with disabilities. It is hoped that these benefits enrollment centers will develop best practice models for benefits outreach and enrollment that can be replicated across the country.
Resources and Useful Links
The NCBOE has created a website to support BECs and the broader the aging and disability networks in their benefits outreach and enrollment efforts. That website can be found at http://www.centerforbenefits.org.
BenefitsCheckUp is a comprehensive Web-based service designed to assist seniors and adults with disabilities in determining their eligibility for state and federal benefits and assist them in the enrollment process.