By Kay Kaylor
I advocate for residents in extended care and assisted living residences as the region’s lead long-term care ombudsman. I also am a Senior Medicare Patrol and State Health Insurance Assistance Program counselor. Information on the many aging and care concerns will be included here.
Thank you to all those working on the frontline, especially caregivers in facilities who continue to care for residents under difficult circumstances. As of this writing, the region does not have a COVID-19 outbreak of two or more in its long-term care facilities.
The regional Social Security offices are closed to walk-in traffic, but employees still answer the phone, and, in Durango, the number is (888) 472-6115. People qualified for Medicare who have lost or stopped their employer insurance must apply for Part B using two forms, CMS-40B and CMS L564-Request for Employment Information. They are available on ssa.gov, or the Durango office will mail them. The forms can be faxed, along with proof of employment, Group Health Plan, or Large Group Health Plan, to (833) 914-2016, if beneficiaries are unable to mail the forms directly to the Durango office at Suite 120, 103 Sheppard Drive, Durango, CO 81303.
As noted on ssa.gov, people who already receive automatic Social Security payments and who filed taxes for 2018 or 2019 will receive their $1,200 economic impact payments from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) the same way as they receive their Social Security no later than the end of April and, for those with automatic Supplemental Security Income (SSI), by the end of May. The payments are not considered income for SSI recipients and are excluded as resources for 12 months.
The IRS also created a Web page for those who did not file a tax return for 2018 or 2019 and who have qualifying children under age 17 and want to claim $500 for each: irs.gov/coronavirus/economic-impact-payments.
The San Juan Basin Area Agency on Aging offers resources for people age 60 and older or on Medicare. For further information, please call or text 403-2165 or send an email to email@example.com.