Information and Assistance
Bringing People and Services Together
Our Information and Assistance (I & A) Department plays an important role in connecting people to resources. Most importantly it can bring people and services together, which is the basic function of any information and referral system. It can provide people, regardless of their socioeconomic status, information about a broad range of community services that otherwise may be unknown to them. It can make their lives happier and more satisfying. I & A can also open doors and pave the way for bringing the services that are needed. The I & A specialist at Connections Area Agency on Aging can help seniors and family members answer questions as well as providing a list of agencies to provide the care your are looking for.
Our I&A Specialists may offer a referral to one of our well-trained and knowledgeable Options Counselors/Service Navigators who can not only help with current needs, assessments, and application assistance, but also will provide assistance with developing a plan for their future needs.
You can reach our Information and Assistance Specialists by calling toll free at 800.432.9209 .
Service Navigation and Options Counseling
Because of the mission of linking people to services, our Service Navigators/Options Counselors can be a valuable aid in the planning and provision of services. To ensure that a person's needs are being met, the Service Navigator/Options Counselor can help the client to create a plan for action, which is in part done by the two-way information flow system. We utilize a person-centered approach, listening to your needs and wishes, then offering options of different services, benefits, providers of services, and methods for payment. We encourage the client to include his/her support system of family and caregivers in the planning process.
Benefits Enrollment Counseling
Connections is now a Center for Benefits Access, and has also participated in Mippa grant funding for many years.
Our Options Counselors/Service Navigators screen and assist clients to find the financial benefits they need. They focus on connecting Medicare beneficiaries with access to core benefits and much more.
Core benefits for people with Medicare include:
Medicare Part D Extra Help/Low-Income Subsidy to help with prescription drug costs
Medicare Savings programs to help with Medicare Part B premiums and/or Medicare copays & deductibles
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly called food stamps)
Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
Identifying Missing Links in the Service Delivery System
At times the I & A Specialist may discover that there is no service in the community currently meeting a particular need. When we identify and track these gaps and the number of people falling into them, we stand a better chance of correcting the missing service link. The success of I & A depends upon a two-way flow of information - from the community to the individual about what is available, but also provide information to the community about what is not available to help people.
Tool for Research
The Information and Assistance Department can also serve as an important tool in conducting research about certain groups of people. Its unique position in the service delivery system and its primary mission of linking people and services together make possible the collection of useful data by those who are interested in conducting research.