Michigan should be a place where seniors stay to enjoy their retirement, and a place to enjoy later years with dignity and financial security. As your senator, my goal is to make sure you can spend this time focusing on what matters most: Your family and friends.
Unfortunately, pension taxes and fee hikes from Lansing have made it more difficult for seniors to plan — and afford — their future. This is why I will continue to fight for the stability you deserve.
I’ve been working to prevent elder abuse and was thrilled to host our first senior summit with Attorney General Dana Nessel, along with representatives from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the Senior Alliance, AARP Michigan and Madonna University. This event allowed me to meet with many people from our community and hear the challenges they are facing. I look forward to hosting another senior summit in 2020.
I am committed to doing more to make sure that our seniors are taken care of. I hope you’ll contact my office if there is ever anything we can do for you. You can call my office at (517) 373-7350 or toll-free at (855) DIST007 (347-8007).
Proudly serving you,
Toll-free: (855) DIST007 or (855) 347-8007
Senior citizens are a vital part of our community. After a lifetime of hard work, many continue to give back to our communities, and serve as the backbone of our neighborhoods, while others need our help. Seniors live on fixed incomes and struggle to pay for nutritious food due to expensive prescription drug costs, rising utility rates, increased rent, and more.
This program helps senior citizens eat nutritious meals by providing five per week to homebound, older adults. They also offer liquid nutrition for those who are unable to eat solid food and who have a prescription from their physician.
To qualify for Meals on Wheels, an adult must be:
• 60 years or older;
• Homebound (e.g. unable to leave home without assistance and unable to drive);
• Unable to cook for him/ herself;
• Have no one willing to prepare meals on a regular basis; and,
• Able to feed him/herself.
Wayne County Meals on Wheels
30712 Michigan Ave,
Westland, MI 48186
Food isn’t the only problem in the dead of winter — heating bills can be too. Many low-income families and seniors struggle just to keep their house warm, but fortunately, The Heat and Warmth (THAW) Fund can help during the cold months.
THAW has multiple utility assistance programs available, including affordable payments plans for customers of DTE Low-Income Self-Sufficiency Plan (LSP), SEMCO Monthly Assistance Program (MAP), Consumers Energy Consumers Affordable Resource for Energy (CARE), and UPPCO Self-sufficiency & Education Program (EASE). They also offer have resources for utility payment assistance and/or state emergency relief.
See which you may qualify for at THAWFund.org/Programs.
In addition, here are some helpful phone numbers if you have questions about your heating bill:
Detroit Water & Sewerage Department
Michigan Gas Utilities
Coffee & Conversation
I always enjoy the opportunity to hear directly from residents like you on the issues you care about! My favorite way to do that is to host coffee hours throughout Wayne County. Check my website for upcoming dates and times and to sign up for my e-newsletter, or call my office to learn about a future coffee hour near you!
Every 10 years, the U.S. government is constitutionally required to count the people living in our country. It doesn’t matter if you’re a natural-born citizen, a Green Card holder or an immigrant — every person living in our country matters.
The 2020 Census questionnaire will contain a short set of questions asking about the people living in your household. It’s critical that you fill out these forms and return them.
You should make sure you respond to the 2020 Census questionnaire because the results of it:
• Determine how much money our state and our community receive from the federal government;
• Determine the number of Congressional seats Michigan receives;
• Provide local government officials with data to ensure public safety, and plan schools and build hospitals; and,
• Provide data so businesses can find communities where they can create jobs.
BY APRIL 1, 2020, every home in Michigan should receive a census questionnaire. Thanks to upgrades in technology, you will be able to return your answers via MAIL, PHONE or ONLINE.
The U.S. Census Bureau is recruiting thousands of people across the country to assist with the 2020 Census count. These temporary positions include Census takers, Census field supervisors, recruiting assistants, clerks and office operations supervisors.
Interested? Learn more and apply online at 2020Census.gov/Jobs or call (855) JOB-2020 (562-2020).
Between March 12 and 20, most households will receive a postcard invitation to respond online to the 2020 census. Those who don’t answer will then receive the traditional paper form in the mail. If you don’t respond, the bureau will send a census taker to knock on your door to collect your household’s data.
Real census employees won’t ask for your full Social Security number, for money or donations, or for bank or credit card numbers.
Check to make sure that the person has a valid identification badge with his or her photograph, a Department of Commerce watermark and an expiration date. If you still suspect fraud, call the Census Bureau at (800) 923-8282 to speak to a representative.
On Oct. 1, 2020, the federally mandated REAL ID law will go into full effect and- if you travel by air- this law will impact you. If you haven’t been paying attention to this issue, it’s time to get informed.
REAL ID is the post-9/11 federal requirement setting higher security standards for identification. Once in effect, standard state-issued driver’s licenses and ID cards will not be enough when boarding flights within the U.S. or entering certain federal facilities, such as military bases or nuclear power plants.
Some people already have a REAL ID document, such as a valid U.S. passport, a DHS Trusted Traveler Card or an enhanced driver’s license. A full list of acceptable REAL ID documents is available online at TSA.gov.
To get a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or state ID card, visit a Secretary of State Office and bring the following documents with you:
• Your driver’s license or state ID card;
• Your certified birth certificate, with a raised seal or stamp issued by a governmental agency; or,
• Your valid, unexpired U.S. passport OR an approved citizenship or legal presence document (faxes and photocopies won’t be accepted); and,
• If your name differs from what is on your birth certificate, bring certified documents for every time your name has changed, such as marriage licenses or court orders.
There’s no additional fee to turn a license or state ID card into a standard REAL ID if it’s done during your normal renewal time. Otherwise, a duplicate card fee will be charged.
Residents heading south for the winter are reminded to renew their driver’s licenses and license plates before leaving Michigan.
You can renew plates for individually owned or leased cars, pickup trucks, vans and motorcycles up to six months before they expire. Renew early online at ExpressSOS.com or at a Secretary of State office, even if you have not yet received your renewal information in the mail. License plate tabs will arrive by mail within two weeks.
Driver’s licenses (for drivers age 21 and older) and state ID cards may be renewed up to a year early. Motorists have the option of obtaining a REAL ID-compliant license or state ID card at no extra cost when renewing. Certain paperwork and a visit to a branch is required, so drivers are encouraged to check Michigan.gov/REALID or call the Department of State Information Center at (888) SOS-MICH (767-6424) for more details.
Visiting a branch office? Consider scheduling an appointment. Appointments are reserved online at Michigan.gov/SOSAppointments and help ensure that visits are 30 minutes or less.
REAL ID goes into effect Oct. 1, 2020
For more information, visit Michigan.gov/RealID
In 2013, the state legislature expanded the Michigan Medicaid program in accordance with federal laws. Known as the Healthy Michigan Program (or HMP), it currently provides monthly health care coverage to nearly 650,000 individuals statewide.
To be eligible for coverage under Healthy Michigan, folks must be:
• Between the ages of 19 and 62;
• Ineligible for, or receiving other Medicaid or Medicare benefits; • Not pregnant at the time of application; and,
• Have an income at or below 133% of the Federal Poverty Line.
Beginning January 2020, to keep Healthy Michigan Plan coverage, some HMP beneficiaries will be required to take a moment to report 80 hours a month of work or other activities, beginning in February 2020, to keep their coverage. Some will be excused if they are unable to work due to health or other reasons.
One or more of the following can count as work or activities:
• Having a job or income
• Being a student
• Looking for a job
• Volunteering (this activity
can only be used for three
months each calendar year) • Doing job training
• Participating in a tribal employment program
• Participating in rehab (substance abuse)
• Doing vocational training • Doing an internship
Sign-up or register for a MI Bridges account if you don’t already have one. This is where you can manage your case and explore resources if you need help with things like getting transportation, daycare or finding a job.
Go to Michigan.gov/MIBridges to register.
Questions? Get more details online at HealthyMichiganPlan.org or call (800) 642-3195 (TTY: 1-866-501-5656).
In December, the Governor requested the Legislature to delay work-related requirements for adults who receive health insurance through Michigan’s Medicaid expansion program, but the Majority declined that request.
I co-sponsored Senate Bill 677 that would repeal the work requirements stipulation of the Healthy Michigan Plan. The bill was referred to the Senate Committee on Health Policy and Human Services.
Adult Home Help/Chore Services: (800) 292-2550
Adult Protective Services, for reports of suspected abuse and neglect: (855) 444-3911
Area Agency on Aging 3A: (269) 373-5173
Attorney General – Consumer Protection Division, for cases of identity theft: (877) 765-8388
Attorney General – Office of Elder Abuse: (800) 242-2873
Bridge Card (EBT) – Customer Service: (888) 678-8914
Disability Ombudsman: (800) 288-5923
Domestic Violence Hotline: (800) 799-7233
Elder Law of Michigan, Inc: (866) 400-9164
Elder Care Services for the elderly, for help with transportation, meals, etc. (800) 677-1116
Elder Law of Michigan, Inc.: (866) 400-9164
Energy Assistance: (800) 292-5650
Food Assistance: (855) 275-6424
Fraud Reporting – Michigan Department of Health & Human Services, 24-hour hotline: (800) 222-8558
Home Heating Tax Credit Status: (517) 636-4486
Kalamazoo County Health and Community Services Department:
Kalamazoo County Long Term Care Ombudsman: (269) 373-5173
Medicaid Customer Help: (800) 642-3195
Medicare Medicaid Assistance Program (MMAP) at the Area Agency on Aging 1B: (800) 803-7174
Medicare, includes Part D for pharmacy: (888) 633-4227
Medicare Savings Program: (800) 772-1213
MI Enrolls – Medicaid Managed Care: (888) 367-6557
Michigan Department of Health & Human Services, Medicaid Beneficiary Support: (800) 642-3195
Michigan Stroke Network: (866) 522-8676
Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency: (800) 642-4838
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NMI): (810) 232-6498
Nursing Home Complaints: (800) 882-6006
Relay Center for Deaf and Hard of Hearing: 7-1-1
Senior Services of Southwest Michigan/Meals on Wheels: (269) 382-0515 Sexual Assault Crisis Intervention: (517) 372-6666
Social Security Administration: (800) 772-1213
State SSI Supplement: (800) 481-4774
Substance Abuse Hotline: (800) 662-4357
Suicide Prevention Crisis Hotline: (800) 273-8255
TAX statements for Adult Home Help: (800) 292-2550
THAW – The Heat and Warmth Fund: (800) 552-1183
Volunteers of America: (248) 945-0101
Vulnerable Adult Services: (800) 996-6228
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