Social Security announcements and Nursing Home Compare change

By Kay Kaylor
PREVIEW Columnist
For San Juan Basin Area Agency on Aging (SJBAAA), I am not only a part-time long-term care ombudsman, which is an advocate for residents at Pine Ridge, a 24-hour extended care home, and BeeHive, an assisted living residence. I also am an aging and disability resource specialist and trained Senior Medicare Patrol and State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) counselor. Information on the many aging and care concerns will be included here.
The Social Security Administration just announced the 2020 Cost of Living Adjustment as an increase of 1.6 percent of benefits for 69 million Americans. The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) federal standard will be $783 for an individual, and the disability maximum for several categories will increase moderately. The 2020 Social Security benefits for those with Medicare won’t be computed and sent to beneficiaries until December, after the Medicare premiums are announced.
The earnings limit for people receiving Social Security and under full retirement age (66) will be $18,240 and for the year of retirement, $48,600.
Nursing Home Compare change
Effective Oct. 23, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will include a button icon for Nursing Home Compare, found at Medicare.gov, that is meant to make it easier for consumers to identify nursing homes that have been cited by the health department (state survey agencies) for abuse and neglect. It is part of a five-step plan to ensure safety and quality in nursing homes.
Briefly, the steps noted in an April 15 CMS blog are to “strengthen oversight,” “enhance enforcement,” “increase transparency,” “improve quality” and “put patients [residents] over paperwork.”
SJBAAA offers resources for people age 60 and older or on Medicare. For further information, please call me at 264-0501, ext. 1 or send an email to adrc@sjbaaa.org.

This story was posted on October 21, 2019.