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What is the State doing to support older residents?
To protect the health and safety of the older residents, the State has taken several steps including:
- Temporarily allowing supervising nurses to conduct required plan-of-care evaluations by phone or video-chat instead of in person. This limits the number of health care providers required to visit patient homes on a routine basis and guards against the spread of COVID-19 from healthcare workers to elderly and medically fragile individuals by making in-person supervisory visits, which typically occur at least every 60 days, unnecessary. The rule waiver, which takes effect immediately, will remain in place throughout the COVID-19 state of emergency.
- Mobilizing nurse care managers at Medicaid health plans to call high risk populations to identify and address their critical needs including supplies such as durable medical equipment and food;
- Allowing older residents receiving prescription drugs through Medicaid or the state prescription drug assistance program (PAAD and Senior Gold) to refill their prescriptions early, receive 90-day supplies of maintenance medications, and waiving signature requirements to reduce in-person contact;
- Partnering with counties to end congregate dining in senior centers while helping to ensure that participants continue to have access to food;
- Working with counties to support telephone outreach to seniors known to be socially isolated;
- Encouraging health care providers to use telehealth for routine visits, as appropriate;
- Working closely with community and institutional providers to ensure resident needs are met; and
- Conducting telephonic outreach for our most vulnerable residents seeking enrollment in social service benefits.
With senior centers and nutrition sites closed to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the State is working with county-based Area Agencies on Aging (AAA) to safely deliver meals to older New Jerseyans most at risk of going hungry. Seniors unable to prepare their meals and have no family member, friend, neighbor, or caregiver to help, should contact their county AAA for assistance.
The State has also modified the Senior Farmers' Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP), which provides vouchers to farmers' markets, to ensure food assistance remains safe and accessible throughout the pandemic.
All certifications and re-certifications will be done remotely via telephone. Participants can complete a self-declaration of income and won't need to show proof of income eligibility for the program. Seniors can designate several proxies to pick up their produce on their behalf to limit risk of exposure. To learn more or to apply, visit the NJ Department of Health's Senior Farmers' Market Nutrition Program site.
Property Tax Relief
The deadline for senior homeowners to apply for the Senior Freeze property tax relief program has been extended from December 31, 2020 to February 1, 2021.
The program reimburses eligible senior citizens and disabled persons for property tax or mobile home park site fee increases on their principal residence. For more information on the Senior Freeze program, including eligibility requirements and how to apply, visit the NJ Treasury Department's Senior Freeze program page.
In addition, through NJ Save, low-income seniors and individuals with disabilities save money on Medicare premiums, prescription costs, and other living expenses. Seniors can see if they qualify and apply online here: https://njdoas-ua.force.com/njsave/quickstart
For Medicare counseling and general aging services questions call 1-800-792-8820
For NJ Save (PAAD, Sr. Gold, Medicare Saving Programs, Lifeline, and more) call 1-800-792-9745
For access to aging services in your county call 1-877-222-3737
Additional resources for older residents can be found here.
Source: https://www.state.nj.us/humanservices/news/press/2020/approved/20200318b.html; https://nj.gov/humanservices/library/slides/Congregate%20Nutrition%20Services%20and%20COVID-19%20Notice.pdf; https://www.nj.gov/humanservices/news/pressreleases/2020/approved/20200501.htm; https://nj.gov/humanservices/library/slides/DHS%20Prescription%20Drug%20Waiver.pdf; Commissioner Persichilli 7/20/20