“Ask NAPCA” debuts in PDM to address AAPI elders’ benefits eligibility issues


NAPCA facilitators explain to older adults the benefits they can avail of | Photo via NAPCA Website

NEW YORK – “Ask NAPCA,” a featured informational article provided by the National Asian Pacific Center on Aging (NAPCA) to address AAPI elders’ benefits eligibility issues, will now be available in the Philippine Daily Mirror.

NAPCA is a non-profit organization with over 40 years of working on behalf of older adults. The organization wants to ensure that AAPI elders have the programs and services they need wherever they live in the U.S. Their Website is www.NAPCA.org.

Over the years, through its programs and special projects, NAPCA’s achievements include:

  • Implemented the Stanford Chronic Disease Self-Management Program in AAPI older adult communities
  • Disseminated information about Medicare fraud and assisted AAPI elders in resolving billing errors
  • Assisted AAPI elders with reviewing prescription drug plans and enrolling them in new plans during the Medicare Part D Open Enrollment period
  • Addressed AAPI elders’ benefits eligibility issues in Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese language newspapers across the United States through its “Ask Me” columns
  • Tested culturally appropriate messages to improve early identification of dementia by engaging adult children and their families
  • Developed community action plans for the unique social and health service needs of AAPI elders
  • Promoted heart health through nutrition education in a culturally competent and linguistically appropriate manner among AAPI older adults
  • Promoted Medicare savings programs for low-income AAPI elders, focusing on immigrant applicants

This month, “Ask NAPCA” features new social benefits in 2024.

<Q1> How much income must I earn to get 1 Social Security work credit in 2024? Do I have to work all year to earn credits?

Credits are based on your income for the year. Each year, the earnings needed to earn one credit increase slightly as average wages increase. In 2024, you earn 1 Social Security and Medicare credit for every $1,730 in covered earnings. You must earn $6,920 to get the maximum of 4 credits for the year. You might work all year to earn 4 credits or earn enough for all 4 in much less time. You must earn certain credits to qualify for Social Security benefits. No one needs more than 40 credits for any Social Security benefits.

<Q2> I have retired and am receiving Social Security Retirement. Can I still apply for Medicaid and SSI? I heard there is an income and asset limit. I own a house and a car. I also have life insurance.

You can get SSI or Medicaid if you are qualified based on income and assets threshold by each state. One house and car are exempt, but some life insurance is counted as an asset. The monthly maximum federal amounts for SSI in 2024 are $943 for an individual or $1,415 for a couple. Some states may provide SSP (State Supplementary Payment) alongside the federal standard. For example, if you live in California and have no income, the monthly maximum payment would be $1,182 for an individual or $2,022 for a couple. If your income has been increased, it would reduce your SSI amount. Note that the SSA has a special rule to calculate income. The most accurate way to determine whether you are eligible is to submit the application and receive the eligibility result through the Social Security Administration. Please get in touch with us if you have any questions.

<Q3> How much can I earn and still get benefits in 2024?

You can get Social Security retirement or survivor benefits and work at the same time. However, there is a limit to how much you can earn and still receive full benefits.

  • If you are under full retirement age for the entire year, SSA deducts $1 from your benefit payments for every $2 you earn above the annual limit ($22,320 for 2024).
  • In the year you reach full retirement age:
    • Up to the month before you reach your full retirement age, SSA deducts $1 in benefits for every $3 you earn above a different limit ($59,520 for 2024).
    • Beginning with the month you reach full retirement age, your earnings no longer reduce your benefits, no matter how much you earn.
    • SSA will recalculate your benefit amount to give you credit for the months SSA reduced or withheld benefits due to your excess earnings.

<Q4> I read in the news that COVID-19 cases arerisinge recently. Is the latest vaccine still effective in protecting us?

COVID-19 activity is currently high. JN.1 is now the most widely circulating variant in the U.S. and globally and may be intensifying the spread of COVID-19 this winter. COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations, and deaths have increased in recent weeks. Hospitalizations reached 32,861 in the week ending January 13, 2024. In that same period, deaths went up by 10.3%, with COVID-19 deaths accounting for 4.3% of total deaths in the U.S.

Current COVID-19 vaccines are expected to increase protection against JN.1.
As of January 13, 2024, only 21.5% of adults reported receiving the updated COVID-19 vaccine. Only 40.9% of adults aged 65 years and older reported having received this vaccine, which is concerning given that they are at higher risk of hospitalization or death from COVID-19.

Please ensure you have the most recent vaccine, which has been available since late September 2023. If your last vaccine was in mid-September or earlier, get vaccinated. It’s not too late.

If you have additional questions about Medicare, Medicaid, Affordable Care Act Health Insurance Marketplace, Social Security Retirement Benefit, Supplemental Security Income, or COVID/Flu vaccination, there are three ways you can reach us today:

  • Call: (English) 1-800-336-2722, (Chinese Mandarin) 1-800-683-742, (Chinese Cantonese) 1-800-582-4218,
  • (Korean) 1-800-582-4259, (Vietnamese) 1-800-582-4336
  • Email: askNAPCA@napca.org

–With Jay Domingo/PDM

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