Q: Does Medicare help pay for items such as artificial limbs, back braces and corrective shoes?
A: Yes. Medicare Part B is the vehicle used to file this type of claim.
Medicare Part B helps pay for prosthetic devices needed to replace organs such as corrective lenses after cataract operations, ostomy bags and related supplies and breast prostheses, including a surgical brassiere after a mastectomy.
Medicare will also help pay for artificial limbs and eyes as well as arm, leg, back and neck braces. Orthopedic shoes are generally not covered unless they are an integral part of the leg braces and the cost is included in the charge for the brace itself.
The cost of therapeutic shoes and shoe inserts is covered for people with severe diabetic foot disease.
Reimbursement requires that the doctor who treats the diabetes certify the need for therapeutic shoes, and the shoes and inserts must be prescribed by a podiatrist or qualified doctor and furnished by a podiatrist, orthotist, prosthetist or pedorthist. Medicare will help pay for one pair of shoes per calendar year.
Part B also helps pay for surgical dressings, splints and casts ordered by a doctor when used in connection with treatment.
Dental plates and other dental devices such as braces are never covered under Medicare.
Q: I understand Social Security has a program to help people who cannot manage their financial affairs. Can you provide details?
A: There is such a program for people who receive Social Security or Supplemental Security Income and are unable to handle their financial affairs. After an investigation, Social Security will appoint an interested third party to handle Social Security matters only.
This appointee is called a "representative payee," and all Social Security or SSI benefits due to the beneficiary are made payable in the representative payee's name on behalf of the beneficiary.
Benefits received must be used only for the personal care and well-being of the beneficiary. Any excess must be saved for the beneficiary.
Social Security must be kept informed of events that might affect eligibility for benefits, and a periodic account report must be filed to show how the money received was spent or saved.
For more information, contact Social Security or visit http://www.socialsecurity.gov for the brochure "A Guide for Representative Payees."
Wednesday: "How to Put More Life in Your Living" presentation. 1 p.m., Thousand Oaks Council on Aging, Civic Arts Plaza boardroom, 2100 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd.
Saturday: CARFIT. 9 a.m. to noon, Simi Valley Senior Center, 3900 Avenida Simi. For information and reservations, call 583-6363.
Sunday: Ms. Senior Conejo Valley Pageant. 1:30 to 4 p.m., Goebel Senior Adult Center, 1385 E. Janss Road, Thousand Oaks. Spectator admission is $5.
Tuesday: "The Caregivers Rollercoaster — When It's All Said & Done" seminar. 4 to 5:30 p.m., Senior Concerns Day Center, 401 Hodencamp Road, Thousand Oaks. For information and reservations, call 497-0189.
May 9: "Who Has the Responsibility — If Not You Then Who?" seminar. 1:30 to 3 p.m., Westlake Village Civic Center, 31200 E. Oak Crest Drive. For information, call 495-6250.
May 9: Caregiver Support Group. 7 to 8:30 p.m., Simi Valley Senior Center. No reservations needed. For information, call 497-0189.
Read more: http://www.vcstar.com/news/2012/may/01/betty-berry-senior-advocate-column/#ixzz1uEFwlN2n