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Press Release
Area Agency on Aging Offers Partnership and Training to Serve More Seniors with Benefits Counseling Services
Free Benefits Counselor I Training offered April 15-16
Kilgore, TX, April 1, 2014:  The Area Agency on Aging of East Texas (AAA) is looking for individuals who work with the aging and disabled community interested in becoming partners in the Heath Information Counseling & Advocacy program of Texas to offer benefits counseling services. The AAA will be hosting free training in Benefits Counseling I on April 15-16, at ETCOG offices in Kilgore.  The training will offer 11 of the required 25 hours to become certified in Benefits Counseling I and provide attendees with information on webinars and conference call training to complete their certification.
 
The AAA has offered benefits counseling services for over 30 years and currently has two certified benefits counselors on staff to serve the 14 county East Texas region. The need for assistance is high and growing at a fast rate. Through offering this partnership and training the AAA hopes to increase the number of seniors and persons with disabilities receiving benefits counseling services through providers they are already in contact with.
 
“The 14 counties we serve are being underserved in services when it comes to advocacy, education and assistance for those that are on Medicare, the disabled, those that are rural and minorities. Even though Benefits Counseling services have been available for over 30 years many still do know the services are available to them,” said ETCOG Benefits Counselor, Juanita Beason. “By becoming certified and partnering with the Area Agency on Aging you are agreeing to serve those in your community that you already see and talk to almost daily only you will be more knowledgeable to answer their questions instead of having to refer them every time.”
 
Training registration forms are requested to be returned to Juanita Beason by fax at (903) 983-1440 or email at Juanita.Beason@etcog.org no later than Friday April 4th. For further information or questions, please contact Juanita at (903) 218-6512.
 
 
About Area Agency on Aging of East Texas
The Area Agency on Aging of East Texas is designated by the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services to coordinate services for persons in East Texas who are 60 or older, with particular attention to low-income minority older individuals, older individuals with limited English proficiency, and older individuals residing in rural areas. Programs include, but are not limited to: Information, Referral and Assistance, Benefits Counseling/ Legal Assistance, Nursing home Ombudsman, Care Coordination, Caregiver Support Program and transportation provided by GOBUS.  The Area Agency on Aging provides Nutrition programs delivering hot, nutritious meals to eligible homebound senior and providing congregate meals at local senior center.  The Area Agency on Aging is a program of ETCOG serving its 14 county region.
 
About ETCOG
The East Texas Council of Governments (ETCOG) is a voluntary association of counties, cities, school districts and special districts within the fourteen-county East Texas region. ETCOG assists local governments in planning for common needs, cooperating for mutual benefit and coordinating for sound regional development. Established in 1970, ETCOG, either directly, or through its contractors, provides programs and services for East Texas seniors, employers, and job seekers. ETCOG and its contractors also build the 9-1-1 emergency call delivery system, provide peace officer training and homeland security planning services; and deliver rural transportation services, business finance programs, and environmental grant funding for the region.
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