News for Missourians

Scam Alert!

i Jan 17th No Comments by

Dear Colleague:

We have become aware of reports of fraudulent telephone calls from individuals claiming to represent the Social Security Administration (SSA). In them, unknown callers are using threatening language to warn unknowing victims that they will be arrested or face other legal action if they fail to call a provided phone number or press the number indicated in the message to address the issue. In some instances, these unknown callers switch tactics and communicate that they want to help an individual with activating a suspended Social Security number. Such calls are a scam, and are not coming from official SSA representatives.

We encourage you to inform your members and extended networks not to engage with such callers, and to report any suspicious calls to Social Security’s Office of the Inspector General by calling 1-800-269-0271 or submitting a report on the OIG website. We also urge you to read and share our Social Security Matters blog, which provides more information on the nature of these fraudulent calls, as well as instructions on how to report such activity.

Social Security is committed to protecting the privacy and security of the people we serve. We appreciate your help in spreading the word about this important topic.


Dawn Bystry
Acting Deputy Associate Commissioner
Office of Strategic and Digital Communications
(T) 410-965-1804




i Nov 29th No Comments by

Written by Jodie Jackson

Spoiler alert: You’re about to get a lively, fun, crash course on Medicare.

“Coffee With CLAIM” is Quality Talk’s fifth Medicare-related episode, highlighting the work CLAIM does as Missouri’s State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP). Though CLAIM works in Missouri, the information presented in this episode applies to all SHIP programs and Medicare beneficiaries across the country.

Put simply, “We help people navigate Medicare,” says Carol Beahan, CLAIM executive director.

18-196-CL 25 years banner-01

CLAIM staff featured in this conversation with Quality Talk host Jodie Jackson Jr. and Beahan also includes Tracey Wetzel, lead trainer; Xavier Vaughn, Outreach/MIPPA project coordinator; Cindy Carr, Region 1 liaison (central Missouri); Julia Allen, Region 2 liaison (eastern Missouri, St. Louis area); Stacey Childs, Region 5 liaison (southwest Missouri); CLAIM newcomer Kori Ross, Region 6 liaison (Kansas City metro area and northwest Missouri); and Elizabeth Swanson, Region 7 liaison (northeast Missouri) and AmeriCorps project manager.

The conversation focuses on the annual enrollment period, Oct. 15-Dec. 7, with discussion also touching on the new Medicare cards that beneficiaries have already received or will receive – depending on the area of the coutry.

Previous episodes of Quality Talk that discussed Medicare topics and questions included Episode 27, “Coffee With CLAIM: Aging Into Medicare,” Episode 10, “New Medicare Cards Are Coming,” and Episode 6, “Medicare Panel Discussion.”Episode 4 featured vital information and tips for the 2017 fall Medicare open enrollment period.

Topics: Medicare enrollment

Hang up on spoofed SSA calls

i Nov 2nd No Comments by

If you get a call that looks like it’s from the Social Security Administration (SSA), think twice. Scammers are spoofing SSA’s 1-800 customer service number to try to get your personal information. Spoofing means that scammers can call from anywhere, but they make your caller ID show a different number – often one that looks legit. Here are few things you should know about these so-called SSA calls.

These scam calls are happening across the nation, according to SSA: Your phone rings. Your caller ID shows that it’s the SSA calling from 1-800-772-1213. The caller says he works for the Social Security Administration and needs your personal information – like your Social Security number – to increase your benefits payments. (Or he threatens to cut off your benefits if you don’t give the information.) But it’s not really the Social Security Administration calling. Yes, it is the SSA’s real phone number, but the scammers on the phone are spoofing the number to make the call look real.

What can you do if you get one of these calls? Hang up. Remember:

SSA will not threaten you. Real SSA employees will never threaten you to get personal information. They also won’t promise to increase your benefits in exchange for information. If they do, it’s a scam.

If you have any doubt, hang up and call SSA directly. Call 1-800-772-1213 – that really is the phone number for the Social Security Administration. If you dial that number, you know who you’re getting. But remember that you can’t trust caller ID. If a call comes in from that number, you can’t be sure it’s really SSA calling.

If you get a spoofed call, report it. If someone calls, claiming to be from SSA and asking for information like your Social Security number, report it to SSA’s Office of Inspector General at 1-800-269-0271 or You can also report these calls to the FTC at

For more tips, check out the FTC’s How to Stop Unwanted Calls and Government Imposter Scams. If you think someone has misused your personal information, go to to report identity theft and find out what steps to take.

Warsaw Retirees Find A Sense Of Community Through Volunteerism

i Jul 27th No Comments by
Jim and Pat Chambers worked in information technology and computer security in Evansville, Indiana, until 2008 when they retired. Seven years ago, after moving to Warsaw and building a house, they decided to take on a mission that would serve their community. They became volunteer Missouri State Certified Medicare counselors, offering free counseling on Thursday mornings at First United Methodist Church of Warsaw.  “We are re-certified each year with continuing education and mandatory tests,” said Jim Chambers. “We typically meet and assist over 250 people annually.  We have no insurance affiliations.  All of our services are free.  Our only goal is to provide Medicare information so people can make informed decisions on their own.”
“We take walk-ins, and those who want to make an appointment can call 660-530-2644,” said Pat Chambers. “Our hours are usually from 9 AM to 12 PM. We may see two to four people on Thursday mornings except during the annual Medicare Open Enrollment (that takes place in the fall.) This is the time when people can change their prescription coverage, and as many as 10 people will need counseling in a week.  We work overtime during that period of time, offering counseling on Fridays too.”
Jim Chambers provided a short list of the services that he and his wife provide during their counseling. 1.) Help people determine which prescription plan is the best for their current situation. We currently have 23 plans in the Warsaw zip code. 2.) Educate new Medicare enrollees. There are many more options than most people realize. Some of these options are only available for a limited time. 3.) Assist Medicare clients in completing forms for low income subsidies. These are substantial amounts for some people. 4.) Assist Medicare clients to better understand their Medicare, doctor and hospital bills. 5.) Help submit Medicare appeals when Medicare guidelines are not followed; especially regarding billing practices. 6.) Provide education about what Medicare does and does not cover. 7.) During open enrollment periods, assist clients with changing plans. 8.) Last, but not least. We meet with people face to face right here in Warsaw at the First United Methodist Church so they do not have to speak to someone over the phone or deal with a computer.
“Since we started seven years ago, we have met many people here in Warsaw and have made many friends,” said Jim Chambers. “We’re very proud to be contributing to our community and to provide an important Medicare service at no charge.”There are two ways that the Chambers get the public to know about their services. CLAIM is the Missouri State Health Insurance Assistance Program. When local people call this nonprofit organization, representatives often refer them to the Chambers who, in turn, make calls to these potential clients to offer their services. The other way their services become public knowledge is through word of mouth.  That is how most of the counseling sessions take place now.
Pat Chambers said that the majority of people they serve are senior citizens, but there are also younger people who are on Medicare Disability, and adult children of Medicare recipients come in for counseling so they can help their parents made health decisions. The Chambers help new beneficiaries all year long.
“Sometimes adult children of Medicare beneficiaries come to us for guidance when they think their parents are being released too early from a hospital stay,” said Pat Chambers. “And, some people have insurance agents, but they will come to us first to talk about what questions to ask their agents.”She said that the satisfaction she and her husband get from their volunteer work is the people they deal with. She said that they get to help them stay on track. Jim Chambers grew up in St. Joseph, and was a member of the Bass Club, so he learned a lot about Truman Lake. When he met and married Pat in Evansville, they took vacations in Warsaw because they are outdoor people. It was easy for them to choose the area as their retirement home. They work Thursdays throughout the year, managing to take a week or two off to vacation.
By: Judy Kramer
County Reporter

Inspector General Warns Public About SSA Impersonation Schemes

i Jul 18th No Comments by

elderly woman on cell phoneThe Acting Inspector General of Social Security, Gale Stallworth Stone, is warning citizens about ongoing Social Security Administration (SSA) impersonation schemes.  SSA and the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) have recently received several reports of suspicious phone calls claiming to be from SSA.

In one case, an automated recording states the person’s Social Security number (SSN) “has been suspended for suspicion of illegal activity,” and the person should contact a provided phone number immediately to resolve the issue.  The call concludes by stating if the person does not contact the provided phone number, the person’s assets will be frozen until the alleged issue is resolved.  In another case, a caller claims to be from “SSA headquarters” and waits for the person to provide personal information, such as an SSN, address, and date of birth.  In January, the OIG shared similar information from the Federal Trade Commission, which reported an increase in reports of suspicious phone calls from people claiming to be SSA employees.

SSA employees occasionally contact citizens by telephone for customer-service purposes.  In only a few limited special situations, usually already known to the citizen, an SSA employee may request the citizen confirm personal information over the phone.  If a person receives a suspicious call from someone alleging to be from SSA, citizens should report that information to the OIG at 1-800-269-0271 or online via

Acting Inspector General Stone continues to warn citizens to be cautious, and to avoid providing information such as your SSN or bank account numbers to unknown persons over the phone or internet unless you are certain of who is receiving it.  “Be aware of suspicious calls from unknown sources, and when in doubt, contact the official entity to verify the legitimacy of the call,” Stone said.

If a person has questions about any communication—email, letter, text or phone call—that claims to be from SSA or the OIG, please contact your local Social Security office, or call Social Security’s toll-free customer service number at 1-800-772-1213, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday, to verify its legitimacy.  (Those who are deaf or hard-of-hearing can call Social Security’s TTY number at 1-800-325-0778.)

Written by Andrew Cannarsa, OIG Communication Director 

Medicare Premium Billing Notice

i Jul 12th No Comments by


A New Medicare Card with a New Number

You may have heard that Medicare is removing Social Security Numbers from Medicare cards starting in April 2018.

  • You’ll get a new card in the mail with a new Medicare Number that’s unique to you. This change will help keep your information more secure and help protect your identity.
  • Mailing everyone a new card will take some time. Your card might arrive at a different time than your friends or neighbors.
  • Once you get your new card, destroy your old card and start using your new card right away.
  • Make sure your mailing address is up to date. If your address needs to be corrected, contact Social Security at or 1-800-772-1213. TTY users can call
  • For more information about the new Medicare card, visit or call us at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). TTY users can call 1-877-486-2048.

Use your New Medicare Number when Paying Your Medicare Premiums
Once you get your new Medicare card, use your new Medicare Number when paying your Medicare premiums, instead of your old number.

  • If you pay your Medicare premiums using Medicare Easy Pay, you don’t need to do anything. Your premium will continue to be automatically deducted from your bank account each month.
  •  If you pay your Medicare premiums using your bank’s Online Bill Pay service, you’ll need to update your account to use your new Medicare Number.
    • Don’t include the dashes when entering your Medicare Number.
    • Make sure the Biller Name says: “CMS Medicare Insurance”.
  • If you pay your Medicare premiums by check or money order, write your new Medicare Number on your check or money order.

Written by ACL

May 2018 Fraud Prevention Fact by Missouri SMP

i May 4th No Comments by

Distribution of the new Medicare cards with unique numbers is starting. However, we probably will not receive any replacement cards in Missouri for several months. Federal officials are being a bit vague about exactly when the cards are coming because of the potential for scammers staking out mailboxes and stealing the cards. Missouri is in the last group of states in the schedule to receive the cards, so you need to be patient. It will be at least June and probably later. However, there are a couple of things you can do to get ready. One is to make sure that your address is up to date with the Social Security Administration so that you receive your card when it’s mailed. If you are an Internet user, you can establish an account on the My website. If you set up that account, you can monitor the progress of the card distribution state by state. When it’s time for Missouri’s distribution, you can set your Medicare account to alert you when your card is actually mailed.

Here are a few things you do NOT want to do: Do NOT worry if a neighbor, relative or friend gets his card before you do. They are NOT being mailed according to ZIP codes etc. Do NOT give anyone your personal information over the phone. Medicare will NOT call you to request your Medicare number or any other information. Do NOT believe anybody who tells you that they can get your card faster if you pay them a fee. That is NOT going to happen and you will waste your money. Do NOT believe an insurance agent who tells you that she can get your card faster if you do business with her. That agent probably wants to get your ear to try to sell you an Advantage or Medicare supplement plan.

As always, report suspected Medicare fraud to the Missouri SMP (Senior Medicare Patrol) at (888) 515-6565.

This project was supported, in part by grant number 90MP0204, from the U.S. Administration for Community Living, Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C. 20201. Grantees undertaking projects under government sponsorship are encouraged to express freely their findings and conclusions. Points of view or opinions do not, therefore, necessarily represent official Administration for Community Living policy.

Aging Into Medicare

i Apr 11th No Comments by

“Coffee With CLAIM” is Quality Talk’s fourth Medicare-related episode, highlighting the work CLAIM does as Missouri’s State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP). Though CLAIM works in Missouri, the information presented in this episode applies to all SHIP programs and Medicare beneficiaries across the country.

CLAIM staff featured in the conversation with Quality Talk host Jodie Jackson Jr. includes Carol Beahan, CLAIM program director; Tracey Wetzel, lead trainer; Xavier Vaughn, Outreach/MIPPA project coordinator; Cindy Carr, Region 1 regional liaison; Julia Allen, Region 2 regional liaison; Stacey Childs, Region 5 regional liaison; Carolyn Prim, Region 6 regional liaison; and Elizabeth Swanson, Region 7 regional liaison.

Xavier also gives some insight and update on new Medicare cards that are coming. Find out more about new Medicare cards here or in this news-you-can-use blog post from Primarisand this news release.

Previous episodes of Quality Talk that discussed Medicare topics and questions included Episode 10, “New Medicare Cards Are Coming,” and Episode 6, “Medicare Panel Discussion.”Episode 4 featured vital information and tips for the 2017 fall Medicare open enrollment period.

New 2018 Missouri Poverty Report Available Now

i Mar 28th No Comments by

New 2018 Missouri Poverty Report Available Now

Missourians to End Poverty’s Report Highlights Poverty Factors Facing Nearly 827,000 Missourians

(JEFFERSON CITY, MO) March 28, 2018 — The Missourians to End Poverty coalition announces the release of its new 2018 Missouri Poverty Report. This 20-page report is a comprehensive snapshot of poverty statistics in Missouri, updated and expanded from the recent 2016 edition of this biennial publication.

While Missouri has seen a decline in poverty since a 10-year high of 16.2% in 2012, 14% of Missourians still live in poverty. That’s 826,358 Missourians. And many of those people are children—260,867 children according to the US Census Bureau’s 2017 poverty data. This new report from the nonpartisan coalition is designed to educate and inform the public and policy makers across Missouri and the US. The report analyzes the five elements of poverty—economic and family security, education, food and nutrition, health, and housing and energy—and the impact each has on the well-being of individuals and families. Together these elements highlight poverty’s interconnected nature and the need for multi-dimensional solutions.

The 2018 Missouri Poverty Report shows not only data regarding factors that push people into poverty—affordable housing shortages, food insecurity, and increasing health care costs, among other things—but also data on what helps lift people out of poverty—strong support systems, safety net programs, organized community efforts, employment, and tax reform. This report pulls together publicly available data from sources such as US Census Bureau, USDA, National Center for Education Statistics, US Bureau of Labor Statistics and many others to paint a holistic picture of poverty. Data and statistics found within the report include:

  • Missouri Poverty Rates by County
  • Statewide Living Wage Averages for Missouri
  • Educational Attainment in Missouri
  • Unemployment and Earnings by Educational Attainment
  • Food Insecurity, Food Affordability and Food Desert Data
  • Medical Access Across Missouri
  • Poverty and Life Expectancy
  • Adverse Childhood Experiences and Outcomes
  • Fair Market Rent, Housing Wages, and Housing Shortages
  • Safety Net Programs Lifting Missourians Out of Poverty
  • Longitudinal Benefits of Head Start Programs
  • Positive Economic Impact of Safety Net Programs

All this and more is found within the pages of the 2018 Missouri Poverty Report, which is available for download at This publication was produced in partnership with Missouri Community Action Network, which has convened Missourians to End Poverty since the coalition was formed in 2009. All Missourians are encouraged to download the report for personal education, local outreach, advocacy and informed decision making.

Missourians to End Poverty is a coalition of individuals, advocates, businesses, faith-based organizations, non-profits and government agencies that have come together around a shared vision—the vision of a just society of shared responsibility by individuals, communities, businesses, and government in which all individuals are respected, have opportunities to reach their full potential, and are embraced as participants in thriving, diverse, sustainable communities. The members of Missourians to End Poverty work toward this vision every day.

If you would like more information about Missourians to End Poverty’s 2018 Missouri Poverty Report, please contact Missouri Community Action Network’s Director of External Affairs and Missourians to End Poverty Chairperson, Jessica Hoey, at (573) 634-2969 ext. 31, or email


The Shoebox Project: Managing the Paperwork of Everyday Living

i Mar 26th No Comments by

CLAIM’s community partner, Shepherd’s Center Central was highlighted on National Council on Aging (NCOA) webinar in February and highlighted on their website. Read the article below.

Established in 1972, Shepherd’s Center Central in Kansas City, MO, offers a variety of programs for seniors that are primarily volunteer driven at three sites throughout the metropolitan area. The Medicare Assistance Program (MAP) is available at two locations staffed by two part-time persons and 12 certified CLAIM (Missouri State Health Insurance Assistance Program) volunteer counselors. MAP is a multi-faceted program providing Medicare/Medicaid education and individual counseling for beneficiaries and caregivers, and includes the SHOEBOX Project, which began in 2015 with a MIPPA special projects grant from CLAIM and continues today.

The idea for the SHOEBOX Project originated with the Apple Project at Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau, MO, which has been doing similar work since 1993. The name alludes to the variety of containers in which people who come in keep personal paperwork, such as a grocery bag, big purse, backpack, or a box that originally held a pair of shoes. It also attempts to generally describe the services offered:

  • Simple applications, LIS/MSP, legal forms (POAs), rent rebate claims
  • Health insurance forms, notary services
  • Organization of personal paperwork
  • Education about Medicare, Medicaid benefits
  • Budget and financial guidance and referrals
  • One-on-one confidential assistance to assure the person that we care
  • Xtra help to sort what to keep and what to throw away

Services are provided in Shepherd Center offices, or in senior centers and apartment complexes, and are always free of charge.

Who is the target audience?

The target audience of the SHOEBOX Project is primarily, though not limited to, low-income seniors and disabled persons who may have limited education or cognitive issues, vision impairment, or those for whom English is a second language who need assistance in reading and understanding various forms and letters sent to them. The goal is to be in a position to screen and enroll this population in the various benefit programs for which they may qualify.

What do they do?

Man with shoebox of papersThe project is advertised to Shepherd’s Center’s large constituency on several social media outlets, and email blasts to various partners and agencies providing services to the aging community, including social workers, coordinators in senior apartment complexes, hospital case managers, etc.  A “counter card-style” publicity flyer with a distinctive logo was developed and widely distributed.

A cloth-like document bag, imprinted with the project’s contact information, is given to each client who comes for paperwork sorting, along with a set of neatly labeled folders in which to file important documents. The goal is to assist persons with organization, form completion, and education about what is junk mail and what is important to keep, thus reducing stress levels in their lives.

In 2016, a new feature was added to make the program more accessible, which is to provide a “Walk-in Center” at one site where people can come in without an appointment to be seen by a staff member or volunteer counselor. This service has attracted many who are new to Medicare, want to compare Part D plans, or seek other types of counseling, but who are not necessarily low income.  This prompted us the addition of a monthly “lunch and learn” class called Medicare 101.  This class is purposely kept small so that the dozen or so attendees can ask questions that are related to their individual situations.

What are the results thus far?

Response to the program seems to increase each year.  In 2015, the Shepherd’s Center set a goal of reaching 50 clients; 61 people were served.

In 2016, 87 people sought the services of the SHOEBOX Project, and in 2017, 156 were seen by a counselor and provided the various services. Walk-in Center hours have been increased from three hours on two days per week, to five days per week, 9:00 am to 3:00 pm.

For more information

Joyce White