2006-05-17 / Seniors

Propose Bills To Help Pay For Hearing Aids

Some financial aid may be forthcoming from the federal government for persons who need hearing aids if talks going on in Congress are successful.

According to the League for the Hard of Hearing, based in New York City, the discussions going on revolve around legislation proposed in both houses that would provide $500 per ear once every five years to people aged 55 and over and to their dependents for hearing aids.

The House Bill H.R. 414, was sponsored by Congressmember Jim Ryun (R- Kansas). The Senate version, 5.1060, was introduced by Senator Norm Coleman (R- Minnesota. Both are called the Hearing Aid Assistance Tax Credit Act.

The League encourages anyone who would like to see the legislation enacted into law to write letters and/or send e-mails to the sponsors or to their own congressional representatives to urge support for the bills and request the legislators sign on as co-sponsors to improve the chances of passage.

A League official said that in order to obtain information or to reach the sponsors, log on to www.congress.org and enter your ZIP code.

Other news culled from the organization's newsletter: free hearing screenings are given at 50 Broadway, 6th Floor, on Tuesdays from noon to 2 p.m. and an Thursdays from 4 to 6 p.m. Call 917305-7766 for an appointment or e-mail to appointments @ lhh.org.

For more information, call 917-305-7700.

HELP FOR RETURNING VETS: Continuing his efforts to help all veterans, City Councilmember Hiram Monserrate (D-Corona), chairman of the council Veterans Committee, has joined with local veterans and advocates in calling on the city to create and fund Veterans' Resource Centers, one-stop information centers for servicemen and women returning from Iraq, Afghanistan or any other overseas assignment.

Monserrate said he is requesting that $5 million be provided in this year's budget for the creation of the resource centers because, despite the city being home to 300,000 military veterans, with more being added every day, "The city does not provide a single service to veterans," the Corona lawmaker complained.

Monserrate has introduced a bill, Intro 298, requiring the city Director of Veterans Affairs to ensure that at least one Veterans' Resource Center is established and operational in every one of the five boroughs no later than Jan. 1, 2008, or about 19 months from now.

Monserrate said in support of his legislation, "Every day veterans are returning home to find they have to fight another battle just to get needed health care and benefits. Veterans from yesterday's wars and today's conflicts are consistently confused and alienated by the underfunded bureaucratic system they must navigate.

"We can and should do better for the men and women who put their lives on the line for our safety. We are calling on the city to take the first step to honor veterans' service by creating convenient, all-inclusive centers that will ensure veterans get what they need and deserve."

Monserrate explained that the centers would provide free, up-to-date information on all veterans' services available, with knowledgeable staff able and willing to direct and advise veterans on how best to access these services.

Included would be information on housing, health and mental illness, employment training and placement, intensive case management, how to deal with substance abuse and legal disputes and benefits and claims assistance, among other subject areas.

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