When most of us hear the words Title 19 or Medicaid, usually the first thing that pops into our mind is "Welfare". However, there is a misconception surrounding this issue. Title 19 benefits come from State and Federal monies used to assist those in need.

Such benefits include paying for medical expenses, health insurance premiums, specialty nutritional items, in-home care, and skilled care in a nursing home. Of course, there are financial guidelines and variables that need to be met before benefits can be received. Although, it is true that most individuals who receive this benefit are below the poverty line, there is a gray area when it comes to who is considered truly needy.

In my grandparents' generation, most individuals were paid on a monthly basis. Their earnings were then split up into four categories: one, paying for a rent/mortgage; next, for household expenses; third, for entertainment; and the rest, to save for a "rainy day".

Today, just trying to keep up with monthly expenses has become almost impossible for the average family because our paychecks have not increased at the same rate as our cost of living expenses. It now takes three quarters of our monthly earnings to pay for a rent/mortgage. That leaves you only with one quarter to pay for monthly expenses, entertainment, and to "save for a rainy day". Our money just does not go as far as it used to. However, it is not only the families with young children that have financial difficulties. Our elders, disabled, and sandwich generation families need assistance also. So, you see, Title 19 should not be viewed as "Welfare"; but embraced as a way to help meet those needs.

Therefore, if you are truly in need of assistance, consider applying for Title 19 benefits. For additional information about Title 19, please contact Cheryl Parcella, Elderly Outreach Worker, at 891-2154, ext. 1052, to schedule an appointment.