Coronavirus Update: Resources for Seniors

May 29, 2020

Dear Friend,

In May, we observe Older Americans Month and recognize the enormous contributions of our seniors. We also take this opportunity to focus our collective energy on ensuring that all seniors have access to high-quality health care and economic security, along with meaningful opportunities to continue contributing to the workforce and to civic life.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Older Americans Month carries special significance, as we consider the enormous threats and challenges that this public health crisis poses for our nation’s seniors.

Last week, I joined AARP Maryland for a telephone town hall to discuss the various resources available to seniors amid the COVID-19 pandemic and to answer seniors’ questions about this public health emergency. In case you missed the event, see below.

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In addition, here are some other helpful resources for Maryland seniors:

  • Health and Support Services in Maryland
     
    • Senior Call Check is a free service available to Marylanders aged 65 and older. To register, see here.
       
    • Maryland Access Point (MAP) provides seniors with referrals and information about health and support services. To contact MAP call 1-844-627-5465 or visit https://marylandaccesspoint.info/.
       
  • Meals for Seniors
     
    • The Anne Arundel County Department of Aging and Disabilities will distribute food – a total of seven meals – to senior citizens every Tuesday, from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM. Orders must be placed ahead of time. To place an order, call (410) 222-0256 or email senior_nutrition@aacounty.org.
       
    • The City of Baltimore encourages seniors to call Maryland Access Point at (410) 396-2273 to inquire about home-delivered meals. See here for more information.
       
    • The Baltimore County Department of Aging is providing boxes of food to older residents. Each box of non-perishable food contains six-days’ worth of food, including three meals and a snack per day, along with a small box of fruits and vegetables. Boxes are distributed by appointment only at designated senior center locations around the County. See here to learn more about the program. To schedule a meal pickup, call (410) 887-2040. Baltimore County seniors with additional food access needs can call (410) 887-2594 or email aginginfo@baltimorecountymd.gov.
       
    • The Howard County Department of Community Resources and Services provides "Grab-N-Go" meals to residents who participate in the Department's 50+ Centers congregate meal program. For more information, call (410) 313-6410 or email aging@howardcountymd.gov.
       
    • The Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services and Montgomery County Recreation will provide seniors in need with frozen meal packs at "Grab-N-Go" locations and by limited delivery. The meal packs include seven different entrees, seven milk cartons and a mix of fruit and bread products. See here for more information.
       
  • Social Security
     
    • The Social Security Administration has expanded its telework capacity across the country and will continue to provide services online or by phone: 1-800-772-1213.
       
    • Beneficiaries who receive monthly payments by mail will continue to receive those payments. Beneficiaries who receive monthly payments by direct deposit will continue to receive those payments as well.
       

In Washington, we continue to support older Americans amid COVID-19. Earlier this month, I voted to pass the Heroes Act, a critical relief package to address the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill contained many provisions to help seniors in Maryland and across the country, including:

  • Improving quality standards and care at nursing homes and long-term care facilities;
     
  • Expanding COVID-19 testing for seniors;
     
  • Providing free COVID-19 treatment;
     
  • Ensuring that seniors can stay in their communities;
     
  • Increasing funding for home and community-based services; and
     
  • Protecting retirement and financial security for older Americans.

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Updates in Maryland

  • Offering Appointment-Free, Drive-Thru COVID-19 Testing Across the State: Maryland announced that it will offer appointment-free, drive-thru COVID-19 testing at designated sites across the state – even for people who are asymptomatic.
     
  • Authorizing COVID-19 Tests at Maryland Pharmacies: Maryland pharmacists are now authorized to directly order COVID-19 tests and trained pharmacy personnel are permitted to collect samples onsite.
     
  • Securing Significant Public Transit Funding: The Delegation announced $876 million in federal funding for the Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority (WMATA), including $41.1 million for local transit providers in Montgomery and Prince George’s County.
     
  • Urging Action on COVID-19 Racial Disparities: The Delegation asked Governor Hogan to use race and ethnic data to develop a plan to address the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on communities of color in Maryland.
     

For regular updates and information about the coronavirus, you can follow me on Facebook and Twitter.

For a full list of coronavirus-related resources, please visit my website.
 

Sincerely,

00_JPSS_Signature
Congressman John Sarbanes
Maryland’s Third Congressional District