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|Chris Chin, LMSW
52 Broadway,17th Floor New York, NY 10004
Retiree Social Services provides social services nationwide to assist you with issues or concerns you may have during your retirement years. These services extend to you, wherever you and your family members live in the United States.
Your first stop should be Retiree Social Services, where three full-time geriatric social workers and a staff of trained caseworkers provide free professional and confidential service to help you deal with the following concerns:
- Nationwide Telephone Reassurance Program
If you are going through a difficult time with family problems, an illness or a recent loss, you may be interested in hearing from someone who can help you deal with the problem. This program provides retirees with weekly, friendly calls from a member of our professional staff. These calls are made on a regular basis and will continue until you tell us you no longer need them.
- Nationwide Hospital Stay In Touch Program
A hospital experience can be overwhelming. Retiree Social Services is here to help you. We will be in touch on a daily basis throughout your hospitalization. We will assist you with rehab, discharge planning and whatever other needs you may have. We will continue to stay in contact with you after you leave the hospital. Please feel free to call the retiree office prior to a scheduled hospitalization so that we can provide this service to you.
- Nursing Homes
The decision to choose a nursing home for yourself or a loved one is always difficult. When to start looking for a nursing home, what to look for and how to choose are some of the questions you will face and may need help answering, You will also need to know how to apply to a nursing home, how the admissions process works and what to expect after admission.
- Bereavement and Support Groups
There are many community support groups to help you deal with stressful situations. Caregiver support groups, groups for people with specific health problems and bereavement groups for those who have lost a loved one are just a few.
- Short-Term Counseling and Referrals
If you live in the New York Metropolitan area and need help with a problem or decision, we encourage you to make an appointment with Retiree Social Services. After meeting a few times with you, we will make suggestions or refer you to someone with whom you can seek further counseling.
For information or an appointment: Call 1 (212) 598-6880, Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Be sure to leave your name and telephone number so a staff member can get back to you.
- UFT Welfare Fund Retiree Legal Plan and Elder Law Supplement
The UFT and its Welfare Fund are always working to provide members with benefits that best meet their needs. To that end, the Welfare Fund has established a legal plan benefit with an elder law supplement for retirees.
All retirees who are UFT members are automatically enrolled in the legal plan. It is designed to help retirees with legal issues and estate planning. The plan provides certain consultation services free and others at discount.
Members are entitled to two legal security packages per plan year. The Legal Security Package includes forms you need to complete to receive a health care proxy, living will, durable power of attorney and last will and testament with “minor’s trust.” Individuals eligible to complete these packages include members, their spouses (or registered domestic partners), their parents and in-laws, and grandparents and in-laws.
The foundation of your estate plan should be a carefully drafted will, an instrument that disposes of your probate property at your death and names the person or persons who will administer your estate.
A power of attorney is another legal tool. With a power of attorney, you give authority to a person (attorney-in-fact) to act on your behalf, generally in financial and legal matters. You must grant this authority when you are legally capable of doing so.
A living will and a health care proxy are two documents that allow you to implement your wishes concerning your medical treatment if you are not able to do so yourself. Each state has its own document. In some states it may be called an advanced directive.
A living will allows you to express your wishes about health care decisions including medications, diagnostic procedures and withholding or withdrawing life-sustaining treatment that prolongs the process of dying.
A health care proxy allows you to appoint someone to decide about your health care treatment in the event you can no longer decide for yourself.
A trust can also be an important estate planning tool. There are many different types of trusts. For example, a supplemental needs trust addresses the issues of mentally incapacitated family members. There is a charge for trusts.
The UFTWF Retiree Programs holds annual legal plan/elder law meetings. At the meetings lawyers describe changes in the current laws.
If you move, be sure to fill out and update the “UFTWF Change of Status Form” so that you may continue to receive Legal Plan information.
Outline of Plan Benefits
Here’s a brief description of the Legal Plan’s benefits:
- Two last will and testaments free of charge for members, their spouses (or registered domestic partners), their parents and in-laws, and grandparents and in-laws.
- Two living wills, two health care proxies and two durable powers of attorney free of charge for members, their spouses (or registered domestic partners), their parents and in-laws, and grandparents and in-laws.
- The UFT Welfare Fund Retiree Legal Plan Preventive Law Guide, which is issued quarterly.
- Unlimited telephone advice and consultation with an attorney.
- Office consultation with an attorney in your area.
- Legal letters written and telephone calls made on your behalf.
- Guaranteed maximum fees for specific legal matters as indicated in fee schedule.
- Referrals to attorneys in your area.
- Referrals to elder law attorneys.
- Discounts on hourly legal fees.
The National Legal Office can be reached by telephone from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern time, Monday through Friday. From Long Island, call 631-231-4480. All other New York State residents call 800-832-5182. Out-of-state residents call 800-292-8063.
These numbers can also be found on the back of your ID card.
Elder Law Supplement
In addition to the comprehensive services available through the basic legal plan, this supplement extends services in the specialized field of elder law. Elder law panel attorneys can advise you on the law in your state and assist you with long-term care planning, Medicare laws, Social Security, Social Security Disability, SSI, Medicaid planning, nursing home regulations and putting a health and estate plan into effect.
The elder law attorneys have reduced their usual fees by 20 percent. When you are referred to specific firms, the National Legal Office will advise you about that firm’s discounted billing rate. The terms and fee schedule of the basic legal plan do not apply to the elder law supplement.