By Joe Morey
Quite often members of our community have questions regarding what constitutes being an Elder as far as bonus payments or services are considered. Such as, what age does one have to attain in order to qualify for a birthday bonus check or to have their driveway plowed and do they have to live on or off the reservation.
Terrance Manuelito serves as both the LCO Tribal Aging Services Director and Elder Nutrition Center Director. Terrance recently supplied information which hopefully clears up some of these questions.
“The services the tribe provides funding for are for tribal LCO Elder and disabled people 62 years of age or older and/or disabled residing within the Lac Courte Oreilles reservation boundaries,” Terrance explained. “These services include home repair, auto repair, firewood, and snowplowing and all programs have oversight from the LCO Elders Advisory Council and have recently made several key revisions for this Fiscal Year, to include individual increases for Home & Auto, and eliminating the Working vs. Non- Working elder.”
Although most services are provided to those who live on reservation, Christmas and birthday checks are mailed to off-reservation elders as well. Elders who are 55 and older qualify for birthday checks.
Terrance said prior to the Enbridge payments these services were funded from the tribe’s general fund.
LCO Secretary-Treasurer Jason Weaver said some of these services in 2018 were covered by Enbridge funds broke down as follows;
$517,000 for elder Christmas checks, $110,000 for elder birthday checks, $34,900 for snowplowing, $27,407 for a new elder van and $27,843 for elder vehicle travel.
Remaining services that wouldn’t have been covered under Enbridge funds would have continued to be covered by general funds.
Terrance said this is the current FY 2019 budget;
Home Repair $60,000 - LCO Elder/Disabled Homeowners are eligible for up to $1,000 per FY;
Auto Repair $30,000 - LCO Elders/Disabled Auto owners eligible up to $350 per FY
Snow Plowing $50,000 -Currently over 250 Driveways in LCO, with 5 Tribal Snowplow Contractors;
Firewood $6,000 – We coordinate with LCO Conservation who contracts someone to deliver Loggers Cords from $200 to $350;
Lawn care $5,000 – from last year’s total currently at 35 Elder homes;
“Each year the LCO Tribal Governing Board meets with our program to discuss budgetary concerns, and due to the recent policy revisions our programs overall budget has increased in participation, which is both good and bad because it does mean we are helping more community members, although the funds are being depleted and once they are gone we will have to await next Fiscal Year’s cycle of funding to assist others that are eligible and in need,” Terrance explained.
Terrance continued, “We do provide other functions besides the Elder & Disabled Tribal Services such as Title III & Title VI Nutrition programs to include Home Delivered Meals and congregate meals. Social Security Assistance to include Retirement, Disability, VSD (Video Software Display) to Regional SSA Office, SSA Appeals, Federal Medicare assistance to include Part A, B, C, & D assistance, State of Wisconsin Medicaid application assistance, Tribal Aging & Disability Resource Specialist – Resource and referrals, Tribal elder non-medical transportation assistance, Veterans Assistance and advocacy, and other programs but those are some of the main sources of information and advocacy.”
Terrance said his department has no direct connection with the Christmas checks, but it is included under his budget.
“Regarding travel, a significant portion is allowed for Elders, Elder groups, GLNAEA groups for rooms and gas. Our department is responsible to schedule for GLNAEA events but for any other event other LCO Elders are wishing to participate in, it is at the TGB’s discretion,” Terrance said.
If any LCO elder or person with a disability has any question regarding the LCO Elder Services staff, they can Facebook Message the LCO Elder Center Page or contact Terrance by his phone line at 715 957-0077 or email Terrance.Manuelito@lco-nsn.gov.