Updated: Nov 10, 2020
By Joe Morey
The Lac Courte Oreilles Tribal Governing Board (TGB) unanimously approved increasing the Elder Services Budget from $217,000 in 2019-2020 to $300,000 for the new fiscal year which began on Oct. 1. Which services actually receive the increase wasn’t clearly defined.
The 2019 elder services expense saw $76,699 for home repair which served 83 elders and 7 disabled members; $41,000 for auto repair which served 101 elders and 23 disabled members; $6,100 for firewood which served 14 elders and 4 disabled members; $12,155 for lawn care which served 51 elders and 5 disabled members; and $98,835 for snowplowing which served 231 elders and 14 disabled members.
With the increase, more elders may be serviced under the program. LCO Vice Chairwoman Lorraine Gouge said the TGB wants to make sure it’s not the same people year after year getting the funds. “We want to make sure everyone has access.”
In a recent article, Terrance Manuelito who serves as both the LCO Tribal Aging Services Director and Elder Nutrition Center Director supplied some information on elder services and who can receive them.
“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 65 and older qualify for birthday checks. while those 55 and older receive the annual Christmas check.
In 2018, a total of $517,000 was distributed for elder Christmas checks and $110,000 for elder birthday checks from Enbridge funds.
“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.”
Additionally, in July, the TGB made a change to the Elder Home & Auto Repair policy which allows for Elders and disabled members seeking funds totaling $1,350, to combine their home or auto repair bills. In the past, only $350 was permitted for auto repair and $1,000 for home repair. Now they may use any amount either way.
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.