Southwest Montana Aging and Disability Services
Area V Agency on Aging
As of March 20, 2020 the Southwest Montana Aging and Disability Services offices are closed to the public and will remain so until Phase 3 of the Governor's plan to gradually re-open the State of Montana. Our staff is currently working from home, but are checking phone messages and e-mails so that they can serve clients remotely. We will still be providing commodities to the participants under the Commodity Supplemental Food Program and will still provide coupons for the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program. Both these services will be provided utilizing as minimal contact as possible.
As of March 18, 2020 all of the senior centers in the area also closed to the public. They are, however, still providing meals through take-out or delivery with the exception of the Hollowtop Senior Center in Pony. There are also some limited transportation services being provided in Butte, Dillon and Deer Lodge. Aging services is advising local senior centers and other service providers to also remained closed until Phase 3 as the majority of our program participants fall into the category of "Most at Risk" to contract the Corona Virus.
On our forms and links page we have provided some information on the COVID-19 Pandemic and ways individuals can protect themselves.
Southwest Montana Aging and Disability Services has suspended the Medicare 101 presentation series until it is determined that we can safely hold such gatherings.
Commodity boxes will be distributed on the following Mondays in 2020: June 8th, August 10th, October 5th and December 14th. Distribution will be from 9:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. for those who are already signed up for the program. The June and most likely August distributions will be provided with minimal contact. We ask that participants remain in their vehicles while we load their boxes and encourage them to wear masks during the pick-up process. If participants are unable to pick up their box on that day they will have to wait until the next distribution date. Home bound clients and clients in senior housing will receive their commodities on the following Wednesdays. To inquire about the program or notify us that you cannot pick up on the designated date, please call 782-5555.
Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program
SFMNP is a supplemental food program for eligible seniors (60+ and 185 FPL) that allows Seniors to exchange coupons for fresh produce/honey at the Farmer’s Market. The program encourages seniors to supplement their diet with healthy nutrition food, gets them out in the fresh air and visit among friends and neighbors. Each coupon is worth $2. Seniors can receive up to $50 worth of coupons at participating Vendors. This programs benefits seniors by enabling them to purchase fresh produce.
How Do I sign up?
You must be 60 or older and meet the income guidelines 185% FPL ($1926 or less per month)
Contact the Southwest Montana Aging and Disability Services for the short SFMNP application and upon approval, collect your coupon booklets.
Look for Participating Vendors signs where you can spend your coupons
Proxys can be used for seniors with mobility or health issues.
The Program will run from June 1, 2020 through October 16, 2020. SWMADS is currently contacting individuals who participated in 2019 and then will be putting out information to other potential eligible participants in Silver Bow and Deer Lodge County. Participating vendors will be available at the Butte Farmers Market and Anaconda Farmers Market.
SMP Care Share
Special Coverage of COVID-19 and Related Fraud
MT SMP would like to make you aware of possible scams, as well as what to do if you are on the receiving end of them. In Montana, reports include calls to send test kits, gloves and a mask, as well as calls for a pill to keep from getting COVID-19. We have had seniors called about their stimulus checks, and even one telling the woman how desperately they needed her financial help to make test kits. In addition, the ACL has become aware of a scam, via text messages, that purport to offer funds related to an Aging Empowerment Program. The scam may offer $150,000.
These text messages and calls are scams and the sender is trying to get your personal information. Do not respond to these scams no matter whose name is attached to the text.
FTC Guidance: Scammers are taking advantage of fears surrounding COVID-19.
Hang up on robocalls. Don’t press any numbers. Scammers are using illegal robocalls to pitch everything from scam Coronavirus treatments to work-at-home schemes.
Don’t respond to texts and emails about checks from the government. The details are still being worked out. Anyone who tells you they can get you the money now is a scammer.
Don’t click on links from sources you don’t know. They could download viruses onto your computer or device.
For the most up-to-date information about the Coronavirus, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO). Ignore online offers for vaccinations and home test kits. Scammers are trying to get you to buy products that aren’t proven to treat or prevent the Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) — online or in stores. At this time, there also are no FDA-authorized home test kits for the Coronavirus. Visit the FDA to learn more.
Do your homework when it comes to donations, whether through charities or crowdfunding sites. Don’t let anyone rush you into making a donation. If someone wants donations in cash, by gift card, or by wiring money, don’t do it.
Investor Alert: Look Out for Coronavirus-Related Investment Scams
Visit ftc.gov/coronavirus for updates and subscribe to get alerts for consumers and businesses about the latest scams.
Report COVID-19 Scams to your SMP office by calling 1-800-551-3191. Please have as many details as you can when you make the report.
Don’t click links in unsolicited text messages
by Rosario Méndez
Attorney, Division of Consumer and Business Education, FTC
You might be seeing text messages promising money – maybe the economic impact payments, loans for small businesses, or an offer for money you can get. In fact, I recently saw a WhatsApp text message in Spanish that advertised money for people quarantined at home. If you’ve spotted messages like this, I hope you’ve also deleted them. These text messages going around could lead you to a scam or a hacker, but not to anything helpful.
It’s important to remember that scammers will go to any length to make their message seem real. This particular text had the logo of the Executive Office of the President of the U.S. – a typical scammer tactic to make a message look affiliated with the government. It also had a list of people who could supposedly apply for the government grant – basically anyone – and had misspellings and cut off sentences.
Now, not all scammers have bad grammar or spelling – but it’s a good tip-off to a scam when you see them. Also, when it comes to economic impact payments and other pandemic recovery help, the government is not reaching out via text, phone, email, or messages to your social media. If you spot one: pretty likely it’s a scam.
So, if you get text messages claiming to be related to the government’s help for people affected by the Coronavirus:
Do not click on any links. Clicking could expose you to scams, download malware, or get your phone number added to lists that are then sold to other bad actors.
Delete those text messages immediately.
If you have questions about the federal government’s economic impact payment, go to irs.gov/coronavirus.
Not every COVID-19 testing site is legit
by Ari Lazarus
Consumer Education Specialist, FTC
You probably know that COVID-19 tests are in short supply. But did you know there’s no shortage of scammers setting up fake COVID-19 testing sites to cash in on the crisis?
The fake sites can look real, with legitimate-looking signs, tents, hazmat suits, and realistic-looking tests. And the damage these fake testing sites can cause is very real. They aren’t following sanitation protocols, so they can spread the virus. They’re taking people’s personal information, including Social Security numbers, credit card information, and other health information – all of which can be used for identity theft and to run up your credit card bill. Worst of all, they’re not giving people the help they need to stay healthy. In other words, these testing sites are bad news.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when looking into testing sites.
If you think you should get tested, ask your doctor. Some people with COVID-19 have mild illness and are able to recover at home without medical care. They may not need to be tested, according to the CDC. Not sure if you need to get tested? Try the CDC’s self-checker.
Get a referral. Testing sites are showing up in parking lots and other places you wouldn’t expect to get a lab test. Some of these are legit – and some are not. The best way to know is to go somewhere you have been referred to by your doctor or state or local health department’s website. In other words, don’t trust a random testing site you see on the side of the road.
Not sure if a site is legit? Check with your local police or sheriff’s office. If a legitimate testing site has been set up, they should know about it. And, if a fake testing site is operating, they’ll want to know.
Spotted a fake COVID-19 testing site or received a suspicious text? We want to hear about it. Report it at ftc.gov/complaint.