Benefits and Advocacy LogoThe Benefits & Advocacy SOS Program has three important program components that assist our community seniors, persons with disabilities and their caregivers make informed choices regarding their social service, health care, and long term care needs. The program provides quality and unbiased information on various federal, state and local benefits, entitlements and insurance programs. The program also specializes in long term care (LTC) advocacy which include awareness of LTC resident rights, quality care, and detection of Medicare/Medicaid fraud and abuse. PGCSC’s Benefits program is part of the State of Arizona DES Division of Aging & Adult Services, SHIP/SMP programs.

All SOS Volunteer Programs are unique and offer a great deal of service to the community and older adults. Volunteers of the SOS programs report that they feel a sense of contribution in the lives of older adults, caregivers, and families.

Whether your choice for volunteering is working with benefits counseling through the State Health Insurance Program (SHIP) or helping every day consumers fight against health care fraud and abuse through the Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP), or by advocating to improve the quality of life and the quality of care of residents in long term care facilities. As an Ombuds-man Volunteer; the SOS Volunteer Programs are here to help YOU!

SOS Volunteer Requirements

  • Must fill out agency application and list 3 references
  • Finger print card and DES registry clearance (agency paid)
  • A maximum commitment of 4 hours per week with flexible volunteer hours
  • Confidentiality requirements
  • Conflict of Interest Screen
  • Core specialty and certification training
  • Monthly reporting requirements
  • Update and refresher training

Volunteer Benefits and Support

  • Mileage reimbursement pay for travel and meals
  • Educational and personal identification for volunteer designation
  • Yearlong recognition and guidance
  • Annual recognition event
  • Area agency on aging and regional sponsored conferences
  • Volunteer mentoring
  • Educating and empowering others
  • Problem resolution and advocacy
  • Fulfillment and joy of helping others

medical-patrolThe Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) Program is designed to involve retired professionals as volunteers in the education of their peers, in safeguarding the Medicare and Medicaid programs. The Program grew from the development and success of the Operation Restore Trust launched in 1995 under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)

SHIPThe State Health Insurance Assistance program, or SHIP, provides free objective information about insurance and benefits. The program assists community members with Medicare, supplemental claims information, appeals and resolving problems.

SHIP LogoA free health benefits counseling program for Medicare beneficiaries and families or caregivers. Our mission is to educate, advocate, counsel and empower people to make informed benefits decisions. SHIP is an independent program developed by federal agencies and is not affiliated with the insurance industry. The program is a partnership of the Department of Economic Security Division of Aging and Adult Services and the Area Agencies on Aging.

SHIP Volunteer Counselors are trained and certified to offer confidential one-on-one assistance. They do not sell, recommend or endorse any specific insurance product, agent, or insurance company.

     SHIP Volunteer Specialists can help with:

  • Medicaid (AHCCCS) eligibility, benefits and claim filing
  • Medicare Part D (Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage)
  • Long Term Care Insurance Information
  • Medicare Secondary Payor
  • Other types of health benefits
  • Medigap Insurance
  • Medicare Advantage Plan options and Enrollment
  • Medicare Cost Sharing program (SMB, SLMB, QI1) and other dual eligible enrollment
  • Medicare/Medicaid Fraud, Waste and Abuse
  • Information regarding Medicare Costs and Deductibles
  • “Extra Help” programs designed to assist with out-of-pocket costs
  • Information & assistance for Social Security programs- Low Income Subsidy (LIS), SSI and SSDI

Ombudsman VolunteersThe Long Term Care Ombudsman Program helps to improve the quality of life and the quality of care of residents living in long term care facilities. Routine visits are made to facilities to monitor conditions and address residents’ complaints.