A Brief History of Wisconsin Judicare’s Native American Elders Outreach Project (NAEOP)

The Native American Elders Outreach Project (NAEOP) began in March 1993 with a grant from the Wisconsin Department of Health and Social Services, Division of Community Services.  Over the last 20 years, one of the primary components of the project has been presentations to Native American elders at tribal nutrition sites.  These presentations have generally focused on health care and income maintenance programs.  Staff attorneys from Wisconsin Judicare visit meal sites and give brief updates on changes to Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, and Veterans Benefits that may affect Native American elders.  A staff attorney is then made available to meet with individual elders to answer legal questions and, in some cases, provide legal representation or a referral to another attorney.  Additional emphasis has also been put on attending tribal "fairs” and events that target the elderly or disabled population.  Our recent appearance at this year’s Indian Summer in Milwaukee was a great success in getting our program more widely known.

A portion of the NAEOP grant funds has also been used to create videos and booklets for Native American Elders.  In 1997, Wisconsin Judicare filmed a video entitled "Wisconsin Indian Elders - Health Care & Income Maintenance:  10 Common Questions & Answers” and produced a booklet entitled "Knowing Your Rights:  A Guide to Wisconsin Indian Elders’ Health Care & Income Maintenance Benefits,” which was distributed to tribal elders and aging unit directors.  More recently, the project helped fund the creation and distribution of the Wisconsin Native American Elders Resource Directory, which is updated annually.

Finally, the NAEOP organizes conferences and training sessions for elder advocates, tribal benefit specialists, county benefit specialists, and tribal healthcare advocates.  Topics discussed include the provision of services to Native American elders and the availability of public benefits that are unique to Native Americans.

All Native American elders in Wisconsin are eligible to participate in the project.  This project provides free outreach, information, and representation to Native American elders throughout Wisconsin on health and income maintenance topics including Medicare, Medical Assistance, Social Security, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and Veteran's Benefits.  There is no financial eligibility test.  For more information, contact Wisconsin Judicare at (800) 472-1638.

The information contained in this Directory is provided by Wisconsin Judicare pursuant to the Native American Elders Outreach Project using federal funds from a State Health Insurance Assistance Program Grant provided to the Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services by the Federal Health Care Financing Administration.