Elder Benefit Specialist

The Wisconsin Legislature created the Elder Benefit Specialist (EBS) Program in the late 1970s as a unique way to provide legal advocacy services to older residents of the state. The EBS program is funded with a combination of local, state, and federal funds.

At least one Elder Benefit Specialist (EBS) serves every Wisconsin county and tribe. EBSs provide free legal services and advocacy to residents who are at least 60 years old. Their services are specifically targeted to rural, low-income, and minority older populations who have not traditionally had access to legal assistance.

General Program Areas

EBSs receive in-depth, ongoing training in the following areas:

Specific Program Services

Within these general program areas, EBSs engage in a wide variety of services including:

Providing information about eligibility criteria; Helping with applications for a wide range of public benefits; Appealing application denials, terminations, or reductions in benefits; Seeking initial reviews of agency decisions; and advocating at administrative appeals level.

Elder Benefit Services Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ's)

There is no charge for services from the Elder Benefits Specialist

Do I have to repay a Social Security or SSI overpayment if it was not my fault?

Will Medicare or Medical Assistance cover my nursing home stay?

How will I pay all of my medical bills?

What is the difference between a Medicare Advantage Plan and Medicare Supplement?

What public benefits might I be eligible for?

What is Wisconsin’s Senior Care Program?  Is it a good option for me?

I can’t afford my medications. Are there any programs to help?

I am turning 65 and plan to work for a few more years. Do I need to enroll in Medicare?

I see Medicare plans being advertised on TV. What are pros and cons of these plans?

Medicare denied my claim for a certain service or procedure. Can anything be done?

Medicare, Part A, B,& D

Medicare Supplemental Insurance/Medicare Health Plans

Medicare Savings Programs

Medical Assistance Programs

Food Share Program

Over-payments of Benefits

Health Insurance Appeals


EBSs as Advocates

The purpose of Wisconsin’s EBS program is to provide broad access to public benefits and legal rights to older persons throughout the state.  An EBS’s most important role is as an advocate for older people. In this role, the EBS owes his or her entire devotion to the interests of the client. EBSs strive to promote and preserve the autonomy, dignity, independence and financial security of clients.

Referrals can also be made to resources outside the Benefit Specialist Program areas of expertise.

Confidentiality will be maintained. The confidentiality standards for Wisconsin Benefit Specialist Program are derived from two primary sources—the Older American Act (OAA) and the Wisconsin Supreme Courts Rules of Professional Responsibility.

There is no charge for the services but persons assisted by the program are encouraged to make a donation. All donated funds will be used to expand the Benefit Specialist Program. Call 1-866-578-2372 for Benefit Specialist Services