Privacy Policy

This Privacy Policy discloses the privacy practices for www.benefitscheckup.org, a website of the National Council on Aging (the “Web Site”).

About this Privacy Policy and Using the Web Site

The National Council on Aging (“NCOA”, “we” or “us’”), created this Privacy Policy in support of our commitment to the user’s online privacy. This Privacy Policy discloses our information-gathering and disclosure practices for the Web Site. For an explanation of capitalized terms used in this Privacy Policy, please refer to the definitions at the end.

We will inform you of the following in this Privacy Policy:

  • What Personal Information of yours we collect;
  • How the information is used;
  • With whom the information may be shared;
  • What choices are available to you regarding collection of the information;
  • What kind of security procedures are in place to protect against loss or unauthorized disclosure of information under our control; and
  • How you can correct any inaccuracies in the information.

Please take the time to read and understand this Privacy Policy so that you can understand how we use your personal information.

If you do not agree with these terms, please do not use the Web Site.

About this Privacy Policy and Using the Web Site

The purpose of the Web Site is to provide information and resources, including resources concerning access to benefits and programs, to the aging community in the United States.

While you may use features of the Web Site without providing Personal Information about yourself (i.e. information that can directly identify you or indicate where you might be contacted), certain tools and services on the Web Site require that you complete forms and provide certain Personal Information. Depending on the Web Site features you choose to use, we may also collect information about your health in combination with other Personal Information about you. You are responsible for ensuring the accuracy of the Personal Information you submit. Inaccurate information will affect the information you receive when using the Web Site and our ability to contact you as described in this Privacy Policy.

Applicability of Privacy Policy

NCOA values and respects your trust and believe you have a right to know about how we collect and secure information we collect about you on the Web Site. This Privacy Policy applies to this Web Site only. The Web Site may contain links to other web sites. Once you enter another web site (whether through a service or content link), be aware that NCOA is not responsible for the privacy practices of those other web sites. NCOA does not endorse and is not responsible for the privacy practices of these sites.

We encourage you to look for and review the privacy statements of each and every web site that you visit through a link on NCOA’s Web Site, including those sponsored by NCOA.

What Information is Collected and How Is It Used or Disclosed?

Non-Personal Information We Collect About You

We collect non-personal information about your use of the Web Site, including the geographic location in which you live or work. NCOA collects non-personal information to determine the potential eligibility for benefits, to conduct research to determine the effectiveness of the services offered on the Web Site and availability of benefits or programs, to assist in improving the service offerings offered on the Web Site and for advocacy purposes.

Cookies

We may collect non-personal information about your use of the Web Site and your use of the web sites of selected sponsors through the use of cookies. Cookies are text files placed on your hard disk by our web server to store your preferences. Cookies, by themselves, do not tell us your e-mail address or other Personal Information unless you choose to provide this information to us. However, once you choose to provide the Personal Information, this information may be linked to the data stored in the cookie. Cookies cannot be used to run programs or deliver viruses to your computer.

The information collected by cookies may be used for the following purposes: (i) to help us generate content on web pages or in newsletters and make improvements to the Web Site, (ii) to allow us to statistically monitor how many people are using the Web Site and selected sites to which the Web Site links, (iii) to allow us to monitor how often different functions of the website are used, and (iv) to help us determine for what purposes these actions are being taken. We may use cookie information to target certain communications to your browser or to determine the popularity of certain content or links. Cookies may also be used as navigation aids.

Most browser software can be set to reject all cookies. If you reject our cookies, certain of the functions and conveniences of the Web Site may not work properly but you do not have to accept our cookies in order to productively use the Web Site.

Clickstream Data

As you use the Internet, a trail of electronic information is left at each web site you visit. This information, which is sometimes referred to as “clickstream data”, can be collected and stored by a web site’s server. Clickstream data can tell us the type of computer and browsing software you use and the address of the web site from which you linked to the Web Site. We may use clickstream data as a form of non-personal information to anonymously determine how much time visitors spend on each page of the Web Site, how visitors navigate throughout the Web Site and how we may tailor our web pages in the future to better meet the needs of visitors. This information will only be used to improve our Web Site. Any collection or use of clickstream data will be anonymous and aggregate.

Personal Information We Collect About You

Certain features of the Web Site may collect Personal Information from you through several types of electronic transactions, including registering with the Web Site, providing responses to questionnaires seeking information regarding your eligibility for  certain benefits to which you may be entitled, registering for our newsletter or receipt of other informational or educational materials, participating in online registration and surveys, and participating in discussion boards, advocacy alerts and social media.  If you use these features of the Web Site, NCOA may collect your name, email address and, at your option, your zip code.

One optional feature of the Web Site allows qualifying Medicare recipients to apply for a low income subsidy (“LIS”), also known as “Extra Help” from the Social Security Administration to get assistance in paying prescription drug costs.  If you apply for LIS using the Web Site, we will collect personal information from you which is required by the Social Security Administration to complete your LIS application, including your name, date of birth, social security number, mailing address, phone number and certain income information.  NCOA discloses the Personal Information you provide in connection with applying for LIS to the Social Security Administration in order to assist you to complete your application for these benefits.  In addition, NCOA’s third party service providers may have access to this Personal Information in providing services to NCOA, such as hosting the Web Site.

NCOA also monitors how many of these applications result in the receipt of benefits by our users and we report this information to our grantors and other third parties such as advocacy groups.  NCOA does not disclose your Personal Information in connection with these efforts.

Applying for LIS using the Web Site is entirely voluntary.  If you do not wish to disclose your Personal Information in this manner, do not apply for LIS using the Web Site.  You can apply for LIS directly with the Social Security Administration, either online at www.socialsecurity.gov/extrahelp, or by calling Social Security and requesting an application be mailed to you or applying over the phone; or by applying in person at your local Social Security office.

Disclosure of Your Information

Except as set forth in this Privacy Policy or as specifically agreed to by you, NCOA will not disclose any Personal Information it collects from you on the Web Site. NCOA may disclose Personal Information: (1) to comply with valid legal requirements such as a law, regulation, subpoena or court order; (2) to certain advocacy partners and third parties such as governmental agencies to determine your eligibility for certain benefits; (3) to third parties in a de-identified manner to provide benchmarking and analysis of benefits and programs and to improve the Web Site and NCOA’s service offerings to the aging community; or (4) with your consent. In the event that we are legally compelled to disclose your Personal Information to a third party, we will attempt to notify you unless doing so would violate the law or court order.

Aggregate Information

NCOA may combine, in a manner that does not identify you individually, the Personal Information you provide with information from other users to create aggregate, de-identified data that may be disclosed freely to third parties and used by NCOA for any lawful purpose. Aggregate data does not contain any personal identifiers that could be used to contact or identify you, such as name or email address.

NCOA may disclose this aggregate, de-identified information to our advocacy partners and members of our aging network in order for NCOA and these parties to conduct advocacy activities on behalf of older adults and to improve service offerings for older adults. NCOA and its advocacy partners may use and disclose non-personal, de-identified information to government officials and representatives in order to conduct advocacy activities on behalf of older adults, to assess the effectiveness of existing services and programs and to improve our service offerings to the aging community.

Voluntary Disclosures

The Web Site contains links to online public discussion forms. If you chose to share your Personal Information in such discussion forums, your information will be open to the public and should not be considered private. Whenever you voluntarily disclose Personal Information on the Web Site (such as on discussion forums, political commentary, and email), that information may be collected and used by others. By posting Personal Information online, you make that information accessible to the public. You may receive unsolicited messages from third parties in response to these posts. NCOA has no control over, and no responsibility or liability for, these parties.

Sharing Personal Information is entirely voluntary. This Privacy Policy does not apply to content, business information, ideas, concepts or inventions that you send to NCOA by email or by use of the Web Site to access public forums or social media. If you want to keep content, business information, ideas, concepts or inventions private or proprietary, do not send them in an email to NCOA or post them in any public forum.

Third party Service Providers

NCOA operations and other third party contractors sometimes have limited access to your Personal Information in the course of providing products or services to NCOA. These contractors include vendors and suppliers that provide us with technology, services (such as web site hosting), and/or content related to operation and maintenance of the Web Site. Access to your Personal Information by these contractors is limited to the information reasonably necessary for the contractor to perform its function for NCOA. NCOA will also require that our third party contractors 1) protect the privacy of Personal Information consistent with this Privacy Policy, and 2) not use or disclose Personal Information for any purpose other than providing NCOA with products and services.

Linked Sites

NCOA may share information among sites that it owns or controls, and such information will be protected under the terms of this Privacy Policy.

The Web Site may contain links to other web sites operated by parties other than NCOA (“Third Party Web Sites”). These Third Party Web Sites have their own, independent, privacy and data collection practices. NCOA has no responsibility or liability for these Third Party Web Sites, their privacy policies or actions. NCOA does not endorse any Third Party Web Sites.

How NCOA Handles Privacy and Security

NCOA uses a variety of security measures designed to protect against loss, misuse, and alteration of the information under our control. The Web Site and database servers are hosted in a secured physical and network environment maintained by a third party hosting provider. Reasonable efforts are made to secure web servers, networks, host operating systems and databases against unauthorized access. We use a variety of security measures to protect Personal Information when stored or transmitted by NCOA, including Secure Socket Layer (SSL) Encryption. In order to take advantage of encryption, you must have an Internet browser that supports 128-bit Encryption.

Despite NCOA’s efforts to protect your Personal Information, there is always a risk that an unauthorized third party may find a way around our security systems or that transmissions of your information over the Internet will be intercepted. NCOA cannot ensure or warrant the security of any information you transmit over the Internet and you do so at your own risk.

Please remember that no security measures are foolproof; and NCOA cannot guarantee that information will be protected in all situations. We will make reasonable efforts to protect your Personal Information from unauthorized access.

Terms of Service

This Privacy Policy co-exists with our Terms of Service displayed on the Web Site, and together both policies govern your use of this Web Site. By accessing, browsing or using the Web Site you acknowledge that you have read, understand and agree to this Privacy Policy and our Terms of Service. We encourage you to familiarize yourself with both this Privacy Policy and our Terms of Service. The Web Site Terms of Service may be found as a link on the page where this Privacy Policy is posted. If you do not agree with these terms (including any revisions to them), please do not use the Web Site.

Changes to This Privacy Policy

We may change this Privacy Policy at any time by posting revisions to our Web Site. Your use of this Web Site means that you accept the terms of this Privacy Policy and your continued use after such changes are posted means that you accept the revised Privacy Policy.

Children

The Web Site is not designed to attract or be used by children under the age of 13. NCOA does not knowingly collect Personal Information from anyone under the age of 13, unless we first obtain permission from that child’s parent or legal guardian.

How to Contact Us

For more information about our privacy practices (including compliance with applicable law), or if you want to (1) delete your Personal Information from our systems, (2) update the Personal Information that you have provided to us, or (3) change your preferences with respect to marketing contacts or other activities, contact us by email at privacy@ncoa.org or write to us at 251 18th Street South, Suite 500, Arlington, VA 22202.

Definitions

“Encryption” means the translation of data into a secret code. Encryption is the most effective way to achieve data security. To read an encrypted file, you must have access to a secret key or password that enables you to decrypt it.

“Firewall” means a system designed to prevent unauthorized access to or from a public or private network. Firewalls can be implemented in both hardware and software, or a combination of both. Firewalls are frequently used to prevent unauthorized Internet users from accessing private portions of public networks. All messages entering or leaving the network pass through the Firewall, which examines each message and blocks those that do not meet the specified security criteria.

“Personal Information” means information that is identifiable to a particular individual. Examples of Personal Information include your name, likeness (such as in video or photographs), email address, demographic information, educational level, income and occupation. If other pieces of information are linked to Personal Information, they may also become Personal Information.

“Secure Sockets Layer” (SSL) means a security protocol for transmitting private information via the Internet. SSL works by using a private key to encrypt data that’s transferred over the SSL connection. URLs that utilize an SSL connection start with https: instead of http.

“Cookie” means a data file that is stored on the hard drive of the computer you use to view a web site. Cookies are placed by that site or by a third party with a presence on the site and are accessible only by the party or site that placed the Cookie (i.e. a Cookie placed on your computer by NCOA isn’t accessed by any other site you visit but a Cookie placed on your computer by an advertiser may be accessed by any site on which that same advertiser has a presence). Cookies can contain pieces of Personal Information. Cookies may be used to make the site easier to use. For example, if you check a box to ask that we store your user name on your computer so that you don’t have to enter it each time you visit the site, it’s stored in a Cookie on your computer.