A unique, local program that helps Savannah River Site retirees gain access to their medical benefits has received national recognition.

The SRS Retiree Association’s Resource Center settled into its home at the Lower Savannah Council of Governments, or LSCOG, in September 2014. The center and the council have assisted in helping retirees, both from SRS and throughout the community, in getting their benefits, meeting appointments by offering transportation and various other services.

In response to their deeds, the Lower Savannah Council was awarded an Innovation Award by the National Association of Development Organizations for hosting and participating in the SRS Retiree Resource Center and for the unique partnership, according to the retiree group.

In addition, the SRS Retiree Association won an Outstanding Community Service Award from the Southeastern Association of Area Agencies on Aging for its part in the partnership. The group was recognized for its commitment ensuring that all SRS retirees take full advantage of the benefits provided by SRS under the health care stipend program.

Retiree Resource Manager Laureen Fineman expressed gratitude for the awards, noting that the partnership between the Lower Savannah Council and Retiree Association have produced a benefit for SRS retirees that is unique in the Department of Energy complex.

Since opening in November 2014, the SRS Retirees Association’s Resource Center assisted more than 700 retirees to obtain more than $400,000 in benefits they would otherwise not have been able to access. During this year’s Medicare sign-up period, the Center helped SRS retirees save more than $146,000 by helping them to select the drug plan best suited to their needs.

The Resource Center has also introduced Medicare and the decisions it requires to more than 100 retirees who attained age 65 during the year.

“The great thing about this partnership is that we all have the same goal in mind,” Feinman previously said. “We want to help our seniors as much as we can and we know helping them find cheaper options to get what they need is a great service.”

Derrek Asberry is the SRS beat reporter for the Aiken Standard and has been with the paper since June 2013. He is originally from Vidalia, Ga., and a graduate of Georgia Southern University. Follow him on Twitter @DerrekAsberry.