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Senior Citizens, There Is Money For You!
Local council on aging is a place to start
Living on a fixed income can be very challenging. You had a flexible working plan when you retired, but the cost of living has put a genuine strain on your budget. There is some help and I hope to give you some direction to find a small amount of assistance. Remember, every little bit helps.
First is the ‘Senior Tax Work Off Program.’ You are required to work at a town or city facility for about 94 hours per year. You may work as a greeter, giving directions, a file clerk, stuffing envelopes, or shredding papers. You will receive training for whatever job they may want you to complete. This is also a great way to meet people and do some socializing. For your time you will receive up to $750.00 off your real estate tax bill. The amounts vary as to the number of people living in the household and the income you are receiving. Check with your local city or town hall or call the council on aging for further information.
Your local council on aging has other programs that you should check into, for example fuel assistance. The fuel assistance program is a great help for those living in colder regions. Again the amount of money you would receive depends on the number of people living in the home and the amount of income you are receiving. The money is deposited directly into your energy providers’ account.
Each program has a separate form that you must complete. There are several volunteers who are able to assist you in completing the applications. Be sure to make a form out every year. It is not automatic once you are receiving assistance.
Help with insurance
SHINE is another program you should look into. Serving Health Insurance Needs for the Elderly is a state health insurance assistance program that gives free health insurance information to Massachusetts residents. Volunteers go to local towns on scheduled days to consult people on Medicare and caregivers with their concerns. Check your individual states to see what service they may provide.
Home Repair can be included
Do you need repairs to your home? A government program, Home Improvement & Repair Loans and Grants, may be just the help you’re looking for. The government has set up a program of loans and grants to assist people with repairs, improvement or just to modernize your home. First you must live in a small town with a population of 20,000 or less. Second you must be in a very low income range; for one person 25,600 up to 4 people at 36,600. And you must own and live in the dwelling. Loans are given at 1% annual interest rate. Grants are given up to $7,500 and do not have to be paid back.
The grants and loans can also be used to remove health and safety hazards. To learn more, check the web site, http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/MAHome.html. This program is available in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island.
The government provides a wonderful web site to help you locate other programs that will stretch your income. The site is http://www.benefits.gov/benefits/benefit-finder#benefits&qc=cat_1 There are over twenty types of benefits listed like health care, housing, tax assistance, military-active & veterans, disability assistance, and energy assistance. You must answer a few questions. Easy questions, your birthdate, the location you are living at, your annual income and then they list the programs you are eligible to receive. You read and pick what is best for you or whoever you are researching for.
Towns, cities, local, state and federal governments have several programs to help senior or disabled citizens to stretch their fixed income. These programs are available for many citizens. Yes, there are requirements and forms to complete but it could put money in your pockets. You have worked years to enjoy your retirement and in those years you paid for others, now it is your time. Check it out!