Monday, October 20, 2008

"not 'welfare' - it is an entitlement"

Posted Oct 20, 2008 @ 12:41 AM
Last update Oct 20, 2008 @ 12:44 AM

Worried about seniors living paycheck to paycheck this winter, area senior center directors say they are making an all-out effort to help them.

Now, more than ever, it is crucial that struggling seniors take advantage of programs they are entitled to, said Bellingham Outreach Coordinator Sheila Ronkin: tax abatements, fuel and food assistance, and circuit breakers.

"It was very important before the economy fell apart, but now, some of these folks live really threadbare lives. Without some help, they're not going to have enough heat or food. Even folks more well-heeled may not be able to buy Christmas presents or birthday presents for their loved ones," said Franklin Senior Center Director Karen Alves.

Many seniors don't realize they qualify for tax credits or other assistance, so they don't even bother to apply, Alves said. But that is a mistake.

Through the state's circuit breaker program, seniors can get up to $900 a year in real estate tax abatements if they pay more than 10 percent of their gross income in taxes, and that includes water and sewer fees, Alves said.

So if a senior makes $30,000 a year, pays $3,000 in real estate tax, plus $500 for water and sewer ($3,500 in taxes), they can get $500 back from the state, she said.

Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here

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