TIRED OF TELEMARKETERS?
The "Do Not Call" registry is now operational and over a million
individuals have already registered. Run by the Office of Consumer Affairs
and Business Regulation, the legislature unanimously passed An Act Regulating
Telemarketing Solicitation to protect you from the torment of telemarketers.
You can sign up to add your name to the "Do Not Call" list in
order to control the number of telemarketers who call you at home. The
list is free to join. To sign up, log on to http://www.Mass.gov/DoNotCall
or call the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulations toll-free
at (888) 283-3757.
SENIOR TAX REBATE
On November 18, 2002, I filed An Act Relative to Property Tax Rebates
for Senior Citizens, to ease the living expenses for seniors on fixed
incomes and mounting local property tax payments. Under the legislation,
cities and towns will have the option to rebate up to $750 in property
tax payments to
all eligible seniors. You would be eligible for the tax rebate if you
have an income below the level that is required for filing Massachusetts
income taxes or if you qualify for the state's circuit breaker tax credit.
The bill was heard by the Taxation Committee in early April.
As prescription drug costs continue to skyrocket, you may find yourself
depending on the Prescription Advantage program to help you obtain the
crucial medication you need. While Governor Romney's budget plan eliminated
funding for this program. The legislature restored funding in full in
state budget, re-opening enrollment and preserving the integrity of the
program-a lifeline for over 80,000 older and disabled residents. If you
need more information on the Prescription Advantage program, please do
not hesitate to call my office at (617) 722-1643.
Providing quality care for society's most vulnerable is one of my priorities.
The Senate budget takes steps to maintain fair admissions criteria to
nursing homes, keep the current bed-hold policy of 20 days, and
protect the "resource first" allowance for spouses of nursing
home residents. I also filed an amendment to study the need to provide
kosher food services in nursing homes, ensuring that the religious traditions
seniors are honored. In addition, I have also sponsored an amendment providing
funding for adult day care programs to protect seniors with Alzheimer's
HOME CARE PROGRAMS
I have always been an advocate for home care programs. Home care is a
cost-efficient option that allows seniors to remain connected to their
communities. I was proud to be a leading sponsor of the bill establishing
the Community Choices program, which provides services to seniors enabling
them to receive care at home. The Community Choices program is not only
fiscally responsible, it allows seniors to stay in the comfort and dignity
of their own homes. I am pleased that the legislature provided $9.2 million
to fund this important program. If you believe you are eligible and are
interested in enrolling, contact your Aging Service Access Point. In Braintree,
Milton, and Randolph, call South Shore Elder Services, Inc. at (781) 848-3910;
in Canton and Sharon, please call Health and Social Services Consortium
(HESSCO) at (781) 784-4944; and in Avon, E. Bridgewater, Easton,
Stoughton, and W. Bridgewater, please call Old Colony Elderly Services,
Inc. at (508) 584-1561 or Old Colony Planning Council at (508) 583-1833.
NEW LAWS REGARDING GIFT CARDS
During this time of graduations and present giving, it is nice to know
that you, the consumer, are now protected more than ever when it comes
to purchasing gift certificates and gift cards. As of June 1, 2003 several
new and improved laws are in effect in regards to these prepaid gifts.
Rather than an expiration life of two years, all gift certificates in
Massachusetts are now valid for seven years. Also, gift certificates not
clearly marked with both a date of issuance and a date of expiration are
Finally, once 90% of the total amount has been redeemed, the merchant
must give you the option of receiving the rest in cash or maintaining
the remaining balance on the gift certificate. If you are denied any of
the above changes, please contact my office at (617) 722-1643 and I will
make sure it is corrected.
Having trouble getting around? There are many options available to you
right in your own community. A good place to start is your own town's
Council on Aging. Many have vans available free of charge or for a small
suggested donation to all elders traveling locally. For medical transportation
into Boston, Basic Transportation will pick you up at your home and wait
in Boston until you are ready to be brought home again. For around $50,
Basic Transportation will you privately transport you to and from your
appointments. For more information or to make a reservation, call (508)
238-8100. If you prefer public transportation the MBTA offers great senior
discounts and THE RIDE is available to all seniors who are unable to use
the MBTA busses and trains because of physical or mental disabilities.
THE RIDE is available in 62 cities and towns including Braintree, Canton,
Milton, Randolph, and Sharon. For more information or to make a reservation
for THE RIDE, call (888) 319-7433. To get more information on all MBTA
senior reduced fares, call (617) 222-5438 or visit their website at http://www.MBTA.com.
KEYNOTE SPEAKER AT UMASS
Finally, I was honored to have be asked to be a keynote speaker at the
June 4, 2003 gathering of the Gerontology Alumni Association at UMASS
Boston. I gave an update to the group on fiscal affairs of the state and
I discussed some of the issues concerning seniors. The Gerontology Institution
Boston, established in 1979, focuses on conducting social and economic
research in relation to aging and provides public education on issues
associated with expanding opportunities for older people to make productive
contributions in aging services. If you are interested in obtaining more
information about the Gerontology Institution at UMASS Boston, please
call (617) 287-7300, or feel free to contact my office at (617) 722-1643.
Thank you for allowing me to work for you.
Questions or concerns? Please contact me at my office at (617)
my home at (617) 696-0200, or by email at [email protected]
Thank you for allowing me to work for you.
Newsletter Archive: No. 1
No. 2 No.3
SENATOR BRIAN A. JOYCE
State House, Room 413-A, Boston, Massachusetts 02133
Tel. 617-722-1643 Fax 617-722-1522 E-mail: [email protected]