Seniors have been hit hard over the last three years between spiraling
real estate values and communities trying to offset the Governors
cuts in local aid with tax increases. We recently passed a provision in
the state budget, which I co-sponsored, that will help relieve senior
citizens from these rising costs. The initiative allows cities and towns
to implement an exemption amounting to 5% of the communitys average
residential property value in computing the tax bill for eligible residents.
Senior citizens 70 years of age or older are eligible if they have been
a state resident for the last ten years, have owned and occupied the principal
residence for the last five years, and are living on limited income. Towns
may also raise the tax exemption to 20% and lower the age and residency
requirements at their own discretion.
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. Over 80,000 older and disabled residents
have enrolled in the program. This year the legislature has created a
budget proposal which adds $5 million dollars to the Prescription Advantage
Program to lower co-payments on medicines in addition to the $14 million
increase in overall funding to expand membership in the program. Prescription
Advantage is open to all Massachusetts residents age sixty five and older
and low-income residents with disabilities. If you are not already enrolled
in Prescription Advantage there will be an open enrollment period from
September 1 through September 30. Applications for Prescription Advantage
will be available in mid-July and can be found at www.800ageinfo.com or
be calling (800) 243-4636. If you need more information on the Prescription
Advantage program, please do not hesitate to call my office at (617) 722-1643.
FRAUD: PROTECTING YOURSELF
I have received several messages from senior citizens who have been troubled
with fraud. The Massachusetts Office of Elderly Affairs offers the following
suggestions to help you protect yourself from scams. Remember that Prescription
Advantage, Mass Health, or other programs will never contact you to collect
personal information via telephone they will only send written,
official letters to collect confidential information such as Social Security
and Medicare numbers, bank checking account numbers, or other personal
information. Also, do not give out personal information in person if you
have not scheduled an appointment, many scam artists target seniors by
going door to door. These reminders will help you to stay protected from
scams, but if you do find yourself a victim of fraud I encourage you to
contact Massachusetts Attorney General Thomas F. Reilly (617-727-2200).
If you encounter benefits related scams, you are recommended to contact
the Executive Office of Elderly Affairs at 1-800-243-4636. If you encounter
a Medicare related scam contact 1-800 MEDICARE. You are also encouraged
to file a complaint with the federal government at 1-877-382-4357.
FRAUD: GOVERNMENT PROTECTION
As you work to keep yourself protected from fraud at home, the State Legislature
is working to strengthen fraud laws in the Commonwealth. On Beacon Hill,
my colleagues in the Senate and myself are working to pass legislation
that would help protect constituents from fraudulent charities. The new
legislation makes it a crime to pose as a non-profit organization with
the intent of defrauding people. With this legislation the citizens of
Massachusetts will be able to be confident that their charitable donations
will reach the proper recipient.
SENIOR MEALS PROGRAMS
Are you having trouble cooking and preparing food? Or are you looking
for someone to share a conversation with over a meal? The Executive Office
of Elder Affairs Elders Meal Program is created to fill both of these
needs. The congregate meals program offers one meal a day at either a
senior center, church, or school in your area. Along with free meals the
congregate meals program offers an opportunity for socialization and programs
related to nutrition education, exercise activities, and health promotion.
Transportation is available to congregate meals sites, and residents age
sixty or older and their spouses are eligible. The meals are free, and
the meals contain one third of the daily recommended allowance of nutrients.
Seniors who are physically unable to attend congregate meals sites are
offered home delivered meals. If you believe you are eligible and are
interested in enrolling in either program, 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.
This past Memorial Day, the National World War II Memorial opened in Washington,
D.C. The Memorial is in tribute to the men and women who selflessly dedicated
themselves to defending our country when their service was needed most.
Massachusetts offers several benefits for Veterans including tax breaks,
education opportunities, and medical assistance. The Massachusetts Senate
has also recently passed legislation that would expanding State Veterans
Benefits to men and women who have not previously been eligible. Those
now eligible include Merchant Marines serving between 1941 and 1946 and
men and women who served during peacetime including the years between
1946 and 1950. If you would like more information on these services you
can contact my office at (617) 722-1643 or contact the Department of Veterans
Services at (800) 827-1000. 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 Spring
SENATOR BRIAN A. JOYCE
State House, Room 413-A, Boston, Massachusetts 02133
Tel. 617-722-1643 Fax 617-722-1522 E-mail: [email protected]