The Information Age has made instant access to an unlimited universe of information available to anyone with a computer with an internet connection. But too much information can often be as useless as no information at all! I’m recalling the roll out of Medicare Part D. The barrage of options was overwhelming even to the most detailed-oriented person!

If you are a regular reader of Generations, you probably have a good sense of what programs are available to seniors in Westchester but you may not know exactly who to contact for more information. That’s why I wanted to bring a great resource to your attention. It’s a publication entitled “2008 Financial Benefits & Savings Guide for Senior Citizens in Westchester County” prepared by the county’s Department of Senior Programs and Services. The 14-page booklet is a one-stop digest of all the money-saving programs and services available in the county for residents age 60 or older.

Twenty Programs That Can Save You Money
In the publication, you’ll find a brief overview of 20 different cost-savings programs. In addition to a straightforward explanation of the benefits, you’ll quickly learn eligibility requirements for each program.  In addition, you’ll find contact information for the agency administering the program. While you’ll find information on the major, more commonly-known programs like Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, SSI, Food Stamps and Veterans’ benefits, I list below some of the other worthwhile, cost-savings programs that may not be as familiar to you.

  • Tax savings: Seniors 65+ can fill out one application to get city, county and school tax reductions.
  • Case Management: A professional case manager conducts a free, home visit to assess the needs of asenior seeking care at home. The case manager will discuss the eligibility guidelines for government assistance programs, a safe plan of care and how toobtain other services and benefits.
  • Circuit Breaker: Home Owner/Rent Rebates: Provides tax credits or cash payment of up to $375 to eligible homeowners and renters
  • EPIC: Prescription Discounts Age 65+: A New York State sponsored program that provides average savings of 75% off the costs of most prescription drugs. All eligible seniors joining EPIC must also enroll in Medicare Part D. EPIC works with your Medicare Drug Plan for greatest savings.
  • HEAP: Savings on Heat/Utility Bills:Provides (NOV- APRIL) one-time credit toward the payment of utility or heating costs. An additional grant may be awarded for emergencies & shut offs.
  • Minor Home Repair Program: Provides eligible seniors or disabled homeowners with free minor repair of items that can improve energy savings.
  • Real Property Tax Exemption: Up to 50% reduction of the assessed value of residential property owned byseniors age 65 and over.
  • Reverse Mortgage: A program enabling you to convert a part of your home’s increased equity into tax-free income. Select monthly cash amounts or lump sum, the choice is yours. Repayment due only when the property is no longer your principal residence.
  • Weatherization:  This program helps eligible seniors and disabled homeowners make their home energy efficient.Weather stripping, caulking, window and door repairs, repair to heating systems, insulation, etc. can be done at no cost by a reputable contractor.
  • A needs assessment and energy audit determines how much work will be done.
  • Westchester Rx: Drug Discounts (Any Age): Provides savings on prescriptions for those with inadequate or no insurance coverage. This discount drug card program can save you hundreds of dollars a year on prescriptions through participating pharmacies – now including CVS and Rite Aid. Savings are greatest through a Canadian pharmacy option. NO ENROLLMENT FEE.

If you would like a copy of the publication mailed to you, please let me know by calling my office at 914 995-2827.

To learn the latest information about services in your community, you can contact the Department of Senior Programs & Services directly at (914) 813-6300.