Money management programs are available to seniors who require assistance with managing their finances due to health-related changes in vision, memory and/or ambulation. Trained, insured volunteers generally provide these services. Free assistance is often available to low and moderate income individuals who meet criteria to qualify.
Springwell Money Management Program
(617-926-4100) offers Bill Payer service through which volunteers assist elders in developing monthly budgets, monitoring income and expenses, balancing checkbooks and paying bills. Elders always retain check signing authority.
Springwell also offers Representative Payee Service through which volunteers are appointed by the Social Security Administration for persons who are unable to manage their government check. These volunteers have legal authority to sign checks.
Hale Barnard Bill Payer Program (617-536-3726) offers representative payee service through which volunteers are appointed by the Social Security Administration for persons unable to manage their government check.
Income Tax Preparation
Brookline Council on Aging (617-730-2777) offers tax preparation service by AARP-trained volunteers at the Brookline Senior Center from February 1 to April 15. Appointments are required.
AARP Tax Aide Program (888-227-7669) Contact AARP to located sites outside the Brookline area that offer tax preparation assistance. In-home assistance may be available to certain homebound individuals who are unable to travel to an identified site.
Bentley Low Income Taxpayer Clinic (781-891-2083) provides free tax assistance around past tax issues. The Clinic's services do not provide assistance with filing current year returns. The services are provided by experienced Bentley College tax faculty and Bentley graduate students to low-income individuals who meet income eligibility guidelines.
Bentley Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) (781-891-2083) provides free IRS-sponsored tax preparation assistance. Services are provided by Bentley graduate and undergraduate students who have passed IRS VITA certification exam.
Community Tax Aid of Boston provides free tax preparation assistance in conjunction with income eligibility guidelines. Services are provided in conjunction with Northeastern University's College of Business Administration.
Emergency Financial Assistance
The Brookline Safety Net (617-277-5308) is the Brookline Community Foundation fund that provides temporary emergency assistance to Brookline residents in times of financial crisis. The program may be able to offer limited financial assistance such as food vouchers, help with rent or fuel bills, or with extraordinary expenses such as moving costs. Individuals must be referred by an agency or organization that can assess one's needs, such as a religious, educational or social service organization.
Edith Stewart Chase Foundation (781-893-5308; ) offers emergency financial assistance to members of the Retired Educators Association of Massachusetts who are confronting an economic crisis. Contact the Foundation directly for application.
SWAN Society in Boston, Inc. (617-536-7951) offers one-time emergency grants to elderly women (65 years of age or older) living within 25 miles of Boston. This organization may be able to offer limited financial assistance with rental payments, home repairs, utility expenses, medical expenses or other one-time specific needs. Individuals must be referred by a professional agency or organization, and an application is required.
Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LHEAP) offers financial assistance to low-income households to help cover a portion of winter heating bills. The amount of financial assistance is dependent upon household income. Applications and eligibility requirements can be obtained from Action for Boston Community Development (ABCD), 143 Harvard Avenue, Allston, MA 02134, 617-783-1485.
If you do not quality for fuel assistance through LHEAP, you may be eligible for more limited discounts on fuel through these agencies:
Good Neighbor Energy Fund (800-334-3047) is managed by the Salvation Army and assists any Massachusetts resident temporarily unable to afford heating costs due to recent financial hardship and is not eligible or over-income for state and federal fuel assistance programs. Applicants must meet program income guidelines to quality for assistance.
Citizens Energy Heat Assistance Program offers both a Citizens Energy Oil Heat program (877 563 4645) or Citizens Energy Distrigas Heat Assistance Program (866 427 9918). Eligible individuals will either receive a one-time, reduced cost oil delivery per heating season or a one-time $150 utility-bill credit per heating system for those who heat with natural gas. There are no strict income guidelines, but you will be asked to complete an application regarding your current hardship and inability to afford fuel. A copy of your gas/utility bill is also required.
You must also meet the following criteria:
- You are a resident of Massachusetts.
- You heat with oil or natural gas.
- You are not eligible for or have exhausted your fuel assistance benefit for the year.
- You have not received assistance from Citizens Energy during this heating season.
Massachusetts Energy Consumers Alliance (617-524-3950) offers a heating oil program through which you can save l0 to 30 cents/gallon on heating oil. You must be a member of Mass Energy to receive discounted prices. Annual membership dues are currently $10 if you are retired or on a fixed income. If you are eligible for fuel assistance, membership is free. Mass. Energy also has a limited Oil Bank to help low-income members who are without heat.
Heartwrap Program (800-632-8175) provides heating system repair and replacement services to low-income households. You must meet fuel assistance (LHEAP) guidelines to be eligible.
Comcast (800-266-2278) offers Brookline seniors (over 65) who are heads of household and who are receiving fuel assistance or Masshealth (Medicaid) a $2 per month discount on Comcast Digital Starter package. In order to apply, contact Comcast and request the Brookline Senior Discount Rate application.
RCN (877-726-2455) offers Brookline seniors (over age 65) who are heads of household and who are receiving SSI, Masshealth, Veteran's Services benefits or fuel assistance a $2 per month discount off their basic service.
NSTAR (800-566-2080) offers a discount rate (R2) to low income residents for electric service. To apply, contact NSTAR and request the discount rate application.
National Grid (800-322-3223) offers a discount rate (R2) for low-income Massachusetts residents. To apply, contact National Grid and request the discount rate application.)
Verizon (800-870-9999) has two discount programs for low-income Massachusetts residents. Verizon Lifeline Service offers a monthly discount on a residential customer's bill and the Link-Up American program provides a 50 percent reduction (up to a maximum of $30) in the regular installation charges for local telephone service. To apply, contact Verizon and request the Lifeline discount application.