News from the Reference Desk Category: Seniors

Help Coming for Wrongly Inflated Tax Bills

According to an article in the July 6, 2019 Daily Herald, a “miscalculation” of the senior freeze property tax discount by the Cook County assessor’s mainframe computer artificially inflated thousands of tax bills for low-income homeowners in Wheeling Township.  The problem was isolated mainly to Wheeling Township seniors but a few errors were also discovered in other townships.

The Cook County Assessor’s office is issuing certificates of error to the affected homeowners. These bills will replace the ones issued by the Cook County treasurer’s office earlier this month. 3200 properties were reported to Wheeling Township Assessor Jerry Sadler but he also found about 100 other homeowners affected who were not on the list.

Those seniors eligible for the discount are encouraged to carefully check their bills. If you have questions, please contact the Wheeling Township Assessor’s office by telephone at 847-259-1515 or by email at taxpayerassistance@wheelingtownship.com. The assessor’s office will review your information.

May Is National Older Americans Month

Are you an older American interested in improving your financial literacy? Get informed with free tools and resources available at the CFPB’s Working with Older Adults webpage. You can also download guides for specific topics such as Reverse Mortgages and Managing Someone Else’s Money, as well as find informational blogs about related topics. Free publications—such as Money Smart for Older Adults and Understanding the Benefits of Social Security (in English and Spanish)—can be ordered here. The Administration for Community Living is the federal government agency that sponsors this observance. Get more information here.

The New Medicare ID Cards

In the last few months, new Medicare ID cards have been sent to recipients across the United States.  As several policies change and the amount of scams targeting Medicare users increase significantly, staying informed is paramount to maintaining good health and safe accounts.  Take a look at these AARP articles detailing information about the new IDs and potential scams centered around them:

MEDICARE ID CARDS: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

MEDICARE ID SCAMS

AARP: Beware of New Medicare Card Scam!

Getting Help to Stay in Your Home

Many individuals would like to stay in their homes as they grow older but need help to make this happen.  For people living in the Northwest Suburbs that help is now available.  North West Housing Partnership is administering the CAPABLE (Community Aging in Place, Advancing Better Living for Elders) program.  The goal of this program is to help senior citizens remain in their homes as long as possible.  This is a pilot program modeled on one developed at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland and is the first of its kind in the Chicago area. The program helps seniors who are cognitively intact and able to stand (with or without assistance) to overcome barriers to independent living.  CAPABLE includes the services of an occupational therapist, a registered nurse and a vetted and insured handyman.  Seniors in Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, Mount Prospect, Palatine and Rolling Meadows are eligible to receive a limited number of at home visits and up to a day of repairs by the handyman.  These services occur over a four-month time frame.  The only costs are for the handyman work and materials.  To apply for the CAPABLE program, seniors or their caregivers must contact North West Housing Partnership by calling (847) 969-0561 or by emailing Robyn Sandys, the executive director of North West Housing Partnership, at robynsandys@nwhp.net.

Protecting Seniors from Scams in Assisted Living

Financial fraud and exploitation of seniors seems even more rampant than ever. This population, more vulnerable than others due to an uneasy relationship to rapidly changing technology in the internet age, is often targeted by those unscrupulous folk looking for an easily duped victim. While most of us undoubtedly do our best to protect our loved ones close to us, what happens when they’re no longer as much under our wing? The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is here to help, with a handy manual designed to offer tips and strategies for caregivers and others responsible for the safety and well-being of those residing in assisted living facilities. Protecting residents from financial exploitation: A manual for assisted living and nursing facilities is published by the CFPB and provides practical advice on how to help protect seniors from falling victim to common scams or fraudulent schemes. Some of the most common include:

  • -The resident receives news about a prize or other windfall that requires payment of fees or taxes up front.
    -The resident is pressured to keep good news a secret until a transaction is complete or risk losing out on this one-time opportunity.
    -A caller constantly seeks more information and pressures the resident to comply.
    -A third party claims to be from a government agency, financial institution or other entity and asks for information that they should already have. A resident receives a lot of mail or email for sweepstakes, contests or other sources suggesting that he or she has already been scammed.

Review and download your copy today, and join the fight to protect our seniors!