Outreach

"Do you Reside in Easthampton?  It is common for people especially during mid-life to  become "caregivers" of an older person.  We want you to know that the Easthampton Council on Aging Enrichment Center (ECOAE) is here ready, able and eager to assist.  Our outreach personnel are caring, experienced and knowledgeable in the many aspects and issues of aging and eldercare.         
The Easthampton Council on Aging's mission is to identify and meet the needs of Easthampton's senior citizens by providing programs and activities, information and referral, advocacy and outreach services.  We have specifically established the Eldercare Outreach Program with caregivers in mind.  The ECOAE Eldercare Outreach Program provides Easthampton's residents 55 years of age and older,with access to information, one-on-one assistance, training, resources and services, advocacy and volunteer opportunities. We can also be of help to long distance caregivers for Easthampton Residents who live out of the area. 
Our  Outreach Staff is available to meet with individuals, groups and families here at the Enrichment Center your Easthampton work site, or at an Easthampton residence.  This program is a free public service, funded through the City of Easthampton.
Please call 413-527-6151 to speak with Hayley Wood , at ex.136 , or Linda Talbot, Outreach Worker, ext. 137. for further information. Home visits to homebound Easthampton seniors, caregivers and family members by appointment.  Flexible home visit hours available.

Resources can include, but are not limited to:
Caregiving - Support Groups, Respite Services, General Information and other supportive programs and services.
Health Information: Medicare, MassHealth, Medigap Policies, HMOs, Federal Retirees, Veterans, Prescription Drug Plans/Options, SHINE Program - Health Insurance Choices/ Counseling
Home Care referrals- Personal Care, Homemaking, Companion, Nursing, Physical Therapy, Private Pay, Social Worker.
Financial Assistance/Programs - Fuel Assistance, Utility Discounts, Telephone Discounts, SSI.
Food & Nutrition Programs – SNAP Program/Benefits, Brown Bag Program information, Grocery Shopping Assistance, local Food Pantries, Farmer's Market Coupons, Congregate Meal Siteinformation, Home Delivered Meals information.
Support Group contact  information, including Alzheimer's Disease, limited vision, Parkinson's Disease, other Medical Issues, Grandparents Raising Grandchildren and more as updates become available.
Transportation Services - Council on Aging Van Service, Senior Transportation Program, Pioneer Valley Transit Authority, American Disability Transportation, Nashawannuck Express, Private Pay, Taxi Service, American Cancer Society, Vision Organizations and other options.
Housing Options/Information - Federal and State Elderly Housing, Retirement Communities, Rest Homes, Assisted Living, Home Sharing, Adult Foster Care, Congregate Housing, Long Term Care Facilities, Nursing Homes, Treehouse Community, Tax Abatements, Deferrals, Home Improvement Loans, Reverse Mortgages.
Home Safety & Management:  Smoke Detectors, Carbon Monoxide Detectors, House Numbers, 911 Flashing Light Program, File of Life.  911 Enhanced, Personal Emergency Response Program, Money Management Program.
Recreation, Health & Fitness Programs offered through COA:  bocce, strength training, healthy bones, Tai Chi, fitness center, activity programs: social and educational, travel club, van voyages, respite, volunteers.
End of Life Matters - Health Care Proxy, Comfort Care, Guardianship, Funeral Planning, Hospice, Palliative Care.

SHINE PROGRAM (Serving Health Information Needs for Everyone)
The SHINE Program is a state health insurance assistance program that provides free health insurance information, counseling and assistance to Massachusetts residents with Medicare and their caregivers.
A committed volunteer who is trained and certified by the Executive Office of Elder Affairs in many areas of health insurance, including Medicare Part A, Part B, and Part D; Medigap insurance, Medicare HMOs, retiree insurance plans, prescription drug programs, Medicaid, Medicare assistance programs (QMB, SLMB and Q1), and other programs for people with limited resources.
The SHINE Program assists elders and individuals with disabilities in understanding their Medicare and MassHealth Benefits and other health insurance options. The SHINE Program ensures that Massachusetts residents with Medicare and their caregivers have access to accurate, unbiased and up-to-date information about their health care options.
SHINE Counselors are available throughout the state at Councils on Aging, Senior Centers, elder service agencies, hospitals and other community-based agencies. SHINE Counselors are available to meet with individuals in person through one-on-one counseling, via telephone, e-mail and through public education presentations.

****To schedule an appointment with a SHINE Counselor, call the Easthampton Council on Aging Enrichment Center at 413-527-6151. SHINE Counselors are available on  Thursday mornings by appointment from 9 a.m. 12 p.m. Some COA Staff are now trained SHINE counselors. PLEASE CALL to make an appointment . This will allow proper amount of time for you to understand your choices and to get necessary paperwork together BEFORE your appointment.

You can also call: 1-800-243-4636 and press 3, to locate a SHINE counselor at other sites.

PRESCRIPTION DRUG COST TOO HIGH?
Look into the Extra Help program from the Social Security Administration!! You may be eligible to apply for "Extra Help" in meeting prescription drug costs...and you can be a homeowner and still potentially qualify for this program.
Benefits (for 2016) include drug co-pays as low as $2.95 for generics and $7.40 for brand name drugs. An Extra Help application can be completed anytime during the year. (Please call for updated  2017 information)
If you want assistance or want to apply, contact the Easthampton Council on Aging at 413-527-6151 and schedule an appointment with the SHINE Program. Outreach Workers from the Easthampton Council on Aging Enrichment Center are available by appointment to make home visits if you are homebound.
Income and Asset Limits Apply
Individual: Monthly Income Limit = $1,491/month; Asset Limit = $13,640
Couple: Monthly Income Limit = $2,011/month; Asset Limit = $27,250

EMERGENCY RELIEF FUND
The Easthampton Council on Aging Enrichment Center established the Emergency Relief Fund in November 2008. Funding is provided by private donations and though funding activities which are administered through the Friends of the Easthampton Council on Aging, Inc.
The Emergency Relief Fund provides emergency funding assistance to Easthampton residents, 55+  years of age and older.  Funding will be used to assist with heat, utilities, food, medication and other necessities.  Outreach Staff and Executive Director  will help determine eligibility and need via an application process. Determinations of need and eligibility will be made on a case by case basis.  You must provide income and asset documentation.   You can contact Outreach staff  at 413-527-6151

EASTHAMPTON COUNCIL ON AGING IS NOW A HOST SITE FOR THE REGISTRY OF MOTOR VEHICLES
The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (DOT/RMV) seeks to decrease waiting times at registry branches by  encouraging the use of online transactions at local Councils on Aging.
There are five transactions that can be completed at the Enrichment Center.
1. License Renewals (for licensed drivers younger than age 75)
2. Registration Renewals
3.Change of Address
4. Duplicate License or Registration.
5. How to report a lost or stolen disability placard and how to request a replacement.
You must have an email account, a credit card or checking account and no unpaid tickets or fines to participate. To schedule an appointment, please call 413-527-6151. We do not take photos for license I.D.s. If you need a renewal including a photo, you must go to the registry.

 GROCERY SHOPPING (& DELIVERY) PROGRAM
The Easthampton Council on Aging Enrichment Center has received a grant from Highland Valley Elder Services to partially fund a Grocery Shopping Delivery Program. This  program will provides free delivery of groceries to Easthampton residents 60 years of age and older who meet the following guidelines:
1. Do not drive.
2. Have no available family members, friends or other support systems/services in place for grocery shopping.  
3. Cannot use the van or other transportation options to go grocery shopping. Shopping will be done by a shopper from the Easthampton COA at Big E’s Foodland.
This program could be used on a temporary basis due to a recent hospitalization or discharge from a Rehabilitation Center on a regular basis (weekly or bi-weekly).
Anyone interested in learning more  about the Grocery Shopping Delivery Program should call 413-527-6151. An Outreach Staff person will need to make a home visit to determine eligibility.

2017-2018 ENERGY ASSISTANCE PROGRAM: 

The Massachusetts Fuel Assistance Program helps needy families by paying a portion of their heating bills from November 1st to April 30th.

Who should apply? Renters and homeowners who pay their own heat, and renters whose heat is included in their rent. (Those with a housing subsidy must not receive a utility allowance).

Who is eligible? Eligibility is based on the number of people in your household and the combined gross (before taxes) income of all persons residing in the household.

 Income Guidelines/Limit:  1-person household = $34,380;  2-person household = $44,958;  3-person household = $55,537;  4-person household = $66,115, 5 persons=76,693, 6 persons=87,272.

Where and how do I apply? The Easthampton Council on Aging (ECOA) provides application assistance to Easthampton residents, 60 years of age and older by appointment only. Please call the ECOA at 527-6151 to have your name placed on our appointment list. PLEASE BE PATIENT!! If you under 60 years of age or do not live in Easthampton, please call Community Action at 1-800-370-0940 to schedule an appointment.

 What will I need to provide when I apply? A detailed list of necessary documents will be provided to you by the ECOA Outreach Worker. All documents are required EACH and EVERY TIME YOU APPLY!! 

. ALL DOCUMENTS LISTED  BELOW ARE NEEDED WHEN APPLYING:
*Social Security Number(s) for all household members
*Date of birth for all household members
*Proof of Identity (picture I.D.)
*Proof of Address (utility bill)
*Homeowners: mortgage statement, most current real estate tax bill and homeowner's insurance bill.
*Renters: copy of lease, subsidy verification.
*Documentation of all income for ALL household members. Income includes:
  *Wages (will need documentation/pay stubs of the four weeks prior to the appointment).
  *Self-employment
*Social Security, SSI or Social Security Disability - YOU MUST PROVIDE A CURRENT NOTICE OR AWARD LETTER  FROM THE SOCIAL SECURITY OFFICE). If you do not have this notice or letter you must call the Social Security Office and request that one be mailed to you.
*Child support, Alimony *Dividends and interest on bank accounts (1099 form)
*Rental Income *Unemployment Benefits *Pensions, cash prizes and regular support from family and friends, plus any other income you receive.

***PLEASE GATHER ALL DOCUMENTS IN ADVANCE. ANY INCOMPLETE APPLICATIONS MAILED TO COMMUNITY ACTION WILL SIGNIFICANTLY DELAY YOUR APPLICATION.

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 ELDER AFFAIRS POLICE OFFICER
The Easthampton Police Department is pleased to announce the creation of an Elder Affairs Officer. Of the several officers who expressed interest in the position, Officer Eric Alexander was the officer selected for the City of Easthampton. No new officer was added to the ranks, and the new position will NOT require additional funding to the police department. Officer Alexander will be taking on the role as a “collateral assignment” to his everyday regular patrol.
The purpose of the elder affairs officers in to create a close bond between the police department and the senior citizens in our community. All seniors in the community are encouraged to reach out to Officer Alexander with any questions or concerns that they may have.
Officer Eric Alexander is a 2011 graduate of the Western Massachusetts Police Academy, and was previously a special officer in Easthampton, beginning his service with the city in 2007.

Officer Alexander- Elder Affairs officer-can be reached at 413-527-1212 extension 1045.
Officer Chad Alexander- Public Information Officer This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.     FAX: (413) 529-1448
Officer Chad Alexander will also be working closely with Easthampton Council on Aging Outreach Staff. The ECOA is very pleased to have these designated  officers assigned to collaborate with our department!

UTILITY BILL DISCOUNTS
Utility bill discounts are lower rates that are charged to low-income Massachusetts customers for electricity, gas, and telephone service. Massachusetts state law requires regulated utility companies to offer discounted rates to customers who meet income limits and receive public assistance benefits. Call the  ECOA Enrichment Center at 413-527-6151, ask for Outreach Worker, Hayley Wood @ ext.12 or Linda Talbot @ ext.15  for information.

MASSHEALTH BUY-IN PROGRAM
MassHealth Buy-In is a program authorized by Congress for persons who are eligible for Medicare. MassHealth Buy-In allows MassHealth to pay all of the Medicare Part B premium for Massachusetts residents who are not getting other MassHealth benefits. It can also help get Medicare Part B for persons who only have Medicare Part A.
For MassHealth Buy-In, your income and assets (including bank accounts, stocks, bonds, or a second car) must be under certain limits.:
For Individuals: If your monthly income before taxes and deductions is below….$1,333 AND your assets are at or below… $7,280..... THEN MassHealth Buy-In will pay...all of your Medicare Part B premium.

For Married Couples Who Live Together: IF your monthly income before taxes and deductions is below….$1,790 (combined) AND your assets are at or below $10,930...... THEN MassHealth Buy-In will pay...all of the Medicare Part B premiums for both you and your spouse.
To get help applying for the MassHealth Buy-In Program, please call at 413-527-6151Outreach Worker Hayley Wood @ ext 136, or Linda Talbot @ext.137  to schedule an appointment.

Edith Stewart Chase Foundation
The purpose of the Edith Stewart Chase Foundation is to grant emergency financial assistance to retired educators who confront an economic crisis.  The Foundation was established in 1994 under the will of Edith Stewart Chase who was a dedicated art teacher in the Waltham Public Schools.  The grants serve a wide range of needs from medical, dental, and hearing aids to replacement windows, roof repairs and asbestos removal.  If you or someone you know, who is a member of the Retired Educators Association of Massachusetts (REAM), could benefit from the generosity of Edith Stewart Chase, please contact The Foundation office for an application by calling 1-508-422-0109or e-mail:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

HAMPSHIRE HEALTH CONNECT
Their mission is to help uninsured and underinsured Massachusetts residents access health coverage. Services Offered:
*Online applications for MassHealth, Common Wealth Care and Health Safety Net (formally known as Free Care)
* Physician Network for primary and specialty care
 *Medical Security Plan
*MassHealth Disability Applications
 *Eligibility Reviews
*Prescription Assistance Applications
*Referrals to:
√ Local pharmacies that offer discounted medications
√ Outpatient Behavioral Health counseling
√ Community Health Centers for both medical and dental services
√ Other local human services agencies like WIC, SHINE, Western Mass Legal Services, Department of Transitional Assistance.
This program is available to Hampshire County residents who do not qualify for state healthcare programs. It is not an insurance program but does offer its members medical services and procedures on a sliding-scale fee.
Please contact HHC at for additional eligibility requirements. Please be sure to bring verification of the following items:
*U.S. Citizenship/Immigration: U.S. Passport or Birth Certificate/Immigration Proof.
*Identity: Passport or State/Federal-issued Photo ID.
*Income: Verification of your current income.
*Assets: If you are over 65, please call to get the list of items needed. Call: 413-582-2848

OUTREACH NEWS AND NOTES 2018

 Open Enrollment for Medicare. This is an important time for you to review your current coverage. Will your plan still offer the same benefits in 2018 ? If not, are you pre-pared to make changes? This can be a challenging time for many individuals, which is why we offer free consultation through the SHINE program.

Open Enrollment is from October 15th through December 7th. Any changes you make during this time period will go into effect January 1st, 2018. If you decide not to make any changes at all, you will continue with your current coverage. For most people

this can be a seamless transition, however, there are some who will unfortunately experience issues along the way (e.g. unexpected out-of-pocket costs). So, to avoid potential complications you should really be asking your-self a few essential questions.

           1.What will my prescriptions cost in 2018 ?

 Insurance companies can change their drug formularies for the new year. This means there could be a different tier system for your medication(s), which can result in higher co-pays. Sometimes, we even see certain medications dropped from a plan

altogether. I can’t emphasize how important it is to review your 2018 member booklet (you should receive this before, or during Open Enrollment). You can also get this information directly from the company’s web-site .

  1. Have you experienced any health changes?

 If so, it is important to know whether your plan will offer adequate coverage in the event of a hospitalization, out-patient treatment, or emergency services.

  1. Do you have an HMO?

Medicare Advantage plans can be great!!! However, it is important to know what providers and medical facilities are in-network with the HMO plan. For those with PPO’s or POS’s, there are out-of-network options but there can be different rates.

If you would like to schedule an appointment with SHINE please call 413-527-6151 ASAP. There are deadlines and gudielines inorder  to apply.

Important Note:
While veterans receive comprehensive coverage under this program (inpatient, outpatient, and prescription drugs), the VA does not recommend cancelling or declining Medicare (veterans could be subject to late enrollment penalties for Medicare Part B). Also, the program is limited to the VA only. If you need to see a provider that is not affiliated with the VA, it is essential to have additional coverage.
 
If you have any questions, or need assistance with applications, please contact the Easthampton Veterans Service Officer John O’Conner at : 1-413-529-1415.

Or, call the Veterans Administration directly at 1-877-222-VETS (1-877-222-8387)