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Seekonk Human Services is an information and referral agency for Seekonk residents of all ages. We try to help you directly or by introducing you to the network of federal, state and local support services that are available. The Council on Aging division provides social services, information and referral, social and educational programs for individuals over the age of sixty. The Senior Center is open for drop-in activities Monday through Thursday from 9:00 AM – 3:30 PM and Friday 9:00 AM – 12:00 noon. All Seekonk residents are invited to enjoy the activities, programs and companionship at the Senior Center.
Human Services administers the following programs for all Seekonk residents that qualify: fuel assistance through Citizens for Citizens, Friends of Friends Emergency Assistance, Salvation Army and The Good Neighbor Program; food stamps and food pantry intakes and applications; WIC; health insurance programs (SHINE); and blood pressure, cholesterol, and glucose screenings. Our outreach staff hours at the Human Services offices are: Mondays – Thursdays 9:00 AM – 3:30 PM and Fridays 9:00 AM – 12:00 noon. To set up an appointment with an outreach worker, please call first: (508) 336-8772.
We offer Wednesday evening hours at the Town Hall. Our outreach staff is available Wednesday evenings by appointment only to assist families and the elderly with fuel applications, medical applications, insurance questions and information and referrals for services.
Outreach workers visit homebound elders to check on their well-being. They also help complete forms and process paperwork. If necessary, referrals are made to the appropriate agencies. Senior aides are available to pick up medication, do emergency errands, or ride the van as an escort to medical appointments.
Emergency Funds and Help
Friends of Friends, a philanthropic group, allocates money for conditions posing an immediate threat to the health or safety of a senior. Seekonk Human Services has a list of names of the elderly who may need help in the event of a disaster. Please notify us if you would like to be included. Help is available for frail, isolated elders during weather emergencies.
Friends of Friends Community Services Inc.
This is a non-profit organization to encourage community-wide interest in the well-being of all Seekonk residents. Seniors and families are supported by the group’s dedicated volunteers. Membership is open to all. Your contributions of time and talent are needed. If you would like to make a financial contribution, please make your check payable to: Friends of Friends, c/o Edith Krekorian, 8 Harriet Court, Seekonk, MA 02771.
Seekonk residents 60+ can obtain a photo ID through Seekonk Human Services for use on GATRA buses, cashing checks, or for senior discounts. A GATRA representative comes to Seekonk Human Services every other month to take photos for ID cards. Call Stacy at GATRA, (508) 823-8828, Ext. 273 to make an appointment to have your picture taken. You will need to bring with you your birth certificate or driver’s license.
Medical Loan Closet
Temporary loans of medical equipment are available such as hospital equipment, wheelchairs, canes, commodes, and walkers. If you or someone you know is in temporary need of medical equipment, or if you know of someone who would like to donate equipment, please call Seekonk Human Services at (508) 336-8772.
A monthly newsletter is published by Seekonk Human Services and distributed at no charge to Seekonk seniors age 55 and older. If you do not receive the newsletter and would like it sent to your home, please call us at (508) 336-8772.
MassHealth pays for health care for certain low- and medium-income people living in Massachusetts. To check eligibility, please call (888) 665-9997.
While MassHealth covers some dental care, it is not all inclusive. If you are a MassHealth member, please call the Dental Customer Service Number at (800) 207-5019 to find out what is covered.
Typically, dental schools offer service at a more affordable rate than private practice.
Community Health Centers provide reduced rates for patients who are low-moderate income.
HealthFirst Family Care Center, 102 County Street, Fall River (508) 679-8111
One-Stop Career Centers
All Massachusetts One-Stop Career Centers offer job search assistance including workshops on interviewing, networking and resume writing and tools to help conduct an effective search.
Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP)
The Senior Community Service Employment Program helps eligible, low-income persons 55 and older with training and community service assignments (20 hours/week at minimum wages) prior to transitioning into the private sector.
A Job Opportunities Bank for Seniors and students is a listing service offered by the Seekonk Human Services. We do not make recommendations, but will give out names, telephone numbers, and general rate of pay requested. Individuals then make their own arrangements.
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
SNAP, formerly called the Food Stamp Program, is a government program that provides eligible low-income persons with a line of credit on an EBT card which is used like a credit card at most food markets. To check eligibility call Project Bread’s FoodSource Hotline at (800) 645-8333.
(Bring Assistance with Groceries to Seniors) This project provides a personal shopper for frail Seekonk residents, 60 years of age or older, who are unable to shop for themselves. Seekonk Human Services personnel assess the needs of the elder, review their grocery list, shop at local stores, bring home, and unpack the groceries if necessary. Elders who may be in crisis and in need of food immediately are served by the program on a priority basis. For more information, please call the Seekonk Human Services at (508) 336-8772.
Meals on Wheels
Isolated or homebound elders who cannot prepare their own noon meals can enjoy delivery of a hot, nutritious meal. To apply, please call Seekonk Human Services at (508) 336-8772.
Elderly Nutrition Program
The Elderly Nutrition Program provides persons 60+ one meal a day Monday through Friday at community meal sites such as senior centers, churches, etc. Some programs may also provide weekend meals. Home-delivered meals may be provided to those who are homebound. A voluntary donation is requested but no one is turned away for not paying. Call Bristol Elder Services at (508) 675-2101 to locate a meal site near you.
Seasonal Food Baskets and Dinners
Various organizations contribute and deliver gift baskets to isolated and needy elders and families. Hot meals are prepared and delivered to residents that are unable to get out or who will be alone on holidays and are not able to cook for themselves. Contact Seekonk Human Services at (508) 336-8772.
Doorways Food Pantry is a nonprofit volunteer organization committed to serving the needs of Seekonk residents. They are open Saturday mornings, 8 to 10 AM at the North School. Seekonk Human Services handles the applications for Doorways. Call (508) 336-8772.
Hebron Food Pantry in Attleboro operates a Seniors’ Food Pantry (age 60+) on Tuesdays, 10:30 to 11:30 AM and a Working Persons’ Food Pantry on Thursdays, 5 to 8 PM, for the disadvantaged, working poor, and those on unemployment. Seniors must bring an electric bill the first time as proof of address. A weekly pay stub or current unemployment statement, plus electric bill, is required for the Thursday pantry. 11 Sanford Street (near YMCA). Call (508) 223-4257 for information.
Murray Unitarian Universalist Church in Attleboro has a food pantry for the needy on Monday and Thursday mornings, 9:30 to 11:30 AM, not limited to Attleboro residents. Recipients receive one bag of supplemental groceries per week. 505 North Main Street. Call (508) 222-0505 for more information.
St. Joseph’s Food Cellar is open every Friday from 6 to 7 PM at South Main and Maple Street in Attleboro. They serve Seekonk residents. An ID is required. Call (508) 226-1115 for more information.
Family Cafés, offered through the Attleboro Area Council of Churches, are kid-friendly restaurant-style meals where games and crafts are available. They are offered on the last Wednesday of every month, 5:30 to 6:30 PM at Evangelical Covenant Church, 841 North Main Street, in Attleboro and the last Saturday of every month at 6:00 PM at Waters Church, 15 John Dietsch Boulevard, in North Attleboro. Needy Seekonk families are welcome.
Food and Friends Soup Kitchens, also offered through the Attleboro Area Council of Churches, serve hot meals to adults, as follows:
Seekonk Human Services works with Citizens for Citizens, a community action program, to administer the fuel assistance program for income qualifying individuals and families. If your income is below $29,126 (one person) or $38,087 (family of two), you may be eligible to receive fuel assistance, discounts on monthly utility bills, and weatherization services. Seekonk Human Services has applications available for fuel assistance. The program runs from November 1 to April 30. To apply, make an appointment with an outreach worker by calling (508) 336-8772.
Seekonk residents facing utility shut-offs should contact one of our outreach workers for help to avoid a shut-off and work out a payment plan with the utility. Emergency assistance is also available for low-income residents who have run out of heating oil. Call (508) 336-8772.
Other Heating Resources
For those over income for Citizens for Citizens fuel assistance, the Good Neighbor Energy Fund of the Salvation Army provides financial assistance to eligible persons for heating. Contact Seekonk Human Services at (508) 336-8772 for referral.
Home Heating Oil Cooperatives
The Oil Buying Network (OBN) was one of the earliest pioneers of the concept of group buying for heating oil. Founded in 1982 in Boston, it has become one of the largest heating oil cooperatives in the country, with tens of thousands of households participating in Massachusetts, Connecticut and New York. Members realize an average savings of 10-25¢ per gallon. For more information, call (800) 649-7473.
Mass Energy Discount Heating Oil Service has 17,000 members who save 15-30¢ per gallon on heating oil. Call (800) 287-3950.
Medicare Part A, Part B, Part D, MassHealth, Medigaps, HMOs, SSI, Prescription Advantage. Confused? You're not alone! SHINE (Serving Health Information Needs of Elders) is a program funded by the Executive Office of Elder Affairs. The purpose of the program is to ensure that Massachusetts elders have access to free, accurate, unbiased information regarding health care options. Counselors inform elders of their rights under Medicare and assist with filing out applications. Appointments are required and can be made by calling (508) 336-8772.
Health Insurance and Health Care Benefits
MassHealth (Standard). MassHealth, also known as Medicaid, is a state/federal health insurance program for low income, low assets US citizens. If you are 65+ and have monthly income of <$887 (1 person) and no more than $2000 in assets, you may be eligible. A couple (65+) may have up to $1187 a month combined income and $3,000 or less in assets. MassHealth may pay all doctor and hospital bills as well as long term care services in home or in a nursing facility. Call the statewide MassHealth Enrollment Center at (888) 665-9997 for information. To apply please come to Seekonk Human Services for assistance.
MassHealth Home and Community Based Waiver Program. There are some exceptions to the basic eligibility requirements for MassHealth Standard. If a person or one member of a couple has income or assets above the requirements but is functionally impaired enough to require personal care for carrying out activities of daily living, she/he may still be eligible for MassHealth under a waiver program. Call Seekonk Human Services at (508) 336-8772 about eligibility.
MassHealth Buy-In. If you are not eligible for Standard MassHealth, persons 65+ with Medicare may be eligible to have Medicare Part B premiums paid for by MassHealth if your income is $1191 or less and assets are $4000 or less for 1 person. For a couple the income test is $1596/month or less and assets of $6000 or less.
Senior Care Options (SCOs). A SCO is a Medicare-MassHealth partnership for “dual-eligible” seniors. A SCO is a comprehensive health plan that covers all the services reimbursable under Medicare and MassHealth through a senior care organization and its network of providers. Members of a SCO will have a primary care physician and 24-hour access to a team of doctors, nurses, specialists, and a geriatric support services coordinator. Call Bristol Elder Services at (508) 675-2101 for more information.
Commonwealth Care. Commonwealth Care is a health insurance program for low and moderate-income Massachusetts residents with household incomes at or below 300% of the Federal Poverty Level who don’t have health insurance. Those on Medicare, TriCare, MassHealth or other insurance are not eligible. The cost of Commonwealth Care depends on household gross income, where you live, and the health plan you choose.
Applicants must complete the Medical Benefits Request form. For an application, call (877) 623-6765, download the Medical Benefits Request form, or call Seekonk Human Services for an appointment with an outreach worker, (508) 336-8772.
Health Safety Net. The Health Safety Net is a MassHealth financial aid fund that helps pay for health services for lower-income individuals under the age of 65 whose income makes them ineligible for the state’s Commonwealth Care health insurance. Health Safety Net can be used at hospitals (does not include doctors’ services in a hospital) and community health centers. Individuals can apply for MassHealth Health Safety Net at a hospital when they are there for services or through Seekonk Human Services, (508) 336-8772.
Medicare Advocacy Project (MAP). MAP provides Medicare beneficiaries free legal advice/ representation for appealing Medicare denials for services. Call (800) 323-3205.
Community Health Centers. Community health centers provide primary, preventive and dental care, as well as mental health, substance abuse and other community-based services to adults and children in need regardless of their insurance status or ability to pay.
Cardiac Prevention Clinic
Seekonk Human Services hosts a Monthly Health Clinic with two nurses from South Coast Hospital who are available to check your blood pressure, glucose and cholesterol. Within 5 minutes of your test, you will receive a breakdown of all of your numbers. You can also talk to the nurses about any problems you may be having with your medications. Seekonk is very fortunate to have this service, which will enable you to monitor your health each month. No appointment is necessary – it’s first come, first served. The clinic is held on the 3rd Wednesday of every month, from 9:00 – 12:00 noon, at 320 Pleasant Street. Call (508) 336-8772 if you have questions.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a federal income assistance program administered by the Social Security Administration. Eligibility requirements include meeting income and asset guidelines, being a US citizen, and being 65 or older, blind, or disabled. Individuals receiving SSI are automatically eligible for MassHealth. Apply at the local Social Security office, 106 Pleasant Street, Attleboro, MA 02703; (508) 226-2710 or (800) 772-1213.
Emergency Aid to the Elderly, Disabled and Children (EAEDC)
EAEDC is a state-funded income program for those who meet all eligibility requirements. For the elderly, one must be 65+, a US citizen or a legal immigrant, waiting for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) to begin, or be ineligible for SSI but meet all other eligibility requirements for EAEDC. This program is for those who have no or little income and/or assets. Apply at the local Massachusetts Department of Transitional Assistance office, 21 Spring Street, Taunton, MA 02780, (508) 884-5300.
LONG-TERM HEALTH CARE
While short-term home care is usually provided by certified home health agencies such as the Visiting Nurses Association and covered by health insurance after a say in the hospital, many seniors also need ongoing home care for chronic problems. Please call Seekonk Human services at (508) 336-8772 for information and referral.
Medicare Part D
Unless they have comparable “creditable coverage” for prescriptions (e.g., through veterans’ benefits or by a plan from a current or former employer), Medicare beneficiaries are penalized unless they enroll directly in a Medicare Part D prescription stand-alone drug plan or choose Part D coverage through a Medicare Advantage Plan. There are dozens of Part D plans available with varying costs for premiums, deductibles, and co-pays, as well as differences in what drugs each plan covers. Call Seekonk Human Services at (508) 336-8772 for assistance in determining which plan is most affordable for you. Open enrollment is November 15 – December 31.
Low Income Subsidy (LIS) – Extra Help Benefit
Medicare provides “Extra Help” to lower costs for beneficiaries with limited income and resources. You may qualify for “Extra Help” if your income is at or below $16,245 for an individual or $21,855 for a couple and your assets are no more than $12,510 for an individual or $25,010 for a couple. You may apply for LIS online at Low Income Subsidy or through Seekonk Human Services at (508) 336-8772.
Prescription Advantage is a state-funded drug assistance program for non-MassHealth beneficiaries. It helps seniors with co-payments if their gross household income is below 500% of the federal poverty level ($54,150 for individuals and $72,850 for couples). If income is between 300% and 500% of the federal poverty level, there is annual enrollment fee of $200. Below 300% there is no cost for benefits. Co-pay assistance begins immediately for those whose income is below 150% of the federal poverty level (LIS eligible). Otherwise, they begin when the individual reaches the “donut hole.” Prescription Advantage also helps disabled individuals under 65 who meet income guidelines. To apply, call Seekonk Human Services at (508) 336-8772.
MassMedline is a free, confidential service offered by the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy. They can assist with information about your medications as well as help you enroll in a prescription drug program. Call (866) 633-1617.
Seekonk has one housing complex for low-income elderly 60+ years of age and disabled individuals. The Seekonk Common, a state-financed facility operated by Seekonk Housing Authority, is located at 25 Chappell Street. It consists of 72 units, four of them handicapped accessible. Income guidelines vary from year to year. Most persons in public housing pay 30% of their income for rent. For information on housing for low-income elderly and disabled individuals, call Seekonk Housing Authority at (508) 336-6067.
Seekonk also has four single family housing units with two apartments each. None of these units is Section 8.
Seekonk residents may also put themselves on a list for public housing in other communities:
Attleboro Housing Authority (508) 222-1410
Fall River Housing Authority (508) 675-3500
Taunton Housing Authority (508) 823-6308
For information about federally-funded Section 8 housing, call South Shore Housing Development Corporation, 169 Summer Street, Kingston, MA 02364; (781) 422-4200 or (800) 242-0957.
Congregate housing is state-subsidized rental housing with shared services. East resident has a private room but shares one or more of the following: kitchen, dining or bathing space. Congregate housing offers no medical services or supervision of residents. A service coordinator assists in obtaining needed community services and oversees the carrying out of residents’ job responsibilities. Eligibility includes being age 60+, low income, and ability to live in a shared environment.
Bristol Elder Services (508) 675-2101
The Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) program enables older homeowners to withdraw some of the equity in their home in the form of monthly payments for life or a fixed term, or in a lump sum, or through a line of credit.
In addition, the HECM mortgage can be used to purchase a primary home when the borrower is 62 years of age or older and is able to use cash in hand, money from the sale of assets or money from an allowable FHA funding source to pay the difference between the reverse mortgage and the sales price plus closing costs for the property.
The program requires that borrowers receive free or low cost reverse mortgage counseling from an approved reverse mortgage counselor. Before the loan application can be processed and fees charged to the borrower, lenders must receive a signed and dated Certificate of HECM Counseling.
The Executive Office of Elder Affairs list of approved reverse mortgage counseling programs, current as of March 2, 2010, is available at Reverse Mortgages.
Homeowners Options for Massachusetts Elders (HOME) (617) 451-0680 or (800) 583-5337
Money Management International (800) 308-2227
Circuit Breaker Tax Credit
The “Circuit Breaker” is a tax credit claimed on the Massachusetts state income tax return for eligible persons 65 and older who own or rent property in Massachusetts that they use as their primary residence. For the tax year 2010, the maximum credit allowed is $970. The taxpayer’s total income cannot exceed $51,000 for a single filer who is not head of the household, $64,000 for a head of household, and $77,000 for taxpayers filing jointly. The assessed value of the home cannot exceed $764,000.
Detailed information about this credit is available online from the Massachusetts Department of Revenue at Circuit Breaker.
A summary can be obtained by clicking the Circuit Breaker Tax Credit link on the Seekonk Human Services webpage, Human Services.
Property Tax Work-Off Program
At the November 2006 Town Meeting, voters approved the establishment of a Senior Citizen Property Tax Work-Off Program. Under this program, local property owners over the age of 60 volunteer to provide services to the Town of Seekonk in exchange for a reduction of up to $750 per year on the amount paid on their property tax (calculated from the number of hours worked, paid at the Massachusetts minimum wage $8 hourly rate). The program for Fiscal Year 2012 begins July 1, 2011. For more information or to apply, contact Seekonk Human Services at (508) 336-8772.
Exemptions and Deferrals
There are several exemptions and deferrals available to Seekonk residents who are seniors, disabled, disabled veterans, or low income. For eligibility requirements and application forms, contact the Assessor’s Office at (508) 336-2980 or go to their webpage at Assessor and click on the link for exemptions or deferrals.
Elderly and Disabled Taxation Aid Fund
The November 2006 Town Meeting voted to establish an Elderly and Disabled Taxation Aid Fund to provide property tax assistance to elderly and disabled Seekonk residents who are homeowners with limited income and assets. Elderly are defined as those 65 years of age and above. Disabled are those who are unable to work.
GATRA (Greater Attleboro-Taunton Regional Transit Authority) provides Dial-A-Ride curb-to-curb transportation to doctors’ appointments for customers sixty years of age or older and/or those who are disabled. To be considered for Dial-A-Ride service, customers must apply for a GATRA ID. This may be done through Seekonk Human Services.
To schedule the van service, call the dispatcher between the hours of 8:30 AM and 4:30 PM, Monday through Friday, at (800) 483-2500; TDD (508) 824-7439. Reservations must be made at least one day before the appointment and can be made 14 days in advance.
GATRA 10-ride passes can be purchased for $10 from Seekonk Human Services. Cash fares on the van are $1.25 to Attleboro, East Providence, Rehoboth and within Seekonk. Trips from Seekonk to Providence, Pawtucket, Barrington, Cranston, and Johnston are $2.50. A Personal Care Attendant can be registered with GATRA and ride free; a companion can ride at the same fee as the customer.
Dial-A-Ride service is offered Monday through Friday from 6:00 AM to 6:30 PM and Saturday from 9:00 AM to 5:30 PM. Call for holiday schedules.
Shopping with GATRA
Dial-A-Ride service is also available for shopping as follows:
Swansea Mall – 1st Tuesday of every month, 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM
Wal-Mart/Target Plaza – 3rd Tuesday of every month, 9:00 AM to 11:00 AM
Stop & Shop – every Wednesday, 9:30 AM to 9:30 AM
Price Rite – 2nd Thursday of every month, 8:30 AM to 9:30 AM
Call GATRA at (800) 483-2500 for a reservation.
Long Distance Transportation
Foxfield Transportation provides door-to-door, handicapped accessible, non-emergency, long-distance medical transportation to medical facilities in the Boston, Providence, and Norwood/Foxboro/Mansfield areas and to the Lahey clinic. Call (800) 585-8294 or check the website at Foxfield Transportation.
Out-of-Town Medical Transportation provides door-to-door, handicapped accessible, non-emergency, long-distance medical transportation to medical facilities in Boston and Providence. Call (508) 675-0306.
MassHealth provides free doctor-approved transportation to doctors’ appointments for anyone on MassHealth, regardless of age. MassHealth participants eligible for transportation should call (508) 828-4600 and dial the transportation option.
Bristol Elder Services
Bristol Elder Services may provide transportation to persons who meet eligibility requirements for state-funded home care if they are on life-savings treatment such as dialysis, radiation or chemo-therapy. Transportation is provided to doctors’ appointments and for shopping.
Seniors receiving other state home care services who are not eligible for MassHealth may receive transportation to doctors’ appointments.
Call Bristol Elder Services at (508) 324-4619.