Jingle in the Pocket
AARP West Virginia is recruiting volunteers for the AARP Foundation Tax-Aide program to help low- to moderate-income state residents, especially those age 60 and older, prepare their returns and receive tax credits and deductions. Last year, the program helped almost 26,000 West Virginia taxpayers at 49 sites across the state.
Volunteers will receive training in January and are needed through April, especially in the counties of Berkeley, Brooke, Cabell, Fayette, Hancock, Harrison, Jackson, Jefferson, Kanawha, Monongalia, Morgan, Ohio, Putnam, Raleigh and Wood. To learn more, call 1-888-687-2277 toll-free or use the online registration form at aarp.org/taxaide.
With winter approaching, AARP is encouraging West Virginians who face rising utility costs to seek help from one of several available programs.
Volunteers with the AARP Foundation's West Virginia Benefits Enrollment Center can link older state residents to a variety of state, federal, nonprofit and faith-based programs providing utility assistance. The nonprofit Dollar Energy Fund, for example, works with utility providers and community organizations to prevent utilities from being disconnected or to restore service and to provide other resources for households experiencing hardship.
If you need help paying your utility bills, call the AARP Foundation West Virginia Benefits Enrollment Center toll-free at 1-877-677-0677.
Scammers may be out in full force this month as Medicare open enrollment gets under way, but the West Virginia Senior Medicare Patrol aims to keep fraud at bay. Administered by the AARP Foundation, the patrol is staffed by volunteers who want to help the state's 383,000 Medicare beneficiaries learn how to guard against and report scams.
Medicare fraud occurs when someone intentionally falsifies information; for example, a health care provider bills for services not rendered, or someone uses another person's Medicare card to get medical care, equipment or supplies.
Medicare open enrollment runs Oct. 15 to Dec. 7 this year, but the Senior Medicare Patrol is active year round. To contact the West Virginia patrol, call 1-800-799-4638 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mark Your Calendar
With West Virginians slated to elect a new governor in an Oct. 4 special election, AARP is urging voters to remember to show up at the polls in a nontraditional voting month. AARP is concerned about low voter turnout. Only 16 percent of voters cast ballots in the May 14 gubernatorial primary.
Acting Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, D, and businessman Bill Maloney, R, hope to serve the remaining term of former Gov. Joe Manchin III, D, who is now a U.S. senator. Voters will again cast ballots in the 2012 primary and general election for a governor to serve a full, four-year term.
Learn more at aarp.org/wv.
Low-income West Virginians age 60 and older may be eligible for $20 worth of vouchers to buy fresh produce at farmers' markets across the state.
Beginning July 1, participants can register for the state Department of Agriculture's Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program at any state Bureau of Senior Services senior center location. Participants can pick up the vouchers when they register, and the vouchers are valid through Oct. 31.
To be eligible, participants must have annual income of less than $20,147 for an individual, $27,214 for a couple or $34,281 for a household of three. For more information, go to aarp.org/wv.
Two new state laws backed by AARP get tough on financial exploitation, the fastest-growing form of elder abuse.
One measure increases penalties for exploitation of a person age 65 or older or any incapacitated adult, and gives banks the authority to disclose suspicious transactions to law enforcement agencies. The other new law gives the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit of the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources the authority to investigate financial exploitation and help prosecute crimes against Medicaid.
To learn more, go to aarp.org/wv. If you are a victim of exploitation, call the AARP help line toll-free at 1-877-677-0677.