Money Matters

Tax Assistance

Assistance to senior citizens is available to complete Federal or New York State income tax forms February to mid April.  Year-round assistance and information regarding tax credits, property tox reductions, etc., is also available.

Star (School Tax Relief)

Homeowners in New York State are eligible for school tax reductions. To apply for the STAR program, you need to register with NYS Department of Tax Finance. This can be done by calling (518) 457-2036 or on line at www.tax.ny.org. If you currently receive the Basic STAR and are over 65, please contact your local assessor to apply for the Enhanced STAR. Questions may also be directed to Washington County Real Property Tax Services at (518) 746-2130.

IT 214s

The New York State Tax form IT-214 is a real property tax rebate for homeowners and renters with an annual income of $18,000 or less. Forms for filing are available at the Office for the Aging. The form may be filed at any time during the year and is retroactive for a 3-year period.

Medicaid

Medicaid is a program for low-income persons who are unable to pay their medical costs. If qualified, Medicaid helps to pay for a variety of hospital and other medical services, including eyeglasses, dental care, prescribed drugs and long-term nursing home care.

Property Tax Reductions

Washington County homeowners over 65 years of age with low incomes may apply for a reduction in their taxes. You must have lived in your home for 2 years or more. Filing dates and income levels vary in each community. This can be easily checked by contacting your local assessor or Washington County Real Property at (518) 746-2130. The reduction is not automatic and must be applied for when you reach age 65. You also must file an application each year with your local assessor.

Energy

Assistance is provided to income eligible persons in applying for the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) for the payment of heating bills. Assistance is based on monthly gross income, the number of persons living in the household and the heating situation. Staff from the Office for the Aging are also available to screen and refer eligible older persons whose homes are in need of winterizing and other energy conservation services, such as New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.

In addition, staff will assist in identifying other resources to meet a client’s needs including utility fuel funds, charitable organization, state and federal loan and grant programs, etc.

Emergency Repair Programs

Loans and grants for home repairs are available various organizations and agencies. There are income guidelines for eligible individuals and varies on home location and type of repairs needed. Application for assistance must be completed and approved prior to any work being done to the home. Contact NY Connects at (518)746-2420 for screening and more information.

Financial assistance is available for eligible individuals who are seeking assistance to repair heating systems through the HEAP Heating Equipment Repair Replacement Program (HERR). For more information contact Washington County HEAP Unit at (518)746-2236.

Financial Counseling

Any resident of Washington County who is having difficulty managing their personal or household budget can receive free and confidential financial counseling. If you are having trouble making ends meet or find yourself having to make financial decisions for the first time in your life, Cornell Cooperative Extension may be able to assist you. There may be other agencies and programs available. Contact NY Connects at (518)746-2420 to be screened.

Health Insurance Information and Assistance (HIICAP)

HIICAP provides information on low income programs such as Medicaid, the Elderly Pharmaceutical Insurance Coverage (EPIC) Program, Medicare Saving Programs, "Extra Help" prescription assistance and pharmacy discount programs. New York State has a number of programs for those with low incomes that make it easier to afford health insurance. These programs may pay part of your monthly costs, offer discounts or provide full medical coverage.

Medicare

Medicare is a program that helps older persons with medical bills. Anyone age 65 or older and entitled to social security or railroad retirement is automatically covered under Medicare’s basic hospital insurance plan (Part A). The supplemental medical insurance plan (Part B) of Medicare is voluntary, and to participate there is a monthly premium charge. Contact your Social Security Office at least 3 months before you reach age 65. For information on Medicare, contact the Social Security Office nearest you. A listing of physicians in your area who accept Medicare assignment is available through the Office for the Aging.

Social Security

Social Security can provide you, your spouse, and other eligible members of your family with benefits:

  • when you retire;
  • if you become disabled; and
  • when you die

Even if you never worked under Social Security, you may still qualify for benefits if you are the:

  • spouse or divorced spouse of a reitred worker;
  • spouse or divorced spouse of a disabled worker; or
  • widow/widower or surviving divorced spouse of a deceased worker

There are online planning tools to better understand your Social Security protection as you plan for your financial future. Then choose a benefit calculator to get estimates of benefits you or your family may be eligible for.

If you want to apply for retirement benefits, disability benefits, or just Medicare and you meet certain criteria, you can complete your application online.

If you are the spouse or divorced spouse of a retired or disabled worker, within 3 months of age 62 or older and meet certain criteria, you can fill out your application for monthly benefits or just Medicare online.

Go to the Social security website for more information at www.ssa.gov.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Benefits

SSI gives cash assistance to people with limited income and resources who are age 65 or older, blind, or disabled. Children with disabilities can get SSI, too. Those qualifying for SSI may also be eligible for Medicare and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

Veteran’s Benefits

Veterans and their spouses or widows may be eligible for long-term care benefits, real property tax reductions, veterans / widow pensions, financial assistance with home modifications, medical and prescription services.


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