Recently, Senator Joe Robach and The New York State Senate passed legislation to simplify the process for seniors and other homeowners to apply for their STAR property tax exemption. This legislation would eliminate the mandate that senior citizens must show proof of income each year for their exemption. Joe Robach fully supports this legislation to help seniors and understands the state must continue to simplify many of their processes. Instead of the responsibility being on the senior, this bill will now place the responsibility on the taxing authority.
Removing this layer of bureaucracy will allow more seniors to control and manage their own finances. Many seniors in Monroe County have claimed for years something had to be done to eliminate this level of government. Senator Robach will continue to working on behalf of the many seniors in his district to ensure their voices are being heard in state government.
Another bill that is currently being discussed in the senate (S3576) would allow local tax assessors to accept late applications for all exemptions without penalty. They would be able to accept paperwork up to the last day that a taxpayer can pay the first half of their taxes. For too long, many residents in New York have argued that our state has far too many deadlines which result in residents becoming confused and not filing paperwork on time. This legislation eliminates the confusing deadlines, and enables taxpayers to receive all the tax relief they are eligible for.
Joe Robach knows that arthritis is a condition that many seniors suffer from. Arthritis is inflammation of one or more joints, which results in pain, swelling, stiffness, and limited movement. There are over 100 different types of arthritis.
According to the AARP, arthritis involves the breakdown of cartilage. Cartilage normally protects the joint, allowing for smooth movement. Cartilage also absorbs shock when pressure is placed on the joint, like when you walk. Without the usual amount of cartilage, the bones rub together, causing pain, swelling (inflammation), and stiffness.
Joe Robach wants seniors to know that joint inflammation can be caused for a variety of reasons, including:
- An autoimmune disease (the body attacks itself because the immune system believes a body part is foreign)
- Broken bone
- General “wear and tear” on joints
- Infection (usually caused by bacteria or viruses)
- Often, the inflammation goes away after the injury has healed, the disease is treated, or the infection has been cleared.
With some injuries and diseases, the inflammation does not go away or destruction results in long-term pain and deformity. When this happens, you have chronic arthritis. Osteoarthritis is the most common type and is more likely to occur as you age. You may feel it in any of your joints, but most commonly in your hips, knees or fingers.
Joe Robach wants seniors to look out for the following risk factors for osteoarthritis include:
- Being overweight
- Previously injuring the affected joint
- Using the affected joint in a repetitive action that puts stress on the joint (baseball players, ballet dancers, and construction workers are all at risk)
Arthritis can occur in men and women of all ages. About 37 million people in America have arthritis of some kind, which is almost 1 out of every 7 people. For more information about senior issues, please contact the office of Joe Robach.
Joe Robach and the Senate recently passed a bill to stop scammers from charging phone customers and seniors who are unwittingly forwarded to additional and costly phone numbers. The bill (S7652) requires better notification if consumers calling a phone number for information are then prompted to call a second number that charges hefty fees. Joe Robach that most often phone scams involve the elderly and seniors.
The legislation was prompted by telephone scammers who post advertisements showing a local number to call for information about employment, affordable housing, child care, educational opportunities and other subjects of interest to people wanting to improve their lives. The local number prompts a call to a second number, which then charges the caller a hefty fee for the phone call. Many, if not most times, the caller receives worthless information after the making calls.
Scams of this type have been labeled “remote call forwarding” by telephone companies. Since the area codes are local, they seem legitimate to anyone requesting information about the advertisement. However, it is the second three numbers that are where the scam is hidden. Since the three-digit exchange is not always advertised, the scammers prompt callers to a second number with the exchange that will charge a hefty fee to the caller.
This bill would help stop these types of phone scams by keeping consumers informed of what they would be charged. It requires a notice of warning of a fee or charge imposition for calling certain telephone numbers, with the warning message given in the same language as advertisements for the call line.
For more information about this legislation or any other bill that could affect seniors, contact the office of Joe Robach.
Joe Robach recently announced assistance for low-income New Yorkers and seniors whose health issues pose a medical emergency during the extended period of hot weather forecasted for the state in the coming days. In order to protect vulnerable New Yorkers, New York State has set aside $3 million in funding through the federally-funded Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).
Joe Robach knows that summer heat can be dangerous for many New Yorkers, so Joe Robach’s office urges eligible families and seniors to take advantage of this program to help keep their homes safe and comfortable.
Eligibility for the program is determined by:
LIHEAP low-income guidelines. (For a four-person household, the maximum gross annual income to qualify is approximately $49,500.)
- Having at least one household member who has been diagnosed with a chronic or acute medical condition which is aggravated by exposure to extreme heat situations.
- A doctor providing written documentation (dated within the last six months) that air-conditioning assistance is critical to prevent a heat emergency.
- Households that have a working air conditioner or have received one from the State in the last 10 years are not eligible.
The cooling program is administered by HCR with funding provided from the federal Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) funds, through the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA). HCR’s network of 63 local Weatherization agencies will provide delivery and installation of cooling program services, and funds have been allocated to ensure coverage in each of the state’s 62 counties.
These agencies will accept applications, determine eligibility, and oversee the installation of the air-conditioning units. Under the terms of the grant, one air conditioner will be awarded to an eligible household or dwelling unit, with installation and labor included. Grants do not include an additional HEAP cash benefit to cover the cost of operating the air conditioning unit.
For more information, contact the office of Joe Robach.