Finding ways to connect seniors to the help they need

Posted
1: This week was the last senior lunch for this go-round at Chauncey's in Arlington. It is expected that these lunches will be happening again in the fall.

2: The final installment of the First Wednesday series was last week. We sincerely hope it will resume later in the year.

3: I am told the Manchester McDonald's is longer offering free coffee with a food purchase on Mondays.

Good News: Someone from the Council on Aging will soon be in Manchester one afternoon a month to provide information about their many services, to assist individuals who need help with applications for, say, 3SquaresVT or fuel assistance, and, perhaps, to help you consider options for long-term care if and when you need it.

The exact date is yet to be determined, but this person will be in the Betty Tobin Conference Room at the Manchester Town Office. I would advise calling in advance (Senior Help Line, - 800-642-5119) to schedule a time, although I would imagine that walk-ins would be accepted as long as there is an opening in the schedule.

The offer for the use of this room has the blessing of the Manchester Town Manager John O'Keefe. Thank you, John, for your understanding of some of the needs of the Northshire senior population.

As we talked further, we spoke of the lack of a senior center in this area and wondered if the community room in the Park House (Manchester Rec Area) might be a place where seniors could meet for some gatherings. That led to a conversation with Nikki Dexter about how we might make this work. We would like your input before any plan is finalized. Please send me a note at the Journal (news@manchesterjournal.com) and I will take it from there. Would you be willing to help? If so, in what capacity?

To get back to the matter of 3SquaresVT. This is what is generally known as the Food Stamp program - funded by federal tax dollars, available throughout the country, and intended to provide some assistance to individuals or families whose budget for food is "challenged." If you think you might be interested, you can get eligibility information by phoning the Department of Children and Families at 800-479-6151. You can apply at the DCF Benefits Center, 800-642-5191. Of course the Senior Help Line is available also; you can ask them to mail you a copy of the application, and you can ask for their assistance in completing the application.

The application is a lengthy one. As soon as you think you might want to consider filing an application, start collecting receipts and documents (many of which you probably needed when you did your income tax returns a few months ago anyway).

You will need to show proof of income - for seniors, that would be Social Security benefits and anything else. And, you will need to provide information about sheltering expenses (Mortgage? Insurance? Taxes? Utilities?), any medical expenses (including insurance premiums, etc.), family composition, etc., etc. The application also includes an interview which can probably be done by phone. All of this then determines the amount of 3SquaresVT benefits you might be eligible for.

Good news for seniors, the "benefits" allowance is issued by the Economic Services Division and can be in the form of a Direct Deposit to your checking account, so no need to carry an EBT card which would need to be presented at the grocery store.

As far as I know, your benefits are good for a year or two and then you would be asked to confirm or amend whatever information you previously submitted. If there is any major change in this information during the course of the year, you are expected to notify the DCF.

One last thing - I am hearing that there is a plan in the works for a "Senior Fair" to be held at the Manchester Community Library late June. Organizations and resources that have something to offer the Senior community are being invited to set up a table or "booth" and to have a representative there to answer questions. I will get the exact date for you and will try to give you plenty of advance notice so you can save the date.

HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY TO ALL! My pride and joy, my only (now grown) child lives on the West Coast with his wife and children so it's highly doubtful that he/they will be here to celebrate the day with me. I will be treating myself to Mother's Day breakfast at the Legion in Arlington and will then go to Equinox Terrace at 2 p.m. to enjoy Broadway Show Tunes performed by members of the Taconic Chamber Players. Perhaps I will see you there.

Marian Haines lives in Manchester. If you have an idea or question for the Senior Bulletin Board, send it to news@manchesterjournal.com with "seniors" in the subject line.

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