SeniorsPlus received funding through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, also known as the CARES Act, to deliver several small grants to organizations delivering services to older and disabled residents. United Way received one of those grants, which it intends use to bolster its efforts to assist residents seeking to receive state tax credits that they’re eligible for.
“During this pandemic, United Way understands that any additional money can help offset some of the financial stress for our valuable seniors who live on limited incomes,” Community Resource Coordinator Nichole Ernest said in a statement released this week.
Many seniors do not have a federal obligation to file as they have no taxable income, but they are still eligible for state credits, such as the Property Tax Fairness Credit and the Maine Sales Tax Fairness Credit.
United Way has experience working with 100-plus seniors on receiving those tax credits, through the Western Maine CA$H Coalition program. The average return for state credits in 2020, for those that filed with the Western Maine CA$H Coalition, was $268 and ranged from $125 to $900.
United Way will be focusing the outreach enabled by the grant into more rural portions of the greater Franklin County area. United Way personnel will be establishing two days of appointments in Rangeley, Stratton, Phillips and Livermore to make it easier for seniors in those areas. Scheduling in specific areas will be determined based on volume of calls. Seniors outside the target areas are also welcomed to call for an appointment. United Way will be taking precautions to host meetings safely, in compliance with Centers for Disease Control guidelines.
In order to file, residents will need a photo ID, a Social Security card, a Social Security statement for the year 2019 and any pension payout statements, as well as a copy of their property tax bill. The state credits sought by the United Way program are not contingent on the State of Maine Income Tax deadlines. The filings can be made electronically and funds can be either deposited into checking or savings accounts electronically or mailed to residences, although the latter option takes longer.
Any interested seniors should call Nichole Ernest at 778-5048 to set up an appointment in their area.