There’s an awful lot of talk about the need for tax relief. I’ll not argue that, However, I just read in the latest AARP newsletter that about 100,000 Mainers who could have received up to $2,000 as a tax rebate in 2006 didn’t even apply for it. Hard to believe, isn’t it?

This is in reference to Maine’s so-called circuit breaker program. Rebates to qualified property owners and to renters of homes/apartments are available. I’m not sure why people don’t apply for these, but obviously many don’t. The applications are easy to fill out and are available at town offices, libraries and probably other venues.

Simply put, individuals with annual income of up to $80,750 may be eligible for a rebate if their 2006 property taxes were more than 4 percent of their income. For couples, the income level is $105,750.

So take your annual income if it’s less than this amount, multiply it by .04 and compare the figure with your annual tax bill. This is basically it, but get one of the applications and take a look at the various categories of households to see if you qualify.

It seems I’m surrounded by seniors in various stages of retirement – some are working part time, some full time. Some are just getting used to the idea of not having to “go to work” every day and some are planning for retirement and going through all of the uncertainty that accompanies that process. And then there are those who spend their days really enjoying total retirement. That’s my goal.

Meanwhile, for those who have gotten tired of feeling like they should be doing something worthwhile or who may be a little bored and miss the companionship of others, there are a couple of programs you may be interested in. I have had friends involved in each of these two programs and to tell the truth, I think my friends got as much pleasure from being involved as the recipients.

If you are 60 years old or older and would like to really make a difference in the life of others, PROP (Peoples Regional Opportunity Program) has volunteer openings in their Senior Volunteer Programs. Volunteers who are income eligible earn a tax-free income in return for a commitment of 15-40 hours a week. Volunteers also receive paid vacation and sick leave, assistance with meals and travel, training, supervision and recognition.

Foster Grandparents volunteer in schools, child development centers and long-term care facilities. Visiting children, helping them learn, reading with them and other activities can make such a difference in a child’s life. Some of these children may not have older people around all the time, and from what some of my friends who have been part of this program have told me, it is as beneficial to the Foster Grandparent as it is to the children.

On the other end of the spectrum, Senior Companion Program volunteers visit seniors who are frail and/or vulnerable and who are living alone in their own homes. Sometimes a volunteer might help with grocery shopping, a medical appointment or just visit and provide companionship.

Openings are available at locations throughout York and Cumberland counties. Find out more by calling 773-0202 or go to www.propeople.org.


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