Thursday, September 4, 2014

Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority - THE RIDE

What is THE RIDE?

THE RIDE paratransit service provides door-to door, shared-ride transportation to eligible people who cannot use fixed-route transit (bus, subway, trolley) all or some of the time because of a physical, cognitive or mental disability.

THE RIDE is operated by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) in compliance with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Under the ADA, paratransit functions as a 'safety net' for people whose disabilities prevent them from using public transit. It is not intended to be a comprehensive system of transportation that meets all the needs of persons with disabilities, and it is distinct from medical or human services transportation. You will travel with other customers going in the same general direction.

Accessible vehicles are used to serve persons with disabilities, including those who use wheelchairs and scooters. THE RIDE operates 365 days a year generally from 5 AM - 1 AM in sixty (60) cities and towns. For RIDE trips with origin and destination within 3/4 mile of fixed-route service that operates outside of these hours, or in other municipalities within 3/4 miles of MBTA bus service, extended RIDE service is available.

New or recertifying applicants to THE RIDE must apply for or renew their eligibility by appearing in-person for an interview with a Mobility Coordinator. Call THE RIDE Eligibility Center at 617-337-2727 for an appointment. Office hours are Monday - Friday, 8AM - 5PM, or evenings by request.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Identity Theft

Report Identity Theft to:
  • Equifax Credit Bureau, Fraud 1-800-525-6285
  • Experian Information Solutions (Formerly TRW) 1-888-397-3742
  • TransUnion Credit Bureau, Fraud 1-800-680-7289
  • Federal Trade Commission 1-877-IDTHEFT
  • Local Police Department
  • U.S. Postal inspection Service (See federal government phone list or visit our Web site at:
  • U.S. Postal Service (Local post office) (See federal government phone list)
  • Social Security Administration, Fraud Hotline 1-800-269-0271 or 1-800-772-1213

Peabody Police Elderly Affairs Officer 978-538-6300 x1463
Patrolman Richard Cameron

Monday, July 28, 2014

Mass Health Checklist

MassHealth Application Checklist

This checklist is intended for use by SHINE clients who are applying for MassHealth.  It includes some of the most common verifications requested of MassHealth applicants who are 65 years or older.  Keep in mind that MassHealth may request additional documentation, but providing as much of the following information as possible could decrease the amount of time it takes to receive a decision.

¨  For U.S. citizens: copy of U.S. passport, U.S. birth certificate, or Certificate of Naturalization (unless receiving Social Security benefits)
¨  For U.S. citizens: Copy of driver’s license, state identification card, or other government-issued photo identification (unless receiving Social Security benefits)
¨  For non-citizens:  Copy of legal permanent resident card, work authorization card, I-94 form, or visa (unless receiving Social Security benefits)
¨  Copy of Medicare Card
¨  Copy of any other medical insurance, dental insurance, or vision insurance cards (both sides)
¨  Proof of all GROSS income, such as 2 recent paystubs, pension stub, unemployment stub, etc. (not including Social Security benefits)
¨  If applicant/spouse own a rental property:
¨  Proof of rent amount, such as statement from tenant(s) or current lease
¨  12 months of mortgage statements
¨  12 months of property tax bills
¨  12 months of utility bills, if paid by landlord
¨  12 months of water/sewer bills, if paid by landlord
¨  Current homeowner’s insurance statement
¨  Copies of bills/invoices for any repairs and maintenance in past 12 mos.
¨  Verification of co-op or condo fee
¨  Copy of most recent account statements for all bank accounts, including certificate of deposits and burial accounts
¨  Copy of recent account statements for any other investment accounts
¨  Copy of deed and current tax bill for all real estate
¨  Copy of registration and proof of amount owed for all vehicles
¨  Verification of life insurance face value and current cash surrender value
¨  Copy of any pre-paid burial contracts with itemized list of goods and services purchased


Thursday, June 12, 2014

Change of Address Checklist

Government Agencies

  • • The Internal Revenue Service – Download the Form
  • • Social Security Administration Click Here
  • • Social Security Administration: Supplemental Security Income Benefits Click Here
  • • Department of Veterans Affairs Click Here
  • • State Department of Motor Vehicles Click Here
  • • U.S. Customs and Immigration Services Click Here


  • • Electric company
  • • Water company
  • • Gas company
  • • Sewer company
  • • Trash/Waste company
  • • Telephone company
  • • Television (cable or satellite)
  • • Internet provider
  • • Pest control company

Financial Institutions

  • • Insurance companies (your home, auto, medical, dental, life, etc.)
  • • Banks or Credit Unions (wherever you currently have accounts)
  • • Investment brokers (your IRA or other investment managers)
  • • Lenders (car loans, personal loans, and more)
  • • Credit reporting agencies (especially if you are rebuilding your credit)


  • • Your Friends and Family. See SmileBox for ideas.
  • • Magzine Subscriptions Click Here
  • • Daycare providers
  • • Elementary, middle, or high schools
  • • Your attorney
  • • Doctors, dentists, eye doctor, etc.
  • • Clubs you belong to
  • • Professional associations
  • • Church
  • • Licensing and Certification boards

Do Not Mail and Do Not Call National Programs

  • • Do Not Mail this is a national service that helps stop junk mail coming from direct mail advertisers. You can register your name and address here for free.
  • • Do Not Call is a National service that stops telemarketers (or most of them) from calling your phone number. You can register your phone here. This does work for mobile phones as well as home phones.
We are planning on adding more change of address services and forms in the near future. If you know of any great services that you would like to see added, please send us an email at

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Wheelchair Ramps

Wheelchair ramps

Massachusetts residents with disabilities who need a wheelchair ramp to make their homes accessible may be able to get help from a community handicap ramp program. Volunteers from the construction industry and other groups donate their time and materials to build the ramps. Homeowners do not have to pay anything.

Homebound residents who need a wheelchair ramp must apply for the programs and meet income limits and other requirements.

Wheelchair ramp programs in Massachusetts include:
  • Handicap Ramp Program

    The Handicap Ramp Program is a community service partnership between Worcester local labor unions (Worcester Firefighters "Ramp Gang" and Carpenters Local 107), and the United Way of Central Massachusetts. The program serves homebound residents of Worcester and other Central Massachusetts communities.
    To apply, call the AFL/CIO Community Services Handicap Ramp Program at 508-757-5632.
  • EMNARI Wheelchair Ramp Building

    The EMNARI Ramp program is a charitable project of the Eastern Massachusetts Chapter of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry. The Chapter usually builds one ramp per year, for a needy family in Eastern Massachusetts.
    To apply, call EMNARI at 508-839-9884.
  • Stavros 'Home Sweet Home' Wheelchair Ramp Program

    Home Sweet Home is a program of the Stavros Center for Independent Living, with offices in Amherst, Greenfield, and Springfield, MA. The program uses donated materials and funds, volunteer workers, and local vocational technical school assistance to build modular wheelchair ramps. The modular ramps are then installed at selected homes. The ramps are built using The Home Wheelchair Ramp Project guidelines (also see Wheelchair Ramp Manual: Design and Construction), and can be installed year-round.
    In 2011-2012, Home Sweet Home installed 54 wheelchair ramps. To apply, call the Stavros Center at 800-804-1899, ext. 240. For more information, see Home Sweet Home on the Stavros Center web site.
If you cannot get a free wheelchair ramp, you may be able to get a loan to pay for the ramp.
  • Home Modification Loan Program (HMLP)

    The Home Modification Loan Program gives loans to elders and people with disabilities to modify their homes so they can live independently.
    Depending on your income, you may be eligible for a deferred payment loan that does not have to be repaid until you sell your house, or an amortized low interest loan. For income guidelines, see HMLP: Who Is Eligible? on the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission (MRC) web site.
    You can get an application and instructions on the MRC web site HMLP: How Do I Apply? For more information, see Home Modification Loan Program.

Medicare Appeals

Medicare Appeals

If you disagree with a decision made by Medicare, you have the right to appeal.  All steps in the appeal process have specific time frames and other requirements.  It is very important to pay attention to the time limits for appeals!

Some appealable situations are:
·         Medicare denies your request for a health care service, supply, or prescription
·         Medicare denies payment for health care that you  have already received
·         Medicare stops covering services that you are receiving
·         Medicare pays a different amount than you believe it should

For assistance with appeals, the Medicare Advocacy Project (MAP) provides free advice and legal representation.  MAP can assist anyone with Original Medicare or a Medicare Advantage Plan, regardless of income.  For assistance from MAP, call the Massachusetts Senior Legal Helpline at 866-778-0939.

Trained SHINE counselors offer free, confidential counseling on all aspects of Medicare.  For more information, meet with a SHINE counselor. To make an appointment with the SHINE counselor here, please contact Sheila at 978-531-2254 ext. 118. You may also call the Regional SHINE office at Mystic Valley Elder Services at 781-388-4845.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

TRIAD: Suggested Emergency Information for Grab & Go Bag

TRIAD: Suggested Emergency Bag Contents Checklist

TRIAD has put together a list of suggested items to include in a Grab & G0 bag in the event of emergency evacuation. When you have filled your bag, it is best to hang it by your exit door, high enough so that it is not accessible to small children.

A metal wreath holder that hooks over the top of the door is a good way to keep the bag handy.

Medical information and emergency contacts would also be helpful since you may be out of your home for several days.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Please Safely Dispose of Unused Medications at the Peabody Police Station 24/7

Residents Can Safely Dispose of Drugs, Needles at Police Station

The Police Station now has two drop boxes for the safe disposal of old prescription medications and needles and syringes. Residents can stop in anytime and drop them off, no questions asked.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014


If anything positive could come out of the tragic situation involving Terri Schiavo, it is that many more Americans are pursuing various documents such as "living wills", health care proxies, trust, and wills. The following are frequently asked questions about obtaining a health care proxy in Massachusetts.


A health care proxy document is a written instruction by a person, referred to as the Principal, who appoints a health care Agent, or Proxy Agent, to make medical or health decisions when the Principal is incapacitated and unable to make or communicate such decisions. Under a durable power of attorney, your Agent is authorized to make business and financial decisions for you in accordance with your wishes. This person cannot, however, make decisions about your health or health care. You must make a separate authorization in a health care proxy document. Your health care Agent could be the same person you have named as your Agent in your durable power of attorney document, or, you could name a different person, based on different factors that do not involve financial matters.

Health Care Proxy forms are available at the PCOA.


How is it different than a health care proxy?

In a "living will" document, a person spells out wishes for specific situations. However, "living will" is not legally binding in Massachusetts, and is not generally recommended because they may not cover specific situations that may occur.


Anyone over the age of 18 should have a health care proxy as tragedy can strike at any age.


A health care proxy document must be in writing and must be witnessed by two people. Once signed, it is important to give a copy to every doctor who treats you, your Proxy agent, keep a copy with your medical records, in your "yellow dot" package if you have a yellow dot, and keep a copy with you. You might also wish give a copy to all immediate family members, or other people medical staff might contact. You can obtain copies of a health care proxy document at the Council on Aging, or also at the following website from the Massachusetts Medical Society.


If you become unable to communicate, it may be necessary for family members, caregivers, or friends to file a petition with the Probate Court in order to have a legal guardian appointed to make medical decisions.


A health care proxy can be revoked at any time. You would simply fill out a new health care proxy document and redistribute the updated form.

Remember, if you appoint a health care proxy, the Agent will only be able to act on your behalf if and when you are unable to communicate your wishes. It is very important to discuss your wishes and beliefs with your Agent so that if needed, he or she can make medical decisions based on your wishes.


Medicare will pay for diabetes screening tests for the purpose of early detection for persons at risk for diabetes. Since these are clinical laboratory tests, the beneficiary will not be responsible for a deductible or coinsurance.
The screening includes:
  • Fasting glucose test; and
  • Other tests that may be deemed appropriate after
    consulting with appropriate organizations

A person is at risk if they have any of the following risk factors:

  • High blood pressure or high cholesterol
  • Obesity
  • Previously elevated impaired fasting glucose
    or previously impaired glucose tolerance

At least two of the following characteristics:

  • Overweight
  • Family history of diabetes
  • History of gestational diabetes,
    or delivery of a baby over 9 pounds
  • 65 years of age or older


You may use My Medicare to:
    * View claim status (excluding Part D claims),
    * Order a duplicate Medicare Summary Notice (MSN) or replacement Medicare card,
    * View eligibility, entitlement and preventive services information,
    * View enrollment information including prescription drug plans,
    * View or modify your drug list and pharmacy information,
    * View address of record with Medicare and Part B deductible status, and
    * Access online forms, publications and messages sent to you by CMS.


In order to use this service, you must be a registered user.


 Are you struggling to afford costs related to your Medicare prescription drug plan? If you are a Medicare beneficiary with limited income and assets, you may be eligible to receive “Extra Help,” also known as the Low Income Subsidy (LIS). Social Security offers Extra Help to reduce costs related to Medicare prescription drug plans such as monthly premiums, annual deductibles, and prescription co-payments. Contact your SHINE counselor to see if you qualify for Extra Help!


If You Have Medicare—Ask !
Did you know that even if you stay in the hospital overnight, you might still be considered an “outpatient”? Your hospital status (whether the hospital considers you an “inpatient” or outpatient”) affects how much you pay for hospital status may also affect whether Medicare will cover care you get in a skilled nursing
Facility (SNF).

An inpatient admission begins the day you’re formally admitted to the hospital with a doctor’s order. The day before you’re discharged is your last inpatient day. You’re an outpatient if you’re getting emergency department services, observation services, lab tests, or X-rays, and the doctor hasn’t written an order to admit you as an impatient even if you spend the night at the hospital.

If you’re in the hospital more than a few hours,
always ask your doctor or the hospital staff if you’re an inpatient or an outpatient.

Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance) covers inpatient hospital services. Generally, this means you pay a one-time deductible for all of your hospital services for the first 60 days you’re in the hospital.

Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) covers most of your doctor services when you’re an inpatient. You pay 20% of the Medicare-approved amount for doctor services after paying the Part B deductible.

Medicare Part B covers outpatient hospital and doctor services. Generally, this means you pay a co-payment For each outpatient hospital service. This amount may vary by service.

For more detailed information on how Medicare covers hospital services, including premiums, deductibles and co-payments, call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).

Medicare Update

Notes on Health Care Reform Act  Most of the cost-saving measures don’t affect basic Medicare benefits, but they may affect those enrolled in private Medicare Advantage plans.
  • Health care reform requires the government to pay private insurers less, therefore it is likely some will choose not to continue their plans. Others will curtail extra benefits such as reimbursement for gym membership or free eyeglasses.
  • The largest cuts will occur in 2015.
  • Satisfactory plans will be eligible for bonuses.
Medicare reimbursements to nursing homes will be cut by approximately $15 billion over the next decade.

A combination of the additional revenue and savings are estimated to extend the life of Medicare an additional 7 to 10 years from its current insolvency date of 2017.

Medicare Rights

As a hospital inpatient, you have the right to:
  • Receive Medicare covered services. This includes medically necessary hospital services and services you may need after you are discharged, of ordered by your doctor. You have a right to know about these services, who will pay for them and where you can get them.
  • Be involved in any decisions about your hospital stay, and know who will pay for it.
Report any concerns you have about the quality of care you receive to the Quality Improvement Organization
(QIO) at Masspro at 1-800-252-5533 (TTY 1-800-439-2370.)

Your Medicare discharge rights: During your hospital stay, the hospital staff will be working with you to prepare you for safe discharge and arrange for services you may need after you leave the hospital. When you no longer need inpatient hospital care,
your doctor or the hospital staff will inform you of your planned discharge date.

If you think you are being discharged too soon:
  • You can talk to the hospital staff, your doctor and your managed care plan about your concerns.
  • You also have the right to an appeal, that is , a review of your case by a Quality Improvement Organization (QIO). The QIO is an outside reviewer hired by Medicare to look at your case to decide whether you are ready to leave the hospital. To appeal, you must contact the QIO no later than your planned discharge date and before you leave the hospital.
  • If you do not appeal, but decide to stay in the hospital past your planned discharge date, you may have to pay for any services you receive after that date.
To file an appeal or report any concerns you have about the quality of care you receive
Masspro 1-800-252-5533 (TTY 1-800-439-2390)
between 8:30 AM—5:00 PM
(If you call this helpline outside of normal business hours, be sure to listen carefully to the after-hours helpline message and follow the instructions.)
(published by the Department of Health & Human Services Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services)

Medicare Appeals

Sometimes, Medicare beneficiaries feel they have been released from hospital, nursing home, home health agency or hospice care before they are ready to leave. All Medicare beneficiaries, whether covered under Original Medicare or a Medicare Advantage Plan, have appeal rights. This means that trained medical professionals will review the beneficiary’s medical record and decide whether the beneficiary has been released too soon or whether the timing of the release was correct.

Below are some steps to follow if you feel you are being released from a hospital, nursing home, home
health agency or hospice too soon:
  • Talk to your doctor about continuing your care.
  • Ask your case manager or social worker for an official (written) Medicare notice.
  • Follow the instructions on the notice. Masspro‘s helpline telephone number will be on the notice.
  • Masspro will ask you for your views and review your medical record.
  • You’ll be informed of Masspro’s decision first by phone and then by mail. At that time, you will also receive information about other appeal rights.
Call Masspro’s helpline at 1-800-252-5533, or Medicare at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). You can call or you can ask a friend or family member to call for you.

Home Modification Loans

For Adults and Children with Disabilities and Elders
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts provides loans so you can:

Improve home accessibility and live in your home longer.

0% interest and 3% interest loans from $1,000 to $30,000 for access-related projects. The 0% loan does not need to be repaid until the home is sold or transferred!

For more information or to apply, contact Steve Scarano at MRC at 617-204-3724 or contact him by email at

Social Security

As you know, major changes to Social Security are being proposed. It is extremely important to learn about these proposed changes and let your representatives know how you feel.  After all, our Representatives represent us.  Even if we think he or she agrees with us, it is still important to contact them.

Lisa and Maryanne are available to assist you with fuel assistance and food stamps applications as well as health insurance and Social Security questions.

Identity Theft Prevention

One crime that is becoming popular with thieves and often overlooked by the public is Identity Theft. With occurrences on the rise, attention must be taken to prevent victimization. Identity Theft affects thousands of people every year with the number of victims growing.

ID Theft occurs when thieves obtain a person’s name, address, date of birth (DOB), and social security number (SSN). This goldmine of information can be used, without your knowledge, to commit various types of fraud such as opening new credit cards in your name and draining your bank account. Becoming a victim can be extremely easy as thieves will look through your trash (dumpster divers) searching for account numbers, SSN and other vital information. Identity Theft also occurs by someone simply stealing your wallet, purse, and mail, important information in your home and by phone/door-to-door scams.

What are the warning signs that you potentially may be a victim of ID Theft? According to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, credit card fraud is the most common form of ID Theft and prevented by simply staying diligent with your credit card statements. Statements that stop arriving or statements that have unknown charges are a clear sign. Being denied credit for no apparent reason, especially if you have good credit, could be a sign. Receiving bills from companies you don’t recognize or credit card bills from credit cards you did not apply for is also a warning sign.
How can you protect yourself? As with any crime, you cannot completely control whether you become a victim. The most important principle to remember, and one we’ve all heard, is “if it’s too good to be true, it is.” Shredding documents is an essential tool in fighting the victimization of ID theft. Anything that has your name,address, DOB, SSN, or account numbers should be shredded prior to it being placed in the trash.

Do you have your social security card or your birth certificate in your wallet? If so, why? Don’t you have these numbers and dates memorized? If someone steals your wallet or purse they will have your social security number and when they have that they have everything!

If you believe you have been a victim of Identity Theft, notify your local police, creditors and financial institutions, credit report agencies, and Social Security Administration immediately.

Prescription Advantage

Unfortunately, it is not closing until the year 2020.
The federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (often known as Health Care Reform) provides for gradual closure of the Medicare Part D “donut hole.” That hole will not fully close until 2020.
This year, when Medicare beneficiaries (who do not get Extra Help) reach the donut hole, their Part D plan will pay 50% of covered brand name drugs and 7% of covered generic drugs. The beneficiary’s cost will be the remaining 50% (brand name) or 93% (generic). If you take a brand name drug that costs $300, you will still have to pay $150!!

This is where Prescription Advantage can help.
Prescription Advantage, the Massachusetts prescription drug assistance program, can help reduce your out-of-pocket costs even further when you reach the donut hole.
To find out how to lower your drug costs, call Prescription Advantage at 1-800-243-4636 or TTY for the deaf and hard of hearing at 1-977-610-0241.
The money you save can be your own!

The Top 10 Reasons to Join Prescription Advantage
10. There is no monthly premium
 9. Prescription Advantage helps to lower co-payments.
 8. You may qualify to have Prescription Advantage help pay your Part D premium.
 7. Coverage available to individuals not eligible for Medicare.
 6. As a Prescription Advantage member, you can change your Part D plan without waiting for Medicare’s open enrollment.
 5. Live customer service.
 4. Prescription Advantage will cover a 72-hour emergency supply of medication if the pharmacy is unable to bill your Part D plan.
 3. Prescription Advantage puts a limit on what you will spend each year for your prescription drugs.
 2. With Prescription Advantage there is no need to worry about the “donut hole.”

And the #1 reason to join Prescription Advantage . . . .
 1. There is no reason not to join!

Please contact Sheila or Maryanne at 978-531-2254.

$4.00 Medications

Wal-Mart, Target, Hannafords and Walgreen's all have a variety of generic medications offered for $4.00 each a month ! Also, for those with computers, you can go to to get free or no cost medications.

Mass MedLine

There has been a recent increase in the development of new discount cards initiatives providing discounts on both brand and generic medications at pharmacies across the state. Some plans indicate that they are a ‘statewide initiative’ which may be misinterpreted by the consumer that the program is a product of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. There are multiple programs for patients to obtain their medications at an
affordable cost.

Please know that you can reach MassMedLine (toll free: 1-800-633-1617) as a trusted resource for all programs (federal, state and private) that provide assistance accessing medications and available plans.

MassMedLine is a result of a long-standing partnership between the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences and the Massachusetts Executive Office of Elder Affairs. Please use the toll-free help line, or click on the “Ask The Pharmacist” link on their website at to ensure you are utilizing the programs that are best for you.

In-Home Care Problems?

Are you at least 60 years of age and have a problem with your in-home caregiving services?

Do you know someone who does?

If so, please call us!
1-800-243-4636     (1-800-AGE-INFO)

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Senior Service Links

American Association for Retired Persons
AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization for people age 50 and over.
Benefits Check-Up
BenefitsCheckUp helps thousands every day to find programs for people ages 55 and over that may pay for some of their costs of prescription drugs, health care, utilities, and other essential items or services. Please fill out our simple questionnaire to find programs that can assist you or your loved ones.
Mass Home Care
Are you looking for eldercare information, or services for a family member or friend? Is care in the community your first choice? Mass Home Care can help you find what you need.
North Shore Elder Services
North Shore Elder Services (NSES) is a team of specialists making life easier for elders and those who care for them. We offer information, support, and solutions.
Senior Corps
Senior Corps is a network of programs that tap the experience, skills, and talents of older citizens to meet community challenges with Foster Grandparents, Senior Companions, and RSVP (Retired and Senior Volunteer Program).
SeniorNet is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization of computer-using adults, age 50 and older. SeniorNet's mission is to provide older adults education for and access to computer technologies to enhance their lives and enable them to share their knowledge and wisdom.
The American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging
The American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging (AAHSA) is committed to advancing the vision of healthy, affordable, ethical long-term care for America. The association represents 5,600 mission-driven, not-for-profit nursing homes, continuing care retirement communities, assisted living and senior housing facilities, and community service organizations.

The National Senior Citizens Law Center
The National Senior Citizens Law Center advocates nationwide to promote the independence and well-being of low-income elderly individuals and persons with disabilities.