Money Saving Resources
Tax Assistance Programs
Property Tax Assistance
Cook County senior homeowners may take advantage of several valuable property-tax-saving exemptions. All suburban Cook County townships cooperate with the Cook County Assessor’s Office, offering senior citizens free assistance in many areas related to property taxes. Senior residents will receive help with filing for real estate tax refunds, completing exemption forms, and filing for appeals. Contact your township or the Cook County Assessor’s Office at (312) 443-7550.
IRS Free Tax Return Preparation by Volunteers
The IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and the Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) Programs offer free tax help for taxpayers who qualify. For more information, visit http://www.irs.gov/Individuals/Free-Tax-Return-Preparation-for-You-by-Volunteers.
AARP Tax-Aide Program
Available free to taxpayers with low and moderate income, with special attention to those 60 and older. For more information, or to find a Tax-Aide Program location near you, visit http://www.aarp.org/money/taxes/aarp_taxaide/.
Legal Assistance Programs
American Bar Association
Giving Someone a Power of Attorney for your Health Care This simplified version of a Health Care Advance Directive allows you to choose someone to make health care decisions for you when you are unable to decide for yourself. For the free guide and legal form, visit Giving Someone a Power of Attorney for Your Health Care.
Five Wishes This legal document allows an adult to express how they would like to be treated if they become seriously ill and are unable to speak for themselves. For a free copy, visit Five Wishes.
Chicago Bar Association
The Senior Citizens Will Program offers eligible senior citizens a free will-related (simple wills, durable powers of attorney or living wills) consultation with an attorney, and a low-cost preparation of a simple will. For information and location centers, visit the Chicago Bar Association, or view the Senior Citizens Will Program brochure here.
Legal Advocates for Seniors and People with Disabilities
A nationwide program of the Chicago Legal Clinic. Legal advocates helps protect senior citizens and people with disabilities from harassing phone calls, debt collectors and creditors. The program offers additional legal services at low costs to qualified seniors.
Legal Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago
Providing senior citizens (ages 60 and above) high-quality civil legal services. No financial limitations for eligibility however, Legal Assistance Foundation concentrates on helping seniors who cannot afford to pay for legal help.
License Plate Discount
Part of the Benefit Access Program (formerly Circuit Breaker), administered by the Illinois Department on Aging (IDOA), allows qualified Illinois senior citizens a license plate fee discount of $75.00. For more information on this program including eligibility and requirements, visit IDOA Benefit Access Program, or the Illinois Secretary of State, or contact AgeOptions, the suburban Cook County area on aging agency at (708) 383-0258.
Senior Health Insurance Program (SHIP), understanding Medicare
The Illinois Department of Insurance (IDoI), sponsors a free health insurance counseling service, Senior Health Insurance Program (SHIP), available to all Medicare beneficiaries and their families. Certified SHIP counselors are dedicated to educating consumers about Medicare benefits, eligibility, costs, coverage and claims, and will assist senior citizens with filing health care insurance claims. All counseling is free, confidential and objective, and counselors do not sell any type of insurance. For more information, visit Illinois Department On Aging, or contact IDOA’s Senior HelpLine at 1-800-252-8966.
Telephones and Cell Phones
Amplified Telephones for the Hard of Hearing
Sponsored by the Illinois Telecommunications Access Corporation (ITAC), distributes free amplified phones to qualified Illinois residents who are certified as hard-of-hearing, deaf, deaf-blind, or speech disabled. For more information about qualifications and local telephone selection centers, visit the website at http://www.itactty.org/ or call 1-800-841-6167 for assistance.
Cell Phones for Seniors
Sponsored by the Cook County Sheriff ‘s Office, provides a free 911 Emergency Cell Phone to Cook County residents over the age of 65, who do not already have a cell phone. For more information, contact the Cook County Sheriff’s Office at (708) 974-6042.
Energy Assistance Programs
Illinois Home Weatherization Assistance Program (IHWAP)
Providing qualified homeowners with energy-efficient assistance, which saves money and keeps homes warmer in winter and cooler in summer. For information and qualifications, contact Community and Economic Development Association CEDA at 1-800-571-2332.
Illinois Low Income Home Energy Assistance program (LIHEAP)
Provides qualified residents federally funded assistance to manage costs associated with home energy bills and energy-related minor home repairs. For information and qualifications, contact Community and Economic Development Association CEDA at 1-800-571-2332.