Senior chore program returns

The Senior Chore Program is returning to Lakes and Pines with a few changes.

If you are 65 years or older, need help with chores around your home and live in Aitkin, Carlton, Chisago, Isanti, Kanabec, Mille Lacs or Pine counties you are eligible for Chore Services. This program includes occasional maintenance tasks to keep a home livable and safe. Limited grocery ordering and delivery services are also available. However, weekly housekeeping is not provided.

Most chores will now be completed by a staff member. Volunteers will be needed primarily just for Community Chore Days. Community Chore Days will consist of doing chores for multiple homes in the same community on the same day. Funding is also available to contract with snow plow drivers or companies in each county to clear snow from homeowners’ driveways and paths. Snow plow drivers and companies are encouraged to contact Lakes and Pines for more information.

There is a sliding fee scale for this service, so those with moderate and higher income will be asked to contribute a share of the cost of these services. Services will not be denied to lower-income participants due to inability to contribute financially.

Homeowners are responsible to supply all necessary material for the chores. For example, if the lightbulbs need to be changed, the homeowner needs to provide the lightbulbs.

Please call Lakes and Pines at 800-832-6082, option 4 for more information on the Chore Program.

Funding for the Chore Program is sponsored, in part, by the State of Minnesota through the Live Well At Home Program.

Free tax preparation goes virtual

Lakes and Pines will be offering the free Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program this year; it will just be a bit different than past years. Due to COVID-19, there will not be any in-person interaction with taxpayers. This decision was made to ensure safety to taxpayers, volunteers and staff.

So how will it work?

Taxpayers will call and schedule an appointment. At that time, a list of required documents will be provided. There are required forms which need to be completed and signed. These will be provided to taxpayers via email or postal mail. Taxpayers should provide copies of required documents, not originals. Taxpayers will also be given a code to be used to verify when a Lakes and Pines volunteer calls them.

When all copied documents are received by Lakes and Pines, the following process will take place:

1. A volunteer will call to complete an Intake.

2. The return will be completed by a volunteer during the scheduled appointment time.

3. The return will be reviewed.

4. A volunteer will call the taxpayer via phone or video and go over the return with them.

5. Documents will be sent out for signatures.

When signed forms are received at Lakes and Pines, the return will be e-filed.

To schedule an Income Tax appointment, call 320-679-1800, option 4. Property Tax appointments will not be available until April 2021.

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