Are you making the most of your money?

Celebrating 40 years of helping elders, persons with disabilities, and caregivers  lead independent lives.

Volume 7 | Issue 2B |  August 2015
In 2014, many locals were unpleasantly surprised to see that the rates they were paying for electricity to power their homes and apartments had nearly doubled in their new bill.  How could this be?

In June, Benefits Counseling hosted a presentation on safely navigating the options when considering competitive suppliers of electricity with, from left to right, Assistant Attorney General Ann Lynch; Janice Garrett, Director of the Consumer Protection Unit of the Northwestern District Attorney's Office; and Consumer Protection Intern David Jeznach.

We're sharing their findings on our blog. Learn about "competitive suppliers," how to spot deceptive marketing practices, and how to protect yourself when considering purchasing alternative electricity options in our 3-part series on understanding your electric bill. Click here to read part 1.

I s your chimney sweep is blowing smoke?
Many of our homes have chimneys, and chimneys need to be cleaned and repaired, which often means hiring a contractor or two. As with other home repair and improvement needs, con artists are known for scamming homeowners into purchasing substandard work with potentially dangerous results that cost more money to repair or even paying for services that never take place.  Click here to learn 6 tips for how to avoid home repair scams.
Save the date!
Could you benefit from Benefits Counseling?
Benefits Counselors in our free Benefits Counseling program help homeowners and renters age 60 and older as well as people with disabilities find and access funds in the benefits programs everyone pay into through utility bills and taxes.

Trained volunteer Benefits Counselors provide advice on funding sources and help fill out applications for home repair, fuel assistance, weatherization, disability modifications, food stamps, utility discounts, and emergency fuel.  They usually live in the communities they serve - including all towns in Franklin County as well as the four Worcester Country towns of Athol, Petersham, Phillipston, and Royalston in the North Quabbin. 

To reach a Benefits Counselor near you, call Gretchen Smith, Benefits Counselor Coordinator, at 413-773-5555 x2258 or 978-544-2259 x2258 or email her at

Benefits Counseling also produces an annual Home Repair Guide,  featuring up-to-date information about resources that can help you save money on home expenses and improvements. Download the new 2015 guide online.
Looking for more ways to save money?
If you have been looking for the resources to repair, modify, or improve your home, this could be your lucky day.  Franklin County Regional Housing & Redevelopment Authority (HRA) administers housing rehabilitation programs on behalf of 19 towns in Franklin County. The program provides homeowners with interest-free loans up to $35,000. Read more on our blog and find out if you qualify.

Find 10 ways to save in our recent blog post, "Money-saving tips for seniors." Click here.
Quick Links

Like us on Facebook   Follow us on Twitter    View our profile on LinkedIn
or call
for information
& services for Massachusetts elders, caregivers, persons with disabilities and
their families. 
Here at FCHCC, we offer many different programs and services designed to meet your unique needs.  Think of us as the guide to what you need. We don't know all of the answers, but we know who to ask. If we can't help you, we'll tell you who can. It all starts with the Information & Caregiver Resource Center. Call 413-773-5555 or 978-544-2259 during normal business hours or email anytime.

You can read more about our programs at




Roseann Martoccia
Franklin County Home Care Corporation

FCHCC Area Agency on Aging United Way Logo