Posts Tagged ‘volunteer’

In the aftermath of Sandy

Thursday, November 15th, 2012

In the aftermath of Sandy

Many New Jerseyans were affected by Hurricane Sandy, a number of them seniors. In the past two weeks since then we’ve seen many images of destruction and heard many stories of days without power.

If you are still in need of assistance as you recover from the damage Sandy left behind, here are some important numbers and websites to know:

Dial 2-1-1 or visit www.nj211.org to find out about local resources for food, shelter, transportation, etc.

If you need disaster assistance, apply for FEMA by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (1-800-621-3362) or visit www.disasterassistance.gov Please know that there are deadlines to requesting help and that you need to reach out to FEMA directly, they will not contact you.

Your local chapter of the Red Cross (http://www.redcross.org/find-help) and the Salvation Army (http://www.use.salvationarmy.org) can also be of assistance.

If you or someone you know needs help coping with the trauma from the Hurricane you can contact the NJ Disaster Mental Health Hotline 1-877-294-4357.

There have been many reports about the help being offered to Hurricane Sandy victims. Countless organizations and individuals have provided, shelter, food, heat, clothing and comfort to those affected. Unfortunately, during times of disaster, we see some people who would rather take advantage of the situation rather than help. Please be on the look out for scams.

One, price gouging is illegal, to report it call (862) 209-0130 or (973) 220-3474.

There have been a couple of instances of people posing as utility or inspection personnel and then attempting to rob the home once they gain entry. Anyone approaching your home as a utility worker or inspector should have proper ID and have no problem showing it to you or verifying the reason for their visit. Don’t let anyone into your home that you are not 100% sure is who they say they are. Make sure to call the police and report any false attempts to gain access to your home.

There may also be people posing as false insurance programs or other assistance programs. Please make sure to always ask for proper ID and verify that the program or services they are offering are legitimate. Report any problems to your local police department.

And for those of you looking for ways to help, be aware of that there are also scammers posing as charities . The IRS has issued a statement encouraging people to look out for scam artists impersonating charities to help Hurricane Sandy victims. Donate to recognized charities only. Some will even try to use a name similar to a recognized organization so be sure to look closely. Do not give out personal information. There are various ways that these scammers will try to reach you, they may call on the phone, by email or through the use of a phony website set up to mimic that of a known charity. Legitimate charities may also be found on the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Web site at fema.gov.

Call the IRS toll-free disaster assistance telephone number, 1-866-562-5227, if you are a hurricane victim with specific questions about tax relief or disaster related tax issues.

If you would like to volunteer to help those affected by Sandy, you can also contact your local Red Cross or Salvation Army or call the NJ Volunteer Emergency Response Hotline at 1-800-JERSEY-7 (1-800-537-7397)

Recovering from Sandy will be a lengthy process. You may have long wait times for responses from disaster assistance programs, but know that help is coming.

It’s Tax Time- How to Get Volunteer Tax Help

Monday, March 26th, 2012

Volunteer Tax Help

Yes, it is time to think about filing your 2011 tax returns. It’s a job that is never a joy, but could be less of a hassle, if you try using a terrific free service Рthe Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program (VITA). 

 For over 30 years, the VITA force of 2,000+ volunteers has helped more than 2 million households file basic tax forms.  This program offers free tax help to people who cannot afford professional assistance (generally those with incomes under 49,000). Volunteers help prepare basic tax returns in community and neighborhood centers, libraries, schools, and other community locations.

A recent focus of the program is to encourage taxpayers to file their returns, federal and State, electronically. Each year the number of taxpayers that take advantage of this method continues to grow.

 According to the IRS website the following are the items you should bring to have your tax return prepared:

  • Proof of identification
  • Social Security Cards for you,¬†your spouse and dependents and/or a Social Security Number verification letter issued by the Social Security Administration
  • Birth dates for¬†you, your spouse and¬†dependents on the tax return
  • Current year‚Äôs tax package if¬†you received one
  • Wage and earning statement(s) Form W-2, W-2G, 1099-R, from all employers
  • Interest and dividend statements from banks (Forms 1099)
  • A copy of last year‚Äôs Federal and State returns (if available)
  • Bank Routing Numbers and Account Numbers for Direct Deposit
  • Total¬†paid for¬†day¬†care provider and the day care¬†provider’s¬†tax identifying number¬†(the provider’s Social Security Number or the provider’s business Employer Identification Number)

To file taxes electronically on a married filing joint tax return, both spouses must be present to sign the required forms.

To locate the nearest VITA site, call 1-800-829-1040 or contact your local Office on Aging, you can find the # for your County office by visiting www.njfoundationforaging.org/services.html or call 1-877-222-3737.