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Contra Costa County Assessor Issues Important Warning to Taxpayers 

Gus Kramer, the Contra Costa County Assessor, issued a warning to taxpayers to beware of solicitors offering to lower their property taxes this year. Property values are assessed on January 1, 2020, with property taxes set in accordance with that value. While COVID-19 has impacted the economy, any impacts from COVID-19 on home values will apply to taxes paid in 2021, for the 2020 tax year. The County Assessor’s Office will review all property assessments for free. Be aware of any company that offers to do this for a fee. 

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Medicare and Covered California Open Enrollment

When is Open Enrollment?

Open enrollment for Medicare and Covered California has begun. The enrollment period for Medicare and Medicare Drug Plans began on October 15 and extends through December 7, 2020,[1] while the open enrollment period for Covered California insurance plans began on November 1 and extends through January 31, 2021.[2] If you are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan (also known as Medicare Part C), the open enrollment period runs from January 1, 2021, to March 31, 2021.[3]

It is important to remember that if you wish to have your Medicare coverage take effect on January 1, 2021, you must enroll in that plan by December 7, 2020.[4]

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California Grants Automatic Driver’s License Extensions for Seniors Age 70 and Older Whose Licenses Expired During the Covid-19 Pandemic 

The California DMV is providing an automatic one-year extension to all California noncommercial driver’s license holders who are age 70 and older. The extension applies to eligible seniors whose driver’s licenses expire between March 1 and December 31, 2020. The DMV had previously provided short term 120-day extensions to seniors with noncommercial driver’s licenses whose licenses had expired during the period from March through July 2020.  

Eligible drivers will not receive a new card or paper extension in the mail. Starting July 15, 2020, drivers can request a free temporary paper extension online through the DMV’s Virtual Field Office to document their extension, though this is not necessary to take advantage of the extension. The extension does not apply to persons whose license has been suspended. For seniors who wish to travel, the TSA does accept driver’s licenses up to a year after the license has expired. Further info here.

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Senior Mobile Ballot Drop Off

The deadline for submitting ballots is quickly approaching. Contra Costa County Clerk-Recorder-Elections are working with volunteers from the community to assist in ballot drop off.  Please see the image below for more information and click to expand it.

 

 

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Voting Information


Election day is November 3, 2020. With one week to go before election day, you’re probably thinking about votingBelow you’ll find information about the election and about voting in Contra Costa County, along with links to additional information. 

Learn More About Voting by Mail 

Do you have questions about voting by mail? With rumors swirling around about voting by mail, it is important to make sure you have the correct information. Click here to get the facts about how voting by mail works.  

Ballot Drop Boxes 

Many of you may planning to vote by mail. When you vote by mail, you can place your completed ballot in the mail and mail it to the county’s election office. When you vote by mail however, you can also drop your ballot into one of Contra Costa County’s official ballot drop boxes. The county has placed a number of ballot drop boxes at different locations around the countyBefore you place your ballot in a ballot drop box, it is important to check to make sure that you are placing your ballot in an official drop box because this will ensure that your vote is counted. Click here to learn more about the official ballot drop boxes 

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October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

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While we usually associate October with Halloween, it has also become closely linked with Breast Cancer Awareness. We would like to take this opportunity to share some interesting facts and prevention tips with you from reputable medical centers.

7 Facts About Breast Cancer*

1. One in eight women will be impacted by breast cancer in their lifetime.

2. In the United States, it is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women.

3. After lung cancer, it is the second leading cause of cancer death.

4. Every year in the United States, more than 250,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer and 42,000 women die from the disease.

5. Most breast cancers are found in women who are 50 years old or older, but breast cancer can also affect younger women.

6. Men can also be impacted by breast cancer, but it is not as common. About 1 out of every 100 breast cancers diagnosed in the United States affects a man.

7. Early detection is the most effective way of surviving the cancer. When found early, the chance of curing is promising; exceeding over 90 percent.

 

8 tips to reduce your risk**

1. Get a mammogram. Talk to your doctor about when to start.

2. Get active — do things you love.

3. Limit alcohol. The more alcohol you drink, the greater the risk.

4. Quit smoking. There’s a link between smoking and breast cancer risk.

5. Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight increases the risk of breast cancer.

6. Breastfeed. It may play a role in breast cancer prevention.

7. Talk to your doctor about the effects of hormone therapy.

8. Eat a healthy diet.

*Information courtesy of the Weil Cornell Medical Center’s Meyer Cancer Center

** Information courtesy of the Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula’s Carol Hatton Breast Cancer Center.

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What is a Reverse Mortgage? 

A reverse mortgage is a special type of home equity loan that is sold to homeowners who are 62 years old or above. While the loan allows homeowners access to a part of their home equity as cash, if the loan is not repaid when the homeowner sells the home, moves out of the home, or dies, then the homeowner loses ownership of the home. 

With a reverse mortgage, you are borrowing against your equity, while the loan balance grows over time. Keep in mind that you must remain in your home if you have a reverse mortgage, otherwise the loan becomes due.  They are compounding loans with very high interest rates 

CANHR provides a factsheet including questions to ask yourself if a reverse mortgage is your best course of action.  A consideration to keep in mind is that if you have heirs and they do not have enough to pay the loan when it becomes due, the home will go into foreclosure.  Another important consideration is that this loan may impact your continued eligibility for government assistance programs.  Additionally, there are ongoing financial obligations.  If you fail to pay property taxes, insurance or maintain the property then the loan can go into default and the home can go into foreclosure. 

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Voting By Mail

With election day fast approaching, it is important to register to vote. The election will take place on November 3, 2020. California’s deadline to register to vote is October 19, 2020. If you are not registered to vote, you can register online. If you are not registered to vote already, you should register as soon as possible.

How do I know if I am registered to vote?

If you are not sure whether you are registered to vote, you can check your voter registration status. You can also visit Contra Costa County’s My Voting Information. This link will allow you to use your name or address to look up your voter registration status, your polling place, and your voter information guide.

Given the coronavirus pandemic, you might be wondering whether it is safe to vote. The answer to this question is Voting by mail is a safe way for you to cast a ballot. In California, all registered voters will be sent a vote by mail ballot for the November 2020 election. Contra Costa County will send a vote by mail ballot to all registered voters on October 5, 2020. Voting by mail is a good option for seniors because it is easy, safe, and secure. Voting by mail means you do not have to go to a crowded polling station on election day. (more…)

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Food Resources | Recursos Alimentarios (Español abajo)

Because of the ongoing pandemic, access to food is even more difficult to acquire.  Here, are a few resources for seniors experiencing food insecurity.   

The Food Bank of Contra Costa & Solano provides a list of resources on their website, including where to access food by city.  You can also call the Food Bank at 1-855-309-3663 to get more information regarding food pantries and soup kitchens near you.  

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Contact Us

2702 Clayton Rd.
Suite 202

Concord, CA 94519
(925) 609-7900
legalhelp@ccsls.org

Events Calendar

For our upcoming events, check out our calendar.

Our Mission

The mission of CCSLS is to protect the rights of seniors. By providing legal services, the organization is also able to mediate poverty and improve health outcomes for the population it serves. Lawyers are uniquely qualified to help identify and address legal issues that impede the ability of seniors to remain healthy and independent.