Assemblyman Hevesi

reports to
the people

Winter 2005

Medical Alert IDs Now Available To Seniors

sample id
The office of Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi is now offering complimentary medical IDs to seniors. The IDs include basic identification information such as name and address and the phone number of an emergency contact person. If desired, the card can list any medications, allergies or special conditions that an EMT or doctor should be aware of should they need to treat the cardholder. The ID camera and printer are easily portable and can produce a sturdy plastic ID with a color picture in about 2 minutes. Please call Todd Ferrara at (718) 263-5595 to schedule a visit with your group or center. The cards are provided completely free and there is no minimum group size, but we do require two weeks advance notice to prepare the materials. Individuals can receive cards by coming to our office at 98-08 Metropolitan Avenue. Please call ahead to make an appointment.

Assemblyman Michael Cohen with Chief of Staff Dolores Capace.
"Thank You Assemblyman Cohen"

A continuing theme that has emerged in my office over the past six months has been a universal respect and gratitude for the work done by my predecessor Michael Cohen. Appreciative constituents frequently call or visit my office to send their best wishes to Assemblyman Cohen and the members of his staff.

In addition to distinguishing himself in the legislature, Assemblyman Cohen proved to be an outspoken and effective community leader. I continue to aspire to represent the 28th Assembly District as ably as he did. On behalf of myself, my staff and all the residents of our community, I wish to thank Michael Cohen, Dolores Capace and their team for their service to our district. It is truly appreciated.

Be Aware of

In November of 2003, Congress enacted the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act. This law is the most significant change imposed on Medicare since its inception in 1965. It adds new outpatient prescription drug coverage, meaning all those covered by Medicare will now have access to insurance coverage for their prescriptions. The Medicare prescription drug coverage will begin on January 1st, 2006, and will replace the existing Medicare approved drug discount card, which will be completely phased out by May 15, 2006.

Everyone enrolled in Medicare before January 1, 2006 is eligible to receive the benefits of the new drug coverage regardless of income, drug expenses, or pre-existing medical conditions. If you currently have coverage from another provider, your current drug coverage provider will send you information to inform you of how your current coverage compares to the Medicare drug program.

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The Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage program premiums differ by plan, though the average cost is thirty-two dollars a month. You will most likely also be required to pay the first $250 of your prescription costs per year. After that, Medicare will cover 75% of your drug costs up to a total of $2,250 a year. Above $2,250, beneficiaries are responsible for all prescription drug costs up to $5,100. Above this amount Medicare will now cover 95% of all remaining costs.

Extra help is available to offset out-of-pocket costs of this prescription program under certain circumstances. If your annual income is below $14,355 for a single person or below $19,245 for a couple, and if your assets — which include stock and savings, but not the value of your home — are under $11,500 for a single person or $23,000 for a couple, you qualify for further assistance. Some people who qualify for this extra assistance will receive a letter from the government. If you feel that you do meet these requirements but do not receive a letter, contact the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213 to verify that you are eligible for extra help. TTY callers may dial 1-800-325-0778. Please be sure to have your social security number at hand. You can also visit their website at .

Also starting in 2006, all those who have drug coverage through Medicaid will be covered by the Medicare prescription drug plan, and will be able to retain all other Medicaid benefits.

From November 15 through December 31, 2005, those joining, as well as existing members of, the Medicare system will be able to select the drug program they wish to join. You will have at least two plans to choose from in your area. Each plan offers different coverage. If you do not select a plan, Medicare will choose one for you in your area.

For more information about the Medicare prescription drug coverage program, contact Medicare at 1-800-MEDICARE. TTY users can call 1-877-486-2048. You can also visit the Medicare website at or call my office at (718) 263-5595.

Help Available for
High Winter Heating Costs:
Apply for HEAP Assistance Now

With home heating costs expected to skyrocket this winter, people who pay a large portion of their income for heat should be aware of help that may be available. The Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) is a federally funded program that assists eligible households in meeting their home energy needs.

New York’s benefit program is structured in such a way that higher benefits are provided to those households that have a large percentage of their income dedicated to energy costs, contain a vulnerable individual or have the lowest income.

1 $1,803
2 $2,358
3 $2,913
4 $3,468

To qualify for assistance, you must meet several criteria. First, you must meet the income requirement and be either 60 or older, be a head of household receiving social security disability or live either alone or with a spouse and receive SSI code A. You must also live in an eligible housing situation. This generally means that you either pay directly for heating costs or must pay rent with heating costs included. If you live in subsidized housing, you must pay heating costs separately from your rent. Individual applicants must also be U.S. citizens or qualified aliens.

Eligible households that pay directly for heat receive a benefit amount ranging from $150 to $400, and eligible households that do not pay directly for heat receive a standard statewide benefit of either $40 or $50, depending on income level.

Those eligible for benefits must apply using a special HEAP application available in our district office. Please contact Roman Paprocki at (718) 263-5595 and apply immediately.

Assemblyman Hevesi Attends
Torah Dedication Ceremony

In June, Assemblyman Hevesi joined the Chabad of Rego Park, members of the Jewish community of Queens, and other community leaders in dedicating a new Torah for the Chabad congregation of Rego Park and Forest Hills. The dedication of a Sefer Torah (literally translated “a book of the Torah”) is the culmination of the long and difficult process of the writing by hand of the entire five books of Moses in Hebrew on a long, single sheet of attached pieces of parchment. Any error in the writing would render the Torah unusable, and therefore, the completion of a Sefer Torah is always a monumental event.

Assemblyman Hevesi has always felt that strengthening community values is of the greatest importance. The dedication of the new Sefer Torah by Chabad of Rego Park is a very positive way to bring a congregation together and strengthen community institutions.

It is crucially important that my staff and I continue to be accessible and responsive to your concerns. In that spirit I would like to announce that my district office will remain open until 7 PM every Thursday evening. Please feel free to take advantage of these newly expanded hours, in addition to my regular appointment schedule, to come and meet with me or my staff.

In order to successfully represent the residents of our large and diverse area in the state legislature, it is imperative that I have a firm grasp of the specific needs of our community and its residents. The best way for me to learn these areas of concern is to meet with you. By contacting me about issues, either local or statewide, you are giving me the tools I need to properly serve the people of the 28th Assembly District. I thank you in advance for your help and I look forward to seeing you.

District office phone number: (718) 263-5595
Or mail this response card to: Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi
Attn: Newsletter
98-08 Metropolitan Avenue
Forest Hills, New York 11375