Tax Relief and Beyond: Benefits and Opportunities for Bedford’s Seniors and Veterans

December 11, 2023

Submitted by Alison Cservenschi, Director, Bedford Council on Aging

Returning to work after retiring or working past retirement age has become more common in society. Views of a “typical” retirement have changed. More people who are able want to remain active, vital, and mentally sharp, maintain a healthy lifestyle, stay socially connected, get involved in their community, and earn an income. 

Many retirees build part-time work or volunteering into their retirement plans after having long careers in other areas. This is where the town’s new Senior and Veterans Tax-Work Off Program can help.

Bedford has been offering eight real estate tax exemptions through the Assessor’s Office. These income-based exemptions are tax breaks for residents who are blind, seniors, veterans, surviving spouses, or minors, or qualify for tax deferrals, senior tax deferrals, or tax breaks due to financial hardship. 

The Senior and Veteran’s Tax Work-Off Program is the ninth latest offering, voted in at the last Special Town Meeting. One of these exemptions may be more appropriate than another, and it is possible to participate in more than one when meeting the qualifications and submitting supporting documents.

In addition, when residents are income eligible for these tax relief programs, they may be surprised to discover they also qualify for assistance with fuel, water, or nutrition. These other financial supports provide household savings and, when combined with one or two of the other tax-break programs, can significantly help residents remain in their homes longer. 

Retirees who are able to engage in meaningful work at a more relaxed pace stay happier and healthier for longer periods of time, both mentally and physically. Getting involved and learning new skills can be invigorating and enjoyable plus provide opportunities to develop new connections and friendships. Feeling needed, supported, and involved through work is a way to eliminate social isolation and loneliness. In addition, welcoming retirees and veterans into town departments also helps build an appreciation of the value of these people in the workplace. 

If you are close to retiring, retired, or a veteran considering part-time, temporary work, interested in getting back into the workplace for a few hours each week, and could use $1,000 in real estate tax relief, call the Bedford Council on Aging at 781-275-6825 for eligibility information and to learn more about the program and jobs within town departments. 

Per Massachusetts General Law Ch. 59, 5K participants in the tax work-off program are credited at an hourly rate that cannot exceed the state’s minimum wage for their services. 

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