Category Archives: Money

Financial Planning When you Have a Disability (or Love Someone Who Does)

disability articleImage via Pixabay

by Ed Carter

There are almost as many types of disabilities as there are individuals. Disabilities can range from a physical impairment, such as severe scoliosis, to issues relating to cognitive decline. An individual may be born with a disability, or it may be due to an accident as is the case with many veterans injured in action. One thing remains the same, however, regardless of the disability or reason behind it: an uncertain financial future.

Medicare a Good Start

When you reach 65, regardless of your disability status, you become eligible for Medicare. This government-run program offers seniors access to quality medical care and provides a collection of health tests and wellness visits with no out-of-pocket costs. Depending on whether you currently receive Social Security benefits, you will either be automatically enrolled or must manually enroll. Medicare open enrollment runs from October 15 until December 7.

If you have yet to reach Medicare age, you may be eligible for Social Security disability or supplemental security income, the latter of which is only available for low-income individuals.

Veterans and Caregivers

If you are a veteran, you’ll have special access to benefits through the VA that can help you select and pay for home and community-based care. You are also entitled to care provided in a skilled nursing facility if and when you are no longer able to remain at home. The VA offers help with advanced care planning and programs that promote well-being regardless of your age or disability. The VA’s guide to long-term services and support offers extensive information on how to stay healthy and locate necessary services to accommodate your physical condition.

In some instances, you may be eligible for veteran directed home and community-based services programs, which provide provisions to compensate home caregivers. Your local Veterans Affairs office can help you and your caregivers determine your eligibility. This is an invaluable program for caregivers who wish to play a hands-on role in your care but cannot afford to completely lose their income to do so.

Saving for the Future

No matter your age, it’s never too late to start saving and planning for the future. Caregivers may have the option of setting up a family special needs trust or a pooled trust. According to FreeAdvice.com, a pooled trust must be established by a registered non-profit agency but comes with the benefit of allowing friends, family, and the beneficiary to contribute.

Investments are also an option and, when done responsibly, can provide a high rate of return to help you or your disabled loved one pay for comfort and care now and down the road. Investments range from low-risk savings bonds and money market accounts to more high-risk options, including aggressive stocks. Many lending experts advocate low- to medium-risk investments, including peer-to-peer lending and treasury inflation-protected securities.

Perhaps one of the best financial plans, however, is purchasing real estate for personal use. Real estate tends to appreciate, meaning a home purchased today will likely be worth significantly more 10 years from now. In order to reap the most financial benefits, pay the least interest and ensure available equity is to pay off your mortgage as soon as possible.

Having a disability makes the future feel uncertain. However, through federal and community programs, smart investing, and utilizing your current assets, you or your loved one can enjoy financial stability, medical care, and all the comforts that go along with both.

SOURCE: submitted


Author: Over the years, Ed Carter has worked with clients of all ages, backgrounds and incomes. About 10 years into his career, he saw a need for financial planners who specialize in helping individuals and families living with disabilities. Regardless of their nature or how long they’ve affected someone, physical and mental disabilities often cause stress and confusion when it comes to financial planning. Many people are unaware of just how many options they have when it comes to financial assistance and planning, so Ed created AbleFutures.org to help people with disabilities prepare for a secure and stable financial future.

 

Freezing your credit is free in all states under a new law following the Equifax breach – USA Today

credit freezePHOTO SOURCE: USA Today

“One of the best ways to protect yourself from identity theft is now free.

“As of Sept. 21, a new federal law allows people to freeze and unfreeze their credit at the three major credit bureaus without being charged. Before, it cost consumers in almost half the states $3 to $12 per bureau to freeze or unfreeze their credit reports.”

Read this article at USA Today in its entirety here.

New Credit Law FAQs

Federal Trade Commission – Consumer Information news release.

Check Your Mail: Changes to the 2018 Medicare Open Enrollment Period Mailings – MyMedicareMatters

medicare

by The My Medicare Matters Team

“It’s time a year again! Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period (OEP) is almost here, starting October 15th and ending December 7th. If you’re already enrolled in a Medicare plan this is the time of year where you can re-evaluate your coverage to make sure you are still enrolled in the best plan for your needs.

“Over the next few weeks, leading up to and during the Medicare OEP you’ll receive notices from your current Medicare plan, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and advertisements from other Medicare companies claiming to offer the best plans. All this information can be overwhelming and as tempting as it may be to lump is with the junk mail and throw it away, that may not be the best idea. There are a lot of changes occurring with Medicare this year and to stay informed you need to review all the notices provided by your insurance company and CMS.

“One of the most immediate changes impacts the Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D plan notification policies.”

To read this article in its entirety, click here.

“What Would You Pay For Mobility?” – Tech50Plus

wheelchair-mobility.jpg

by Gary Kaye

“According to the website Pants Up Easy, which tracks disabilities, some 3.6 million Americans over the age of 15 use a wheelchair for mobility. Perhaps that seems kind of low, but it doesn’t include all the folks using a cane, crutches or a walker (11.6 million). Overall 20 percent of women in the U.S have disabilities and 17 percent of all men. Those are staggering numbers that will only go higher as baby boomers age. Earlier this year, I became disabled as a result of cascading medical problems.

“The disabled population pays a huge price, one which American society largely ignores. Let’s start off with medical devices from stairlifts to wheelchairs, from ramps to commodes.

wheelchair-

“Some of these are covered by either private insurance or Medicare Part B, but many are not. You will need a doctor’s prescription and a prior authorization which will only be granted if the device is deemed a medical necessity. Many of the electric powered personal mobility devices such as scooters are not approved medical devices.”

Continue reading this Tech50Plus article, click here.

“Elderly Lose Their Rights | Guardians can sell the assets and control the lives of senior citizens without their consent—and reap a profit from it.” – The New Yorker

elderly guardian.pngIllustration by Anna Parini”

“After a stranger became their guardian, Rudy and Rennie North were moved to a nursing home and their property was sold.”

by Rachel Aviv

“For years, Rudy North woke up at 9 a.m. and read the Las Vegas Review-Journal while eating a piece of toast. Then he read a novel—he liked James Patterson and Clive Cussler—or, if he was feeling more ambitious, Freud. On scraps of paper and legal notepads, he jotted down thoughts sparked by his reading. “’Deep below the rational part of our brain is an underground ocean where strange things swim,’ he wrote on one notepad. On another, ‘Life: the longer it cooks, the better it tastes.’

“Rennie, his wife of fifty-seven years, was slower to rise. She was recovering from lymphoma and suffered from neuropathy so severe that her legs felt like sausages. Each morning, she spent nearly an hour in the bathroom applying makeup and lotions, the same brands she’d used for forty years. She always emerged wearing pale-pink lipstick. Rudy, who was prone to grandiosity, liked to refer to her as ‘my amour.’

“On the Friday before Labor Day, 2013, the Norths had just finished their toast when a nurse, who visited five times a week to help Rennie bathe and dress, came to their house, in Sun City Aliante, an ‘active adult’ community in Las Vegas.”

Read this article in its entirety at The New Yorker, click here. 

 

“‘Too Little Too Late’: Bankruptcy Booms Among Older Americans” – The New York Times

oldandbroke-Lawrence Sedita, a 74-year-old former carpenter, said he lost his health insurance about two years ago after his union changed the eligibility requirements. He and his wife filed for bankruptcy after living off of their credit cards for a time. Their financial difficulty ‘has drained everything out of me,’ he said.” Credit: Roger Kisby for The New York Times

by Tara Siegel Bernard

“For a rapidly growing share of older Americans, traditional ideas about life in retirement are being upended by a dismal reality: bankruptcy.

“The signs of potential trouble — vanishing pensions, soaring medical expenses, inadequate savings — have been building for years. Now, new research sheds light on the scope of the problem: The rate of people 65 and older filing for bankruptcy is three times what it was in 1991, the study found, and the same group accounts for a far greater share of all filers.

Driving the surge, the study suggests, is a three-decade shift of financial risk from government and employers to individuals, who are bearing an ever-greater responsibility for their own financial well-being as the social safety net shrinks.”

Read this New York Times article in its entirety, click here.

“Stop giving so much money to your kids, and 8 more ways to afford retirement.” – The Washington Post

“Thanks to debt, divorce, needy children, and a host of other money-sucking problems, many boomers need to rethink their spending habits if they ever want to retire.”

stop givingPeter and Maria Hoey

by Susan Moeller

“IF YOU’RE A BABY BOOMER entering the tunnel of possible retirement, there’s one hard truth to acknowledge: Bad stuff happens.

“No matter how prepared you think you might be  —  and experts say boomers are, generally speaking, quite unprepared  —  unforeseen events can derail finances. Take just a few that hit me starting in my 50s: divorce, serious health issues, and family crises. And that’s just the big stuff. Even if you downsize, the car will still need new tires. The old dog will tear his ACL. And the condo association will raise its fees.

“You’d think boomers would be OK. We hold 60 percent of the wealth in the United States, according to a report by the management firm McKinsey and Co. But we have also accumulated unprecedented levels of debt and will actually need the Social Security we are accused of squandering.”

Click to continue reading this article at TheWashington Post.

“In 83 Million Eviction Records, a Sweeping and Intimate New Look at Housing in America” – The New York Times

eviction

“RICHMOND, Va. — Before the first hearings on the morning docket, the line starts to clog the lobby of the John Marshall Courthouse. No cellphones are allowed inside, but many of the people who’ve been summoned don’t learn that until they arrive. ‘Put it in your car,’ the sheriff’s deputies suggest at the metal detector. That advice is no help to renters who have come by bus. To make it inside, some tuck their phones in the bushes nearby.

“This courthouse handles every eviction in Richmond, a city with one of the highest eviction rates in the country, according to new data covering dozens of states and compiled by a team led by the Princeton sociologist Matthew Desmond.

Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City

 

Two years ago, Mr. Desmond turned eviction into a national topic of conversation with ‘Evicted,’ a book that chronicled how poor families who lost their homes in Milwaukee sank ever deeper into poverty. It became a favorite among civic groups and on college campuses, some here in Richmond. Bill Gates and former President Obama named it among the best books they had read in 2017, and it was awarded a Pulitzer Prize.

But for all the attention the problem began to draw, even Mr. Desmond could not say how widespread it was.”

Continue reading this New York Times article, click here.

 

“Why does the U.S. spend so much on health care?” – STAT: Morning Rounds

health care spending

“A new report finds the U.S. spent nearly twice as much on health care in 2016 as 10 other high-income countries — but by and large, our health outcomes are worse. The U.S. had the highest maternal and infant mortality rates and the lowest life expectancy of the 11 countries included in the study. So what’s driving that difference in spending? A look at the numbers:

  • We spend a lot on health care. The U.S. spent about $1,443 a person on health care in 2016. The next highest: Switzerland, which shelled out $939 per person.
  • But it’s not because we use it much more often. For the most part, people in the U.S. used health care services about as often as people in other countries.
  • Prices for goods, like prescription drugs, seem to play a big part. Take the cholesterol drug Crestor, with a list price of $86 per month in the U.S., but $41 in Germany and $9 in Australia.
  • So do labor costs, such as physician salaries. General physicians in the U.S. had the highest salary of any country in the study, making $218,173 on average, compared to $154,126 in Germany, which had the next highest salary.”

 

New Brief and Interactive Map Examine Poverty Among Seniors in the U.S. – Kaiser Family Foundation

A new Kaiser Family Foundation brief and interactive map provide the latest national and state-level estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau of the share of people ages 65 and older who are living in poverty. In 2016, 9.3 percent of seniors, or 4.6 million people, lived in poverty, based on the official poverty threshold of $11,511 in income for an individual age 65 or older. That year 30.4 percent, or 15 million seniors, had income under twice the poverty threshold. Under an alternative measure of poverty, known as the Supplemental Poverty Measure, the analysis shows a larger share and number of seniors living below poverty thresholds. That measure, developed in response to concerns that the official measure does not accurately reflect people’s financial resources or liabilities, takes into account out-of-pocket health care costs, regional variation in housing costs and other factors.

Under the Supplemental Poverty Measure, 14.5 percent of people ages 65 and older, or 7.1 million, were living in poverty in 2016—2.5 million more seniors in poverty than under the official measure. And under this measure, 42.4 percent, or 20.9 million people, had incomes below twice the poverty level—5.9 million more seniors than under the official poverty measure.

9166-figure-1

SOURCE: Kaiser Family Foundation