Category Archives: Social Security

“Today’s older workers may see the first cuts to Social Security benefits” – MarketWatch

social security“The Congressional Budget Office released a report detailing the potential impact of the pandemic on the country’s economy.” –  GETTY IMAGES

by Alessandra Malito

“The Congressional Budget Office released an updated budget outlook, including the pandemic’s impact on the economy.”

“Many young Americans say they don’t expect to get Social Security when they retire, but it’s the older workers of today who may see the first cuts to their benefits.

“The Congressional Budget Office released an updated budget outlook on Wednesday, originally published in July, to reflect the impact the pandemic has had on the economy. In the report, the agency said the budget deficit will reach a record $3.3 trillion this year — and $13 trillion over the next decade. The national debt, which is projected to be 98% of gross domestic product this year, is also expected to surpass the levels of World War II next year, when it’s expected to reach 104% in 2021.

“Among the numerous adverse effects of the current crisis is the steep incline in the expected insolvency dates for Social Security and Medicare’s programs, which are expected to run out of money in 11 years compared with the previous projection of 15 years.” 

Click here to continue reading this article at MarketWatch.

New Guidance about COVID-19 Economic Impact Payments for Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Beneficiaries from Social Security Commissioner Andrew Saul

ss administration logo

The Treasury Department launched a new web tool allowing quick registration for Economic Impact Payments for eligible individuals who do not normally file a tax return, and also announced that it would begin making automatic payments. However, for some people receiving benefits from the Social Security Administration–specifically those who have dependent children under the age of 17 — it is to their advantage to go to this portal to ensure they also get the $500 per dependent Economic Impact Payment. I encourage them to do this as soon as possible, and want to provide the following details:

People who receive Social Security retirement, survivors, or disability insurance benefits and who did not file a tax return for 2018 or 2019 and who have qualifying children under age 17 should now go to the IRS’s webpage at www.irs.gov/coronavirus/economic-impact-payments to enter their information instead of waiting for their automatic $1,200 Economic Impact Payment. By taking proactive steps to enter information on the IRS website about them and their qualifying children, they will also receive the $500 per dependent child payment in addition to their $1,200 individual payment. If Social Security beneficiaries in this group do not provide their information to the IRS soon, they will have to wait to receive their $500 per qualifying child.

The same new guidance also applies to SSI recipients, especially those who have qualifying children under age 17. To receive the full amount of the Economic Impact Payments you and your family are eligible for, go to the IRS’s Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info page at www.irs.gov/coronavirus/economic-impact-payments and provide information about yourself and your qualifying children.

Additionally, any new beneficiaries since January 1, 2020, of either Social Security or SSI benefits, who did not file a tax return for 2018 or 2019, will also need to go to the IRS’s Non-Filers website to enter their information.

Lastly, for Social Security retirement, survivors, or disability beneficiaries who do not have qualifying children under age 17, you do not need to take any action with the IRS. You will automatically receive your $1,200 economic impact payment directly from the IRS as long as you received an SSA-1099 for 2019.

For SSI recipients who do not have qualifying children under age 17, we continue to work closely with Treasury in our efforts to make these payments automatically. Please note that we will not consider Economic Impact Payments as income for SSI recipients, and the payments are excluded from resources for 12 months.

The eligibility requirements and other information about the Economic Impact Payments can be found here: www.irs.gov/coronavirus/economic-impact-payment-information-center. In addition, please continue to visit the IRS at www.irs.gov/coronavirus for the latest information.

We will continue to update Social Security’s COVID-19 web page at www.socialsecurity.gov/coronavirus/ as further details become available.”


SOURCE: news release

Department of Banking and Securities Warns of COVID-19-Related Investment Schemes

dept of banking logo

April 1, 2020

The Pennsylvania Department of Banking and Securities (DoBS) is warning investors of an anticipated surge in fraudulent investment schemes.

“As is so often the case during times of emergency, scammers will be looking to profit from the misfortune of others by targeting investors and capitalizing on concerns related to the securities market,” said Acting Secretary Richard Vague. “The narrative of the investment scheme may change, but the underlying scam remains the same.”

The North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA), of which the department is a member, anticipates fraudulent investment schemes will rise as a result of the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

In particular, NASAA and the department warn investors to be on the lookout for investments specifically tied to the threat of COVID-19, such as:

* Falsely purporting to raise capital for companies manufacturing surgical masks and gowns; producing ventilators and medical equipment; or manufacturing vaccines or other miracle cures.
* Taking advantage of concerns with securities market volatility to promote “safe” investments with “guaranteed returns” including investments tied to gold and other commodities; oil and gas; and real estate.
* Touting “get rick quick” schemes with quickly earned returns to be used for rent, utilities, and other expenses.
* Targeting retirees and senior citizens, falsely claiming they can quickly and safely recoup any losses to their retirement portfolios.

Retail investors must remain vigilant and protect themselves from schemes such as these tied to COVID-19 and recent economic developments:

* Investigate Before You Invest. Before spending any time and money on a financial service, product, or company, investigate before you invest. Investors can visit the DoBS website.

* Avoid Phishing Scams. Scam emails are made to sound and look real. Never open an attachment or link from an unsolicited email and never share financial or sensitive information without independently verifying the request.

* Too Good to Be True. The old adage is accurate: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Ask questions about the investment and evaluate the risks. Any legitimate investment involves and degree of risk, and anyone unwilling to provide clear and detailed information about an investment is a red flag.

* Beware of Economic Relief Schemes. With news that the federal government will be sending checks to the public as part of an economic stimulus effort, scammers will no doubt increase efforts to steal your money. Do NOT give your personal information to anyone purporting to be from the government in relation to receiving a stimulus check. Likewise, anyone asking you to prepay taxes or fees on the money, or pay any type of charge, in order to receive the money is likely trying to defraud you.

For more detailed information related to schemes to watch and tips for protecting yourself, the department has developed a guide for investors.

Visit the commonwealth’s Responding to COVID-19  guidefor the latest guidance and resources for Pennsylvanians or the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s dedicated coronavirus webpage for the most up-to-date information regarding COVID-19.

Learn more about COVID-19 information and guidance for financial Institutions and consumers from DoBS.

Anyone can contact DoBS at 1-800-PA-BANKS or 1-800-722-2657 to ask questions or file complaints about financial transactions, companies, or products.

SOURCE: news release


Want to get your Coronavirus relief check? Scammers do too.

Here’s a warning from the Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Information.

“Is my life worth $1,000 a month? The reality of feeling undervalued by federal disability payments.” – PublicSource

ssdi“Sue Kerr receives $1,000 each month through Social Security Disability Insurance.” (Photo by Ryan Loew/PublicSource)

First-person essay by Sue Kerr

“My personal income puts me at the federal poverty level, even though I have a graduate degree and more than 30 years of both paid and unpaid work experience. Because I am disabled and no longer able to do most paid work, I receive about $1,000 through Social Security Disability Insurance [SSDI].

“Our household income is higher, but I can’t help but wonder why my life is valued so low. Is it determined by some higher entity or karma? Is it a numerological message or is it just a confluence of being a woman, a disabled person and a queer person?

“According to the 2016 National Survey of Drug Use and Health, an estimated 10.4 million adults age 18 and older in the United States had a serious mental illness, including 2.4 million adults living below the poverty line. In 2018, 9% of white women were living in poverty, compared to 20% of Black women and 29% of all women with disabilities, according to the National Women’s Law Center. A recent report from the Williams Institute found that one in five LGBTQ persons live in poverty.”

Read this first person article in its entirety at PublicSource, click here.

“Fake calls about your Social Security Number? – Federal Trade Commission

spam call

by Jennifer Leach, Acting Associate Director, Division of Consumer and Business Education, FTC

The FTC is getting reports about people pretending to be from the Social Security Administration (SSA) who are trying to get your Social Security number and even your money. In one version of the scam, the caller says your Social Security number has been linked to a crime (often, he says it happened in Texas) involving drugs or sending money out of the country illegally. He then says your Social is blocked – but he might ask you for a fee to reactivate it, or to get a new number. And he will ask you to confirm your Social Security number.

In other variations, he says that somebody used your Social Security number to apply for credit cards, and you could lose your benefits. Or he might warn you that your bank account is about to be seized, that you need to withdraw your money, and that he’ll tell you how to keep it safe.

But all of these are scams. Here’s what you need to know:

  • The SSA will never (ever) call and ask for your Social Security number. It won’t ask you to pay anything. And it won’t call to threaten your benefits.
  • Your caller ID might show the SSA’s real phone number (1-800-772-1213), but that’s not the real SSA calling. Computers make it easy to show any number on caller ID. You can’t trust what you see there.
  • Never give your Social Security number to anyone who contacts you. Don’t confirm the last 4 digits. And don’t give a bank account or credit card number – ever – to anybody who contacts you asking for it.
  • Remember that anyone who tells you to wire money, pay with a gift card, or send cash is a scammer. Always. No matter who they say they are.

If you’re worried about a call from someone who claims to be from the Social Security Administration, get off the phone. Then call the realSSA at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778). If you’ve spotted a scam, then tell the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint.


“Your caller ID might show the SSA’s real phone number (1-800-772-1213), but that’s not the real SSA calling. Computers make it easy to show any number on caller ID. You can’t trust what you see there.” A commenter following this FTC article.

“Misconceptions About Health Costs When You’re Older” – The New York Times

“End-of-life spending may seem wasteful, but it turns out it’s hard to predict when someone will die.”

end-of-life medical costsTraditional Medicare has substantial gaps, leaving Americans on the hook for a lot more than they might expect.” Credit: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/Associated Press

by Austin Frakt

“Some significant expenses decline as we age: Most mortgages are eventually paid off, and ideally children grow up and become self-supporting.

“But health care is one area in which costs are almost certain to rise. After all, one of the original justifications for Medicare — which kicks in at age 65 — is that older people have much higher health care needs and expenses.

“But there are a few common misunderstandings about health costs when people are older, including the idea that money can easily be saved by reducing wasteful end-of-life spending.

Click here to continue reading this article at The New York Times.

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.

 

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.

Friday Wrap-Up, April 6, 2018 | a message from the Secretary of Aging

Each week the Office of the Secretary of Pennsylvania’s Department of Aging releases a Friday newsletter with information relevant to activities, issues and events for older Pennsylvanians and persons with disabilities across the Commonwealth. Click here download the newsletter as a .pdf file.

 

“Older People Projected to Outnumber Children for First Time in U.S. History” – US Census Bureau

againg population

The year 2030 marks an important demographic turning point in U.S. history according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2017 National Population Projections.

By 2030, all baby boomers will be older than age 65. This will expand the size of the older population so that 1 in every 5 residents will be retirement age.

“The aging of baby boomers means that within just a couple decades, older people are projected to outnumber children for the first time in U.S. history,” said Jonathan Vespa, a demographer with the U.S. Census Bureau. “By 2035, there will be 78.0 million people 65 years and older compared to 76.4 million under the age of 18.”

The 2030s are projected to be a transformative decade for the U.S. population. The population is expected to grow at a slower pace, age considerably and become more racially and ethnically diverse.  Net international migration is projected to overtake natural increase in 2030 as the primary driver of population growth in the United States, another demographic first for the United States.

Although births are projected to be nearly four times larger than the level of net international migration in coming decades, a rising number of deaths will increasingly offset how much births are able to contribute to population growth. Between 2020 and 2050, the number of deaths is projected to rise substantially as the population ages and a significant share of the population, the baby boomers, age into older adulthood. As a result, the population will naturally grow very slowly, leaving net international migration to overtake natural increase as the leading cause of population growth, even as projected levels of migration remain relatively constant.

Other highlights:

Population Growth

  • By 2060, the United States is projected to grow by 78 million people, from about 326 million today to 404 million. The population is projected to cross the 400-million threshold in 2058.
  • In coming years, the rate at which the U.S. population grows is expected to slow down. The population is projected to grow by an average of 2.3 million people per year until 2030. But that number is expected to decline to an average of 1.8 million per year between 2030 and 2040, and continue falling to 1.5 million per year from 2040 to 2060.

Aging

  • As the population ages, the ratio of older adults to working-age adults, also known as the old-age dependency ratio, is projected to rise. By 2020, there will be about three-and-a-half working-age adults for every retirement-age person. By 2060, that ratio will fall to just two-and-a-half working-age adults for every retirement-age person.
  • The median age of the U.S. population is expected to grow from age 38 today to age 43 by 2060.

Race and Ethnicity

  • The non-Hispanic White-alone population is projected to shrink over the coming decades, from 199 million in 2020 to 179 million in 2060 — even as the U.S. population continues to grow. Their decline is driven by falling birth rates and a rising number of deaths over time among non-Hispanic Whites as that population ages. In comparison, the White-alone population, regardless of Hispanic origin, is projected to grow from about 253 million to 275 million over the same period.
  • The Two or More Races population is projected to be the fastest growing over the next several decades, followed by single-race Asians and Hispanics of any race. The causes of their growth are different, however. For Hispanics and people who are Two or More Races, their high growth rates are largely the result of high rates of natural increase, given the relatively young age structures of these populations. For Asians, the driving force behind their growth is high net international migration.

Children

  • By 2020, less than half of children in the United States are projected to be non-Hispanic white alone (49.8 percent of the projected 73.9 million children under age 18). In comparison, about 72 percent of children are projected to be White alone, regardless of Hispanic origin.
  • The share of children who are Two or More Races is projected to more than double in coming decades, from 5.3 percent today to 11.3 percent in 2060.
  • The racial and ethnic composition of younger birth cohorts is expected to change more quickly than for older cohorts. In 2060, over one-third of children are projected to be non-Hispanic white alone compared with over one-half of older adults (36.5 percent compared with 55.1 percent, respectively).

SOURCE: US Census Bureau

“The Graying of America: More Older Adults Than Kids by 2035