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  • Social Security Overpayment Burden Reduced to 10%

    Updated May 2, 2024

    The Social Security Administration announced it will decrease the default overpayment withholding rate for Social Security beneficiaries to ten percent (or $10, whichever is greater) from 100%, significantly reducing financial hardship on people with overpayments. "Social Security is taking a critically important step towards our goal of ensuring our overpayment policies are fair, equitable and do not unduly harm anyone," said Martin O'Malley, commissioner of Social Security....

  • Five Key Benefits of Hiring Older Workers

    Updated Mar 2, 2024

    When you think of new hires, who do you picture? While you may expect applicants to be 20-somethings straight out of college or 30-to-40-somethings making a career change, in reality, you'll likely see more applicants who are older adults. According to a report by the U.S. Special Committee on Aging, workers 55 and older will soon represent 25% of our nation's workforce. However, just because more older adults are applying for jobs doesn't mean they are getting hired. Many old...

  • CSET Offers Free Tax Preparation Services in Tulare County

    Updated Mar 2, 2024

    Community Services Employment Training (CSET) is currently providing free tax preparation services to residents of Tulare County. The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program prepares federal and state tax returns at no cost to households with less than $60,000 in annual income. Each year, CSET helps thousands of residents in Tulare County file their income tax returns for free. Additionally, tax preparers can help residents claim federal/state earned income tax credits...

  • Does Insurance Pay for Senior Communities?

    Kimberly Jensen, Quail Park Senior Resource Advocate|Updated Nov 11, 2023

    I am looking into moving to a Senior Independent/Assisted Living community. Does insurance pay for it? Independent living and assisted living communities in Tulare County are private pay. If you were wise enough to get a long-term care insurance policy that includes residential care facilities, it will help you pay the assisted living fees. Long-term care insurance policies are purchased separately from health insurance and have hefty premiums, but they are life savers when...

  • What to Worry About: Five Biggest Financial Risks

    Richard Connor, Article courtesy of HumbleDollar.com|Updated Nov 11, 2023

    Boston College's Center for Retirement Research published a study that explores what Americans think are the biggest risks to their retirement - as opposed to what they objectively are. The center found "a big disconnect between how actual and perceived risks are ranked." That disconnect could be hurting people's retirement planning. The study says the biggest risk to retirement is longevity - living so long that we run out of money. But the survey found that the biggest...

  • Medicare Advantage and Prescription Programs to Remain Stable in 2024

    Updated Nov 11, 2023

    The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced that average premiums, benefits and plan choices for Medicare Advantage and the Medicare Part D prescription drug program will remain stable in 2024. Improvements adopted in the 2024 Rate Announcement, as well as the 2024 Medicare Advantage and Part D Final Rule support this stability. CMS works to ensure these programs work for people enrolled in Medicare, that benefits remain strong and stable, and that...

  • Social Security Benefits to Increase by 3.2% in 2024

    Updated Nov 11, 2023

    Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for more than 71 million Americans will increase 3.2% in 2024, the Social Security Administration announced on October 12. On average, Social Security retirement benefits will increase by more than $50 per month starting in January. More than 66 million Social Security beneficiaries will see the 3.2% cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) beginning in January 2024. Increased payments to approximately 7.5 million people receiving SSI will begin on December 29. (Some...

  • Report Finds $28.3 Billion a Year is Stolen from U.S. Adults Over 60

    Updated Sep 4, 2023

    Older Americans lose an estimated $28.3 billion annually to elder financial exploitation (EFE), according to a new report from AARP. The report also shows that 87.5% of adults age 60 and older who are victimized by someone they know never report these incidents to authorities. In contrast, just one-third of victims of stranger-perpetrated EFE do not report it. "While strangers often rely on quick and irreversible transactions such as gift cards or wire transfers, perpetrators...

  • 2024 Social Security Payments Expected to Increase by 3%

    Updated Sep 3, 2023

    The Social Security cost of living adjustment (COLA) for 2024 is looking increasingly like it may be around 3%, based on consumer price data released on August 10, according to The Senior Citizens League (TSCL). Overall, the inflation rate in July is significantly lower than a year ago. The Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W), the index used to determine the COLA, was up 2.6% year over year. However, the average monthly inflation rate has risen slightly, especially since January of this...

  • Most Americans Worry about Long-Term Finances

    Updated May 25, 2023

    The majority of Americans don’t think they can depend on Social Security for retirement income and worry about their long-term financial stability, according to the 2023 1Q Quarterly Market Perceptions Study from Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America (Allianz Life). Nearly three in four (74%) say they can’t count on Social Security benefits when planning retirement income. At the same time, 88% say it is critical to have another source of guaranteed income beyond Social Security benefits in order to have a comfortab...

  • Free Tax Preparation Offered in Tulare County

    Updated Mar 2, 2023

    Community Services Employment Training (CSET) is providing free tax preparation services to residents of Tulare County. The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program prepares federal and state tax returns at no cost to households with less than $60,000 in annual income. Eligible working families and individuals may also qualify for Federal and California Earned Income Tax Credits (CalEITC) that may reduce the amount of tax owed. Tax documents can be dropped off at any...

  • Victim Blaming in Financial Fraud

    Updated Sep 8, 2022

    A new report from the AARP Fraud Watch Network and FINRA Investor Education Foundation says shifting how our society talks about victims of financial fraud could lead to a much-needed change in how our country responds to this growing crime. “As a society, we tend to use words that blame fraud victims for the crime they experienced,” said Kathy Stokes, AARP director of fraud prevention programs. “Scam victims also blame themselves, and this combination serves to diminish the perception that these are crimes and that victims d...

  • Social Security Benefits Lose Buying Power

    Updated Jul 24, 2022

    High inflation has caused Social Security benefits to lose 40% of their buying power since the year 2000, according to the latest update of an ongoing study by The Senior Citizens League (TSCL). "That's the deepest loss in buying power since the beginning of this study by The Senior Citizens League in 2010," says Mary Johnson, a TSCL Social Security policy analyst who conducted the research. "Based on the most recent consumer price data, the annual cost of living adjustment...

  • SRES Designation Indicates A Realtor's Dedication to Serving Seniors

    Larry Kast, Publisher, The Good Life|Updated May 6, 2022

    Today's real estate market is full of first-time home buyers, those who are moving up, and those who are moving away. But the segment of the market occupied by seniors is finally starting to catch a toe-hold in the South Valley by a little known specialist designation that's emerging among real estate agents. Known as Seniors Real Estate Specialists (SRES), real estate agents who belong to the National Association of Realtors are taking coursework to obtain the NAR's...

  • Can You Deduct Assisted Living Costs?

    Kimberly Jensen, Quail Corner|Updated Mar 5, 2022

    It is tax time again, and I am getting quite a few inquiries regarding whether assisted living costs can be deducted from your taxes. My first step would be for you to discuss this with your accountant to get his professional advice. I have found the following information, courtesy of Kathleen Leahy, CarePatrol, that might be helpful. The majority of the one million American seniors living in assisted living communities pay the fees with their own money. With a monthly median cost of nearly $4,000, assisted living is a...

  • Social Security Announces 5.9% Increase

    Updated Nov 9, 2021

    Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for approximately 70 million Americans will increase 5.9% in 2022, announced the Social Security Administration on October 13. The 5.9% cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) will begin with benefits payable to more than 64 million Social Security beneficiaries in January 2022. Increased payments to approximately eight million SSI beneficiaries will begin on December 30, 2021. The Social Security Act ties the annual...

  • Seven Tips to Help Seniors Get Affordable Car Insurance

    Updated Jul 9, 2021

    The number of senior citizens who are driving in the U.S. is constantly increasing. This means that the demand for affordable car insurance for senior drivers is also increasing. However, car insurance companies are seeing these things from a different perspective. The more senior drivers are on the roads, the higher are the chances for an accident to happen. Nevertheless, senior drivers can obtain affordable car insurance if they follow the next tips: • Look for senior d...

  • Survey Finds Retirees Spent Less on Healthcare in 2020

    Updated May 1, 2021

    Although older Americans have been the most at risk of dying from COVID-19, the pandemic has resulted in a rare drop in healthcare spending for this group in 2020, according to a new survey by The Senior Citizens League (TSCL). The nationwide survey of more than 1098 participants found a very large drop from 2019 to 2020 in the percentage of individuals reporting the highest level of healthcare spending, and a significant increase in the numbers of those with the lower levels of spending. “This was most likely due to the l...

  • Report Shows Financial Impact of Diminished Capacity

    Updated May 1, 2021

    Three financial services and technology experts – all with extensive professional and personal experience devising strategies to protect families and improve financial decision-making – have released a whitepaper that provides a framework for more effective client engagement, risk mitigation and protection around diminished capacity. The whitepaper, Cognitive Overload: The Coming Surge in Diminished Capacity Cases and What Wealth Management Firms Can Do to Protect Their Clients and Themselves, summarizes the current demograph...

  • People Born in 1960 Face Social Security Reductions

    Updated Mar 3, 2021

    About 4 million people who turn 61 this year could be facing a deep hit to their Social Security benefits when they retire, warns The Senior Citizens League (TSCL). "This is caused by a flaw in the Social Security benefit formula," explained Mary Johnson, a TSCL Social Security policy analyst. "To prevent benefit cuts, Congress would need to fix this flaw by the end of 2021 before this group turns 62 and are eligible to start benefits." The feature in the Social Security...

  • Don't Share Your COVID-19 Vaccine Card on Social Media

    Updated Mar 3, 2021

    You just got your COVID-19 inoculation and you are excited to share the good news and encourage others to do the same. You take a selfie holding your vaccination card and post it to Facebook, Instagram or another social media platform. Unfortunately, your card has your full name and birthday on it, as well as information about where you got your vaccine. If your social media privacy settings aren’t set high, you may be giving valuable information away for anyone to use. Sharing your personal information isn’t the only iss...

  • Social Security Increases Benefits by 1.3% for 2021

    Updated Jan 13, 2021

    Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for approximately 70 million Americans will increase 1.3% in 2021. The cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) will begin with benefits to more than 64 million Social Security beneficiaries in January. Increased payments to more than 8 million SSI beneficiaries began on December 31, 2020. The Social Security Act ties the annual COLA to the increase in the Consumer Price Index, as determined by the Department of Labor's...

  • 80% of Money Lost in Prize Scams Comes from Seniors

    Updated Oct 11, 2020

    Sweepstakes, lottery and prize scams have not lessened their financial and emotional harm, despite concerted law enforcement efforts, according to data from Better Business Bureau (BBB), the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3). This fraud is especially devastating to older adults in the United States and Canada. BBB cautions seniors to be particularly vigilant about recognizing and avoiding tactics used by scammers to prey on people dur...

  • The 'New' Retirement Shows How to Profit from Gig Economy

    Updated Jul 24, 2020

    In an era when so few people believe they'll be able to retire comfortably (or at all) - and the statistics bear that out - author Winton Churchill argues in his just-released book, The "New" Retirement: The Rise of the Gig Economy and How You Can Profit From It, that retirees can, in fact, wield more control over their situations than most realize. "Lots of people believe they will simply have to take the retirement the world hands them (if they get one at all). But that's...

  • Redesigned Retirement Benefits Portal at socialsecurity.gov

    Updated Jul 24, 2020

    The Social Security Administration announced the first of several steps the agency is taking to improve the public’s experience on its website. The newly redesigned retirement benefits portal at www.socialsecurity.gov/benefits/retirement will help millions of people prepare for and apply for retirement. “We are working hard to continue improving our website to provide people with clear, helpful information and easy access to our online services,” said Andrew Saul, commissioner of Social Security. “Our new retirement portal...

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