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Harikrishna Majumdar
By Harikrishna Majmundar

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS Q: I read and hear about the changes in the program about medical benefits to the aged and disabled. How do I get the detailed and accurate information about the program?

A: If you have easy access to computer, you may refer to the following Web site: Also, the information is available on a toll-free telephone number at 1-800-633-4227.

Q: I want to know some basics about the new changes in medical benefits. I have no access to computer. Will you say in short about the changes?

A: From January 2006, a new scheme will be launched to make prescription drugs available a little cheaply. the scheme is meant for all and one. However, for elders and disabled, the medicine will be available by paying a nominal sum. Those who are on Medicare and Medicaid and have the status of a qualified Medicare beneficiary are required to select a plan available in their district, which gives them the medicines they normally use. After verifying that the medicines they use are available under the plan, they may choose that plan. For instructions on how to pick the plan, call 1-800-633-4227. Please do not be scared. Though the program is complicated, and it is difficult to provide comprehensive instructions, you are free to refer to me your personal case by writing to me

Q: I had given a check for the purchases I had made. Before the check was encashed by the recipient, my SSI (Supplemental Security Income) check was credited with the result that in the first week of November, my bank balance was more than $3,000. I am married and I understand that if the balances in our joint account show more than $3,000, my SSI for December will be discontinued. What should I do to avoid that contingency?

A: The resources are to be counted on the first movement in the new month. As you had less than $3,000 on the midnight of Oct. 31, your resources after that date may not cause you any trouble. You may carefully watch your resources on the midnight of 30th November.

Q: What are the properties other than house in which I stay, car, computer and household matters that are excluded under the provision to keep property over the prescribed limit?

A: The following provisions are for property essential for self support. There are certain properties, which are excluded regardless of value or rate of return. There is property excluded up to $6,000 equity regardless of rate of return. There is property excluded up to $6,000 equity if it produces a 6 percent return. Please let me know by e-mail the details of the case in question.

Q: I am less than 65 years of age. I have severe arthritis, which is very much painful. I am not literate. I have still a year to wait for reaching the eligible age. Income/resources wise, my husband and I have income /resources much below the prescribed limits. do I get any help? Both of us are naturalized citizens. My husband earns not more than $600 per month.

A: You should immediately apply for SSI on disability for which 65 years of age is not a requirement.

Q: I am 70 years old. I came to the U.S. in June 1998. I am not good at English and cannot not pass the citizenship test. I badly need Medicaid. Is there any way to get it?

A: You may apply for Medicare. The normal period of application is between January 1 and March 31. You also can apply for the staus of Qualified Medicare Beneficiary program though you may apply for Medicare B at any time of the year. Some of the states do not accept Medicare application earlier than January month of the year. Please let me know if you do not get Medicare Part B now.

Q: Only last month, I got American citizenship. I am 62 years old. Can I get supplementary Security Income (SSI) at reduced rates?

A: SSI is admissible only after 65. You try for SSI on disability. If you are found disabled, you may get SSI if you satisfy the conditions of limited resources.

Q: I am an American citizen. I work in my friend's motel. He has given me a room free of charge. He pays me only $400 per month in cash. I get food outside in an Indian restaurant. Can I get some help from Social Security?

A: Yes, you are eligible to get SSI if you satisfy the condition of age 65 and over and limited resources.

Q: I have shifted my residence from my son's house to my old friend's house. it is a spacious house in an affluent locality near the downtown. Though the market rent is high, he has agreed to charge only $400 a month. Can I get the full SSI even though I do not pay the market rent? I have made separate arrangements for my food.

A: Yes. The rent that you pay to a person other than your near relative has to be approved by the SSI administration.

Q: My SSI/Medicaid was stopped when the SSI administration saw my old bank statements in review. I wish to appeal. I have received the denial only to day. Please advise me.

A: Please immediately appeal against the denial. If you appeal within 10 days, requesting them not to stop your SSI/Medicaid. Till the decision of your appeal, you have fair chances of success. Though you are supposed to get your funds from all sources, you need not go to the court for recovering your loan.

These questions and answers are courtesy of Harikrishna Majmundar of California, author of “Mapping the Maze: A Guide to Welfare for Elderly Immigrants.” He has advised several hundred welfare applicants. A copy of this 2003 published book is available for $10 from H.J. Majmundar, 450 Melville Ave., Palo Alto, Calif. 94301 or send an e-mail to if you have a question.

Bijan Mohseni


Affluent baby boomers have shifted their financial focus toward the future and retirement planning, according to the latest AXA Nest Egg Study, commissioned by AXA Financial Inc. The study, which was first conducted in 1993, revealed there is a new focus on retirement planning, an increase in financial sophistication and a greater belief in the American dream of success among baby boomers compared to 10 years ago.

Sources of retirement income

Once in retirement, what do baby boomers see as their source(s) of income? An increased number of baby boomers placed a high importance on their employer’s pension plan (57 percent in 2003 vs. 40percent in 1993) and privately created financial plans (49 percent in 2003 vs. 33 percent in 1993) as sources of retirement income. Indeed, those who have prepared well financially for retirement are most likely to place a high importance on a privately created financial plan as a source of retirement income with many citing this as the most important source.

Although respondents did not characterize Social Security as a key source of retirement income, they did indicate that it had some importance in planning for retirement (56percent in 2003 vs. 44percent in 1993). Those who have prepared poorly for retirement are most likely to rely on Social Security and most likely to believe they will have to sell their home to maintain their lifestyle in retirement.

These findings are mirrored in respondents who reported not having a financial plan. In AXA’s 2003 Nest Egg Study, those without a financial plan were more likely to rely on Social Security (11 percent of those with a plan vs. 24 percent of those without a plan) and were likely to say that they expect to sell their home in retirement (17 percent of those with a plan vs. 23 percent of those without a plan).

On their own

As they age, chances will increase that married baby boomers may find themselves on their own. In the AXA 2003 Nest Egg Study, a large majority acknowledges that their own lifestyle would decrease upon their spouse’s death (87 percent) and that their spouse’s lifestyle would decrease upon their death (82 percent). Women especially believe their lifestyle would be severely diminished upon their spouse’s death – 19 percent vs. 3 percent for men.

Respondents with less than $100,000 in household income who do not have a financial plan are more likely to believe that their spouse’s lifestyle would decrease severely (2 percent of those with a plan vs. 14 percent of those without a plan) upon their own death.

Looking to the future

Despite the political and economic events of recent years, nearly three-quarters of respondents to AXA’s 2003 Nest Egg Study believe “the American dream of success is alive” (74 percent). This increased by 17 percent from 1993, when 58 percent believed this to be true. And as with generations before them, more baby boomers believe the future will be better for their children with 53 percent believing it is realistic to think that their children will be better off than they are (an increase from 41 percent in 1993).

In closing

As the baby boom generation continues to mature, financial needs, goals and expectations will evolve and change. Results from AXA’s 2003 Next Egg Study indicate that this process is under way. Preparing financially for retirement has become significantly important for the generation that declared it would never trust anyone over 30. Having adequate resources in retirement has replaced paying for the children’s college education as the single greatest economic concern for a considerable portion of baby boomers. Compared to 1993, more baby boomers expect to assign a higher priority to providing a financial base for retirement.

Yet, some things haven’t changed. In both 1993 and 2003, more than 60 percent of respondents reported that they had a formal financial plan. Results further indicate that having a plan means a greater likelihood of achieving financial goals.

Overall, baby boomers seem to be anticipating retirement and have begun to face the task of building a nest egg for their future.

Bijan Mohseni of the Business Planning Group of Tampa offers securities through AXA Advisors, LLC (member NASD, SIPC) and annuity and insurance products through an insurance brokerage affiliate, AXA Network, LLC and its subsidiaries. He can be reached at 4890 W. Kennedy Blvd., Suite 800, Tampa, FL 33609 or call (813) 282-9088.

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