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Harikrishna Majumdar
WELFARE CONCERNS FOR ELDERLY IMMIGRANTS ADDRESSED
By Harikrishna Majmundar - haripremi@hotmail.com

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Q: I donated one of my kidneys to my husband to save his life. Both of us have only one kidney each. We have a minor son aged 12. Both of us got a Green Card in 2006 only and are much below 65 years of age. Do you suggest any affordable medical insurance for the entire family?

A: Please try to get medical benefits from your country. You may get the advantage of a special program.

Q: Both of us are citizens and get Supplemental Security Income (SSI) from California. I have to visit Florida as my sister is not well. How many months can I stay in Florida without losing California’s benefits?

A: As you are a resident of California, you may continue to get California SSI as long as you maintain your residency. As per the rules, if one of the two (husband or wife) continue to stay in California, there is no change of residency and your absence from California is not material. However, these are tough times for welfare recipients. Please contact your SSI office.

Q: How is that one of my neighbors who is disabled is able to get SSI, salary from his work and medical benefits while my aunt who cannot work does not get any benefit?

A: There are rules under which it us difficult to get the certificate of disability if one is able to work. If one gets a certificate of disability, there are rules giving all facilities to the disabled to enable him to work. At least for a month, the disabled person should be on welfare without having to go to work. If he/she gets a low -aid work, he/she is put on the road of self-sufficiency and the states all out help is given in such cases.

Q: I was waiting for my citizenship to get SSI benefits and to give up my job. I have no other income/resources either in USA or in India except that I have saved $10,000 for emergency. If I have to transfer the amount to my son, can I get SSI?

A: In these days of high prices, it would not be difficult for you to spend down the excess $10,000. If you owe some money to your friends or relatives, you may repay them. Once you are out of the job, $10,000 will be spent in no time.

Q: When I received my SSI benefits, I asked the worker whether I am required to keep accounts of my SSI and submit those accounts every month. I was told I could spend my SSI as I like. Before going to India, I had borrowed $5,000 from my son and spent them in India. I was asked to show them proof as to where I spent the borrowed sum. Can I refuse to give the accounts?

A: You may spend your SSI money but for other funds you have to satisfy the Social Security Administration that they are properly spent.

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 a suggested donation of $10, plus $2 postage, from H.J. Majmundar, c/o Niral S. Dwivedi, 15915 Farrington Drive, Tampa, FL 33647 or call (813) 978-1200 or (813) 978-4996 if you have a question.






Bijan Mohseni
RETIREMENT PLANNING: BABY BOOMERS ARE SHIFTING THEIR PRIORITIES
By BIJAN MOHSENI

PICTURING THEIR RETIREMENT – PART 2

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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