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

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Q: What is POMS? How does it help the welfare claimant/recipient?

A: POMS (Programs Operations Manual System) is the primary source of information used by Social Security employees to process claims for Social Security benefits. Some contain guidelines for unusual situation. Please consult my friend Malti Patel at malti13@comecast.net for more information.

Q: What is the Social Security Handbook? How do I obtain it and from whom?

A: The handbook is our guide to welfare both for those who have worked and those who desire public assistance. It is a priced publication. It costs about $40. It has run into 15th edition. You can get it in any central library or you can find information about it on the Internet.

Q: Who is an ombudsman? What is his work? How does he help the welfare claimant/recipient?

A: He is an officer who is a link between public and government. He is supposed to hear your complaints against government and try to solve it. You may get further information from the central library or consult Malti Patel at malti13@comecast.net

Q: What is the effect of transfer of property on welfare eligibility?

A: If you transfer your property, including cash, without getting fair market value, your welfare benefits may be delayed by about 36 months. There are elaborate rules for its effect on cash benefits as well as on medical benefits.

Q: Can we remain absent from this country for a couple of years? What is its effect on our welfare benefits? Can we get them during our absence? Can we get them after we return to this country?

A: There are different rules for American citizens born or naturalized. The rules are different for legal permanent residents. While there is no restriction on citizens, there are many restrictions on green card holders on welfare. There are elaborate instructions in POMS. please write to Malti Patel at malti13@comecast.net. She can provide you with the information without charging any fees.

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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