A few words from the Social Security Administration

June 21st, 2017

A few words from the Social Security Administration- Beneficiary Codes

The Social Security Administration (SSA) reports that following situation has occurred many times over the years: a client (or an organization) contacts SSA about a letter from SSA which contains a Social Security Number (SSN) followed by the letters “A”, “B”, “E” or other letters, and then asks me to explain what type of benefit is indicated by the letter following the SSN. As this seems to be a common question, SSA thought they should address the question publicly.

NJFA thought the information they shared was valuable and so we are posting it here to our blog.

Letters that come after a SSN are called “Social Security beneficiary codes.” A list of the Social Security beneficiary codes which includes the meaning of each code is located on SSA’s website at Social Security Online. By reviewing the Social Security website, you will find that the SSN followed by one of these beneficiary codes is actually a claim number. Social Security assigns a beneficiary code to a SSN after an application for Social Security benefits is filed. These beneficiary codes may appear on correspondence from Social Security or on Medicare cards. However, the codes will never appear on a Social Security card. For example, if the wage earner applies for benefits and his or her SSN is 123-45-6789, then the applicant’s claim number is 123-45-6789A. This number will also be used as the wage earner’s Medicare claim number, once he or she is eligible for Medicare. If the wage earner’s spouse subsequently files for benefits on the wage earner’s SSN, the spouse’s claim number is 123-45-6789B. A list of the most common Social Security codes and their meanings follow:

Code Identification
A Primary claimant (wage earner)
B Aged wife, age 62 or over
B1 Aged husband, age 62 or over
B2 Young wife, with a child in her care
B3 Aged wife, age 62 or over, second claimant
B5 Young wife, with a child in her care, second claimant
B6 Divorced wife, age 62 or over
BY Young husband, with a child in his care
C1-C9 Child – Includes minor, student or disabled child
D Aged Widow, age 60 or over
D1 Aged widower, age 60 or over
D2 Aged widow (2nd claimant)
D3 Aged widower (2nd claimant)
D6 Surviving Divorced Wife, age 60 or over
E Widowed Mother
E1 Surviving Divorced Mother
E4 Widowed Father
E5 Surviving Divorced Father
F1 Parent (Father)
F2 Parent (Mother)
F3 Stepfather
F4 Stepmother
F5 Adopting Father
F6 Adopting Mother
HA Disabled claimant (wage earner)
HB Aged wife of disabled claimant, age 62 or over
M Uninsured – Premium Health Insurance Benefits (Part A)
M1 Uninsured – Qualified for but refused Health Insurance Benefits (Part A)
T Uninsured – Entitled to HIB (Part A) under deemed or renal provisions; or Fully insured who have elected entitlement only to HIB
TA Medicare Qualified Government Employment (MQGE)
TB MQGE aged spouse
W Disabled Widow
W1 Disabled Widower
W6 Disabled Surviving Divorced Wife

Thanks to David Vinokurov District Manager – Trenton, NJ Social Security Administration for helping to keep us informed!

 

Fifty-Nine Percent of NJ’s Seniors Can’t Cover Their Basic Costs

May 1st, 2017

NJ Foundation for Aging

145 West Hanover Street, Trenton, NJ 08618

Phone 609-421-0206   Fax 609-421-2006  

Email: office@njfoundationforaging.org

www.njfoundationforaging.org

 

                                                                        Press Release

For Immediate Release                                                                                                                      Contact:  Grace Egan, Exec. Director

May 1, 2017                                                                                                                                          Melissa Chalker, Program Manager

609-421-0206

Fifty-Nine Percent of NJ’s Seniors Can’t Cover Their Basic Costs

Trenton—More than 549,000 seniors over age 65 live alone or in elder couple households. A report released by the NJ Department of Human Services details the cost of living for seniors over age 65 across all of NJ’s counties. By examining these costs a second report Living Below the Line 2017 indicates that “New Jersey’s statewide Elder Economic Insecurity Rate (EEIR) is 59%; nearly six in 10 New Jersey retired elder-only households’ lack sufficient annual incomes to insulate them against poverty as they age. While such insecurity affects elders of all backgrounds, New Jersey EEIRs vary greatly by household type, housing type, race, gender and location.  This data infers that 300,000 seniors who live alone or in an elder couple household do not have sufficient financial assets to cover their basic living costs. Sixty-six percent of these seniors are women. The Living Below the Line Report research notes that the “median annual incomes among NJ retired women vary greatly by race and ethnicity. Median income for White women elders ($18,817) is approximately $4,300 higher than median income for Black women elders ($14,521), $8,930 higher than median income for Hispanic women elders ($9,883), and $6,200 higher than median income for Asian women elders ($12,605)”.

The Data tell us that 30 % of all NJ seniors rely on social security as their sole income. “In addition, non-White seniors rely more heavily than White seniors on Social Security as a source of income, but have on average annual Social Security payments several thousand dollars lower than White seniors’ payments. Seniors of color may also face higher expenses, as they are more likely to be renters”.

It is crucial to connect NJ’s most economically challenged seniors to public benefit programs.  Food and nutrition programs not only offer quality food but also enable seniors to use their limited dollars to cover their other basic costs such as housing. These programs include SNAP formerly known as Food Stamps, congregate meal programs, home delivered meals, the USDA’s Farmers market coupons, etc. Another key support is NJ PAAD, NJ’s Prescription Assistance for the Aging and Disabled. These programs make the difference when seniors are faced with the daily challenge of paying the rent or buying food, paying for utilities or needed prescriptions.

Many NJ seniors who have worked and saved find they face a similar challenge with the widening gap between their costs and income. They are just one catastrophe away from living in poverty.  Connecting seniors to these essential programs can improve the quality of their lives and their overall health status. For a list of county resources go to www.njfoundationforaging.org/services/

To read the two newly reports go to http://www.state.nj.us/humanservices/news/reports/doasreports.html and look for the Final 2015 EESS Index Report and Living Below the Line 2017.

The New Jersey Foundation for Aging mission is promote policy and services that enable older adults to live in the community with independence & dignity. www.njfoundationforaging.org or call 609-421-0206

 

 

 

Scammer Lingo

April 5th, 2017

Scammer Lingo

Here on NJFA’s blog we have featured a few posts about scams, we’ve also done articles in Renaissance and posted scam warnings on Social Media. It seems there is always a new scam or the resurgence of an old scam to be on the lookout for.

But that got us thinking… do we really know what all the terms associated with scams mean? The tactics that scammers use come with their own little lingo. In order to be more prepared and aware- we thought, why not share some of the terms most commonly associated with scams? That way you know what we are talking about when you read about a new scam or a warning of a scam to look out for.

Here is a sampling of terms and their definitions.

Pharming: When hackers use malicious programs to route you to their own websites (often convincing look-alikes of well-known sites), even if you’ve correctly typed in the address of the site you want to visit.

Phishing: The act of trying to trick you (often by email) into providing your personal data or credit card numbers, usually a scammer will pose as a trusted business or other entity.

Ransomware: A malicious program that restricts or disables your computer, hijacks and encrypts files, and then demands a fee to restore your computer’s functionality.

Scareware: A program that displays on-screen warnings of nonexistent infections on your computer to trick you into installing malware or buying fake antivirus protection.

Skimming: The capture of information from the magnetic strip on credit and debit cards by using a “skimmer” devices. These skimmers are secretly installed on card-reading systems at gas pumps, ATMs and store checkout counters.

Spoofing: Scammers can use technology to pose as a specific person, business or agency, this technology allows them to manipulate a telephone’s caller ID to display a false name or number, so that it appears they are calling from a legitimate business or from a local number.

Spyware: A type of malware installed on your computer or cellphone to track your actions and collect information without your knowledge.

As a reminder, if you have been the victim of a scam, contact your local Police Department and/or the Federal Trade Commission  https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/#crnt&panel1-1  or the NJ Division of Consumer Affairs 1-800-242-5846 or www.njconsumeraffairs.gov  

 

Income Taxes and Your Social Security Benefits

February 14th, 2017

Income Taxes and Your Social Security Benefits

David Vinokurov, District Manager, Trenton, NJ, Social Security Administration

With tax season upon us, many of you have asked about Income Taxes And Your Social Security Benefits. Some people have to pay federal income taxes on their Social Security benefits. This usually happens only if you have other substantial income (such as wages, self-employment, interest, dividends and other taxable income that must be reported on your tax return) in addition to your benefits.

Note: No one pays federal income tax on more than 85 percent of his or her Social Security benefits based on Internal Revenue Service (IRS) rules. If you:

  • file a federal tax return as an “individual” and your combined income* is
  • between $25,000 and $34,000, you may have to pay income tax on up to 50 percent of your benefits.
  • more than $34,000, up to 85 percent of your benefits may be taxable.
  • file a joint return, and you and your spouse have a combined income* that is
  • between $32,000 and $44,000, you may have to pay income tax on up to 50 percent of your benefits
  • more than $44,000, up to 85 percent of your benefits may be taxable.
  • are married and file a separate tax return, you probably will pay taxes on your benefits.

 

How can I get a form SSA-1099/1042S, Social Security Benefit Statement?

An SSA-1099 is a tax form we mail each year in January to people who receive Social Security benefits. It shows the total amount of benefits you received from Social Security in the previous year so you know how much Social Security income to report to IRS on your tax return.

If you are a noncitizen who lives outside of the United States and you received or repaid Social Security benefits last year, we will send you form SSA-1042S instead.

Note: The forms SSA-1099 and SSA-1042S are not available for people who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

If you currently live in the United States and you need a replacement form SSA-1099 or SSA-1042S, we have a new way for you to get an instant replacement quickly and easily beginning February 1st by:

Withholding Income Tax From Your Social Security Benefits

 

You can ask us to withhold federal taxes from your Social Security when you apply for benefits.

If you are already receiving benefits or if you want to change or stop your withholding, you’ll need a form W-4V from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

You can download the form, or call the IRS toll-free number 1-800-829-3676 and ask for Form W-4V, Voluntary Withholding Request. (If you are deaf or hard of hearing, call the IRS TTY number, 1-800-829-4059.)

When you complete the form, you will need to select the percentage of your monthly benefit amount you want withheld. You can have 7%, 10%, 15% or 25% of your monthly benefit withheld for taxes.

Note: Only these percentages can be withheld. Flat dollar amounts are not accepted.

 

Sign the form and return it to your local Social Security office by mail or in person.

If you need more information

If you need more information about tax withholding, read IRS Publication 554, Tax Guide for Seniors, and Publication 915, Social Security and Equivalent Railroad Retirement Benefits.

If you have questions about your tax liability or want to request a Form W-4V, you can also call the IRS at 1-800-829-3676 (TTY 1-800-829-4059).

 

 

The New Medicare Cards

February 8th, 2017

The New Medicare Cards

By Charles Clarkson, Project Director, Senior Medicare Patrol of New Jersey

In 2015, Congress passed the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act. This law requires the removal of the social security numbers from all Medicare cards by April 2019. This new initiative is referred to as the Social Security Number Removal Initiative (SSNRI.) A new randomly generated Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) will replace the social security number. When the initiative gets underway all Medicare beneficiaries will be assigned a new MBI and be sent a new Medicare card.

The primary goal of the initiative is to decrease Medicare beneficiaries’ vulnerability to identity theft by removing the social security number from their Medicare cards and replacing it with a new Medicare MBI which does not contain any other personal information.

The new MBI will have the following characteristics:

i. The same number of characters as the current Medicare number, but will be visibly distinguishable from the Medicare number

ii. Contain uppercase alphabetic and numeric characters throughout the new MBI

iii. For providers, the new MBI will occupy the same field as the Medicare number on transactions

iv. Be unique to each beneficiary (e.g. husband and wife will have their own MBI)

v. Be easy to read and limit the possibility of letters being interpreted as numbers (e.g. alphabetic characters are upper case only and will exclude S, L, O, I, B, Z)

vi. Not contain any embedded intelligence or special characters

vii. Not contain inappropriate combinations of numbers or strings that may be offensive

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the agency that oversees Medicare, has established a transition period during which the Medicare number or MBI will be accepted from providers, beneficiaries, plans, and others. CMS expects the transition period to run from April 2018 through December 31, 2019. After the transition period only the MBI will be used.

Starting around April 2018, CMS will start mailing new Medicare cards. There are approximately 60 million beneficiaries in Medicare. So, CMS will probably mail the cards in phases over a period of time. Remember, as a beneficiary you can still use your current Medicare number during the transition period if it takes awhile to receive your new Medicare card. If a beneficiary is new to Medicare after April 2018 and Medicare has started issuing the new cards, the beneficiary will receive the new MBI. Therefore, healthcare providers must be able accept the new MBIs by April 2018.

Fraud and the new Medicare cards.

The Senior Medicare Patrol of New Jersey (SMP) wants all Medicare beneficiaries to be aware of possible fraud and scams relating to the new Medicare cards. Remember, CMS and Medicare will never contact you by phone or email to ask for personal information relating to the issuance of the new Medicare cards. Any such contact is a scam. Don’t be taken in. Also, there will be no charge for the issuance of the new Medicare cards. Anyone seeking to have a beneficiary pay money for the new card is a scammer. Be especially careful of anyone seeking to have access to your checking account to pay any fee for the new card. Beneficiaries are especially vulnerable if they are isolated, frail or may have cognitive loss. Caregivers should be on the alert for these kinds of scams. The SMP is currently educating beneficiaries at its outreach events of the issuance of the new Medicare cards. CMS will also be conducting intensive education and outreach to beneficiaries to help them prepare for this change.

The issuance of the new Medicare card is a significant change. If a beneficiary or caregiver has any questions about the SSNRI, please don’t hesitate to call the SMP at 1-877-SMP-4359 (1-877-767-4359) or 732-777-1940. A beneficiary or caregiver can also email me at charlesc@jfsmiddlesex.org.

Phone Scams

January 31st, 2017

Here are NJFA, we like to make sure we are keeping folks aware of scams and fraud issues. Our February episode of Aging Insights, is titled, Stop Identity Theft and features two guests that will help viewers to protect themselves. We also want to address a scam that’s been in the news.

Recently, news outlets across the United States reported on a new scam referred to as the “can you hear me?” telephone scam. According to those reports, the scam begins with an unsolicited phone call. After the caller makes contact they ask the recipient “Can you hear me?” to elicit a response of “yes,” and a potential onslaught of unauthorized charges ensues.

The story goes that if you get this call and respond “yes” to the question, “can you hear me?” that the scammer could be recording it and could use it against you. There is the possibility that you could receive a bill for something you did not purchase or agree to and when you go to dispute the bill you will be presented with your own voice saying “yes” on the recording.

The first thing we want to warn readers about is if you don’t know the caller or are suspicious of their intent, you should always hang up. Do not give personal information or engage the caller in conversation if you have doubts about the legitimacy of the call. You should also contact the appropriate authority to report any issues or to verify any information you are given on the call. For example, if the caller claims to be from your utility company, call the # on your monthly statement to verify your account status or any issues.

After some additional research, we’d also like you to know what some investigators have discovered about this scam. According to the fact-finding website, Snopes, “we haven’t yet been able to identify any scenario under which a scammer could authorize charges in another person’s name simply by possessing a voice recording of that person saying “yes,” without also already possessing a good deal of personal and account information for that person, and without being able to reproduce any other form of verbal response from that person.” That doesn’t mean it cannot happen, just that the reports thus far only support the threat and not any actual monetary charges.

The Snopes article adds, “In all the news reports we found, interviewees merely reported having been asked the common question (“Can you hear me?”) but did not state that they themselves had fallen prey to scammers.”

That being said, we still advice you to use caution when receiving unsolicited phone calls, hanging up is ok. And if you have any scams or crimes to report, contact your local police, the Federal Trade Commission (www.ftc.gov/complaint or 1-877-438-4338), and/or your local Better Business Bureau.

 

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Diabetes Self Management Courses

December 21st, 2016

Holiday time can make it difficult to stick to your healthy eating plan, there are so many goodies to indulge in. And you want to participate and feel all the joy that comes from sharing a special meal with family and friends. With party after party, it can get tough. Even more so for those who need to watch their food intake due to a health issue. Particularly those with diabetes, all those sweet treats are hard to resist- holiday cakes and cookies around every corner.

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Having the right tools to manage your diabetes can help, not just at holiday times, but all year long. Luckily, our friends at HQSI (Healthcare Quality Strategies, Inc.) offer a six-week program to help people learn to manage their diabetes. Below is a schedule for the Diabetes Self-Management Program (DSMP) as well as more information and how to contact them.

If you do not see a program that is convenient to you, contact HQSI to ask about future programs. If you manage a Senior Center or other program and are interested in having someone come to talk to your group about diabetes, you can also contact HQSI directly to coordinate something. With a New Year beginning soon, it is a good time to plan and make new health goals.

Workshop Location Dates Time To Register
Spruce Street Senior Apts.

15 Spruce Street

Kearny, NJ 07032

Tuesdays

 

January 10, 2017 to February 14, 2017

10:00 a.m.

to

12:30 p.m.

Call Sonia Salazar at:

(201) 997-4270

Elizabethport Presbyterian Ctr.

(Spanish)

 

184 First Street

Elizabeth, NJ 07206-1855

Wednesdays

 

January 11, 2017 to

February 15, 2017

9:30 a.m.

to

12:00 p.m.

Call Beatrice Beard at:

(908) 351-4850

YMCA of Newark and Vicinity

 

600 Broad Street

Newark, NJ 07102-4504

Wednesdays

 

January 18, 2017 to

February 22, 2017

10:00 a.m.

to

12:30 p.m.

Call Jarmaine Williams at:

(732) 955-8168

Sayreville Public Library

 

1050 Washington Road

Parlin, NJ 08859-1091

Thursdays

 

January 19, 2017 to

February 23, 2017

10:00 a.m.

to

12:30 p.m.

Call Jennifer at:

(732) 727-0212 ext. 25 or go to sayrevillelibrary.org

Franklin Township Senior Center

 

505 Dermott Lane

Somerset, NJ 08873

Wednesdays

 

February 1, 2017 to March 8, 2017

9:30 a.m.

to

12:00 p.m.

Call Jarmaine Williams at:

(732) 955-8168

Shore Medical Center

Jenkins Room

 

100 Medical Center Way

Somers Point, NJ 08244-2300

 

Thursdays

 

February 2, 2017 to

March 9, 2017

 

10:00 a.m.

to

12:30 p.m.

 

Call Jarmaine Williams at:

(732) 955-8168

Little Egg Harbor Township Community Center

 

317 W. Cala Breeze Way

Little Egg Harbor Twp., NJ 08087

Thursdays

 

February 2, 2017 to

March 9, 2017

10:00 a.m.

To

12:30 p.m.

Call Jarmaine Williams at:

(732) 955-8168

Church of the Holy Spirit

 

220 East Main Street

Tuckerton, NJ 08087-2242

Thursdays

 

February 2, 2017 to

March 9, 2017

1:30p.m.

to

4:00p.m.

Call Jarmaine Williams at:

(732) 955-8168

Annabelle Shimkowitz Senior Center @ Municipal Complex

 

330 Passaic Street

Passaic, NJ 07055-5815

Mondays

 

February 6, 2017 to

March 20, 2017

9:30 a.m.

to

11:30 a.m.

Call Jarmaine Williams at:

(732) 955-8168

Montclair Public Library

 

50 S. Fullerton Avenue

Montclair, NJ 07042-2629

Fridays

 

March 3, 2017 to

April 7, 2017

 

10:00 a.m.

to

12:30 p.m.

 

Call Jarmaine Williams at:

(732) 955-8168

 

For each six-week workshop, we regret that there can be no new attendees after the second session.

 

For more information, please contact Jarmaine Williams:  (732) 955-8168

 

 

 

Foundation’s 2016 Honoree Event

October 18th, 2016

The New Jersey Foundation for Aging (NJFA) will host its 2016 Honoree Luncheon Event on Sunday, Nov 13th at the Molly Pitcher Inn in Red Bank. This annual event is an opportunity to recognize the work of others that enable NJFA to advance its mission-aligned activities. NJFA focuses on policy to address senior and caregiver issues; public education to improve access to services; and professional education to support high standards of care. Aging Insights is a 30-minute monthly TV program broadcast across NJ. NJFA began producing the program in 2011 and now has released more than 60 programs which are also on NJFA’s website, www.njfoundationforaging.org and on YouTube.

This year’s distinguished honorees include:

Diane Riley, Anti-Hunger Advocate and Aging Insights Guest.  

For over a decade, Diane has been a leading voice for the hungry and poor in New Jersey. Joining the Community Food Bank in 2011, Diane led a coalition of stakeholders to raise awareness about hunger, engage in public dialogue, and influence policies that address underlying causes as well as solutions. As a member of numerous organizations and at every opportunity when Diane addresses hunger issues she always calls attention to the plight of seniors who face economic challenges daily.

Eileen Doremus, Advocate for Seniors and Caregivers and Aging Insights Guest

Eileen Doremus has served as a former NJFA Trustee and in her current role as the Executive Director of the Mercer County Office on Aging and throughout her career has championed the issues of aging and caregiver services especially when looking at the needs of fami­lies coping with Alzheimer’s and Dementia. She is a dedicated advocate and an expert on caregiving and creativity.

Piscataway Community TV Station, Technical Director and Aging Insights Partner

Piscataway Township became one of the first towns in NJ to have its own TV station. Over thirty years later, Piscataway Community TV (PCTV) is still producing local programming, sports coverage and providing local in­formation to the residents of the communities it serves. NJFA partnered with PCTV to initiate the monthly series Aging Insights. PCTV’s knowledgeable staff and dedicated volunteers produce a stellar program with NJFA staff each month.

The event will feature Jazz pianist Tara Buzach, a Silent Auction and a 50/50 raffle.

For tickets and sponsorships please contact NJFA’s office at 609-421-0206 or visit www.njfoundationforaging.org.

 

#hidingunderarock?

October 10th, 2016

Don’t hide your caregiving issues under a rock. A lot of caregivers downplay their roles. “Oh, me, I’m not a caregiver, I just take my mom to doctor appointments”. “I help my Aunt go grocery shopping and with housework, I wouldn’t say I’m a caregiver”. But these tasks are part of caregiving. Sure, some caregivers are providing hands on care or handling medical needs of family members, but anytime we take time from our daily lives to help out- that’s caregiving. So, don’t hide it under a rock- be proud of your role as a caregiver.

Don’t hide your concerns about the care of a loved one under a rock either. Or your need for help with their care for that matter. There is help. You can start by reaching out to your County Office on Aging to learn about available programs and services to help you or your loved one. You can find their contact information on our website- http://www.njfoundationforaging.org/services/

You could also contact your local Senior Center to find out what kind of programming they. This could help get your loved one out of the house and give you some respite. Senior Centers are much more than bingo these days! They have classes on everything from computers, to languages, art, exercise and more. Depending on what your town offers, it could be a great way to get involved and stay active. The best way to find your senior center is to call your municipality.

We also feature great, informative content online for both seniors and caregivers. There is our online magazine, Renaissance; our TV program Aging Insights; and this blog!

So, stop hiding under that rock and reach out for information and help! And show us that #agingrocks

Aging Rocks!

October 6th, 2016

For our magazine, Renaissance, we feature a senior profile in each issue. The senior profile is a way to highlight positive aging and showcase seniors who are an inspiration to their community. Recently, we wrote a blog about a local community art project that has inspired one NJ town to share kindness through artwork- http://blog.njfoundationforaging.org/?p=622  #HamiltonRocks has included and encouraged those of all ages to paint, hid and hunt rock art.

Another example of art knowing no age limit is the NJ Senior Art show, which helps older adults with artistic talents to showcase those talents. Because of the art show, seniors are able to share their art with the community and their peers.

All of this has got us thinking. How can you show us that #agingrocks? Is it through art? Community involvement? Sports? Letting your hair go gray like Jon Bon Jovi?

We’d like you to tell us how #agingrocks. Share your thoughts with us here on the blog or send us an email at office@njfoundationforaging.org We would love to share your stories with our readers. We welcome photos too! Or share your own message on social media with the hashtag (#) #agingrocks

Look for more rock related posts coming soon, it will be full of rock puns (all intended!!)

aging-rocks-stay-positive