Posts Tagged ‘budget cuts’

Money saving tips

Friday, September 13th, 2013

Money saving tips

Here are some great tips for saving money. We gathered these from various sources, to learn more about each follow the links provided or contact a trusted financial advisor. 

Find your pension

To see if you or someone you know has an unclaimed pension-Search.pbgc.gov

Free credit monitoring

Creditsesame.com

Catch-up

If you are 50 or over you can contribute an extra $5,500 to your 401K plan as a catch up contribution in 2013

 Family ties

If adult children or grandchildren live with you it may mean special tax breaks. Ask your tax preparer about claiming dependents for family members you support.

Save on stamps

Paying bills online means not buying stamps

Free credit report

Don’t pay for credit reports. Get a free copy once a year from three companies- Equifax, TransUnion and Experian. Visit annualcreditreport.com

Selling your home?

The best day of the week to list your home for sale is Friday and the worst is Sunday. according to an analysis by a major real-estate brokerage firm. Listings on Fridays sell faster and for more money.

Save money on medications

Ask your doctor for free samples. Drug company reps drop them off all the time.

Skip the ER

If you have a non-life-threatening medical issue, like fevers, cuts, minor burns or headaches. Urgent care centers with walk-in features are more affordable and usually are open 7 days a week.

Grow it

If you put the stub of romaine lettuce in a glass of water and place it in a sunny spot it will grow back, the same is true of celery, spring onions and cabbage.

Weigh your options

If you need only a few vegetables or fruits for a recipe or meal, buying a small amount from the salad bar at your supermarket may be cheaper than buying a bag of precut vegetables.

Check it out

Instead of buying a book, why not visit your local library and borrow it.

Service advisory

If you get your car serviced at the dealer, ask to check for any service advisories. You might save on a repair that is covered.

Compare 401 (k) fees

Financial information company, BrightScope features free 401 (K) ratings directory that compares fees among plans. Check it out at brightscope.com/ratings

Aging Insights and You- Fall Prevention

Thursday, August 29th, 2013

                                                           Press Release

Aging Insights and YouРFall Prevention 

Trenton– The New Jersey Foundation for Aging (NJFA) is a public charity with the primary goal to empower elders to live in the community with independence and dignity.¬† The strategies to age well are voluminous.¬† Consequently, the Foundation uses several outreach and educational tools to highlight resources to age well.¬† For example, Aging Insights is a ¬? hour TV program that is produced monthly by the Foundation. ¬†September is Fall Prevention Month. The September program touches on ways to stay strong and healthy in order to avoid falls as well as other medical ailments.

Over the last two years an expansive range of shows have been produced by the Foundation. Utility assistance will be discussed in October to get folks ready for the winter heat season.  Other topics have included pet health, driver safety, community transportation, fitness, money management, foreclosure prevention and County resources.  Why so many topics?  Grace Egan, the Executive Director indicates “that these are topics relevant to boomers, caregivers and seniors. Our intent is to connect them to community programs to address their unique needs and those of their families”.  NJFA seeks sponsorships to underwrite these community education TV programs that are broadcast more than 300 times a month across NJ. The show is broadcast to an area of more than 6 million residents. Sponsorship opportunities are listed on the NJFA website www.njfoundationforaging.org

NJFA is pleased to announce the release of the 24th episode of Aging Insights, the Foundation‚Äôs TV program. This episode, Balance for Body and Mind, will be broadcast in September 2013. The program is available to public access stations and may also be seen on NJFA’s YouTube channel, www.Youtube.com/njfoundationforaging¬†

This episode is hosted by NJFA Program Manager, Melissa Chalker and she is joined by Siobhan Hutchinson, a Holistic Health Practitioner and Tai Chi Chih instructor and Romy Toussaint, a yoga instructor. Both guests share information about their respective practices, provide tips, as well as discuss the benefits of each. A demonstration of both Tai Chi Chih and Yoga can also be seen in this episode. Please visit NJFA’s website to take the new online survey for Aging Insights. We want to know what you think of the show and what topics you’d like to hear next!

On the set from left to right: Melissa Chalker, Siobhan Hutchinson, and Romy Toussaint

To learn more about the work of the Foundation visit www.njfoundationforaging.org or call 609-421-0206. The New Jersey Foundation for Aging was established in 1998, its mission is promote policy and services that enable older adults to live in the community with independence and dignity.

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SCAM Update and Warning about Robocalls

Wednesday, August 7th, 2013

There was recently an article in the AARP Bulletin on that had to do with the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) cracking down on new scams. This made us think we should do a blog update on scams and pass out some new warnings from the FTC.

What’s new? Well, it seems scammers are now impersonating medical alert companies in order to get money or personal information (to steal your identity) from seniors. The scams are coming in the form of phone calls, sometimes with a live person and sometimes an automated or robocall. The calls are either trying to sell you a system, often using very strong tactics to get you to give your credit card or other payment information or they are stating that you (or someone you know) have already ordered the system and demanding payment. They have even been known to threaten legal action if you don’t pay up.

What you should know. Robocalls are illegal. But you may be asking, what is a Robocall? Well, direct from the FTC, here is an explanation of a robocall:

If you answer the phone and hear a recorded message instead of a live person, it’s a robocall. You’ve probably gotten robocalls about candidates running for office, or charities asking for donations. These robocalls are allowed. But if the recording is a sales message and you haven’t given your written permission to get calls from the company on the other end, the call is illegal. In addition to the phone calls being illegal, their pitch most likely is a scam.

So, what should you do if you get a robocall? The FTC recommends that you, hang up the phone. They also say you shouldn‚Äôt press 1 to speak to a live operator and don’t press any other number to get your number off the list. If you respond by pressing any number, it will probably just lead to more robocalls.

What else can you do?

• Consider contacting your phone provider and asking them to block the number, ask about whether they charge for that service. Remember that telemarketers change Caller ID information easily and often, so it might not be worth paying a fee to block a number that will change.

• Report your experience to the FTC online at http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0341-file-complaint-ftc or by calling 1-888-382-1222.

Some other helpful tips:

If you get an unsolicited call, hang up. Don’t even ask for details from someone making a cold call.

If you are interested in a medical alert product, gather the information and ask for documentation of fees up front.

Beware of offers that state your insurance will cover medical alert programs or that you can get them for free. Medicare, Medicaid and most insurance companies will not pay for this service.

Don’t pay for anything that you didn’t order. Hang up and contact authorities to make a complaint if you are threatened.

And again, don’t press any numbers as prompted in the robocall, this could just notify them that this is a live, working phone number and you could become the target of future calls or scams.

For more information from the Federal Trade Commission visit: http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0259-robocalls

New Rules for Durable Medical Equipment in New Jersey

Wednesday, July 10th, 2013

New Rules for Durable Medical Equipment in New Jersey

If you are a beneficiary with Original Medicare (a person who has Parts A and B of Medicare and not a Medicare Advantage plan) who uses  or plans to use certain durable medical equipment and supplies, such as oxygen, walkers, or wheelchairs, you should know about the new rules that started on July 1, 2013 in New Jersey.  The Durable Medical Equipment, Prosthetics, Orthotics, and Supplies (DMEPOS) Competitive Bidding Program is an attempt to save money for taxpayers and people with Medicare and may change the suppliers people with Medicare will need to use.

Most counties and zip codes in New Jersey will now be a part of this competitive bidding program.  You can check if your zip code is in a competitive bidding are by going to a fact sheet at http://www.cms.gov/Outreach-and Education/Outreach/Partnerships/Downloads/DMEPOSBeneFactSheetMarch2013.pdf. 

As of July 1, people with Original Medicare who live in or travel to one of these areas and need the items listed below will need to get these items from an approved contract supplier if they want Medicare to cover these supplies, unless their current suppliers decide to become grandfathered suppliers (non-contract suppliers that choose to continue to provide certain rented medical equipment or oxygen under the terms of the program). 

Beneficiaries will need to find out which suppliers are Medicare contract suppliers to make sure Medicare will  pay for their medical equipment or supplies. You can find out if a supplier is a contract supplier for the program by visiting http://www.medicare.gov/supplierdirectory/search.html or by calling 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). 

The competitive bidding program will only cover certain categories of products.  The 8 product categories that are included in the program are:

1.         Oxygen, oxygen equipment, and supplies;

2.         Standard (power and manual) wheelchairs, scooters, and related  accessories;

3.         Enteral nutrients, equipment, and supplies;

4.         Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) devices, Respiratory Assist Devices (RADs) and related supplies and accessories;

5.         Hospital beds and related accessories;

6.         Walkers and related accessories;

7.         Support surfaces (Group 2 mattresses and overlays); and

8.         Negative Pressure Wound Therapy pumps and related supplies and accessories.

In addition to the categories of items listed, Medicare will be starting a national mail-order program for diabetic testing supplies at the same time.  The national mail-order program will include all parts of the United States, including the 50 States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, Guam, and American Samoa.  With this national mail-order program, people with Original Medicare will need to use a contract supplier for diabetic testing supplies delivered to their homes.  If these supplies are not delivered to a beneficiary’s  home, a beneficiary can go to any retailer that provides these supplies, but they may pay more. 

To assist beneficiaries, Medicare mailed information to people in the competitive bidding areas who use the items included in the program, in addition to those who use diabetic testing supplies across the country.  Approximately 5.7 million people with Medicare have been sent a letter and information.  You can review the letters, introductory brochure, national mail-order program fact sheet and other program education materials by visiting http://www.cms.gov/Outreach-and-Education/Outreach/Partnerships/DMEPOS_Toolkit.html.

Should you have any questions, please contact the Senior Medicare Patrol of New Jersey at 732-777-1940.  You can also contact the State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) at 1-800-792-8820.

Affordable housing is more important than ever for low income seniors and low income families.

Monday, July 1st, 2013

Affordable housing is more important than ever for low income seniors and low income families.

A recent Appellate Division’s decision provides an important opportunity for municipalities to utilize much-needed housing trust funds to address the chronic shortage of affordable housing for low-income seniors across the state in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Many of these funds were specifically designated for the development of senior housing in the nine counties hardest hit by the storm. This includes 131 senior units in Monmouth County, 6 special needs unit for the elderly by Cerebral Palsy of North Jersey in Livingston, Essex County; and 5 senior rental by Catholic Charities in Harrison, Hudson County.

The court’s decision comes at a critical time in this state’s history with the high demand for affordable senior housing and the rising cost of living. In just three short years, the cost of living for seniors living in a one bedroom apartment on a fixed income in New Jersey has increased 8 percent, according to data released in 2012 by the New Jersey Foundation for Aging (NJFA).

The cost of living for a single renter over the age of 65 was $25,941 in 2009. That same renter, living in the same one-bedroom apartment, saw her cost of living quickly climb more than $2,000 to $27,960, by 2012. However, there was not a comparable rise in income or Social Security.  Seniors on fixed incomes have been plagued in recent years with rising expenses for housing, transportation and health care. In many cases this has resulted in a rise in senior hunger and even homelessness. Their highest cost is their housing expenses.

Twenty five percent of all seniors in our state rely on Social Security as their only income. So NJ seniors can least afford the trend in rising expenses. The result is a widening of the gap between basic living expenses and their income. The NJ Elder Economic Index details these costs for seniors in each of the 21 NJ counties. These details indicate how seniors are faring in the slow economy. The latest data shows that 250,000 seniors over the age of 65 in New Jersey – representing 42 percent of single and elderly couples living in the community – do not have the money to cover their basic costs. Sixty-four percent of people in this group are women.

The report, known as the NJ Elder Economic Index, indicates that the average Social Security for a woman being $14,848. But average living expenses for a one-bedroom apartment in New Jersey has reached the $27,960 mark. So how can we expect to call these the golden years if elders must choose between food, heat, shelter or prescriptions? Even if a person worked and saved for retirement this rise in costs are unprecedented and these elders are one step from their own ‘fiscal cliff’. The New Jersey Foundation for Aging wants to alert and connect elders to resources in their community that might ease the financial strain they may be feeling each day. 

A woman receiving $14,848 from Social Security as her sole income with the average costs of a one bedroom apartment at $27,960 is only 53% economically secure.  At this income level she would be eligible for several food and nutrition programs, as well utility assistance programs. These programs would improve her quality of life and enable her to use her income to cover more of her basic living costs, but she would still fall short of meeting her costs by 21%. The only public benefit program that would help her to close the gap is affordable housing. 

The most costly portion of an elder’s monthly expenses is their housing. More than 46 percent of their income must go towards their housing, taxes and utilities.  This highlights the need for more affordable housing. The state’s housing shortage has been documented for several decades. And the need for affordable housing in the community for people of all ages has only been further stressed by the recent storms and floods across the state. Public awareness is a key component to help local advocates, state policy makers, municipal leaders and planners address current and future needs. Where you live at age 65 or 70?  Persons over age 75 and older have even fewer income assets. Where will your parents live at age 85?

If these funds are not protected and utilized, Otherwise low-income seniors and low-income families will continue to be displaced by Sandy and homeless for many years to come. Each municipality’s affordable housing trust funds are needed now more than ever for the development of new housing because of the impact of hurricane Sandy. We cannot afford to be silent on this issue. Elders who have been active in their community who want to downsize need affordable housing options; working families who want good schools and safe streets need affordable housing; health care workers who want to be close to their work and patients need affordable housing. A healthy blend of housing types is crucial to nurture a community’s cultural and social vitality as well as its economic base. “NJ Strong” must include affordable housing options to serve it residents and to build back the local economy.

*this was submitted and printed as an op-ed in the Asbury Park Press on 6/19/13 by Grace Egan, Executive Director, NJFA

Did you know? NJFA is celebrating our 15th Anniversary this year!

Monday, May 13th, 2013

Did you know?

Did you know that NJFA is celebrating our 15th Anniversary this year! Yes, NJFA was incorporated in 1998. It’s got us thinking, “what have we accomplished in all that time?” Well, the answer is, quite a lot. And we’d like to tell you about it.

When NJFA was established in 1998 it was formed with a mission to promote innovative approaches in the delivery of services that enable older adults to live in the community with independence and dignity through grant making to address unmet needs and through increasing society’s awareness to influence public policy. NJFA still seeks to hold true to that mission today, 15 years later.

Here’s how we’ve been doing so far:

NJFA has provided 44 grants to programs serving NJ Seniors.

Those 44 grants total $380,000 given to programs that serve more than 25,000 seniors across NJ.

NJFA provides public awareness through, Renaissance Magazine with 100,000 readers and Aging Insights, a public access TV program with 400,000 viewers, now on NJFA’s YouTube channel at http://www.youtube.com/njfoundationforaging

Public Policy- NJFA’s 2012 NJ Elder Economic Index Update Project is a continuation of Policy Work that began in 2009 with the first Elder Index report. The 2012 report adds demographic information to the cost of living report. Data is available in for all 21 Counties.

NJFA also continues to make transportation a priority, following the policy report, “Safe Mobility at Any Age” in 2005, we continue to work with partners like the Voorhees Transportation Center, Motor Vehicle Commission and AAA Automobile Club.

Professional Development-  15th Annual Professional Conference, June 12, 2013 Conference, Jamesburg, NJ. A day-long conference for professionals in  the aging network. Over 200 attendees will hear Nationally recognized key note speakers and be a able to chose from sessions on evidence based best practices and new initiatives for seniors and caregivers in NJ.

So you see, NJFA has really done a lot in 15 years and we hope to continue being a leading force in promoting “Aging Well” in NJ. Visit us at www.njfoundationforaing.org to learn more.

How can you help? When you visit our website, click on the donate here page to make a donation online or print out a donation form and mail it to us at 176 West State St, Trenton, NJ 08608.

Have questions or want more info? Call us at 609-421-0206 or email us at [email protected], we‚Äôd be glad to tell you all about our work!

After all, none of NJFA’s work would be possible without the support of our donors, partners, funders and of course our Board of Trustees and Senior Executive Council members!

 

 

Building on Wisdom: NJFA’s 15th Annual Conference

Thursday, April 11th, 2013

Press Release

For Immediate Release                                                                      Contact:  Grace Egan

April 11, 2013                                                                                                  Melissa Chalker

                                                                                                                         609-421-0206

Building on Wisdom: NJFA’s 15th Annual Conference!

NJFA will hold its 15th Annual Conference on Wednesday, June 12th at the Crowne Plaza Monroe. This year’s conference, titled, Building on Wisdom will feature two nationally recognized keynote speakers.

The morning keynote presentation will be given by Dr. Mike Magee, President of Positive Medicine, Inc. Dr. Magee is committed to transforming powerful health visions into action. Recognized as a visionary leader of the home-centered health care movement and lifespan planning records, he has advised the Institute of Medicine on these topics. Dr. Magee is the author of 10 books including, Home Centered Health Care, Positive Leadership and Healthy Waters.

The luncheon keynote address will be given by reporter and editor, Patricia Cohen, who has worked for the New York Times, Washington Post, Newsday and Rolling Stone Magazine. Ms. Cohen published, In Our Prime: The Fascinating History and Surprising Future of Middle Age, a New York Times notable book.

The day will also include breakout sessions with great topics like, Financial Literacy, Sex and Aging, POSLT and End of Life decisions, as well as an update on the Comprehensive Medicaid Waiver. We hope you can join us for this informative, day-long conference!

Participants may register by email, by mail or by fax.  For more information about the conference visit: www.njfoundationforaging.org/events.html or call us at 609-421-0206.

  To learn more about the work of the Foundation visit www.njfoundationforaging.org or call 609-421-0206. The New Jersey Foundation for Aging was established in 1998, its mission is promote approaches in the delivery of services that enable older adults to live in the community with independence and dignity.

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More Medicare Information to think about.

Monday, April 1st, 2013

More Medicare Information to think about.

So, we know that at age 65 you can enroll in Medicare, but do you have to? It is not a question we ever thought anyone would ask, however we recently read an advice column in the newspaper where a reader asked just that.

Well, do you have to take Medicare? The answer is no, but it’s not that simple.

First, let’s review again that parts that make up Medicare. Part A (hospital insurance) cover inpatient hospital stays and has already been paid for by the Medicare payroll tax deduction from your paycheck while you were working, so there is no premium or cost for that. Part B (Medical Insurance) does have a premium and covers doctor’s visits, lab tests and most other expenses not covered by Part A. The 2013 monthly premium for Medicare Part B is currently $104.90 (for most people, higher income enrollees may pay more, see www.medicare.gov for more information).

Part A and Part B are the two main components of Medicare. Part C is the Medicare Advantage program, where you select a Medicare HMO (this could be an entire post in itself, visit www.medicare.gov for your info). Part D is your prescription drug coverage.

Okay, back to the question at hand- do you have to enroll in Medicare? If you are receiving Social Security, you will be sent a Medicare Enrollment Package before your 65th birthday. You will be automatically enrolled in both A and B, unless when you receive your packet you contact Medicare to turn down Part B, they give you this option since Part B will cost you a monthly premium. They assume you’ll want Part A since you’ve technically already paid for it through the payroll tax. But before you turn down Part B you should review your current insurance coverage.

In the advice column referenced in the beginning of the post, the writer of the question was asking because they have a insurance through their former employer. However, you should not assume that your employers coverage does not change when you become Medicare eligible or that the company might prefer you switch to Medicare. Often the plan that covered you under your employer will end when you become Medicare eligible but they can offer you a supplemental plan. Because, the other thing to remember about Medicare is that you’ll have a 20% copay and a supplemental plan (also called a Medigap plan) can help to cover that.

One more caution if you chose to turn down Medicare Part B, should you later decide you want it, you can still apply, but you’ll have to wait until the next enrollment period and you’ll face a 10% penalty each month once you enroll.

You don’t have to take Medicare, but you probably should.

Visit wwww.medicare.gov for more info.

Did you know? Family Leave Insurance

Friday, February 8th, 2013

Did you know? Family Leave Insurance

Imagine this scenario- your mom lives alone and has a hip replacement. Who is going to help her while she recovers? Chances are you’ll have to take time off of work to do so. But there may be some help available to ease your financial concerns.

NJ passed the Paid Family Leave Act in 2008 to help family caregivers with caring for a seriously ill family member or a new born.  In 2011, 4,587 people received benefits from this program for caring for a spouse or other family members.  This represents about 20% of the claims while the balance of 80% are related to bonding with a child or care of a sick child. The average length of care was 4 weeks and the estimated benefit was about $1,800.

This support comes from the employee’s payroll disability withholdings.  You have already set this money aside to address a future need like taking care of a sick child, spouse or parent. There are forms to complete and information to get, but so many people are caregivers and temporary leave their jobs this modest amount of support can give a caregiver some peace of mind- while they do the yeoman’s job of providing care for a loved one.

So, how does it work?

You can claim Family Leave Insurance benefits to care for a family member with a serious health condition. There is a very comprehensive application which will also necessitate a health care provider certifying the condition. You will see a link below to get the form online.

Care leave may be taken for six consecutive weeks, intermittent weeks or 42 intermittent days during a 12 month period beginning with the first date of the family leave insurance claim.

Family member means your spouse, domestic partner, civil union partner, parent or child.

The child must be your biological or adopted child, foster child, stepchild, legal ward or the child of your domestic or civil union partner. The child must be less than 19 years old or if older than 19 years of age must be incapable of self-care because of mental or physical impairment.

You must give your employer reasonable advance notice unless:

  • You need to take family leave unexpectedly or
  • The time of the family leave changes for reasons you could not ¬†¬† foresee.

 If you claim family leave benefits intermittently, you must give your employer 15 days notice.

You may access the application by going to http://lwd.state.nj.us/labor/forms_pdfs/tdi/fl1.pdf

Other important contacts:

Division of Temporary Disability Insurance Customer Service Section (609) 292-7060.

Hearing impaired individuals may contact our office by: Telecommunication Device for the Deaf (TDD)-(609) 292-8319, New Jersey Relay Service: TT user 1-800-852-7899, Voice User: 1-800-852-7897

Important: Please allow fourteen (14) days processing time before inquiring about your claim.

Division of Temporary Disability Insurance FAX number: (609) 984-4138

For additional information about the Family Leave Insurance Program, visit at:

www.nj.gov/labor

To get additional help or information you may contact the NJ Time to Care Coalition by going to their website or calling their toll free number.  http://www.njtimetocare.com  or 1888-NJ GET WELL, 1-888-654-3893

NJFA takes part in Retirement Gathering for a Founding Trustee

Friday, January 18th, 2013

 NJFA takes part in Retirement Gathering for a Founding Trustee

Trenton—The New Jersey Foundation for Aging (NJFA) participated in the retirement gathering on January 2, 2013 for one of NFJA’s founding Trustees, Margaret Chester. Peg has served as a regional director for Green Thumb (a senior employment program),  a board member of the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging, Department Director of the Middlesex Co Dept of Aging and most recently, Director of Middlesex County, Department of Human Services.

Peg extended the gift of her leadership to the founding trustees of the NJ Foundation for Aging in 1998. She has provided strategic guidance to the daily operations of the Foundation and its growth over the last 15 years. She is truly a dynamic and committed leader.

During the evening, which was hosted at Francis E. Parker in Piscataway, Peg was presented with a a Middlesex County Resolution for the Board of Chosen Freeholders which was presented by Freeholder, Blanquita Valenti. Assemblyman Patrick Diegnan also presented Peg with a resolution from the Assembly. In addition to these two individuals who had kind words to say about Peg, Grace Egan from the NJFA and Peg’s brother Tom also offered remarks acknowledging the hard work and dedication Peg has put into her career.

NJFA greatly appreciates Peg incorporating the Foundation into this special event. And wish Peg  wonderful adventures going forward.

  To learn more about the work of the Foundation visit www.njfoundationforaging.org or call 609-421-0206. The New Jersey Foundation for Aging was established in 1998.  Its mission is to expand innovative approaches in the delivery of services that enable older adults to live in the community with independence and dignity.

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