Monthly Archives: June 2013

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Phoenix, Arizona (PRWEB) April 19, 2013

National Public Radio (NPR) recently ran a series by Chana Joffe-Walt on Planet Money (Unfit for Work: The Startling Rise of Disability in America), also summarized on This American Life (Trends With Benefits), about the Social Security Administrations disability programs. The series focused on the significant growth in these programs over the last 30 years and speculated about the contributing factors.

While raising an important issue, the National Association of Benefits and Work Incentives Specialists (NABWIS) believes the series unfortunately presented an incomplete and misleading picture in 3 key ways:

1. The series failed to address the possibilities and barriers of Social Securitys return to work policies. Return to work plays a key role in addressing the significant growth in these programs, The SSA has created a number of work rules that support a person in working, called work incentives. These work rules provide various levels of support: allow a person to maintain some or all of their benefits when they work, allow a person to maintain eligibility status when their benefits stop due to working, and allow a person to maintain access to healthcare. The effectiveness of these rules should be a key part of this conversation.

2. NABWIS finds that the report does not correct inaccurate information communicated by those interviewed about the impact of work on benefits. In the March 28 episode entitled, “Kids May Stay On Disability If Their Parents Rely On The Check,” a parent stated she didnt want her 18-year-old son to work because it will get in the way of the disability check. Later in the episode a young adult stated the same thing. What the report did not address is that there are work incentives that make it possible for a beneficiary to work and financially get ahead. It may result in a reduction in the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefit, which those in this episode seemed to be receiving. But, due to work incentives the SSI is partially reduced by the wages; as a result, the combined wages and reduced SSI is always more than the SSI alone. In fact, because evidence shows that the sooner you start working the more success you have in employment outcomes both in the near-term and over the course of a lifetime, SSI has a work incentive for students under the age of 22 that typically results in no reduction to the SSI check! The absence of this key information not only fails to raise an important topic, but it miscommunicates to a national audience that you cant work if you receive disability benefits.

3. Joffe-Walt, herself, communicated information that implies work incentives are not available. In the same March 28th episode, she stated, if you start working in any substantial way, you get kicked off the program. The truth is that in both the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program, and the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program, there are work incentives that allow a person to maintain eligibility status even if they earn so much that the benefit drops to $ 0, moving into a suspension rather than termination status. She also shared concerns from listeners about losing access to health insurance, yet she did not mention work incentives, which allow a person to maintain Medicare and/or Medicaid when working if they continue to meet SSAs medical definition of disability.

The National Association of Benefits and Work Incentive Specialists (NABWIS) is an association of professionals who spend each day talking with disability beneficiaries about concerns regarding benefits and work. Knowing the importance these programs play in the lives of those we serve, NABWIS welcomes the attention this series has brought to the subject. But, having failed to address all of the possibilities of the current work rules, this series has presented an incomplete story. And, while this is an unfortunate loss to the greater discussion, NABWIS believes the more detrimental impact is that listeners across the country walked away believing the that a person with a disability, or someone in their family can not work if they receive benefits. Perpetuating the myth that people are unable to return to work while receiving benefits only perpetuates the cycle of poverty and dependence.

For families receiving benefits, it is crucial that the well being of all the family members be taken into account.

What happens to the 18 year old who is erroneously told he shouldnt work because his family will lose their benefit(s)? What is his quality of life? What does he do when he is done with school? What are his goals and expectations for life? Will he ever own his own home? Will he be able to save for his future?

What if that 18 year old is instead encouraged to work and reach his personal goals with an understanding of accurate information about how he can get ahead by returning to work? What is his quality of life like now?

Following is true story of how one individual was able to return to work, in part through work incentives.

Terri Guy is passionate about helping Social Security beneficiaries use the Social Security work incentives to help them return to work after incurring a disabling condition because she has done it herself.

Terri has worked as a Work Incentive Consultant at Arizona Bridge to Independent Living (ABIL) for five years, while living with and accommodating several different disabilities (Multiple Sclerosis, Lupus, Diabetes and Melanoma.)

Terri first came to ABILs Employment Network through the Ticket to Work program, while on Social Security Disability benefits back in June 2004, seeking assistance to find employment. The Ticket to Work is an array of work incentives and supports created by the 1999 Ticket to Work and Work Incentive Improvement Act. Work incentives include help finding work through Employment Networks, Work Incentives Planning and Assistance and Medicaid Buy-in health plans for workers with disabilities with higher incomes, like Arizonas AHCCCS Freedom to Work program.

Terri had a long work history but could not find anyone willing to hire her. ABILs Employment Network helped Terri secure a job as an eligibility worker at the Arizona Department of Economic Security (DES), at which she excelled.

Because of her success at DES, ABIL recruited Terri to work in their Work Incentives Planning and Assistance program in 2008. She is a living example of someone who has benefited from the Ticket to Work program and worked her way off of Social Security benefits. Terri is a powerful role model for the people she helps to encourage and support their efforts to improve their lives through employment, up to their highest potential, including working their way off entitlements to achieve financial self-support. Over the last two years Terri has worked with more than 300 Social Security beneficiaries, helping 120 of them transition back to work.

NABWIS Board

Amina Donna Kruck (President), Anne Rae (Secretary), Molly Sullivan (Treasurer), Jim Sheldon, James Smith, Suzanne Paulson, Wanda Berry, Jolene Wyler, Tammy Liddicoat, Sandy Hardy, Thomas Golden, Ray Cebula.

Arizona Bridge to Independent Living (ABIL) is Arizonas largest center for independent living. ABIL offers and promotes programs designed to empower people with disabilities to take personal responsibility so they may achieve or continue independent lifestyles within the community.







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(PRWEB) June 18, 2013

More than 70 percent of Americans believe they are not financially ready for retirement, according to a recent online poll conducted by American Consumer Credit Counseling. The ACCC poll found that more than 7 in 10 consumers surveyed reported that they are not adequately prepared for retirement, while over 30 percent of respondents are not contributing at all to a retirement account.

Of the 282 consumers surveyed in the recent ACCC web poll at ConsumerCredit.com, 56 percent are aged 45 to 64 while only 15 percent are between the ages of 18 and 34.

All too often for families struggling to recover from economic downturn, retirement falls by the wayside and becomes a financial afterthought, said Steve Trumble, President and CEO of American Consumer Credit Counseling, a non-profit agency based in Newton, Mass. Many middle-aged consumers are faced with difficult choices such as investing in their retirement or investing in their childs college education fund, but the truth is, not contributing at all to retirement now can mean working well into the later years in life.

Surprisingly, when it comes to income levels, of those respondents who indicated they are not prepared, 23 percent earn $ 75,000 or more. Those most confident in their retirement preparations were the 28 percent of consumers surveyed earning between $ 50,000 and $ 75,000.

And it is not just income levels that are impacting consumers confidence in retirement preparation; gender also plays a role. When asked about the level of retirement contributions over the past year, 34 percent of women responded that they did not contribute any amount to their retirement fund compared to only 21 percent of males. Additionally, 27percent of males indicated that they actually contributed more over the past year compared to only 17 percent of their female counterparts.

When it comes to retirement savings, men and women often face different financial challenges, said Trumble. Women are more likely to work part-time jobs, interrupt their careers for their family and, on average, are less likely to participate in a retirement plan. But all Americans should be thinking about their current retirement savings plans to ensure they are financially comfortable well into their later years.

When the 282 respondents were asked about their current retirement savings method, an overwhelming 49 percent indicated they use a 401(k) account, while 28 percent of those surveyed are part of a pension plan. Only 10 percent indicated that they contribute to a general savings account.

The retirement savings poll is the latest in a series of ACCC web surveys for 2013 that focus on a variety of financial education, budgeting and planning topics. The next online poll asks consumers whether or not they have declined a wedding invitation because of finances. The online survey can be found at ConsumerCredit.com.

American Consumer Credit Counselings certified and experienced counselors offer various financial education, counseling and debt management services to help consumers achieve long-term financial health and stability.

ACCC is a 501(c)3 organization, that provides free credit counseling, bankruptcy counseling, and housing counseling to consumers nationwide in need of financial literacy education and money management.

For more information, contact ACCC:

Question by Starlight: Bankruptcy reversal, Mortgage advice.?
My partner and I are wanting to buy a house. He was made bankrupt in 2007 although he has told me the creditors were paid 99% and he had money left over. In October a Financial Adviser told him he could get it amended to improve his credit rating but after his credit report showed he had been late with several mobile phone payments (this was at the time of the Bankruptcy because his bank account was cancelled) he advised us to only do a mortgage in my name (I have a v. good credit rating) however I can only go co ownership which is very difficult and may put a lot of sellers off because it is basically a lottery every month. Needless to say I want him to sort his credit rating out which he is doing but I don’t know if he will be able to get it reversed or annulled or it will make any difference to his credit rating. He has had a new contract with the network provider, has been paying a loan, rent and the gas bill for the last 2 years.Will this improve his credit? He is however Self Employed and would only be able to provide proof of earnings for this year so with all this in mind would we be able to get a mortgage now? What is the best course of action for us? I intend to see a Financial Adviser again in a few days but any knowledge or advise would be greatly appreciated.
We are recently married and all his depts have been paid in full.
Ps All debts were settled within 1 month of judgment.

Best answer:

Answer by Bibs
His proof of income would be his personal income tax return. Aside from this, I do not recommend that you own property together if you are not married. The potential legal complications could be very difficult and you could both lose all your equity.

What do you think? Answer below!

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