*** August 2007 ***
* E-zine *

This Month Highlights:
· Getting The Best Job You Ever Had!
· Protecting Against Healthcare Fraud
· Illegal Garnishments Help

Find the perfect retirement community, assisted living, nursing home, Alzheimer's
care, home care, or other senior service you are looking for.

Find a Gifts For Seniors,
visit our Senior Bazaar™
- click here -
[Place Your Ad Here] We welcome appropriate entities to provide sponsorship support.
If you are interested please contact us at: [email protected]

The E-zine is FREE. Received it from a friend? Get your own subscription at

Please Note: If web addresses do not show as a link, copy and paste it into the "go to" line of your browser.

To ensure delivery to your inbox (not bulk or junk folders),
please add [email protected] to your address book.

housing choices
aging in place
Senior Bazaar™
law info
resources by state
FREE e-zine
aging process
medical info
business to business
to advertise
seniors education



The Survey is ready for your input! Your privacy is respected; we don't capture information unless you type it, and we never sell it or give it away. What you share helps and our clients know and serve the collective "you" better! Even if you have never done a survey before, take this one!

return to top


What would you be doing, and where would we be if you had a magic wand?" THAT is the question you should ask yourself before you retire.

Next question: How much have you saved? $20,000? Perhaps your retirement will be spent working like most Americans do, but that doesn't mean it has to be "greeter at Wal-Mart."

There are many things one can do for revenue generation. Do you belong to clubs and organizations active in the things you care about deeply or are interested in for fun? Why not? Join them now! When you retire you may find work there, too. Many non-profit organizations have part-time positions available. It might not be front line, cutting edge work. but your efforts are helping a worthy cause. What do YOU want to do? Are you interested in animal rescue? Are you interested in environmental activities? Do you have experience with children and want to help the less fortunate in our society? There are a number of web sites that will match employers with retirees looking for work. Others post thousands of jobs where you can find that your specific skills are in need. The employer gets your knowledge, common sense, and experience. You get a job doing something you like and are interested in. It might be the best job you ever had!

Of course, there are many other organizations, and you can find them by searching on the Internet. You also have local organizations to check with. The local senior center isn't just for bridge anymore!

Still don't think you can do what you want and pull it off in retirement? What about a little education? Check the Senior Resource web site for a list of institutions and state requirements for free or reduced-fee education for senior citizens. Talk to organizations you think you might want to work for and ask them about the skills and training they typically look for in a new hire. Look for classes in your area of interest, take them, put the education on your resume. One good sign employers look for when hiring employees is their recent continuing education. It means you have an active mind, ready for a new challenge.

So let's assume for the moment you HAVE been saving! What do YOU want? Some people want to stay put right where they are and be active in their community-Bravo! Others want to travel to Europe and buy a villa outside of Tuscany. You likely CAN do what you want, especially if you are still working-just do the math and work out the budget! It is surprising how liberating a little mathematics can be. Sure, you might trade dinners out today for a life in the Bahamas later, but it will be your choice, so it won't be a problem. Do the math, make a budget, set your goals, review them often-even daily-and make your retirement dreams come true.

Do you want to travel? Sail the world on your own yacht? Some seniors purchase a large motor home and travel full-time. Many sell their home, move to a less expensive location and smaller home or condominium. Why not do that and travel, too? If you contemplate such a traveling lifestyle, be sure and read up on the experiences of other seniors who have done the same. Each lifestyle change has its own risks and variables to be considered. Often, relocating to your favorite vacation village isn't a good residential choice. Places that are great to get away to can be a bit isolated a year after your address changes to that "quiet, peaceful spot." If you are active in your community now, remember those connections will be broken and you'll be looking for new ones. And be sure to do your homework when considering a new neighborhood. Remember-YOU'RE the "new guy." When in Rome, do as the Romans do.

One thing to remember-often retirees move when they stop working full-time and then move back home a few years later to where their support network of family and friends remain. You'll want to consider issues like long-term healthcare, family ties, friends and relations when you are making your plan. Some people plan such dual moves ahead of time and are ready for it when health matters dictate the change. That's fine, of course. Do your dreaming. Do your math. Do your homework. Make your plan. Then get on with a fantastic retirement!

Additional financial information for seniors can be found at:

return to top


You know those invitations to "get rich on the coming Internet wave" that you receive in the mail? Or perhaps it's a brochure for "the greatest home business opportunity ever"? How about the "home based mailing service business you can start in your spare time"?

Generally these are fraudulent come-ons meant to separate senior citizens from their cash in exchange for a handful of booklets that describe a business all but impossible for a senior citizen to actually pursue, let alone profit from. Confidence scams are as old as civilization. They just change to keep up with the times. If it sounds too good to be true, it is...right?

Recently in Southern California and in Florida some of these folks have gotten very crafty. These groups don't bother with your wallet anymore-they go to where the "real dollars" are, and to where the oversight is traditionally weak. Unlike your kitchen table where you can sit in a relaxed environment and measure the claims and purported benefits of a sales pitch, Medicare is far easier to scam for these criminals.

The frauds generally work in three phases. First, by getting you excited over the very real benefits a motorized scooter or wheelchair would bring to the life of a mobility-impaired person, or perhaps a scientifically advanced artificial limb. Stage two of the scam is to overbill Medicare for the equipment. The third phase in the scam. You never see your motorized scooter! Or, you might not have needed one, but they bill Medicare for it anyway on your behalf. You probably never even knew they were ordering it for you, let alone informing your doctor. For that matter, there may not even be a living person meant to ever receive the durable medical equipment Medicare is paying for! This fraud costs the Medicare system-a government program successfully helping millions of Americans every year-billions of dollars in losses. Given the stretched budgets indicative of our nation's current financial position, this is a criminal problem that is a severe threat to senior citizens who depend upon Medicare services, in many cases, for their very lives.

Well, Medicare is fighting back, and fighting well. The Secretary of Health and Human Services, Mike Leavitt, has announced a major effort to protect you against these crimes. Fraudulent suppliers of durable medical equipment are the focus of this anti-fraud effort. The campaign is unique in its simplicity and should be highly successful as a result.

It's simple: if a business bills Medicare for these devices and services, they simply need to reapply. The fraudulent operators follow common profiles that are easily spotted in the re-application process. This campaign is focused on two major hot spots for this type of fraud: Florida and Southern California.

Under the new initiative the CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) are requiring suppliers of durable medical equipment to reapply for the right to bill Medicare. Letters are being sent out to request these businesses to resubmit applications for participation in Medicare billing. Those who fail to report having owners, partners, directors, or managing employees who have committed a felony within the past ten years, those who fail to respond in 30 days, and those who fail to report a change in address or ownership will have their billing privileges revoked.

To back up the program "boots on the ground" have been, and continue to visit these businesses, revoked billing privileges as required. Starting in January 2006 the National Supplier Clearing House (the national enrollment contractor for durable medical equipment, prosthetics, orthotics and supplies), Medicare/Medicaid conducted over 1400 inspections of such businesses in South Florida. By October of the same year over 600 of them had their Medicare/Medicaid billing privileges revoked. In August of 2006 the Los Angeles area was checked. Four hundred and one businesses were visited and by April of 2007, 95 of them had their billing privileges revoked.

Want to get involved? You can read a thorough report form the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services here:

You can find out how to volunteer to help at the "Senior Medicare Patrol Program" with the U.S. Administration on Aging here:

Additional health information for seniors can be found at:

return to top


Imagine this scenario: You live on your monthly social security payment, your SSI, or your veterans benefits. You or your spouse becomes ill and goes to the hospital for treatment. During the course of recovery you fall behind in your bills. Maybe while you are being cared for a missed bill goes unpaid and ends up in collection. Perhaps a charge with the hospital or doctor is disputed, but they send it to collections anyway. Perhaps years ago you decided that since you weren't driving anymore you would sell your car and pay off all of your bills, but missed one that is still out there in collections. Perhaps your loving caregiver isn't the most efficient person in the world and a recurring bill is repeatedly thrown away for lack of understanding, or an assumption that it is junk mail.

Then your government benefits suddenly are garnished and your bank account is frozen. The bank won't help. The collection agency's law firm won't help unless you pay the amount they are asking for in full, regardless of your dispute with the billing company, hospital, or doctor. You have nowhere to turn and don't know what to do about it, even though the garnishment is illegal.

Section 207 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 407) protects social security benefits from assignment, levy, or garnishment. The Social Security Administration isn't responsible for protecting your payment once it reaches you or your account. Your benefits are still protected under section 207 of the Social Security Act; however, you need to be sure the funds can be identified as Social Security, S.S.I., or veterans benefits. For example, if only social security benefits are deposited into a particular bank account the bank can more easily recognize that a garnishment order can be refused, and take action. They are just doing their job when they get a garnishment order, so help them understand your particular situation.

The law does have exceptions to the sanctity of your benefit payments-all for our society's interests, of course:

Child Support/ Alimony: Section 459 of the act (42 U.S.C. 659) allows social security benefits to be garnished to enforce child support and/or alimony obligations.

Federal Tax Indebtedness:

  • Section 6334 (c) of the Internal Revenue Code (26 U.S.C. 6334 (c)) allows benefits to be levied to collect unpaid federal taxes.
  • The Debt Collection Act of 1996 (Public Law 104-134) allows benefits to be withheld and paid to another federal agency to pay a non-tax debt the beneficiary owes to that agency.
  • The Tax Payer Relief Act of 1997 (Public Law 105-34) authorizes the Internal Revenue Service to collect overdue federal tax debts of beneficiaries by levying up to 15 percent of each monthly payment until the debt is paid.
  • Of course, you can pay your taxes via your benefits. Section 3402 (P) of the Internal Revenue Code allows a beneficiary to have a percentage of his benefits paid directly to the Internal Revenue Service to pay the federal income tax owed for the current year.

The illegal garnishment of social security, S.S.I., and/or veterans benefits-and the resulting incorrect freeze of the beneficiary's bank account is happening all over America today. It is a combination of the lack of needed oversight, legal and illegal corporate collections activity, and lack of willingness by banks to be responsible for tracking where payments come from. It keeps happening for a variety of reasons and it needs to be addressed in congress. Until then-take the steps to protect yourself.

Step1. Evaluate your bills. This sounds fancy, but it is a simple activity. Just make a list of your financial responsibilities, payee addresses, and the usual billing amount you pay. Next, be sure the people who should know (a caregiver, your spouse, adult children, etc.) DO know where your list is, and what it contains. Next, check your bank statements, or call the companies sending bills to your mail and make sure you are up to date in your payments. Do you have bills coming that are not on the list? Why? Do you think you are all paid up? The billing company obviously doesn't know it, or they wouldn't send the bill! Or, it could be a scam looking for the unsuspecting senior to just pay the bill. Do you have a financial obligation that you just plain gave up on because the bill was generated during a time of crisis, is one that you disagreed with, or perhaps is a bill that you just can't afford to pay anyway? If you're not paid up, make a plan to pay off the debt over time with the billing company, and do so. This can prevent a small outstanding amount, long forgotten, from triggering a collection action, lots of nasty fees, and the associated bank account freeze that can be a big problem to clear up.

Step 2. Segregate your income. Even though it is against the law to garnish social security, SSI, and veterans benefits, it still happens all the time. Make sure that your social security payments, SSI, and your veterans benefits are deposited into an account that ONLY holds such payments. Other income, if you have it, should be sent to a separate account. Why? Because it is easier to prevent your bank account from being frozen and garnished if you keep these benefit payments in a segregated account, separate from any other funds or income that you might have. Speak with your branch manager about your bank's policy on garnishing accounts that have only protected benefits being deposited into them, and follow up if action (such as filing a form with your bank) is required to protect yourself from garnishment.

Step 3. If you think you might have a bill already in collections and the company won't negotiate with you in good faith, take a few steps to protect yourself from garnishment of your accounts and your social security or veterans benefits. Do you have a small local bank in your area? Open an account with the minimum deposit and redirect your direct deposit to that account, leaving your old account at the big national bank open with a few dollars in it. Bill collectors look to the large banks to do their bidding for them. They can ask Bank of America, or Washington Mutual to garnish any account you have-and the bank will comply given the collectors have filed the correct legal documents. But the bill collector probably isn't going to ask the local community bank you've just opened an account with to do the same... they are walking on the path of least resistance and focus on the giant banks first. Did you get a garnishment warning in the mail? Some states require such a notice be sent before the garnishment takes place and your account is frozen. If you get such a notice go immediately to the bank THAT DAY and withdraw all of your funds. Contact social security and stop the direct deposit of your social security check, or redirect it to your new, local community bank checking account.

Step 4. Get legal assistance. If you are on a fixed income such as social security payments provide, you likely qualify for free legal advice. Non-profit legal services organizations such as Legal Aid will help you lift a garnishment of your social security payments, or may be able to head one off if you act in time. Staffed by well-meaning and hard working qualified individuals, these organizations will advise you of your rights, and provide quality services for little or no charge to you, as a service to the community. Pro bono legal advice is a long and honorable tradition in the legal community and it is proud to provide such services to those of limited means who qualify.

Know your obligations, take pro-active and protective action, include the caregivers in your life when you are taking these precautions, and you won't have to worry about losing your social security or veterans benefits to income garnishing bill collectors!

Additional financial information for seniors can be found at:

return to top


State-by-State Aging Plan
Many states are faced with an aging population. The following illustrates some steps that can be taken to prepare for coming changes.

California Assemblywoman Patty Berg, the legislature's point-person on aging issues, rallied prominent lawmakers and seniors' advocates in support of a policy agenda designed to prepare California for a dramatic increase in its elderly population.

California is on the verge of massive growth in the senior population, as the post-war baby boom generation pushes its record-setting demographic bubble into the costliest segment of society. The state's elder population will not only grow in number, but also in percentage, going from 1 in 10 residents today, to 1 in 7 residents within two decades.

"No state has ever seen a demographic shift like this," said Berg, D-Eureka.

"There is no roadmap because it's never happened before. That's why it's crucial that we begin planning now."

As they have since their arrival, baby boomers will strain the public infrastructure in their old age. And, just as government responded in the 1950s and 1960s with schools, parks and hospitals, governments must now respond with more efficient aging services and new strategies to accommodate the needs of the largest generation in the nation's history.

"California is either going to get ready or get swamped," said Berg. "It's really that simple."

Among the policy priorities in Berg's report are Medi-Cal funding of telemedicine; more coherent driver screening programs; building codes that reflect the needs of an aging population; and stiffer penalties for crooks who prey on elderly people.

Her agenda will serve as a measuring stick against which bill proposals may be tested, to see whether they would really help California prepare. She also said the document identifies a number of ways in which the baby boom generation will provide economic growth in California, by creating new demand for health service workers, as well as increased demand for smart housing and transportation alternatives. Although many older boomers will need significant state-funded services, much of this population will also be better educated, more affluent, and more accustomed to creating change than the generations that proceeded them.

"There are as many opportunities as there are challenges," said Berg. "But we have to be prepared to make the most of those, too."

The report, "Building an Aging Agenda for the 21st Century," is the third in a series of Master Plan reports published since Berg began chairing the Aging and Long-Term Care Committee. All three reports are available electronically on her website:

If your state has prepared a similar plan, please let us know and we will spread the word.
[email protected]

Unexpected Packages
Consumers are doing the dirty work for online criminals. Many websites are making it more difficult to be tricked into shipping goods paid for by scam artists with stolen credit cards. Hence the criminals are turning to well-meaning consumers.

Criminals route stolen packages through innocent consumers in inventive ways. If an unexpected package is delivered to your home, be very careful. If you agree to return the package, you might unwittingly be helping a criminal.

The most common ruse is called a "call-tag" scam. The scam relies on retailers' ability to initiate and pay for shipping returns by calling their delivery firm and issuing a "call tag" for merchandise. It's easy for consumers, because a delivery driver simply arrives, rings your bell, and takes back the "misdelivered" item.

A key step for consumers who have received unexpected packages is to get in touch with the merchant that shipped the item. Even if the merchant calls you, it is best to find the merchant's phone on the internet and call them. Explain the situation and get instruction on how to handle the problem. If a fraud is active they will let you know.

return to top


We present here some words from those with a birthday this month.

Martin Sheen "We are the generation that brought the bomb in. We have got to be the generation that should take it out."

Martha Stewart "My new motto is: When you're through changing, you're through."

Louis Armstrong "If ya ain't got it in ya, ya can't blow it out"

Neil Armstrong "Mystery creates wonder and wonder is the basis of man's desire to understand."

Lucille Ball "I think knowing what you cannot do is more important than knowing what you can."

More "Thoughts" at:

return to top


Canadian Travel Benefits

Share the pleasures of train travel with a friend and your guest will be the train's guest! Simply put, if you are a senior aged 60 and over, purchase a Comfort class (economy) ticket and you can obtain a second one free for your travel companion. A travel benefit from VIA Rail Canada Inc.

America the Beautiful - National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass - Senior Pass
This is a lifetime pass (formerly called the Golden Age Passport, for U.S. citizens or permanent residents age 62 or over. The pass provides access to, and use of, federal recreation sites that charge an entrance fee or standard amenity fee. The pass admits the pass holder and passengers in a non-commercial vehicle at per-vehicle fee areas, and pass holder + 3 adults, not to exceed 4 adults, at per-person fee areas (children under 16 are admitted free). The pass can only be obtained in person at the park. The Senior Pass provides a 50 percent discount on some expanded amenity fees charged for facilities and services such as camping, swimming, boat launch, and specialized interpretive services. In some cases where expanded amenity fees are charged, only the pass holder will be given the 50 percent price reduction. The pass is non-transferable and generally does NOT cover or reduce special recreation permit fees or fees charged by concessionaires.

return to top


Your Disease Risk
Your Disease Risk is an educational website developed over the past ten years by the Harvard Center for Cancer Prevention. Based at the Harvard School of Public Health, the center promotes prevention as the primary approach to controlling cancer and other chronic diseases.
The site collects the latest scientific evidence on disease risk factors into one easy-to-use tool for the source on prevention. Here you can find out your risk of developing five of the most important diseases in the United States and get personalized tips for preventing them.

The site began as the Harvard Cancer Risk Index, a pen-and-paper cancer risk assessment tool first put together in the mid 1990s by the Risk Index Working Group at Harvard University. In 1999, the Risk Index was adapted to the Web as Your Cancer Risk. Then, to give even greater emphasis to the importance of healthy behaviors, Your Cancer Risk was expanded to include assessments for heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and osteoporosis. The expanded site was renamed Your Disease Risk.

Throughout development, sound science has been top priority. The detailed scientific framework used to develop the Harvard Cancer Risk Index and Your Cancer Risk was also used in the development of Your Disease Risk.

Get your more medical information at:

Low-Cost Senior Education has been in an ongoing search for free and low-cost educational opportunities for senior citizens and has found numerous opportunities to report. Visit our site at for a state-by-state list of opportunities.

return to top


Under the Bed
A man went to a psychiatrist and said, "Doctor, I've got trouble. Every time I get into bed, I think there's somebody under it. I get under the bed, I think there's somebody on top of it.
Top, under, top, under. You have to help me, I'm going crazy!"

"Just put yourself in my hands for two years," said the psychiatrist. "Come to me three times a week, and I'll cure your fears."

"How much do you charge?"

"A hundred dollars per visit."

"I'll sleep on it," said the man.

Six months later the doctor met the man on the street. "Why didn't you ever come to see me again?" asked the psychiatrist.

"For a hundred buck's a visit? A bartender cured me for ten dollars."

"Is that so! How?"

"He told me to cut the legs off the bed!"

Definitions We Live by
Miser : A person who lives poor so that he can die rich.
Father : A banker provided by nature.
Criminal : A guy no different from the rest...except that he got caught.
Boss : Someone who is early when you are late and late when you are early.
Politician : One who shakes your hand before elections and your confidence after.
Doctor : A person who kills your ills with pills, and kills you with his bills.

Visit 1000's of jokes of interest to people who have lived a long and rich life.
"Oh My Aging Funny Bone" is at:

return to top


SPONSOR OF THIS ISSUE: New LifeStyles Find the perfect retirement community, assisted living, nursing home, Alzheimer's care, home care, or other senior service you are looking for at

New LifeStyles, The Source for Seniors, is a comprehensive guide to all state-licensed and certified senior housing and care options and more, nationwide.

Visit us online at to find what you are looking for. Read descriptions, view location maps and online tours, compare amenities and services, contact companies directly via e-mail, and save and recommend your favorites, all from the comfort of your own home.

New LifeStyles print guides are available FREE for 44 areas nationwide. Click here to order a FREE copy or call 800-820-3013.


SPONSOR'S INFORMATION: We welcome appropriate entities to provide sponsorship support. If you are interested please contact us at: [email protected]

Do you have an article to share with others? We will consider any appropriate material for this publication.
Please send such to [email protected]

This issue has been edited by Betsy Day ([email protected]).

Copyright 2007, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Information in this document is subject to change without notice. Other products, service and companies named herein are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies or mark holders and are solely responsible for the content of their articles. Articles are included for informational purposes and are not an endorsement.

This Copyright E-zine may be forwarded to others only if sent in its entirety. Other uses are subject to written permission of the publisher.

Home | Housing Choices | Aging in Place | Finance | Insurance | Senior Bazaar™
Law Info | Resources by State | Humor | Free E-zine | Aging Process | Medical Info
Senior Education | Business-to-Business | To Advertise | About Us

4521 Campus Dr. #131
Irvine, CA 92612