Avoid Scams at Tax Time

Posted by in Personal Finance.

As April approaches, many think of spring in bloom, April showers, and maybe even Opening Day for baseball season, but there’s no denying it and no avoiding it, tax time is here as well. For some, April can be a time of frustration and even fear, especially if the documents necessary for tax filing are disorganized, misplaced, or simply missing. Unfortunately, for many seniors, tax time is not only stressful, but also prime time for financial scams aimed directly at them.

Our goal at Senior Lifestyle is to share valuable information that impacts seniors, and with that in mind, we’ve compiled several tips from the Internal Revenue Service as well as AARP to help senior loved ones avoid falling prey to fraud during tax season.

THE IRS IMPOSTOR SCAM

In this sophisticated phone scam, a caller claiming to be an IRS employee will say that you owe taxes. They may use intimidation, threatening you with arrest or deportation if you don’t pay. They may also tell you to put the money on a prepaid debit card and then give them the number on the card. They may also know a fair amount of your personal information, but remember, the IRS DOES NOT call to demand payment over the phone without first sending a bill in the mail. Additionally, the IRS will NOT ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone or threaten to bring in local police or other law enforcement to arrest you for non-payment. According to the IRS, “Thousands of people have lost millions of dollars and their personal information to tax scams. Scammers use the regular mail, telephone, or email to set up individuals, businesses, payroll and tax professionals.” The Internal Revenue Service also notes that the IRS will never initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text messages or social media channels to request personal or financial information.

If you have any doubts about whether a contact was authentic, call the IRS directly at 800-829-1040. Or, if you’ve spotted a scam or think you may have been scammed, call the IRS helpline at 877-908-3360 for advice and guidance.

 

TAX ID THEFT

In this scam, your personal information is stolen for the purposes of filing a fraudulent tax return for the refund. It can involve filing a fraudulent return with another person’s Social Security number, claiming someone else’s children as dependents, or claiming a tax refund using a deceased taxpayer’s information.

To avoid tax identity theft:

  • Do mail tax returns as early in the tax season as possible before the scammers beat you to it.
  • Don’t give out personal information unless you know who’s asking for it and why they need it.
  • Do shred personal and financial documents.
  • Do know your tax preparer.
  • Do check the status of your refund after filing at gov/Refunds

 

For help, contact the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 800-908-4490 and visit irs.gov/identitytheft.

Tax time is stressful enough without becoming the victim of fraud, so take precautions to avoid scammers and warn senior loved ones of the signs of fraud during tax season. To learn more about Senior Lifestyle and our commitment to those we serve, please visit our website at www.seniorlifestyle.com.

Financial Options for Senior Living

Posted by in Personal Finance.

One of our goals at Senior Lifestyle is to make the transition to senior living as seamless as possible for new residents and families, and we know that one of the most difficult aspects of making new living arrangements for senior loved ones is the “financial conversation.” We understand that discussions about money can be emotionally charged, and although the conversation itself may seem intrusive to both parents and adult children, it is a necessary one. Understanding what funds and financial options for senior living are available is vital to the search for senior housing. Having solid financial information at the outset of the senior housing search can help streamline the process and will save a great deal of time and frustration, not only for seniors but for their families as well.

At Senior Lifestyle, we care about not only the physical and emotional wellbeing of our residents, but their financial health as well, and that’s why we recommend the services of companies like Elderlife Financial. A leading senior solutions company, Elderlife Financial helps families understand their financial options for senior living and locate and finance senior housing needs, offering a variety of services to facilitate the moving process, including:

Financing Senior Living

A bridge loan can help fund senior living while waiting for Veteran’s benefits or insurance payments to begin or waiting for the sale of a home. This service allows families the peace of mind of an immediate move.

Veteran Benefits Assistance

Many veterans are unfamiliar with the benefits available to them. Elderlife Financial can assist in the process of gathering the necessary information to apply for the “Aid & Attendance” pension benefit, as well as providing short term funding while waiting for benefits to be approved.

Assistance with Insurance

If a long-term care policy is in place to pay for care, Elderlife financial can help navigate the often-complex process of making a claim and qualifying for benefits. Additionally, life insurance policies are a potential source of funding for senior living and can be sold or borrowed against to pay for care.

 

At Senior Lifestyle we know that the search for senior housing can be daunting, but our community advisers are here to help you navigate the journey and understand your financial options for senior living. For information on a Senior Lifestyle community near you, visit our website at www.seniorlifestyle.com to schedule a tour and meet with an adviser. Financial resources are available on the Senior Lifestyle website as well, so help is just a click away!

Tools for Financial Planning

Posted by in Expert Advice, Personal Finance.

Talking to Mom and Dad about money can be difficult, and not just when you’re young and need $20 for dinner and a movie. As parents age and need more care, the conversation may become a necessity between adult children and parents. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always get easier to talk about money, and sometimes the financial picture an elderly loved one paints is a bit more rosy than the reality. Additionally, seniors often consider finances completely private information and any attempt at learning more about what options are available can be seen by a senior loved one as prying. To help start the financial planning conversation, Senior Lifestyle has compiled a list of resources and tips to utilize when you’re unsure if your loved one’s finances are sufficient for the care they need.

Learning more about your family’s unique financial situation and needs is the first step to finding a senior housing solution. To facilitate that important first step in financial planning, many of our communities have partnered with Elderlife Financial, an organization that specializes in helping families navigate the senior housing journey and understand financing options available to them. Elderlife can provide education and additional resources on applying for Veterans Benefits and Long Term Care Insurance, as well as valuable information on bridge loans prior to the sale of a home. Contact a Senior Lifestyle Community Advisor for more information, or visit the Elderlife Financial website to get started.

Another financial option for some seniors is the conversion of an existing life insurance policy to pay for a loved one’s stay at a Senior Lifestyle community. To determine if your insurance policy can be converted into a Life Care Benefit Plan to cover expenses of care, simply visit the Life Care Funding website for information on conversion. There is no cost or obligation for this financial planning service and the information may well provide a valuable option for senior housing and care.

At Senior Lifestyle, we understand the value of companionship as well as financial health, so we also offer the affordable option of Shared Suites for seniors. This option provides newcomers to communities with a friend right at the outset and residents are matched based on personality, interests and backgrounds to ensure compatibility. In addition to the resources note above, this option can make senior living much more affordable and comfortable.

For a comprehensive list of these resources and tips, as well as a senior financial planning calculator, please visit our website at www.seniorlifestyle.com. Our website also provides contact information for our senior communities in your area, where a visit with one of our senior housing professionals is just a click away!

Financial Health

Posted by in Personal Finance.

For adult children, “the financial conversation” is one of the most difficult aspects of changing the living situation of their parents. Discussions about money can be fraught with anticipated conflict, and although the conversation itself may seem intrusive to both parents and children, it is a necessary one. Understanding what funds and financial options are available is vital to the senior living decision-making process. Having this information at the outset may save a great deal of time and frustration, not only for seniors but for their families as well. Any move can be emotionally difficult, so eliminating as much stress as possible is a great idea for all involved!

At Senior Lifestyle, we care about not only the physical and emotional well-being of our residents, but their financial health as well. That’s why we recommend the services of companies like Elderlife Financial. A leading senior solutions company, Elderlife helps families plan, locate, and finance senior housing needs, and provides a variety of services to facilitate the moving process, including:

  • Financing Senior Living
    A bridge loan can help fund senior living while waiting for insurance payments or Veteran’s Benefits to begin, or while waiting for the sale of a home. This service allows families the peace of mind of an immediate move.
  • Veteran Benefits Assistance
    Many veterans are unfamiliar with the benefits available to them. Elderlife can assist in the process of gathering the necessary information to apply for the “Aid & Attendance” pension benefit, as well as providing short term funding while waiting for approval.
  • Assistance with Insurance
    If a long-term care policy is in place to pay for care, Elderlife can help navigate the often-complex process of making a claim and qualifying for benefits. Additionally, life insurance policies are a potential source of funding for senior living. They can be sold or borrowed against to pay for care.

You don’t have to navigate the senior living journey alone; we care about your financial health, and our community advisors are here to help. For information on a Senior Lifestyle community near you, take a look at our website to schedule a visit and meet with an advisor. Financial resources are available on the Senior Lifestyle website as well, so help is just a click away!

New Ideas for Supporting Caregivers

Posted by in Personal Finance.

caregiver financial assistance

People who commit their time, energy, love, and resources to care for a friend or relative are also sacrificing their own future retirement income. One congresswoman has proposed an amendment to the Social Security Act in an attempt to compensate our caregivers when they need it most.

Read More…