Digestive Health Shouldn’t Be Confusing

Digestive Health Shouldn’t Be Confusing

Digestive health are two words that generally don’t flow to the top of health and wellness discussions. Nobody thinks about the digestive system when they are ill or not feeling tip top.

History being history a fellow named Hippocrates way back before the birth of Christ proclaimed health begins with the gut. This alone didn’t crown him the father of modern medicine. But it did not get in the way of his ordination as such.

digestive health, digestive health information

The American Gastroenterological Association, while not quoting Hippocrates exactly did make this pronouncement.

Good digestive health means having a:

“digestive system that has appropriate nutrient absorption, intestinal motility, immune function, and a balanced microbiota.”

Let’s translate those big words into every day common language. It means good digestive health is the absence of digestive discomfort. That is simply how we think in none medical terms.

The truth says we all have experienced occasional digestive distress. The distress came in the form of gas, bloating, indigestion or general discomfort.

That really is no surprise because it happens to all of us and sometimes at a re-occurring rate. If that is what happens to you, this could suggest something isn’t quite right.

Digestive Health Issues Happen to Everyone

When something isn’t quite right we either make a doctor’s visit or we self medicate with over the counter pills, potions or lotions. We could be doing a disservice to ourselves. Because the digestive tract houses approximately 70% of our immunity.

It is a potential disservice because we really don’t know if that particular pill or potion is compatible with our immune system. Instead of boosting our immune system it may be damaging it.

The remaining 30% of our immune system is composed of what doctors call gut bacteria. The medical term is gut microbiota.

This gut microbiota influences body weight, believe it or not. As it turns out digestive health is more complex than we know and deserves far greater attention than we give it.

Some Final Thoughts

Research has proven gut health is linked to energy levels. As well as sleep quality and skin health. It’s also linked to joint health and comfort, weight management, focus and concentration.

Challenges to our digestive health include stress, environmental toxins, alcohol, getting older, poor diet, some artificial sweeteners, smoking and more.

Digestive health can be maintained and even improved. Start by eliminating processed whole foods, sugar, fast foods and any food that does not work well in your body. You know which ones they are. Because your gut tells you something ain’t right.



Senior Outreach Ministries achieves it’s objectives with the capital we’ve either earned or received from donors. The Proud 2 B A Senior Ribbon for example. Donate $5, get a ribbon and help us help a hungry Senior Citizen in need. All proceeds remain in the Ministries to be used per our mission statement. We are a volunteer church. No one receives a salary or wage. Please help us help less fortunate hungry Seniors. We never have and never will ask the government for grants, funds or hand outs. Thank You in advance.

Relieve Pain With Hot and Cold Packs

Relieve Pain With Hot and Cold Packs

You don’t have to be a senior citizen to know about using hot and cold packs to relieve pain. I can remember my mother using both on me when I was a child. And, I am 74 years old today with 4 children and 6 grandchildren.

I bet you can surmise I used the same treatment methods for my kids as my mom did on me. Sometimes they worked sometimes they didn’t. Obviously the aches and pains source was the primary determinant in what or would not
work.

A broken leg or arm for example are not candidates for either a hot or cold pack. They are candidates for a visit to the ER or nearest Urgent Care Center. They should be seen by a doctor as soon as possible.

I have lower back pain. My chiropractor gave me this advice. He said apply a hot pack for 15 minutes, change to a cold pack for 15 minutes and then walk for 15 minutes. This has worked for me every time the pain resurfaces.

My Pain Relief Advice

Keep in mind I am not saying it will work for you. I am saying of all the hot and cold packs to relieve pain this one worked for me. My hot pack consisted of a hot water bottle. My cold pack consisted of a plastic bag full of ice.

Please note I didn’t rush to the pharmacy or big box store to buy an over the counter product. I used what I had in the house.

You can follow my lead. My sore muscles and joints don’t care where the relief came from. I’ve even used frozen vegetables as a cold source. If it works, I’ll use it.

Cold reduces inflammation by constricting blood flow to the injured area. Heat does the opposite. Obviously using hot or cold packs to excess can reduce the effectiveness of hot and cold packs to relieve pain. The old saying, too much of a good thing is still too much, certainly applies in pain relief.

Relieve Pain With Ice and Heat

Common sense coupled with the aches or pain will tell you what is working and what isn’t working. Pay attention to your body. It wants relief and is definitely speaking to you. Listen.

Hot and cold packs to relieve pain are only one method to relieve pain. Prescription drugs, gels, balms, ointments, and other such palliative pain relievers may be the answer. Only you know which works best for your particular pain.



Senior Outreach Ministries achieves it’s objectives with the capital we’ve either earned or received from donors. The Proud 2 B A Senior Ribbon for example. Donate $5, get a ribbon and help us help someone in need. All proceeds remain in the Ministries to be used per our mission statement. We are a volunteer church. No one receives a salary or wage. Please help us help others. We never have and never will ask the government for grants, funds or hand outs. And, Thank You in advance.

Funeral Planning Pt. 3 — After The Funeral

Funeral Planning Pt. 3 — After the Funeral

Funeral Planning – after the funeral may be the most stressful of all three phases. Yes, the funeral will be emotional. But what follows the funeral is a lot of leg work. And a lot of leg work means a lot of stress.

Death certificates will play a major role in the below list of activities you will face. Experts in the field say you should order a dozen certified duplicate death certificates. You should also be prepared to pay upwards to $20 a copy.

The government never misses a trick to make a few bucks. They are available through your local vital statistics office. Or the county clerk, local records office or city hall. The location depends on where you live.

Funeral planning –after the funeral should include the sending of thank you notes. A contact list was probably gathered at the funeral home. They usually have people sign a register.

Social Security should be a priority. If the deceased was receiving benefits they must stop. If you have a good funeral director he will notify Social Security. You can always call SS at 1-800-772-1213 or go by your local SS office.

Their rules could cost you more than the benefit amount if not reported timely. And, you may be eligible for a one-time $255 payment or other benefits. Don’t let that slip.

The List Gets Longer

If your loved one received Medicare, Social Security will inform the program of the death. That doesn’t hold true for the deceased’s Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage (Part D), Medicare Advantage plan or Medigap policy. You should contact these plans at the phone numbers provided on each plan membership card to cancel the insurance.

If the deceased was working employment benefits may be waiting for you. Contact the employer for information about pension plan, credit unions and union death benefits. You will need a death certificate for each claim.

Life insurance and health insurance are probably in the picture. Notify the health insurance company or the deceased’s employer. Some health plans allow for dependents to remain covered after the employee dies. Ask.

Life insurance companies will have you complete appropriate claim forms plus supply a death certificate. If you have a policy and the the deceased was listed as your beneficiary, arrange to have the name removed.

You may wish to terminate other insurance policies*.* If so, contact the providers.

Obligations Beside Insurance Matters

Depending on the size of the estate a meeting with a probate attorney may be on your agenda. The executor should choose the attorney. Probate can be a migraine if you don’t know what you are doing. Take the advice of counsel and save a lot of frustration.

Make certain the executor or estate administrator has a list of important bills. They still must be paid promptly.

The deceased may have dealt with financial advisers, stockbrokers, and others in the investment world. The important point to know is the beneficiary of the account.

Mortgage companies and banks should also be on the notification list. Hopefully your loved one left a list of accounts, including online passwords.

Always close credit card accounts even if there is a balance owed. You will have to pay the balance but nobody can hack that account.

This is important and many people don’t know about it. Notify credit reporting agencies. Doing so minimizes the chance of identity theft. Then wait about six weeks and check the deceased’s credit history. That will tell if any fraudulent accounts have been opened.

Tell the DMV so they can cancel the deceased’s driver’s license*. *This also helps prevent identity theft.

More accounts that should be closed to prevent fraud or identity theft are email and website accounts. Do not forget about social media and other online accounts.

Another important agency to contact is the election board or registrar of voters. This is one more step to prevent identity theft. As well as voter/election fraud.

You should cancel memberships in organizations. Sororities, fraternities, professional organizations, etc., to which the deceased belonged.

One Last Contact

Uncle Sam and your state income taxing agency will still want a return from the individual. Therefore, you’ll want to contact a competent tax preparer. Let him or her walk you through the process. The last thing you must do is get wrapped up with one or both of these agencies.

Funeral planning – after the funeral may be the most stressful of all three phases was my opening sentence. If you read this far, I’d bet a dollar to a donut you agree.

Funeral Planning — Pt. 1 | Funeral Planning — Pt. 2



Senior Outreach Ministries achieves it’s objectives with the capital we’ve either earned or received from donors. The Proud 2 B A Senior Ribbon for example. Donate $5, get a ribbon and help us help a hungry Senior Citizen in need. All proceeds remain in the Ministries to be used per our mission statement. We are a volunteer church. No one receives a salary or wage. Please help us help less fortunate hungry Seniors. We never have and never will ask the government for grants, funds or hand outs. Thank You in advance.

Funeral Planning Pt. 2 — Funerals

Funeral Planning pt. 2 — Funerals

Funeral Planning pt. 2 the funerals will talk about the second phase of the funeral process. That is the funeral itself.

The first article titled Funeral Planning was an overview introduction into the total event. The second phase, funerals, on its face, sounds like a by itself event. For the deceased person, it is.

But, it could be a nightmare for the living.

Funeral planning – the funeral encompasses decisions many of us don’t or won’t ever think of. For example, organ donation. If the deceased is donating their organs that information will be on their driver license. Or, in their advance health care directive.

These organs have to be harvested almost immediately at death. If the deceased died in a hospital, they have a coordinator to guide you through the process.

Should the deceased be in a nursing home or hospice or elsewhere, contact your nearest hospital. Almost all hospitals have staff who will help. They answer questions and provide guidance at no cost.

Contacting immediate family members is common sense. However common sense may not be common at this time. Someone needs to be delegated to complete this chore.

Bequeathal is one of those items very rarely discussed at family gatherings. However there are people who donate their body to medical schools. Please respect those wishes.

The next of kin, by the way, can donate the body too. But the decision needs to be made as early as possible. And the reason is obvious.

The Least Enjoyable Part

The 800 pound gorilla in the room is the funeral cost. What the deceased requested can end up being offset by what can you afford. Or, what’s realistic.

Maybe the question what will help the family the most is the most important question. Only you can decide given your set of circumstances.

Costs vary by region. A funeral costing $6000 in Kansas is $13,000 in California, for example. The total estimated average cost across the United States is a little over $11,000.

Obviously there are some items on the list that may be pared away. Subsequently reducing the total outlay. Furthermore, each case is different and stands on its own particular factors.

There are other final expense estimates that will be addressed in After the Funeral – Part Three. For the moment let the above estimates sink in.

Funerals can be frustrating, stressful, annoying and irritating. For everyone involved unfortunately. But it has to be done. How you perform the necessary tasks can eliminate these feelings. And even leave you with a feeling of warmth. Just knowing you did the best you can do under the circumstances.

Funeral Planning – Pt. 1 | Funeral Planning – Pt. 3



Senior Outreach Ministries achieves it’s objectives with the capital we’ve either earned or received from donors. The Proud 2 B A Senior Ribbon for example. Donate $5, get a ribbon and help us help a hungry Senior Citizen in need. All proceeds remain in the Ministries to be used per our mission statement. We are a volunteer church. No one receives a salary or wage. Please help us help less fortunate hungry Seniors. We never have and never will ask the government for grants, funds or hand outs. Thank You in advance.

Funeral Planning Pt. 1 – It Must Be Done

Funeral Planning Must Be Done

Funeral and Planning aren’t common words in too many households. Especially used together. And we are aware. This is even true in households that plan their next vacation down to the last minute.

We have no problem planning children’s education, a night out and/or family vacations. Many of us even take care of retirement planning. But, we conveniently forget about the day all of us will visit. Senior Outreach Ministries does not say this should be your most important plan. It says it should be one of your plans.

You can start anywhere in the funeral planning process. But know there are three phases. Pre-funeral, funeral and post-funeral. Right now you are pre-funeral. And that’s a good thing, right?

So, a good starting point is making your wishes known to your next of kin. Because some folks want to be buried. And some folks want to be cremated. Don’t let the person planning your funeral deal with this detail and have to guess your preference.

Talk to your survivors while you are still alive. Learn how many people will be involved. And never leave all the chores at the feet of one person. Unless it’s absolutely necessary.

A funeral isn’t the time to learn no one is willing to help. Because, that’s obviously bad timing. And you want to know that beforehand. So you can act accordingly. And if one person is carrying the funeral planning load make it as easy as possible.

A myriad of documents will be involved:

  1. Death Certificate
  2. Social Security Card
  3. Marriage Certificate
  4. Birth Certificate
  5. Divorce Decree
  6. VA Card
  7. Driver License
  8. Vehicle Registration
  9. Bank Accounts
  10. Passport
  11. Insurance Policies
  12. Discharge Papers
  13. Income Tax Forms
  14. Loan Contracts
  15. Credit Card Accounts

Other not so common documents include:

  1. Will
  2. Durable Power of Attorney
  3. Advance Directive
  4. Living Will
  5. Probate
  6. Health Proxy

So make sure the person or people handling this for you has access to as many of these documents as possible.

Don’t be surprised if your local jurisdiction requires its own set of documents. Death is certain but only the government makes it final.

This article did not address the second or third phase. And we did this on purpose. They each have their own articles. Each phase is an important phase. And deserves its own place on the carousel of life.

Accepting that the day will come for all of us is actually the very first and most important step. None of us know that date. And most of us don’t want to think about it. But, we all know it can be tomorrow or even today.

Funeral planning doesn’t have to be what kills you. Because it’s nothing more than preparing the living for a smooth transition. And tidying up all the loose ends. It’s far better for all remaining parties. So make sure the details are addressed and addressed correctly. Because, if nothing else, you’ll rest easier.

Funeral Planning — Pt. 2 | Funeral Planning — Pt. 3



Senior Outreach Ministries achieves it’s objectives with the capital we’ve either earned or received from donors. The Proud 2 B A Senior Ribbon for example. Donate $5, get a ribbon and help us help a hungry Senior Citizen in need. All proceeds remain in the Ministries to be used per our mission statement. We are a volunteer church. No one receives a salary or wage. Please help us help less fortunate hungry Seniors. We never have and never will ask the government for grants, funds or hand outs. Thank You in advance.

Social Security Disability Benefits

Social Security Disability Benefits

Social Security disability benefits are provided through two Social Security Administration programs. And the payments available to the disabled are paid monthly.

Social Security provides a downloadable pdf here:
https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10029.pdf. It is worth your time to at least read their book.

The application and consideration process is complicated. This article is not the complete answer. To make a good start you have to read the book. After that you need to seek help from knowledgeable and competent professionals.

Social Security disability benefits are available to people who become disabled before reaching age 65. And, above all, make sure you pay attention to their definition of disabled.

Here is how Social Security defines disabled:

*Social Security pays benefits to people who can’t work because they have a medical condition that’s expected to last at least one year or result in death.*

The definition is strict. Because federal law says it must be strict.

Social Security disability benefits are offered through two different programs. The first is Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). And the second one is Supplemental Security Income (SSI). In short you must meet two different earnings tests to qualify for benefits:

  1. A recent work test, based on your age at the time you became disabled;
  2. A duration of work test to show that you worked long enough under Social Security.

SSDI and SSI are the same species. However, they are a different breed of animal. People who become sick or injured and can no longer work are SSDI candidates. And payments from your paycheck fund this program.

The social security disability benefit allows you to collect a check for as long as you are disabled. And you can collect until you reach retirement age and can claim regular retirement benefits.

Here’s What Makes Them Different

SSI differs because it’s for people who have a disability. Like being blind. And they also earn a limited income. People over the age of 65 may also apply for SSI. SSI recipients must have a low income. And have little or no valuable assets. This program is funded by general tax dollars.

Regardless of how the programs are funded they exist to help people. However, do not expect to get rich. They are meant to keep the disabled from being homeless and starving.

Applying for Social Security Disability Benefits

Applying for social security disability benefits is easy. Because were living in a technological age. Get online and visit: https://socialsecurity.gov or call the toll free number: 1-800-772-1213. The TTY number is 1-800-325-0778. Their office
hours are 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

When you schedule your appointment the SSA sends you a kit. This kit will help you get ready for your disability claim interview. If you do not want to wait for the kit go to https://socialsecurity.gov/disability. You can download a copy.



Senior Outreach Ministries achieves it’s objectives with the capital we’ve either earned or received from donors. The Proud 2 B A Senior Ribbon for example. Donate $5, get a ribbon and help us help a hungry Senior Citizen in need. All proceeds remain in the Ministries to be used per our mission statement. We are a volunteer church. No one receives a salary or wage. Please help us help less fortunate hungry Seniors. We never have and never will ask the government for grants, funds or hand outs. Thank You in advance.

Original Medicare New App: What’s Covered

Original Medicare New App: What’s Covered

Original Medicare has a new trick up it’s sleeve. And, it’s a good one. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has joined the 21st century with their new app. It’s called “What’s Covered”.

Consumers will now experience direct access on a mobile device. And access to some of the most used content on Medicare.gov. So, recipients and caregivers, can quickly see whether Medicare covers a specific medical item or service. And how much it costs.

And what this means to consumers is astonishing. A patient at their doctor’s office will get accurate coverage information. In real-time nonetheless. And the same holds true for hospital patients. Or anyone else with a mobile device anywhere they happen to be.

And the app doesn’t replace Medicare.gov or their toll free number, 1-800-MEDICARE. So, people without mobile devices can still get the information they seek. Having what original Medicare covers at you fingertips, makes life easier and quicker. But it doesn’t make it a replacement tool.

CMS is busy implementing new tools. Because it’s tough for seniors to figure out their coverage. Not to mention out of pocket costs. A new online service lets people quickly compare different coverage choices. And see how it will affect their out-of-pocket expenses for example.

There’s also new price transparency tools. Because this helps consumers compare the national average costs of certain procedures. And this is in addition to the new app displaying what original Medicare covers. Because we are dealing with important information. 

Another new added tool is a web chat option. It’s located in the Medicare Plan Finder. All the new tools come under the eMedicare initiative. This program is focused on modernizing Medicare. And, at the same time, empowering patients with information. So they get the best value from their coverage.

Original Medicare is Growing Exponentially

Medicare enrollment is expected to grow from approximately 54 million current beneficiaries to 80 million beneficiaries by 2030. And these new beneficiaries are already technology savvy. I wonder what happens when Medicare For All comes to fruition. If it ever does.

The new app displaying what original Medicare covers should be a walk in the park. So, when all the proposed initiatives are adopted, these folks will enjoy an information explosion unheard of.

And the most surprising aspect of these initiatives? It’s the fact they originate from an agency with the reputation of an old stodgy government organization. Not to mention, one that moves at the speed of rust. These times change and apparently they are changing for the better.

You can get the app for free from both Google and Apple. Visit the respective website and download the app for you:

Google Play

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=gov.medicare.coverage&hl=en_US

Apple App Store

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/whatscovered/id1444143600?mt=8

The new app displaying what original Medicare covers is just the beginning for the soon to be senior citizen of the future. The person Senior Outreach Ministries ordained as a pre-sene.



Senior Outreach Ministries achieves it’s objectives with the capital we’ve either earned or received from donors. The Proud 2 B A Senior Ribbon for example. Donate $5, get a ribbon and help us help a hungry Senior Citizen in need. All proceeds remain in the Ministries to be used per our mission statement. We are a volunteer church. No one receives a salary or wage. Please help us help less fortunate hungry Seniors. We never have and never will ask the government for grants, funds or hand outs. Thank You in advance.

Truth In Lending Act a.k.a. TILA

Truth In Lending Act a.k.a. TILA

Because you’re like me the Truth In Lending Act (TILA) and medical billing seem like two polar opposites. I found out differently because of open heart surgery in 2006. Which can happen to seniors and pre-senes alike.

Federal Truth In Lending Act, TILA
Click The Image Above For the Full-Size Copy

When you enter the hospital to have a procedure one of the first stops is the admitting office. And it’s in this office you and a foot tall stack of forms meet. And, one of those forms is usually titled: Federal Truth In Lending Initial Disclosure.

Oddly you can click the image above to enlarge it. For those of us whom are unaware the Truth in Lending Act or TILA, 15 U.S.C. 1601 et seq., was enacted on May 29, 1968. It’s enacted as title I of the Consumer Credit Protection Act (Pub. L. 90-321). Feel free to ignore the legal mumbo jumbo. Because knowing it is the law is more than sufficient for our purposes here.

The Truth In Lending Act states you as a patient have certain rights. You have to be told everything about the cost of doing business with that particular institution. See, you are actually getting a loan from them.

For this article’s purpose we’ll assume you didn’t know that. And, neither did I until that fateful morning. And, it’s not assuming in my case.

The paragraph referred to as et seq. above, states:

First, we’ll define “material disclosures”, then we’ll talk about the form.

Material disclosures are the disclosures of the annual percentage rate, the method of determining the finance charge and the balance upon which a finance charge will be imposed. It goes on to include the amount of the finance charge, the amount to be financed, the total of payments, the number and amount of payments, the due dates or periods of payments scheduled to repay the indebtedness. As well as the disclosures required by section 129(a) too.

Please click on the smaller image above. Because you want to follow along with us.  It will open a larger image. Inside this larger image you will find underlined sentences. And, the underlined phrases are my doing. Notice the underlined phrase “balance upon which a finance charge will be imposed”. Also take the time to notice “the amount to be financed”. These phrases lead a person to believe they will see numbers on their disclosure.

My disclosure did not contain any amount in numbers. Only the words “unpaid balance”. No amount appeared in dollars either. Only the words “unpaid balance”. My disclosure is 3 pages long. But, I only posted the first page. At the top of this article. So, you can see how they addressed these 2 phrases.

How the Truth in Lending Act Was Violated, in My Opinion

It is my opinion they violated the spirit and intent of TILA. And, I did not complain or file any formal grievance. Because I had excellent health insurance coverage at the time. In fact, I keep my out of pocket expenses to myself. Because they were so low I am embarrassed to tell them. Thank you, United States Air Force. 

Besides, what I paid is immaterial. It is what you will be charged and expected to pay. My humble opinion tells me absent the actual figures and posted prices (TILA says prices must be posted) these institutions can get away with literal robbery.

A Relatable, Real Life Example

Think of buying a car. The price is posted. And if you wrangle a lower price that number shows up on the contract. If you have to finance that amount there is no guess work as to the amount financed. And the interest rate you will be charged.
This is not what the institutions do. They don’t put a price on the form. But they do tell you the interest rate you will be charged. As you will see. Just to be clear, so we’re on the same page. You don’t know the amount of your charges, but you know the interest rate..

Unpaid balance means diddly squat. Because letters aren’t numbers. You don’t know the price of the procedure(s) before you sign the form. To me, because of this, they violated the spirit and intent of the Truth In Lending Act.

**DISCLAIMER: I am not a lawyer and I don’t play one on television but I believe you have a good legal argument should you contest the charges**

By the way, all disclosure forms must tell you have a right to contest the charges and a right to ask for financial assistance. If you are uninsured or underinsured it is in your best interest to ask for financial assistance.

Make sure you read the form. Make sure you understand the form. If you have any questions ask them BEFORE you sign the form. Because once you sign the form, you are legally bound

You can also cross out any paragraph you oppose. On my form I crossed out and initialed the paragraph titled: Consent to Use of Information. It was written in broad terms almost giving away all of my privacy.

Final Thoughts

Let me repeat myself. Before you do anything else, make sure you read this form. Most importantly, understand this form and ask questions before you sign this form. Above all, it is that important.

Rather than try to list all of the considerations the advice is to schedule an appointment with a SS rep at your local SS office. Or, in the alternative, visit https://ssa.gov and do an online search.



Senior Outreach Ministries achieves it’s objectives with the capital we’ve either earned or received from donors. The Proud 2 B A Senior Ribbon for example. Donate $5, get a ribbon and help us help a hungry Senior Citizen in need. All proceeds remain in the Ministries to be used per our mission statement. We are a volunteer church. No one receives a salary or wage. Please help us help less fortunate hungry Seniors. We never have and never will ask the government for grants, funds or hand outs. Thank You in advance.

A Social Security Tax Surprise

A Social Security Tax Surprise

A social security tax surprise are not the words a retiree or soon to be retiree wants to hear. Unfortunately, for all of us, this surprise is unavoidable.

People who have researched their social security benefits know their check could be taxed up to 85% of the benefit. Hidden in that tax scheme is the surprise.

Making matters unpalatable is the fact more than half of the people receiving benefits today pay the social security tax surprise. And, this is up from the 1 in 10 who paid the tax when benefits became taxable.

This statistic begs the question, how did we jump from 1 in 10 to 5 in 10? This because the government failed benefit recipients in a very crucial way.

The lawmakers failed to index social security benefits for inflation when they enacted the two tiered tax. This means the threshold numbers have remained the same since 1983 the year benefits became taxable.

You have just read a social security tax surprise. Are you surprised? Most people are very surprised.

Now, For Some Numbers

Those 1983 numbers will shock you given today’s cost of living. They are classified by how you file. And, there are only two filing categories, single or married.

Singles who make more than $25,000 and couples who report more than $32,000 can have up to 50% of their benefits taxed. The higher rates, up to 85%, kick in at $34,000 per year for singles and $44,000 for couples.

The two tax rates are not the surprise. The IRS makes those numbers known far and wide. It doesn’t do the same for the non-indexing for inflation faux pas.

If these threshold numbers had been indexed for inflation a social security tax surprise would not exist. The threshold for a single person would be $64,000 and a married couple would be at $82,000.

Pre-senes need to plan for this surprise. Already retired people can, of course, plan but they are already in the tax trap. The hole gets deeper when you turn 701/2.

Minimum mandatory withdrawal requirements kick in at 701/2. This means without careful planning you could be pushed into the 85% bracket when you start drawing from your 401k, IRA or other retirement account.

People not taking their required withdrawals not only face the surprise tax but steep penalties for not taking the withdrawals. This is a true triple whammy.

Quick, Taxing Thoughts

A social security tax surprise is definitely a retirement kick in the pants. All “WE” seniors are trying to do is file for the social security benefits we paid for.

However once you know about it you can prepare for it.

Rather than try to list all of the considerations the advice is to schedule an appointment with a SS rep at your local SS office. Or, in the alternative, visit https://ssa.gov and do an online search.



Senior Outreach Ministries achieves it’s objectives with the capital we’ve either earned or received from donors. The Proud 2 B A Senior Ribbon for example. Donate $5, get a ribbon and help us help a hungry Senior Citizen in need. All proceeds remain in the Ministries to be used per our mission statement. We are a volunteer church. No one receives a salary or wage. Please help us help less fortunate hungry Seniors. We never have and never will ask the government for grants, funds or hand outs. Thank You in advance.

Hospital Billing and Senior Citizens

Hospital Billing and Senior Citizens

Hospital billing & senior citizens generally know each other quite well. Even though torture isn’t on the list of resources for seniors.

In fact, hospital billing is a one of those items none of us ever want to face. For a variety of reasons. Bills from the hospital can be enough to mess with your health and wellness, for one. Being a senior, however, can be great.

I had open heart surgery in 2006. Which made me a member of the hospital billing & senior citizens demographic.

I myself was fortunate, fortunately. In the fact I had great medical coverage commonly called health insurance. Aside from paying the paltry few dollars called a deductible, I didn’t have to worry about hospital billing, and I went my merry way.

Other hospital billing & senior citizens aren’t or weren’t as fortunate. They either didn’t have health insurance or were under-insured. They faced or are facing the menace of old age, hospital billing.

In a moment I will point you to a site that goes into great detail on the inner workings of hospital billing & senior citizens. The site belongs to an actual practicing doctor. I spoke with him on February 14, 2019. And, I told him my intention.

Hospital Billing Can Be Tricky Business

He said by all means point your audience to my site. Let them learn as much as they can about what’s actually being perpetrated in the health provision and hospital billing realm.

I like that. A doctor willing to tell us the inside facts. His name is Dr. David Belk. He’s in Alameda, CA. His site is listed below.

BTW, I receive NO compensation from him for this referral.

But before I let you go I need to say a few words about this hodge podge called hospital billing. The law requires you to receive what is almost universally called an Explanation of Benefits (EOB). Sometimes it is called a Summary of Patient Services or an Account Detail. Regardless, this form has all of the services the hospital is charging you for.

Pay attention to this form. You can dispute every charge on that form. You probably won’t because almost all of them are actual procedures/medications/actions you received.

But, not all of them. My EOB looked like a small ebook of charges. The list was lengthy. If your procedure wasn’t/isn’t as drastic as mine yours will be shorter.

PAY ATTENTION to this form.

OK, click the link below and go explore Dr Belk’s site.

https://truecostofhealthcare.org

Senior Outreach Ministries achieves it’s objectives with the capital we’ve either earned or received from donors. The Proud 2 B A Senior Ribbon for example. Donate $5, get a ribbon and help us help a hungry Senior Citizen in need. All proceeds remain in the Ministries to be used per our mission statement. We are a volunteer church. No one receives a salary or wage. Please help us help less fortunate hungry Seniors. We never have and never will ask the government for grants, funds or hand outs. Thank You in advance.

Claiming Social Security and Important Factors To Consider

Factors to Consider When Claiming Social Security

My personal factors to consider when claiming social security are different from yours. We both have factors peculiar to us. That makes sense and is intuitively obvious.

However out of the number of reasons on the menu there are several that are common to each of us. That’s only natural. The need for money for example is a common factor. Some of us may need it now while some of us can wait until we turn 70.

This article isn’t meant to be the end all be all for when claiming social security is right for you. The intent is to get your thinking process stirred up enough so you can make a plan that fits your situation.

It is obvious only you and your spouse, if you have one, know your situation better than anyone else. So it follows putting both heads together will probably yield the result you want or, at the least, is best under your particular circumstances.

One quick caveat would be is if you’re on Social Security Disability. In that case, you would automatically just rollover into regular Social Security upon turning 65. Not really any choice you can make.

Use the following questions as a starting point. Add to them if needed. Don’t be squeamish in your endeavor. It is your money you are considering.

Use These Questions to Help Figure it Out

If there are two of you one will probably outlive the other. Another commonality between us. Most people don’t like to even talk about that being the case. Mother Nature doesn’t talk about it either. She just makes it happen and leaves you to deal with it. So deal with it now.

Please don’t take anything I’ve said so far as a lecture. That isn’t my intent. I know I had to deal with it and I am tickled pink my wife and I sat down together and discussed our situation. In our case two heads were better than one. I was lucky and I want you to be, if not lucky, than informed.

These questions are general in nature. But, and this is a big but, they splash right into areas for which you you need to have serious answers. Here we go and, by the way, be honest to yourself when you answer the questions.

My initial thought on when to claim social security was:

Do You Need the Money Immediately?

To me, this is the most important reason to begin drawing SS at age 62. Nothing else really matters, right?

Like I said above it is your money. Spin this question as many ways as possible. If you come up with the same answer each time you have the right answer for you.

The second factor according to me is:

Are You in Good Health?

If you are in good health, the more advantageous it is to delay taking benefits. Advantageous means your monthly checks are higher. Claiming at age 70 gives you the highest payout.

Simply because 70 gives you the highest payout is not a reason unto itself to wait. I personally was in what I thought was great health. That changed when I had open heart surgery. Believe me when I say open heart surgery played a role in my decision.

The third factor to consider when claiming social security is:

Your Family History

Do you have a family history of people with unusually long lifespans or short lifespans? Short lifespans doesn’t necessarily mean you will die young but it is an indicator. Hence taking your monthly check beginning at age 62 might be the wise choice.

My wife’s family lives into their 80’s. My family lived to their 60’s. I’m in my 70’s. If I had relied only on family history I would have jumped on SS at 62. What’s your family history?

In this day and age taxes are a big factor, to me:

Tax Planning Reasons

is the fourth factor. Only you know your tax position and what would be the best answer for you.

Some people think their social security check is tax free. The real answer is a resounding maybe. The IRS in their empathy for the taxpayer has made SS almost tax free. The guiding light determining taxability is the amount of money coming into your house.

This article is not a financial planning nor tax planning article. You have a tax preparer who can answer those questions. Always consult with that person to learn the latest IRS rules.


Married individuals have additional considerations. The top 4 are a good starting point but survivorship, working spouses and age of spouse must also be considered.

Some Final Thoughts on Claiming Social Security

This isn’t the only article about considerations for taking social security. The Internet is full of them. However, the fact remains the first and best authority on when to take social security is you. Only you know your situation. That’s important.

I did not try to list all of the factors when claiming social security. If you have questions or want answers straight from the horse’s mouth schedule an appointment with a SS rep at your local SS office. In the alternative you can start the process by visiting https://ssa.gov. Their information is up to date.



Senior Outreach Ministries achieves it’s objectives with the capital we’ve either earned or received from donors. The Proud 2 B A Senior Ribbon for example. Donate $5, get a ribbon and help us help a hungry Senior Citizen in need. All proceeds remain in the Ministries to be used per our mission statement. We are a volunteer church. No one receives a salary or wage. Please help us help less fortunate hungry Seniors. We never have and never will ask the government for grants, funds or hand outs. Thank You in advance.

An Important Social Security Factoid

An Important Social Security Factoid

The important social security factoid is: Actuarially Neutral (AN).

I can hear you asking, “What in the world is actuarially neutral ?” Good question. Let me answer it.

All AN boils down to is the simple fact the program is indifferent to whether people tend to claim benefits before full retirement age or after full retirement age. So, you see, on average the increase people receive from claiming later should be roughly offset by the fact they’ll receive fewer monthly payments.

An Important Social Security Factoid, Claiming Social Security

Stated another way, if a senior citizen starts his SS monthly check when he is 62 he is 8 years ahead of the person who starts at age 70. He will get less in his monthly check than if he waits until he turns 70. Because, actuarially speaking, he starts drawing his checks earlier. I bet you can guess what that means. You guessed right, it means a lower amount.

No One Alive Knows That

Obviously the kicker in this scheme is nobody knows when they will die. The person taking his monthly check could outlive the person waiting till 70. So, the larger check at 70 won’t mean a thing in the overall picture.

The government bean counters wanted to be certain everyone would receive as close to the same amount as possible over their lifetime. Hence they created a sliding scale with the first eligible age to collect being 62.

If both parties live to be 80 years old, AN tells us both would have received the same amount over the number of years they collected their Social Security. Of course the numbers will be slightly different based on income factors. But, in theory they will be close.

This isn’t a tome on factors to consider in enrolling into the social security program. It’s merely a brief explanation on the underlying thought/principle that went into constructing the payout schedule. For more factors you may also want to read: Factors to Consider When Claiming Social Security.



Senior Outreach Ministries achieves it’s objectives with the capital we’ve either earned or received from donors. The Proud 2 B A Senior Ribbon for example. Donate $5, get a ribbon and help us help a hungry Senior Citizen in need. All proceeds remain in the Ministries to be used per our mission statement. We are a volunteer church. No one receives a salary or wage. Please help us help less fortunate hungry Seniors. We never have and never will ask the government for grants, funds or hand outs. Thank You in advance.

703 Retirement Plan

703 Retirement Plan

You may have received emails or seen ads talking about the 703 retirement plan. If you are like me, when you saw that weird looking retirement plan you wondered what the heck is it all about.

703 Retirement Plan, Saving for Retirement, Retirement Topics

As it turns out the author of the email or ad is using a clever twist of words to entice you to subscribe to a particular email newsletter. They can’t just say, hey, subscribe to my newsletter for $XXX a year because nobody would sign up. So, they use a bit of intrigue/curiosity.

The 703 plan is what the real investment world calls a Dividend Re-Investment Plan or DRIP. It has several moving parts.

The first is you must own a stock that allows you to reinvest the dividend into buying more shares instead of taking the dividend in cash. For example fictitious company JXN allows you to DRIP.

They pay a quarterly dividend of $1 per share. And you own 200 shares. Rather than taking the $200 in cash you use those dollars to buy more shares of JXN. As you might guess more shares means you have increased your holding. Plus your dividend will be larger next quarter because you have more shares.

And now for the second moving part. Most brokerage companies charge a fee to reinvest your dividend. Oops, you’ve just decreased the number of shares your $200 will buy. No worries. The 703 plan shows you how to bypass your broker and save the fee and/or commission charge.

Semi-Related Investment Info

All you have to do is subscribe to the newsletter being offered and you’ll learn the secret bypass method. Well, I say, simply click on this link or the title and download the information without subscribing to anything. I titled it, “The D.R.I.P.”.

And to bolster your investment library click this link, or the title, to get a second primer, “And Capital Appreciation Too”. Both are 100% free!

You are welcome to subscribe to our newsletter by >>CLICKING HERE<< but you don’t have to. Simply click the links in the above paragraphs and you’ll get the reports. It’s that easy. We think you should put that information to use whether you’re a member we email our newsletter twice a month or not.



Senior Outreach Ministries achieves it’s objectives with the capital we’ve either earned or received from donors. The Proud 2 B A Senior Ribbon for example. Donate $5, get a ribbon and help us help a hungry Senior Citizen in need. All proceeds remain in the Ministries to be used per our mission statement. We are a volunteer church. No one receives a salary or wage. Please help us help less fortunate hungry Seniors. We never have and never will ask the government for grants, funds or hand outs. Thank You in advance.