According to the National Council on Aging, Americans are carrying more debt into retirement than ever before. 18% of Seniors are using over 25% of their income for debt payments. Living on a fixed income with rising expenses, many seniors are making harsh trade-offs to meet debt obligations. In some cases this means skipping meals and foregoing or cutting doses of their prescription medications. The good news is that there is help out there for seniors who are looking for options and solutions. Unfortunately there also scams to be careful of. So here are some steps and resources to help you explore your options safely.
Step 1: Talk to an NFCC-certified financial counselor
If debt is consuming your budget, it is time to reach out for help. A counselor certified by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) can talk through all of your options for dealing with the debts, including a debt management program. Some NFCC agencies also will have housing and reverse mortgage counselors on staff. They can talk with you about housing debt or options to help with property taxes.
Give LSS Financial Counseling,an NFCC-certified agency, a call at 888.577.2227 to schedule your free and confidential session over the phone or in-person. Or click to GET STARTED ONLINE at your convenience.
Step 2: Check on your benefit eligibility regularly
The National Council on Aging has a site where you can complete a questionnaire. It will provide you with a list of benefits you’re eligible for to help reduce expenses and free up some monthly cash flow. You will need accurate income and expense information to make sure that your report is as precise as possible. Here are the types of expenses you may get help with:
- Health care
- In-home services
- Employment Training
To run your report today, visit www.benefitscheckup.org.
Step 3: Be a financial advocate for yourself
Please be cautious about anyone who is asking you for any of your personal information such as your social security number. Follow your instincts, if it feels wrong or sounds too good to be true it probably is.
If someone says they are calling from your bank or credit card saying that they need your Social Security number, it is a scam. Your bank and Credit Card Company already have that information and they would never call you to ask for it. Also, be very suspicious of anyone calling to tell you that you won a trip or prize. If you need to pay anything to receive your winnings, then it is not legitimate.
Author Ashley Hagelin is a Certified Financial Counselor and she specializes in Reverse Mortgage and Foreclosure Prevention Counseling with LSS.