03/01/19

by Corporal Kim Lopez, TRIAD Coordinator for all of Oklahoma County

Telephone scams, remember the good ole days when you just requested an unlisted number? Yes, those days are gone, I remember my parents saying, “this is an unlisted number” like all mankind would respect it. I’ve spent almost 33 years of my life dedicated to my community and as I look back on the good works of law enforcement officers of the past it’s laughable that we use to tell people “Just Hang Up!” this is no longer good advice. In today’s world you can no longer trust the caller ID boxes we worked so hard to hand out to seniors who couldn’t afford one. These scammers can use software to make calls look like they are coming from anywhere, even the pentagon. The first thing seniors need to understand is that other cultures believe that it is perfectly honorable, acceptable and smart to cheat others out of their money. Unlike our belief system here, they actually believe that they have harmlessly out smarted you to their benefit. There is no guilt associated with their actions to gain your money. The second thing to understand is that in other countries they believe every senior citizen is sitting on a huge three hundred thousand dollar nest egg! Hard to convince them otherwise when some people are sending over two hundred thousand dollars to crooks who promise to be someone they are not! Romance Scams, Solicitation Scams, Granny Scams and even IRS Scams require one thing, your cooperation!Telephone scams, remember the good ole days when you just requested an unlisted number? Yes, those days are gone, I remember my parents saying, “this is an unlisted number” like all mankind would respect it. I’ve spent almost 33 years of my life dedicated to my community and as I look back on the good works of law enforcement officers of the past it’s laughable that we use to tell people “Just Hang Up!” this is no longer good advice. In today’s world you can no longer trust the caller ID boxes we worked so hard to hand out to seniors who couldn’t afford one. These scammers can use software to make calls look like they are coming from anywhere, even the pentagon. The first thing seniors need to understand is that other cultures believe that it is perfectly honorable, acceptable and smart to cheat others out of their money. Unlike our belief system here, they actually believe that they have harmlessly out smarted you to their benefit. There is no guilt associated with their actions to gain your money. The second thing to understand is that in other countries they believe every senior citizen is sitting on a huge three hundred thousand dollar nest egg! Hard to convince them otherwise when some people are sending over two hundred thousand dollars to crooks who promise to be someone they are not! Romance Scams, Solicitation Scams, Granny Scams and even IRS Scams require one thing, your cooperation!I recently learned that some of my seniors in SALT (Seniors And Law enforcement Together) that they answer every call because they do not have voice mail, they feel more comfortable answering calls of their own area code and some even admitted feeling more comfortable if the prefix matched theirs. All are false, a gross false sense of security.  Many are intended to provoke you to call a number.  Many use sad emotional stories about one’s family being in fatal car accidents to entice you to make a call, unbeknownst to an adult entertainment network overseas.  All will come at a cost and all will have one common dominator: A SENSE OF EMERGENCY! In regard to IRS Scams, it’s important to understand that the IRS will notify you in writing should you need to be notified of lack of payment.  Criminal warrants are usually threatened that do not exist. If you know anyone who hangs their head at owing the IRS money and you feel they could be scammed, share this sage advice:1. Do not answer your phone unless you are certain of the caller.2. Never give any numbers associated with your financial well-being.3. Never call numbers back. Make a note of the number they are calling from and make a note of the number they want you to call back as many times these are different. Report these numbers to the IRS. These reports should be handled as IRS Impersonation Scams, report all of them to 1-800-366-4484 or complete a form online at WWW.tigta.gov.  If you do owe money for federal taxes or think you may owe taxes call 1-800 829-1040 IRS workers can help you with payment questions.Remember the IRS will never call to demand immediate payment, they will never demand you pay taxes without giving you opportunity to question or appeal and you will never be required to use a specific payment method such as prepaid debit cards.We currently hold 19 key core community groups about topics such as IRS Scams and many more. Get involved with local police and your Oklahoma County Sheriff’s office by calling 405-713-1950 and leaving your address, I will send you a reminder call every month to the Seniors And Law enforcement or SALT group near you. SALT works to prevent crimes against the 65 plus population and holds monthly meetings to be more accessible to you should you have questions or crime concerns. I am Corporal Kim Lopez, TRIAD Coordinator for all of Oklahoma County and I look forward to meeting you.

By Ron Hendricks

Dementia could be reduced if everyone with hearing loss would seek treatment. Dr. Pam Matthews, Oklahoma City Audiologist, explained to the Monday meeting of Central Oklahoma Chapter of Hearing Loss Association of America (COC HLAA) how hearing loss and decreased brain functions are connected. If the brain does not receive signals from the ear, it must work harder to fill in the blank spaces to the detriment of other brain functions — bringing on cognitive disorders. An early visit to the audiologist at first sign of hearing loss, could help prevent Dementia.
Pam discussed how a new hearing aid wearer reported good hearing in the low registers, but had lost over 50% in the upper ranges. New hearing aids allowed the wearer to once again hear high pitched sounds like children’s laughter, the squeak of a door hinge, or the tinkling of running water. It is encouraging to know that a visit to the audiologist could help combat potential loss of brain activity. A hearing test is the best way to know for sure if you have hearing loss.
Do you have hearing loss? Hear a few of the most common symptoms according to the National HLAA: Do you:
* Ask people to repeat what they say * Have trouble following the conversation in groups * Think others are mumbling * Frequently turn up the volume on the TV or car radio * Have difficulty on the phone * Oversleep because you didn’t hear your alarm clock * Have difficulty hearing or understanding speech at the movies * Avoid going to noisy parties and restaurants
Hearing tests are easy and available online and at many locations here in the OKC metro. In many cases, the initial screening is free. See any of the fine Audiologists here in the Oklahoma City area for more information.

COC HLAA has served Oklahoma’s hearing loss population for 27 years and is going strong for 2019. Two informational and educational meetings are held monthly and both are open to the public and are free. Meetings are captioned and are a safe and friendly place if you have hearing loss or love someone with hearing loss. Again, this year we will give two scholarships of $1,000 each to students heading for higher education this fall. We are actively involved in making Oklahoma City more accessible to those with hearing loss thru our LOOP OKC drive — getting hearing Loops installed in public facilities. And for over 20 years the Hearing Helpers Room has encouraged Oklahomans to live well with hearing loss; open Monday – Friday, 10-3, at 5100 N Brookline, Suite 100. Stop by to try a device in person or check one out for a free trial at home. We have over 100 assistive hearing devices on hand. Volunteers have ordering information and are available to answers any questions. For more information visit the website at WWW:OKCHearingLoss.org

Dear Savvy Senior, What can you tell me about reverse mortgages for retirees? My wife and I are contemplating getting one but want to make sure we know what we’re getting into. Running Short

 

Dear Running,
For retirees who own their home and want to stay living there, but could use some extra cash, a reverse mortgage is a viable financial tool, but there’s a lot to know and consider to be sure it’s a good option for you.
Let’s start with the basics.
A reverse mortgage is a unique type of loan that allows older homeowners to borrow money against the equity in their house (or condo) that doesn’t have to be repaid until the homeowner dies, sells the house or moves out for at least 12 months. At that point, you or your heirs will have to pay back the loan plus accrued interest and fees, but you will never owe more than the value of your home.
It’s also important to understand that with a reverse mortgage, you, not the bank, own the house, so you’re still required to pay your property taxes and homeowners insurance. Not paying them can result in foreclosure.
To be eligible, you must be 62 years of age or older, own your own home (or owe only a small balance) and currently be living there.
You will also need to undergo a financial assessment to determine whether you can afford to continue paying your property taxes and insurance. Depending on your financial situation, you may be required to put part of your loan into an escrow account to pay future bills. If the financial assessment finds that you cannot pay your insurance and taxes and have enough cash left to live on, you’ll be denied.
Loan Details
Around 95 percent of all reverse mortgages offered today are Home Equity Conversion Mortgages (HECM), which are FHA insured and offered through private mortgage lenders and banks. HECM’s also have home value limits that vary by county, but cannot exceed $679,650.
How much you can actually get through a reverse mortgage depends on your age (the older you are the more you can get), your home’s value and the prevailing interest rates. Generally, most people can borrow somewhere between 50 and 65 percent of the home’s value. To estimate how much you can borrow, use the reverse mortgage calculator at ReverseMortgage.org.
You also need to know that reverse mortgages have recently become more expensive with a number of fees, including: a 2 percent lender origination fee for the first $200,000 of the home’s value and 1 percent of the remaining value, with a cap of $6,000; an upfront 2 percent mortgage insurance premium (MIP) fee on the maximum loan amount, plus an annual MIP fee that’s equal to 0.5 percent of the outstanding loan balance; along with an appraisal fee, closing costs and other miscellaneous expenses. Most fees can be deducted for the loan amount to reduce your out-of-pocket cost at closing.
To receive your money, you can opt for a lump sum, a line of credit, regular monthly checks or a combination of these.
More Information
To learn more, read the National Council on Aging’s online booklet “Use Your Home to Stay at Home” at NCOA.org/home-equity. And see the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association self-evaluation checklist at ReverseMortgage.org/consumerguides.
Also note that because reverse mortgages are complex loans, all borrowers are required to get face-to-face or telephone counseling through a HUD approved independent counseling agency before taking one out. Most agencies typically charge around $125. To locate one near you, visit Go.usa.gov/v2H, or call 800-569-4287.
Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit SavvySenior.org. Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today show and author of “The Savvy Senior” book.

Date/ Day/ Location/ Time/ Registration #/ Instructor
Mar 7/ Thursday/ Okla. City/ 9 am – 3:30 pm/ 951-2277/ Varacchi
Integris 3rd Age Life Center – 5100 N. Brookline, Suite 100
Mar 8/ Friday/ Okla. City/ 9 am – 3:30 pm/ 951-2277/ Edwards
S. W. Medical Center – 4200 S. Douglas, Suite B-10
Mar 9/ Saturday/ Midwest City/ 9 am – 3:30 pm/ 473-8239/ Williams
First Christian Church – 11950 E. Reno Ave.
Mar 9/ Saturday/ Moore/ 9 am – 3:30 pm/ 799-3130/ Schaumberg
Brand Senior Center – 501 E. Main Street
Mar 12/ Tuesday/ Midwest City/ 9 am – 3:30 pm/ 691-4091/ Palinsky
Rose State Conventional Learning Center –
6292 Tinker Diagonal, room 203
Mar 22/ Friday/ Okla. City/ 9 am – 3:30 pm/ 297-1455/ Palinsky
Will Rogers Senior Center – 3501 Pat Murphy Drive
Mar 23/ Saturday/ Shawnee/ 9 am – 3:30 pm/ 818-2916/ Brase
Gordon Cooper Tech. Center – One John C. Burton Blvd.
Mar 23/ Saturday/ Yukon/ 9 am – 4 pm/ 350-5014/ Kruck
Spanish Cove Retirement Center – 11 Palm Ave.

The prices for the classes are: $15 for AARP members and $20 for Non-AARP. Call John Palinsky, zone coordinator for the Oklahoma City area at 405-691-4091 or send mail to: johnpalinsky@sbcglobal.net

By Jose M Olivero, Social Security Public Affairs in Oklahoma City

If you have higher income, the law requires an upward adjustment to your monthly Medicare Part B (medical insurance) and Medicare prescription drug coverage premiums. But, if your income has gone down, you may use form SSA-44 to request a reduction in your Medicare income-related monthly adjustment amount.
Medicare Part B helps pay for your doctors’ services and outpatient care. It also covers other medical services, such as physical and occupational therapy, and some home health care. For most beneficiaries, the government pays a substantial portion — about 75 percent — of the Part B premium, and the beneficiary pays the remaining 25 percent.
If you’re a higher-income beneficiary, you’ll pay a larger percentage of the total cost of Medicare Part B, based on the income you report to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). You’ll pay monthly Part B premiums equal to 35, 50, 65, 80, or 85 percent of the total cost, depending on the income you report to the IRS.
Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage helps pay for your prescription drugs. For most beneficiaries, the government pays a major portion of the total costs for this coverage, and the beneficiary pays the rest. Prescription drug plan costs vary depending on the plan, and whether you get Extra Help with your portion of the Medicare prescription drug coverage costs.
If you’re a higher-income beneficiary with Medicare prescription drug coverage, you’ll pay monthly premiums plus an additional amount, which is also based on the income you report to the IRS. Because individual plan premiums vary, the law specifies that the amount is determined using a base premium. Social Security ties the additional amount you pay to the base beneficiary premium, not your own premium amount. If you’re a higher-income beneficiary, we deduct this amount from your monthly Social Security payments regardless of how you usually pay your monthly prescription plan premiums. If the amount is greater than your monthly payment from Social Security, or you don’t get monthly payments, you’ll get a separate bill from another federal agency, such as the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services or the Railroad Retirement Board.
You can find Form SSA-44 online at www.socialsecurity.gov/forms/ssa-44.pdf. You can also read more in the publication “Medicare Premiums: Rules For Higher-Income Beneficiaries” at: www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/EN-05-10536.pdf.

The Oklahoma Historical Society’s State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) recently presented its quarterly Citations of Merit for work in preserving the history of Oklahoma. Three citations were awarded for accomplishments in three Oklahoma communities. The award recognizes efforts to preserve Oklahoma’s historic properties through restoration, rehabilitation, research, planning, public programming and other activities.
The January 2019 recipients of the SHPO’s Citations of Merit and their accomplishments include:
Oklahoma Affordable Housing Partners, LLC; Rosin Preservation, LLC; and Stark Wilson Duncan Architects, Inc., for the rehabilitation of the Mining Exchange Building located on Route 66 in Downtown Miami.
H2O Apartments of OKC, LLC; Steve McQuillin & Associates; and KKT Architects, Inc., for the rehabilitation of the Tiffany Apartments in Oklahoma City.
Archer Building, LLC; Rosin Preservation, LLC; and Lilly Architects for the rehabilitation of the Archer Warehouse in downtown Tulsa.

The Retired and Senior Volunteer Program of Central Oklahoma (RSVP), a nonprofit organization that enriches the lives of senior adults through community volunteer opportunities and the Provide-A-Ride Senior Transportation Program, recently announced its 2019 Advisory Council members.
RSVP Advisory Council members are: Debbie Evers, community volunteer; Jamie Jeter, retired, Tinker Air Force Base; Wanda Patrick, retired, Hank Martin, CPA; Sheryl Presley, TRIAD coordinator, Oklahoma City Police Department; Kimberly Sanders, retired, Focus Oil & Gas; Paul Sanders, retired, All-American Bottling Corporation; and David Smith, retired, Oklahoma Tax Commission.
RSVP’s advisory council helps to enhance the nonprofit’s recruitment, retention, and recognition of volunteers.

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