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5 Ways To Give Back on the Cheap : The Money Moguls

Repost: By Dan and Shan of The Money Moguls

I’ve been reflecting a lot lately on things I would like to do once we have “MONEY.” New car – heck new tires on the existing used vehicle would be nice. Improvements to the house beyond a new coat of paint, although that in and of itself would be fabulous. A new wardrobe or even a pair of shoes that cost more than $9.99!

However, since that day is some time in the distant future I am absolutely content with what I have. A beautiful home, a car that runs, and a family that delights me to wake up to each and every morning. Those very important things make me feel that I do have an abundance of blessings and that I ought to be giving back.

Wouldn’t it be nice to provide funding for a wing of a library or hospital? Or to have a foundation that gave scholarships to youths in need, or even assist my local church with the building fund they are collecting for? Maybe someday!

There are things that anyone can do today no matter where they are along their personal financial journey. How to give back on a budget, you ask? There are endless possibilities! Let me just share a few here with you:

1)      Give of your time! There are countless organizations that could use the special skills you possess. You can donate your time without ever leaving your house in some cases or as far away as you can imagine  if that’s your thing. Help out at the local shelter, be a mentor to a child in need, or even bring in your neighbor’s trash can for him once in a while. You’ll make his day, and you’ll never know in what ways that will get paid forward to make our world a little better.

2)      Give of your body! Ok, hear me out on this one. I am a big believer in donating blood. One donation can help save the lives of up to three people! My parents are always donating and it instilled the habit in me at a young age. You can go every 8 weeks, and United Blood Services even has a rewards program to add a little bit of an incentive into the mix if you are looking for one. We recently lost a loved one to leukemia and during his battle learned a bit about bone marrow transplants. It could mean someone’s life someday if you’d be willing to join the donor registry – so please give it some thought.

3)      Give of your groceries! I have been a bit of a couponer since Daniel and I first moved in together and money has always been tight. Nothing like some of the crazy moms you see on television, but I do get a thrill out of saving money on our grocery bill and sometimes even scoring something FREE! Often the free stuff isn’t something I would normally use, but I know other people can. I was very moved by a

book Daniel brought home for me about a year ago  that talks specifically about donating items you get for free or very little money with the help of coupons. We try to pick up at least one item to donate with every grocery trip and donate to our church’s food bank. You never know who you might be helping!

4)      Give of your old junk! You know you have it. Clothes that haven’t fit in years, old appliances that you haven’t taken out of the box since you received it as a gift at your wedding five years ago, sports equipment, tools, toys that have rarely been played with, you name it. Don’t become a hoarder! Make it a point to go through your things once a quarter. If you’re on the fence about something, go ahead and keep it. BUT if you haven’t used it by the time the next quarter rolls around, out it goes. The Salvation Army, Goodwill, and Deseret Industries are some of the major institutions that would love your old, gently used items.

5)      Give of your pocket change! We all have it, but where does it go? Most men I know tend to have some type of large jar where loose change resides into eternity, but I say get the whole family involved. Pick up those dirty pennies you see on the sidewalk – yes they are still worth something! Have a timeframe designated to collect, maybe a year or so, and then as a family decide what worthy cause you’d like to donate to. Then start all over again.

Something else to consider: make sure you keep receipts of items donated if you itemize on your taxes. This should indicate what organization received the donation and what was given (money or property). It may be up to you to place a value on the property that was donated.

What are you waiting for? Find what you’re passionate about and begin the cycle of giving back now! Waiting until you have the “money” might be too late to instill these habits in yourself and in your family. Someone needs what you have to offer today!

10 Government Programs You Can Access for Your Elderly Parents

From By 

Caregiving for an aging parent may stretch the budget as well as the caregiver’s endurance — that is, if you aren’t aware of scores of federal, state and even local government programs.

Access to assistance is as close as your computer, and, in most cases, you can apply online. Start by accessing two sites: – Gather up all the information you can on your elderly parent’s health, disability, income, wealth (as in property owned), whether a military veteran, education level and more. Access this site and answer every question that you can. Then, push the button and, within minutes, the site will respond with a list, details and access information for many, even scores, of beneficial government programs, supplements and/or services. – This non-profit site will ask many of the same questions but may report added programs, details and contacts.

Here is a guide to the top 10 programs everyone who is caring for an aging parent should know about.

1. Medicare

There is more to Medicare than just the Part A hospital and Part B medical insurance coverage. If your aging parent is 65 or older and collecting Social Security, the insurance premiums are deducted from monthly benefits. Part D prescription drug coverage is subsidized by Medicare through payments to private company insurers who then fund an average of 90 percent of the cost of prescription drugs. If your parent is considered low income, receiving only Social Security, Medicare may subsidize all but about $10 of the monthly premiums. Ask and you may find a great cost saving for your Medicare Part D

2. Social Security

If your parent’s Social Security benefits were earned based on lower-paying jobs, and if the benefits are the only source of income, there may be a larger monthly benefit available by applying for its Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. The program may be operated federally or in conjunction with your state government. The welfare-based Medicaid program is also administered through the Social Security Administration, though the operation may be directed by your state government.

3. Administration on Aging (AoA)

The AoA administers many national programs and services for elders, including health insurance counseling, legal assistance, protection from elder abuse and long-term care. The banner on the website has a link to Elders and Families, your starting point. This section also offers a specific link and service For Caregivers (see the left hand column.)

4. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

If your aging parent is a military veteran and has a service-related disability, you may be able to apply for an increase in benefits, particularly if the disability has worsened over time. If he or she needs continuing medical care because of the disability, an application for medical benefits, hospitalization and prescription drugs may be submitted. There are several types and levels of VA compensation and pension programs. The VA has been slow in processing claims the past few years, but there is continuing pressure by Congress and the Administration to speed up its service.


The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1966 provides your elderly parent privacy of his or her medical records. It is a regulation and restriction program on health care providers. The protection should be of concern to you and other family members because, unless your parent signs a form designating each of you as approved to discuss your medical concerns with the physician, he or she cannot do such, even if you prove your family connection. Better sooner than later, access the HIPAA website for the information and forms, or secure the forms from a physician, and file copies with every health care professional involved in your parent’s care.

6. United States Department of Justice

If your parent has a disability, particularly with physical movement, learn about the Americans With Disability Act administered by the U.S. Department of Justice. Its ADA website offers briefings and cost-free publications on the regulations to grant universal access to the disabled.

7. Food and Drug Administration

Your aging parent is probably taking five to as many as 10 different prescription drugs, perhaps prescribed by different doctors. As caregiver, you should be aware of every one of the drugs, know its mission in the body and, particularly the side effects and conflicts with other medications. You want to watch for a danger known as polypharmacy. The federal Food and Drug Administration offers a giant database on every drug approved by the agency, listing active ingredients, purpose or mission of the medication, dosing recommendations and the side effects and conflicts.

8. Your U.S. Senator

Every senator has a staff specialist on elder affairs, programs and services, probably in major cities of your state plus in Washington, D.C. The staff person can both advise and advocate for benefits or services for your parent. Know that bureaucrats listen immediately to an aide for a United States Senator. (Click the Senators link)

9. Your Congressional Representative

Most Representatives in the United States Congress also have staff specialists on elder affairs, programs and services and can provide both information and advocacy. (Click the Representatives by State link)

10. Area Agency on Aging

There is a federally-mandated Area Agency on Aging in your county or city. This agency is staffed by professionals who know every elder program and service, including available funding sources, in your area. Staff is often aided by volunteers who serve as drivers for transport and Meals-on-Wheels, for respite services and other duties. Gather up the same information you collected for the two sites detailing the national, and even state, programs for which your parent may qualify and make an appointment to meet with a counselor at the Area Agency on Aging. The staff person can advise regarding programs and qualifications and even help prepare the necessary applications and documentation. Often, the counselor will even call a recommended agency, program or service to advise that your application is headed their way. Access your Area Agency on Aging through your telephone book and call the office for an appointment, at which time you should also ask if they have a website that you can access in advance of an in-person visit.

In Summary

Using these resources, caregivers can gain a world of vital information as well as increased income and services for their aging parents. And you just may find caregiving less stressful and demanding.

Medi-Care – Help with Prescriptions – resources, referrals, helpful links and explanations where possible.

Another great blog post from Senior Sites …

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (Me...
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Medi-Care – Help with Prescriptions – resources, referrals, helpful links and explanations where possible..

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What is a conservatorship?

Yet another site exposing judicial abuse.  ~ Lark E. Kirkwood

What is a conservatorship?


Fraud…Report it!

Report Fraud Online:

The OIG Hotline accepts tips from all sources about potential fraud, waste, abuse and mismanagement in Department of Health & Human Services programs. Read More

Medical ID Theft/Fraud Information:

Use this information and tips to fight back against Medical ID theft, which occurs when someone steals your personal information and uses it to obtain medical care, buy drugs or submit fake billings to Medicare in your name. Read More

Medicaid Fraud Control Units:

Medicaid Fraud Control Units (MFCU or Unit) investigate and prosecute Medicaid fraud as well as patient abuse and neglect in health care facilities. Read More

Enforcement Actions:

The Office of Inspector General and other State and Federal agencies collaborate to ensure civil, criminal and/or administrative action is taken against providers who break the laws governing Federal health care programs. Read More

State False Claims Act Reviews:

The OIG, in consultation with the Attorney General, determines whether States have false claims acts that qualify for a financial incentive. Read More

Most Wanted:

Check out OIG’s list of most-wanted health care fugitives. These individuals have allegedly defrauded taxpayers of millions of dollars.For OIG, tracking more than 170 health care fugitives is a challenge, but you can help. If you have a tip about a featured most-wanted fugitive, send the information our way. Read More

Wanted By FBI

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