In 2007, Marlene Babcock knew that something had to change if she were to keep communicating by telephone. Although she used hearing aids, she found that talking on the phone was difficult. Even a traditional amplified phone didn’t work (often they are not compatible with hearing aids).
Months earlier, Babcock, of Merriam, had received a postcard in the mail from the state-sponsored Telecommunications Access Program, or TAP. She had tucked it away for the day when she might need it, and that day had come. After visiting a demonstration site and receiving help in choosing, she obtained a phone with larger-than-life buttons; it is amplified and hearing aid-compatible. It changed her life.
Six years later, that phone has worn out and Babcock is eligible for another. She has early signs of macular degeneration, so she may choose some equipment for people with vision impairments. She also assumes that she’ll eventually need an emergency phone, which will automatically dial for help if she has a medical emergency.
And because Babcock qualifies, all of this is free. ... [ READ MORE ]
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers several programs to assist low-income veterans over the age of 65. Among them are pension programs and veteran nursing care facilities.
To qualify for a Need-Based Pension, veterans or their survivors must meet these requirements:
- Be 65 or older or, if under 65, be permanently and totally disabled, a resident of a nursing home, or in receipt of Social Security disability payments.
- Not have excessive resources such as stocks or mutual funds, and an income below the maximum annual pension rate set by Congress.
- Have served at least 90 days in the military, at least one of those days during a time of war. However, veterans who were discharged from the military due to a service-connected disability are not required to meet the 90-day requirement.
- Have a characterization of service other than dishonorable.
Veteran pensions are designed to bring a veteran’s or survivor’s income to a level established by Congress. The VA determines the amount of the pension by assessing...[ READ MORE ]
Your most valuable possessions
If you are like most people, your family photos are your most valuable possessions. In the event of a disaster, our pictures are the first things we grab and the things we would miss most if lost. But it wasn’t always this way.
Before 1840, only the most wealthy people could afford to have a portrait painted, and then it may have been only a once- or twice-in-a-lifetime experience. A portrait of an ancestor hanging in the hall was a sure sign of aristocracy in the 18th century.
Photography was introduced to the public first in France, in 1839. Within a few years, photography studios were in every major city in the world. With the introduction of photography, even people of modest means could afford to have a portrait made. The pictures made between 1840 and 1900 are generally of good quality and have held up well, because they were almost always made by professional photographers.
... [ READ MORE ]
KITCHEN TABLE MONEY TALK
Foiling Murphy’s Law
“Anything that can go wrong will go wrong” is an axiom that U.S. Air Force engineers, including one Capt. Edward A. Murphy Jr., coined in 1949 doing crash-test research in the California desert.
Much of the research is forgotten, but Murphy’s Law lives on. We try to take care of our retirement savings and personal finances, but some days, as the saying teaches, anything that can go wrong... [ READ MORE ]