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Bill Kadereit, pres
PRESIDENT'S
           FORUM

(click here for previous FORUM articles )


NRLN President’s Forum: Social Security During Coronavirus Pandemic

If you are one of the 64 million people on Social Security you will continue to receive your monthly payment as usual in the U.S. mail or direct deposit, according to the Social Security Administration. (https://www.ssa.gov/)

As the result of the Coronavirus economic stimulus bill passed by Congress and signed by the President last week, many Americans will receive a check from the federal government. Social Security beneficiaries (including Supplemental Security Income recipients) are part of the qualified group to receive a check, according to a spokesman for Senator Chuck Grassley (Iowa), Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.

Americans who make no more than $75,000 will receive $1,200 or $2,400 if they are married and making $150,000 or less. Individuals with children will receive $500 for every child. Persons who file their federal taxes as heads of households have an earnings limit of $146,500. Those who earn $99,000 as a single individual or $198,000 as a married couple will not receive any money

Income is determined by a person’s adjusted gross income (AGI). The checks, which are nontaxable, will be based on 2019 tax returns if they’ve already been filed. (The filing deadline has been delayed until July 15). For individuals who have yet to send in their 2019 tax returns, 2018 IRS figures will be used. The government can use a beneficiary’s Social Security statements to calculate the check amount if a person did not file taxes and send the check based on the information on file.

The enacted legislation does not set a date for when the direct deposits and checks will start to go out, saying only that the Treasury Secretary will send the payments “as rapidly as possible.” The money could be sent either by U.S. mail or direct deposit.

Here is some additional information about the Social Security Administration that could be useful to you during the Coronavirus outbreak.

The SSA has closed its field offices to the public to help slow the spread of the Coronavirus. The public is urged to try to find help online first. Click here to find out what services are available during the Coronavirus crisis. https://www.socialsecurity.gov/coronavirus/

Click here to access online services. https://www.socialsecurity.gov/onlineservices
Click here to see Frequently Asked Questions. https://www.socialsecurity.gov/ask.
Click here to send an email to SSA. https://secure.ssa.gov/emailus/
Click here to read SSA press releases. https://www.ssa.gov/news/press/releases/

If it is necessary to talk to someone at the SSA, call toll-free at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778).

The SSA is concerned about recent reports of beneficiaries receiving fraudulent letters and phone calls saying their benefits are going to be suspended due to the Coronavirus Pandemic, according to the Social Security Office of the Inspector General. The letters provide a phone number beneficiaries should call to get their benefits reinstated, and then scammers mislead callers into providing personal information. Some fraudsters will also ask their targeted victims to send cash in order to continue receiving their monthly checks.

Additionally, the SSA will never threaten you with arrest or legal action for not paying a fee or a fine, and the SSA will not ask for personally identifiable information via letter or email. If you ever receive a phone call, letter, or email that seems suspicious, hang up, or don't respond. DON’T FALL FOR THESE SCAMS!

The SSA encourages you to report scams. Call the fraud hotline at 1-800-269-0271. Click here to submit a report online. https://oig.ssa.gov/

Bill Kadereit, President
National Retiree Legislative Network

 

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PHARMA CONTRIBUTIONS TO CONGRESS

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For example, the white paper on Protecting Pension Assets which is used to educate members of Congress on the need for legislation to prevent pension plan sponsors from using plan assets for non-pension expenses was funded by AREF.. Access the white paper here.

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NRLN members are saving big with the Free Health Savings Rx Card℠

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Source for Coronavirus Information

Coronavirus.gov is the source for the latest information about COVID-19 prevention, symptoms, and answers to common questions. USA.gov has the latest information about what the U.S. Government is doing in response to COVID-19. Click here for Medicare information on COVID-19.

Click here for more NRLN messages on the Coronavirus.

 

ACTION ALERT

Urge Congress to Pass Bills on Three Healthcare Issues

Email the NRLN’s sample letter, with your comments added, urging your members of Congress to immediately pass legislation on three important healthcare issues. 1. Eliminate surprise medical bills. 2. Protect Medicare beneficiaries with pre-existing medical conditions. 3. Protect access to breast cancer screening. Click here to access the Action Alert.

 

NRLN Continues to Monitor Coronavirus Issues

The NRLN is providing the following information on issues related to the Coronavirus pandemic. We hope you are following the Centers for Disease Control guidelines to protect your health.

Social Security: Your Social Security benefits will continue to be paid during the Coronavirus crisis. Be aware that scammers may try to trick you into thinking the pandemic is stopping your Social Security payments but that is not true. Don’t be fooled. All local Social Security offices are closed to the public. Read the Social Security Administration press release to learn how to get help from the by phone and online.

Medicare: Scammers may use the Coronavirus pandemic as a opportunity to try to steal your identity and commit Medicare fraud. The scammers might tell you they’ll send you a Coronavirus test, mask, or other items in exchange for your Medicare number or personal information. Be wary of these requests! Only give your Medicare number to participating Medicare pharmacists, primary and specialty care doctors or people you trust to work with Medicare on your behalf. Remember, Medicare will never call you to ask for or check your Medicare number. It's important to always guard your Medicare card like a credit card and check your Medicare claims summary forms for errors. If you have not signed up for MyMedicare.gov you may want to go to MyMedicare.gov to register. MyMedicare.gov is Medicare's free, secure, online service for managing personal information regarding Original Medicare benefits and services. After you create an account it can be used to check information about your coverage, enrollment status, and Medicare claims.

Tax Filing Deadline Extended: The Internal Service Revenue (IRS) has automatically extended from April 15, 2020, to July 15, 2020. Taxpayers can also defer federal income tax payments due on April 15, 2020, to July 15, 2020, without penalties and interest, regardless of the amount owed. Read IRS press release.

Medications for Extended Stays at Home: The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) reminded Medicare Part D plan sponsors that they have the option to relax their ‘refill too soon’ restrictions. This is part of efforts to ensure adequate access to medications during the Coronavirus pandemic. Suggest that if you need an emergency refill that you call your pharmacist in advance to make sure he knows about this option.

Telehealth Services: Seniors are allowed to communicate with their doctors without having to travel to a healthcare facility so that they can limit risk of exposure and spread of the Coronavirus. Medicare will temporarily pay clinicians to provide telehealth services for beneficiaries across the entire country. If you want Telehealth services, contact your doctor to get information on how to set up an access portal.

Resources for Veterans: Before visiting local VA medical facilities, community providers, urgent care centers, or emergency departments in their communities, veterans experiencing Coronavirus symptoms—such as fever, cough, and shortness of breath—are encouraged to call their VA medical facility or call MyVA311 (844-698-2311, press #3 to be connected). Veterans can also send secure messages to their health care providers via MyhealtheVet, VA’s online patient portal. VA clinicians will evaluate veterans’ symptoms and direct them to the most appropriate providers for further evaluation and treatment.

Food Assistance: If you’re looking for help feeding yourself or your family, visit the Feeding America website to find a partner food bank, food pantry, or hot meal program.

Whole Foods Market Stores: Add Whole Foods Market stores in the U.S. and Canada to the list of stores we sent earlier . Whole Foods will service customers who are 60 and older one hour before opening to the general public, under the new adjusted hours posted on the local store’s webpage. (For example: if a store’s new hours are 9:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m., customers who are 60+ can shop starting at 8:00 a.m.) Click here to find your store. https://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/

Scam Alert: The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) launched a Consumer Warnings and Safety Tips webpage to alert consumers to the proliferation of scam phone calls and texts related to the Coronavirus pandemic. Scammers are promoting bogus cures, offering fake test kits, sending hoax text messages, and generally preying on virus-related fears – stay informed and learn how to protect yourself from these scams.

IN THE NEWS...

The articles and opinion pieces below are for information and are not necessarily a reflection of the NRLN’s position on issues. The NRLN is nonpartisan and its positions on retirement issues are presented in its Legislative Agenda and white papers that can be accessed from the Legislative Agenda tab.

Giving More Than 60% Of Income To Charity? CARES Act Says Deduct It!
From Bernie Kent; Forbes ~ Apr 03, 2020

401(k) Hardship Withdrawals and Loans Are Different. We Answer Your Questions About the Cares Act.
By Daisy Maxey; Barron’s ~ Apr 02, 2020

Scammers now targeting Social Security beneficiaries, says state AG
Banner-Press ~ Apr 03, 2020

Opinion: Pensions In A Pandemic: Is One Man’s Bailout Another Man’s Pension Funding Relief?
From Elizabeth Bauer; Forbes ~ Apr 02, 2020

Memo: Some in US may not get stimulus checks until August
By Matthew Daly; The Associated Press ~ Apr 02, 2020

Social Security recipients will automatically receive stimulus pay
By Katie Lobosco; CNN ~ Apr 02, 2020

Treasury backs off requirement that Social Security recipients, others take extra step to get $1,200 checks
By Michael Collins, USA Today – April 1, 2020

Most Americans Aren’t Touching Their Investment Accounts Right Now
By Sophie Caronello; Bloomberg ~ Mar 31, 2020

President Trump's shots at GM have left company insiders deeply troubled
By Jamie L. LaReau; Detroit Free Press ~ Apr 01, 2020

GM to deliver first 20k face masks next week, ramp to 1.5 million per month By Kalea Hall; The Detroit News ~ Mar 31, 2020

Can Social Security Beneficiaries Get a Stimulus Check?
Being on Social Security won't prevent you from collecting a stimulus payment -- but that's not the whole story.

By Maurie Backman; The Motley Fool ~ Mar 31, 2020

IRS Adds To Confusion About Whether Seniors Have To File Tax Returns To Get Stimulus Checks
From Kelly Phillips Erb; Forbes ~ Mar 31, 2020

Fresh Off A Record-Shattering Stimulus Package, Lawmakers Are Already Gearing Up For Another One
Via KHN Morning Briefing; Kaiser Health News ~ Mar 30, 2020

CARES Act Drastically Changes Required Minimum Distribution Rules For 2020
From Jamie Hopkins; Forbes ~ Mar 30, 2020

Mnuchin: Americans Will Receive Checks Within Three Weeks
By Noah Adamitis; The Daily Caller ~ Mar 29, 2020

The Hope Gap: A Glimmer Of Good News From Capitol Hill & White House

From Cindy Hounsell; Forbes ~ Mar 28, 2020

The New Relief Package Helps Investors In HSAs And FSAs
By Karen Hube; Barron’s ~ Mar 29, 2020

Opinion: Why suspending the Social Security payroll tax is a terrible idea
From Alicia H. Munnell; MarketWatch ~ Mar 29, 2020

Opinion: How to prep for and spend your government relief check
By Sean Pyles, NW; The Associated Press ~ Mar 28, 2020

Get ahead of the physician shortage curve
From Aamir Hussain & Greg Jasani; The Hill ~ Mar 27, 2020

IRA And Retirement Plan Changes In The CARES Act
From Bob Carlson; Forbes ~ Mar 28, 2020

Coronavirus Has Social Security on Pace for Its Worst Year Ever
Expect Social Security's asset reserves to begin shrinking noticeably in 2020.

By Sean Williams; The Motley Fool ~ Mar 28, 2020

IRS likely challenged in sending recovery payments out on time
By Jay Heflin; The Washington Examiner ~ Mar 27, 2020

Companies eye DC plan contribution delays
By Brian Croce; Pensions & Investments ~ Mar 27, 2020

How Coronavirus Will Affect Social Security
By Katie Brockman; The Motley Fool ~ Mar 27, 2020

Will you get a stimulus check if you receive Social Security or disability, or didn’t file a tax return?
Will I get a check if I receive Social Security or SSI benefits? What if I didn't file tax returns in 2018 or 2019? Here are your questions answered.

By Megan Carroll; KREM2 ~ Mar 26, 2020

Pelosi: Democrats eyeing more cash payments in next emergency bill
By Mike Lillis; The Hill ~ Mar 26, 2020

U.S. home healthcare industry warns of possible 'collapse'
By Michael Berens; Reuters ~ Mar 26, 2020

Pension Funding Breaks Could Ease Corporate Cash Crunch
By Katherine Chiglinsky & Brandon Kochkodin; Bloomberg ~ Mar 26, 2020

A Guide To The Retirement-Related Provisions In The Senate Coronavirus Stimulus/Relief Bill
By Elizabet Bauer, Forbes – March 26, 2020

Do you qualify for a stimulus check in Senate’s coronavirus response bill?
By Ronn Blitzer; Fox News ~ Mar 25, 2020

4 GOP senators warn: 'Massive drafting error' in coronavirus package could incentivize unemployment
By Gabriella Muñoz; The Washington Times ~ Mar 25, 2020

Highlights of Congress’ economic relief plan
By Alan Fram; The Associated Press ~ Mar 25, 2020

Medicare Is Updating Coverage to Help in the Coronavirus Crisis
By Mark Miller; The New York Times ~ Mar 24, 2020

Stimulus deal includes temporary relief for retirement plans
By Hazel Bradford; Pensions & Investments ~ Mar 25, 2020

Coronavirus relief bill would relax rules on retirement savings
By Darla Mercado; CNBC ~ Mar 25, 2020

How the House Democrats' stimulus plan compares to the Senate's
By Caitlin Emma and Jennifer Scholtes , Politico – March 24, 2020

The Coronavirus Relief Bills Would Allow Investors to Tap 401(k)s Penalty-Free and Waive RMDs. Experts Have Concerns.
By Reshma Kapadia; Barron’s ~ Mar 24, 2020

The Coronavirus Relief Bills Would Allow Investors to Tap 401(k)s Penalty-Free and Waive RMDs. Experts Have Concerns.
By Reshma Kapadia; Barron’s ~ Mar 24, 2020

Senators Who Led Pharma-Friendly Patent Reform Also Prime Targets For Pharma Cash
By Emmarie Huetteman; Kaiser Health News ~ Mar 24, 2020

Congress, White House close in on $2 trillion stimulus deal to blunt coronavirus fallout
By Erica Werner, Mike DeBonis, Paul Kane and Jeff Stein, Washington Post – March 24, 2020

Senate eyes quick exit after vote on coronavirus stimulus package
By Jordain Carney, The Hill – March 24, 2020

Tensions rise as $2 trillion virus aid stalls in Washington
By Lisa Mascaro, Andrew Taylor & Jonathan Lemire; The Associated Press ~ Mar 23, 2020

Pelosi to Release $2.5 Trillion Counteroffer: Congress Update
By Erik Wasson & Billy House; Bloomberg ~ Mar 23, 2020

Democrats Block Republicans’ $1T Stimulus Package Over Concerns About Worker Protections, Bailout Restrictions
Via KHN Morning Briefing; Kaiser Health News ~ Mar 23, 2020

Online posts falsely claim census response will lead to cash
By Amanda Seitz; The Associated Press ~ Mar 23, 2020

House bill would ban stock trading by members of Congress
By Zack Budryk; The Hill ~ Mar 23, 2020

Column – Medicare and coronavirus: What you need to know
Via Seema Verma ; Sdnews.com ~ Mar 23, 2020

How to get Social Security help while the agency’s offices are closed
By Richard Eisenberg; MarketWatch ~ Mar 23, 2020

McConnell rips Democrats for blocking coronavirus stimulus package
By Jordain Carney, The Hill – March 22, 2020

Senate fails to advance coronavirus rescue package
By Marianne Levin and John Breshahan, Politico – March 22, 2020

Opinion: Why you may not get a check: This GOP coronavirus bill excludes lots of people for bad reasons
From Timothy P. Carney; The Washington Examiner ~ Mar 21, 2020

Coronavirus pushes back tax season: How to get a extension to July 15
What you need to know about deferring your state and federal taxes for 2019.

By Clifford Colby; CNET ~ Mar 22, 2020

Economic rescue balloons past $1 trillion as talks resume
By Jonathan Lemire, Lisa Mascaro & Andrew Taylor; The Associated Press ~ Mar 21, 2020

McConnell Unveils $1T Stimulus Plan: $1,200 Checks For Some Americans, Loans For Airlines, $300B Pot For Small Businesses
Via KHN Morning Briefing; Kaiser Health News ~ Mar 21, 2020

Democrats call for stimulus to boost Social Security benefits by $200 a month
By Alexander Bolton & Mike Lillis; The Hill ~ Mar 21, 2020

10 Things to Know About Senior Living Facilities and the Coronavirus Threat They Face
By Reshma Kapadia; Barron’s ~ Mar 20, 2020

Lyft adds food, medical supply delivery services
By Chris Mills Rodrigo; The Hill ~ Mar 20, 2020

Examining Current Medicare Part D Policies for Extended Supplies of Medication
By Juliette Cubanski, Karyn Schwartz, & Anthony Damico; Kaiser Family Foundation ~ Mar 20, 2020

GOP senators raise concerns over smaller checks for lower earners
By Jordain Carney; The Hill ~ Mar 20, 2020

GOP plan provides $1,200 in cash assistance amid coronavirus
By Jordain Carney; The Hill ~ Mar 20, 2020

Corporate pension plans need congressional relief amid virus outbreak – Mercer
By Rob Kozlowski; Pensions & Investments ~ Mar 20, 2020

Don’t worry, you’ll still get your Social Security, even with the coronavirus crisis

McConnell says stimulus checks would go to most Americans, as senators eye higher amount
By Brooke Singman, Fox News – March 19, 2020

Pausing Door-To-Door Counting: Census Suspends Field Operations For Two Weeks To Protect Employees
Via KHN Morning Briefing; Kaiser Health News ~ Mar 19, 2020

Trump Has Invoked Wartime Powers, But What Does That Entail?
Via KHN Morning Briefing; Kaiser Health News ~ Mar 19, 2020

Virus Plan May Lift Medicare Spending Limits to Aid Providers
By Laura Davison, Alexander Ruoff & Shira Stein; Bloomberg ~ Mar 19, 2020

Senate Passes Coronavirus Relief as Congress Crafts $1 Trillion Stimulus
By Lisa Hagen, U.S. News – March 19, 2020

Trump invokes emergency authority; Big 3 automakers closing
By Tim Sullivan & David Rising; The Associated Press ~ Mar 18, 2020

Trump Administration Calls For ‘Big’ Stimulus Package, Including $1,000 Checks To Every American
Via KHN Morning Briefing; Kaiser Health News ~ Mar 18, 2020

3 signs it’s worth the effort to itemize your taxes
By Tina Orem; MarketWatch ~ Mar 18, 2020

IRS to delay the April 15 tax payment deadline by 90 days
By Jessica Menton; USA TODAY ~ Mar 17, 2020

Trump administration announces expanded telemedicine for Medicare users
By Marty Johnson; The Hill ~ Mar 17, 2020

Insurers Cover Fewer Drugs, Leaving Some Patients Struggling To Get Needed Treatments
By Sydney Lupkin; NPR ~ Mar 17, 2020

Social Security offices close due to coronavirus. Here’s what that means for you
By Lorie Konish; CNBC ~ Mar 17, 2020

Opinion: The IRS is expected to postpone the tax deadline, but there are still 3 reasons to file your taxes now
From Tanza Loudenback

In Florida retirement hub, more worry about stock market collapse than getting sick from coronavirus
By Saundra Amrhein, Zachary Fagenson; Reuters ~ Mar 16, 2020

'Disengagement' after retirement increases cognitive decline risk
By Brian P. Dunleavy; United Press International ~ Mar 16, 2020d

Opinion - Bad News: Your 2021 Social Security COLA Will Probably Be Zero
From Dan Caplinger; The Motley Fool ~ Mar 16, 2020

Fed Cuts Interest Rates to Near Zero to Combat Coronavirus
Newsmax ~ Mar 15, 2020

How Well Does Your Nursing Home Fight Infections? Look It Up Here
By Jordan Rau & Elizabeth Lucas; Kaiser Health News ~ Mar 13, 2020

Doctors, and insurers too, urge patients to get medicine on hand
By Deena Beasley & Caroline Humer; Reuters ~ Mar 13, 2020

Savers are getting destroyed by super low interest rates
By Paul R. La Monica; CNN Business ~ Mar 13, 2020

Opinion: Is Donald Trump Coming for Your Social Security?
The answer isn't as cut and dried as you think.

From Sean Williams; The Motley Fool ~ Mar 13, 2020

What a payroll tax cut could mean for Social Security, Medicare and consumer spending
By Lorie Konish, CNBC – March 11, 2020

Congress Approves Boost In Food Aid For Seniors But Funding Falls Short Of Growing Need
By Laura Ungar; Kaiser Health News ~ Mar 12, 2020

Opinion: Did Pension Actuaries Miss Their Chance To Make A Difference?
From Elizabeth Bauer; Forbes ~ Mar 12, 2020

Half of primary care doctors say they aren't ready for increase in Alzheimer's cases
By Joanne Finnegan; FierceHealthcare ~ Mar 11, 2020

Trump’s Payroll Tax Cut Idea Stumbles In Face Of Bipartisan Opposition, But Some Version Might End Up In Stimulus Package
Via KHN Morning Briefing; Kaiser Health News ~ Mar 11, 2020

HHS introduces new rules to give patients more control over their health data
By Maggie Miller & Nathaniel Weixel ; The Hill ~ Mar 09, 2020

Sinking stock market poses risk for retirees
By Niv Elis ; The Hill ~ Mar 10, 2020

Bill aims to give beneficiaries of lump-sum buyouts more info
By Brian Croce; Pensions & Investments ~ Mar 10, 2020

The PBM MedImpact Is Proactively Personalizing Medicine
From Joshua Cohen; Forbes ~ Mar 09, 2020

Aon Buys Willis Towers Watson: Another Waypoint In The Demise of Employer Pensions
From Elizabeth Bauer; Forbes ~ Mar 09, 2020

Informal caregivers often in poor health themselves
By Carolyn Crist; Reuters ~ Mar 06, 2020

He Retired the Week the Dow Slid 12%. Consider It a Wake-Up Call to Check Your Portfolio.
By Gail MarksJarvis; Barron’s ~ Mar 06, 2020

How Not to Become a Victim of Social Security Fraud Calls
By Ann Carrns; The New York Times ~ Mar 06, 2020

Opinion: Social Security Issues Warning On New Texting Scam
From Kelly Phillips Erb; Forbe; Forbes ~ Mar 05, 2020

Don't shortchange Social Security for short-term economic stimulus
From Max Richtman; The Hill ~ Mar 05, 2020

Super Tuesday Results Ease Concerns In The Pharmaceutical And Health Insurance Industries
From Joshua Cohen; Forbes ~ Mar 04, 2020

Medication fog can mimic or worsen dementia in the elderly
By Marilynn Marchione; The Associated Press ~ Mar 03, 2020

Supreme Court To Take Up Health Law Case To Dems Delight, But Don’t Expect Decision Before The Election
Via KHN Morning Briefing; Kaiser Health News ~ Mar 03, 2020

Opinion: The Importance Of Estate Planning
From Halsey Schreier; Forbes ~ Mar 02, 2020

U.S. Supreme Court takes up Democratic bid to defend Obamacare
By Lawrence Hurley; Reuters ~ Mar 02, 2020

Senior confusion about Medicare Advantage creating headaches for patients, providers
By Michael Brady; Modern Healthcare ~ Mar 02, 2020