TRANSCRIPT FOR THE JANUARY 14, 2017 “ON THE MONEY” SHOW

Hosts: Jodi Murphy, Esq. and Joe Bert, CFP®, AIF®

Good morning, it is an Ask the Expert Saturday morning on WDBO.  Good to have you with us.  This is On the Money, brought to you by Orlando’s oldest and largest — Independent.  Firm of certified financial planning professionals, that being the Certified Financial Group in Altamonte Springs, and we are live —

Live from New York.

Saturday morning.  Live from Orlando.  This is good if you ask me.  And with us in the studio, you hear him, the Oracle of Orlando, Joe Bert.  How are you sir?

Good morning.

Nice to see you.

Nice to be seen.

And you have a special guest <Inaudible> with you.

I do.  My privilege and honor this morning to have none other than world renowned estate planning, elder care law attorney Jodi Murphy, who is in the throes of conducting an extensive session with the elder law attorneys from around the state.  So, we’re lucky to yank her in, pull her as well as from her duties.

Well thank you, good morning.  It’s a pleasure to be here.

And good to have you.  We’re going to talk today about specifically — of course, anything that’s on your mind regarding your personal finances — but Jodi is an expert in elder law and how to qualify for VA and Medicaid benefits, because that is a minefield if you don’t know what you’re doing.

It absolutely can be.

So Jodi is — in fact she’s conducting — <Inaudible> on the way and she told me she conducted a session for how many attorneys?

I would guess there’s probably 400 to 600 attorneys from throughout the state of Florida.

And you had their undivided attention for two hours.

Those who stayed awake, yes.

And all the things that they need to know.  So, we’re fortunate this morning folks to have in the house a state renowned expert on all those issues.  So, if you have any questions regarding Medicaid and how to qualify for VA benefits — and of course anything that might be on your mind regarding your personal finances.  As we say in our ads here on WDBO, we go through life trying some of this, trying some of that, and we wake up at age 55 years old and look to Loretta and say, you know Loretta, we haven’t done any planning and the kids are gone and we’ve got 10 years to get this together.  So, we’re going to answer your questions that you might have regarding stocks, and bonds, mutual funds, real estate, long-term health care, IRAs, annuities, reverse mortgages, all that and more.  And the good news for you, if you have any questions about Medicaid or about VA benefits or about anything regarding your personal finances, the lines are absolutely wide open.  So, all you have to do is pick up the phone and dial these magic numbers.

844-220-0965.  844-220-0965.  Or, you can text us from your mobile device.  That texting number is 21232.  And if you’re so inclined and you want to use the open mic, you can find the open mic on the News 96.5 app and we’ll just play your voice asking a question.  Jodi Murphy.  Just before the show, Jodi and I were talking about a case that you were working on.  Someone came in to qualify for VA benefits.  Why don’t you tell the audience about that, Jodi?

This was a really interesting case.  As I’m sure many of the listeners out there are familiar with, a lot of our veterans who have served our country or have — injured during their time of service — come back and they don’t want to talk about their experiences.  They kind of close down, put it as a thing of the past.  Well, I had a surviving spouse — her husband had passed away a few years ago — come into my office.  She was in need of some additional care.  She would like to stay in her home, but could not afford a caregiver.  Well, in the course of talking to her, I discovered that her husband had been a prisoner of war and he had never filed for his VA compensation benefits.

Wow.

She actually hadn’t filed since his death.

So, he had passed away —

He had passed away.

And here she was, she was living at home, trying to survive basically, and he had never filed for benefits.

And she did not know, as the surviving spouse, as the widow, that she was entitled to claim on his benefits and compensation.

So, what were you able to do for her?

So, we filed for compensation and because her husband was a prisoner of war, he was given a 100% rating, which meant that we were able to recoup over $100,000 in back-owed compensation for her since the time of her husband’s death, and moving forward she was entitled to over $1,100 a month in aid and attendance so that she could then hire someone to come into her home as a caregiver to give her the peace of mind that she could stay home and that she could live comfortably, but have the assistance that she needed.

Well, that’s the kind of stuff that is out there that, unfortunately, most people aren’t aware of.  So, that’s why we’re here this morning, folks, to answer those questions.  And if you have somebody in that kind of situation or anything qualifying for Medicaid, we’re fortunate enough to have in the house this morning an expert in that regard.  Once again, that phone number is —

844-220-0965.

And we have Don in Tavares.  Good morning, Don.  How can we help you?

Good morning, thanks for taking my call.

Thank you for calling.

<Inaudible> I am going to be 64 years old next month and I’m trying to make an intelligent decision about Social Security benefits.  I kind of looked at the published data and it looks like if I take benefits early starting at 64, my breakeven point is out there at about 82 years old or something.

That’s about right.

My concern is that one of these days, that the entire government is going to wake up and realize they have to make serious changes for Social Security.  And so I’m wondering if I was better off to file for benefits now in the hopes that I’m grandfathered, I’m in the system, so when changes come I might be in a better position.

Okay, I get this question a lot.  First of all, I presume you’ve stopped working.

I have.

Okay, because you know a lot of — a lot of our listeners may not know that you have that offset of $1 per every $2 that you earn over a threshold amount, which is about $16,000 up until age 65.  So, you’re not working.  So the question is should you file for benefits now in anticipation that they’re going to be yanked from you perhaps sometime in the future.

Yes.

Let me ask you this: Do you need the money now?  I know you’d like to have it, but do you really need it to maintain your lifestyle?

Well, I’m a fairly high net worth person.

Okay.

And I’ve struggled like most people the last number of years in generating income off of investments.  And so yeah, I could use the income.  I have been able to maintain my level of total value, but it’s not gone up, it hasn’t gone down.

Okay, well that’s fine.

So yeah, I could use the money.

Are you married?

Yes.

And is your wife the same age, or younger, or older?

No, she’s — I was very smart.  I married a woman 10 years younger than I am with a Master’s degree in <Inaudible> tology.

Okay, well in that case, it makes the decision even easier.  I would definitely defer taking your Social Security.

Really?

Yeah, let me put your mind at ease about it going away for you.  The good news is that you’re a baby boomer, like me.  And I would bet my net worth that the baby boomers’ benefits will not be adjusted.  Its the millennials, that generation a couple past us — or after us — that will more than likely have to work longer and probably going to get less.  We baby boomers are in pretty good shape because we’re a pretty big voting block,a need we do vote, and we do pay attention, and we know how to call our congressmen, and that ain’t going to be touched.  So, I’m not worried about — I’m not worried about your generation and my generation losing Social Security benefits.  Now, the point about should you grab it now with the breakeven at age 82, that is correct.  However, what you have to realize is that every year that you defer if you’ve done the math, you get a guaranteed increase of 8% per year and that’s guaranteed to be paid to you for your lifetime.  But more importantly in your situation, when you pass away because your wife is 10 years younger than you, the chances are she’s going to outlive you, is that she will take over your benefit if it’s higher.  And that will be guaranteed to her for her lifetime.  So, if you were sitting in my office and I was doing planning for you and we ran the numbers, there’s no question that we would definitely recommend that you not take it.  In fact, we might even recommend that you defer taking it all the way to age 70 because if you do that, you’re going to get a guaranteed increase from where you are now, about another 40% more than what you start claiming now.  So, you’ve locked in that — it’s longevity insurance for your wife and done worry about the government taking it away from you.

How about means testing.  How about if — because if they switch the means testing, I’m —

Well, it is means tested now, you know.  You can pay taxes on up to 85% of your Social Security.  Now what they’re going — I’ll tell you what.  If they do means test it, it’s probably going to be looking at income, not net worth, because that’s the way the government thinks.  You could be a millionaire and still qualify under the Affordable Care Act and get free health insurance.  You can have a net worth of $1B and still qualify under the ACA.  It’s the income that they look at.  So, I wouldn’t worry about that either.  And if they do change the laws, then latch onto it and start the income.  But right now based on what we know, I think you ought to defer and what you ought to do is get together with a certified financial planner and figure out how to get the income that you need out of your assets, turn those assets into some better income.  And by the way, that’s what we do.

Good thinking.  Thanks very much for your help.  I appreciate it.

Alright, okay, thanks for the call.

I’d be remiss, Joe, if I didn’t ask to — if you could tell everybody your telephone number.

Well better yet, better yet, go to our website, financialgroup.com.  That’s financialgroup.com.  You can learn all about us.  In fact, you can find a link there to Jodi Murphy who is my guest here this morning, and she’s going to give you her phone number.  But, that’s how to find out what we do, how we do it, and where we do it.

Alright, let me give out the number here.  It’s 844-220-0965.

Okay, let’s talk to Susan on the cell phone.  On the road.  Good morning, Susan.

Good morning, Susan.

How can we help you?

Good morning.  Good morning.  I apologize for any background noise.  I am a 53 year old woman who <Inaudible> children <Inaudible>.  I have two that are in college, one that’s 20 and one that’s 28.  I have a <Inaudible> Florida Department of Corrections, but it continues to change because we were privatized.  So, my retirement fund continues to be used for <Inaudible> which is a pain in the neck.  I have $8,777 in one 401k, but I’m debating to put into an individual IRA or into my new 401k because our company just changed again, and I have $36,000 in another one that I was considering rolling over.  But here’s the catch.  Both of my children are in college.  I’m paying $108,000 student loans that are <Inaudible> loans and my student loans from my Master’s degree combined.  And I am paying it, but I’m paying $625 a month just in interest.  It’s 7.125% <?> interest.  And so, I was thinking about the house payment is only $515.  I only owe 59,000 more on the house.  And I am at the point where I am considering selling the house, taking everything out of everything, paying off the student loans, and starting over again.  But, I am 53.  And I do make — I make about $75,000 a year and I don’t have any other type of <Inaudible> that’s it.

Are you married?

No.

Okay.  Alright.  So, you’ve got a lot of questions here.  The first question was, as I recall, is should you roll over your old 401(k)s into your new employer plan, or roll them into an IRA.  Is that the first question?

Right.  <Inaudible> with an IRA I could take the money out and not pay a penalty if it’s for school, which I am paying at this point.

Well, it’s not to pay down debt.  Now, you can’t use it to pay down debt.  You can use it to pay tuition, but not necessarily debt.

That’s right.  I know.

Okay.  Okay.  The question of whether or not you should take those old 401(k)s and roll them into the company plan is a function of the quality of the new company plan, and without knowing the details of what you’re leaving and what you’re going into, I really can’t give you an answer on that.  That’s one of the things that your investment advisor and financial planner should look at and advise you on.  There are pros and cons to that, but once again the thing is that you need to look at what you’re going to be moving into.  So, I can’t give you an answer on that.  The idea about cashing out your house and getting out the debt if you’re paying 7.5%, that is not — how much equity do you have in your house?

About 60,000.

Alright, so you’re saying you would sell your house, take 60,000 and throw it against the student debt?

Absolutely.

And that would reduce your student debt to what?

It’s 108 now.

You you reduce it to about half, so about $48,000.

Right, but of course it’s <Inaudible>.

Yeah, but then you’d have a housing payment.  So you then move into an apartment.

Right, I would have to — for two years I figured out if I rent somewhere and pay $3,000 a month towards the student loan, <Inaudible> paid off in two years.

Hold on, hold on, hold on.  I’ve lost you hear.

So I sell the house, take the equity, and then find a place.  I would be able to pay off the student loans in another 12 to 18 months.

Okay, I haven’t done the math, and if you’ve done the math, that sounds like a plan to me.  That 7.5% will kill you.  You’ll be paying down that for the rest of your life.  So yeah, sounds like a plan.

Can I jump in —

Of course.

— and just point one thing out.  When it comes to homestead property here in the state of Florida, that is one of the assets that we as attorneys always recommend holding onto until it gets to the point where you have no other options.  Homestead property is protected and is exempt from any creditor claims.  There’s a lot of benefit to having homestead, so I understand sometimes people need to sell their homestead because they don’t have any other options.  But, if there are any other options, we do recommend holding onto homestead if possible.  The other thing is I don’t think this is necessarily Susan’s student debt.  I think she mentioned it was children’s education costs.

Did you cosign on the loans?

Oh, they are <Inaudible> loans plus my graduate, and so when I consolidated them, I apparently rendered myself ineligible for public service loan forgiveness, which I would have <Inaudible>.  I’ve been <Inaudible> for 10 years.  So, I would have been eligible, but because the — apparently combined, it makes you ineligible.

So wait a minute, let me back up.  Are the debts in your name, or your name and your children’s names?

Yes.

The debts are in your name, then?

Yes.  <Inaudible> in my name.

Okay.  I think I know where you’re going with that, but yeah.

Back with you, On the Money with the Certified Financial Group in the studio with Joe Bert, the Oracle of Orlando, and special guest Jodi Murphy, and estate planning attorney with Murphy and Merlin, and you can call the show right now at 844-220-0965.  Specialty calls today to the front of the line goes any veteran, right? How’s that?

Yeah, let’s do it.

Okay.  So, if you have VA questions about qualifying for VA benefits or such a thing, call us at 844-220-0965.  Let’s talk to Cole.  Good morning Cole.

Good morning, Cole.

<Inaudible> how are you <Inaudible>.

Good, how can we help you?

It’s kind of a difficult and long story, but <Inaudible> my father died about a little over two months ago, closer to three months, from liver cancer.  He was 100% <Inaudible> from Vietnam due to a blood transfusion, post-traumatic stress, all kinds of things.  So, for the last few years I took care of him — well, longer than two years, obviously.  Going through cancer, he <Inaudible> himself, so I incurred all the financial debt and pretty much everything else along with it.  And so, his burial — I filled out all of the death benefit paperwork and I’ve been dealing with the VA for a long time, so I got pretty good at filling out their 10,000 page dossiers or whatever they needed you to do with all the forms or documents you need.  So, I sent it back to them.  It took me about a month after he died to get everything back in order as far as mentally, so about a month after — probably about two months ago, I sent all the paperwork out for his death benefits and I haven’t seen or heard so much as a letter.

I’m not surprised.  It takes the VA about six months at a minimum to respond to paperwork.

Good God.

Usually, we recommend a 6 to 12 month waiting period.  If you haven’t heard back after six months, it might be time to get your congressman involved, but two months is definitely not enough time to have heard back yet.

That’s <Inaudible>.

Okay <Inaudible> I’m obviously doing his cremation and all the stuff that I had to pay for, but does that mean — that benefits not even going to cover — I think it’s 300 for burial and memorial or something like that, and maybe another couple thousand for everything else.  But, going down to the last thought <?>, do you have any recommendations for speeding anything up as far as that process, or it’s just kind of —

There really isn’t a way to speed things up with the VA, unfortunately.  You have to jump through the hoops and fill out all the paperwork, which it sounds like —

I’d call your congressman today.

Would he be entitled to any benefits as a caregiver?

There might be.  Depending on what your father was diagnosed with and what type of cancer he had, there may be some caregiver benefits.  Unfortunately, because he didn’t file during his lifetime, not sure whether you as a caregiver would be entitled.  Are you disabled by any chance?

Does psychologically count? No, I’m kidding.  No, I’m not.

Well, the good news is <Inaudible>

Absolutely, so unfortunately there would be no survivor benefits for you.  Did your father have any other assets in his estate?

No, I mean he pretty much lived with me at my house.  It was <Lost Signal>

Alright, well Cole, I’m sorry.  I would just have to say stick tight.  You’ll hear from the VA eventually.

This is severe weather <Inaudible> chief meteorologist, Jon Perry.  This is where Orlando turns first for breaking news, weather, and traffic, News 96.5 WDBO.  Hey, it’s Joe Kelly, join me for Orlando’s morning news every week day morning starting at 5:00.  Listen when you week up using your News 96.5 app, then on your radio when you get in the car.  I’ll make sure you get to work on time with <Inaudible> traffic and the best coverage of the I-4 ultimate project.  Now, our Ask the Expert weekend continues on News 96.5 WDBO.

It’s an Ask the Expert Saturday morning on WDBO.  Good to have you with us.  We’re live in the studio this Martin Luther King weekend.  What’s the holiday? Monday.  And it’s going to be a beautiful holiday according to the meteorologist.  Alright, stick around.  More on the news coming up with Dave Wall here in about 10 minutes from now.  In the studio, Joe Bert, the Oracle of Orlando and Jodi Murphy, an estate planning attorney.  And Joe, what are you taking calls about?

Well, once again, we’re pleased to have in the studio this morning Jodi Murphy who is a specialist in elder care, how to qualify for Medicaid and VA benefits, which can be a mine field for those that are not familiar with it.  In fact, we were fortunate to pull her away from a symposium — would you call it a symposium when — what do you attorneys call it?

Well, this is the Florida Bar Elder Law Conference —

Conference.  Right, conference.

— that’s going on this weekend.

And it’s being held at the <Inaudible>.  It is —

700 attorneys from around the state, and she’s teaching them about elder care, and about VA benefits, about Medicaid.  So, if you have any questions about any of those issues, the good news for you, the lines are wide open on that.  And before we throw out the lines, I’m going to talk about our first responder effort.

Alright, the telephone number is 844-220-0965.  And the text is 21232.  We’ll get to them as well.  21232.  Joe.

Yeah, we’ve got a first responder initiative this month.  At Certified Financial Group, we are honoring or giving recognition to the men — police officers, EMT folks, all those folks that put their life on the line every day for us here in central Florida and we want you to go to our website, that’s financialgroup.com/responder, and nominate someone who you think might be worthy of that and the winner of that award will be given four tickets to the upcoming springs concert that we sponsor every year in conjunction with the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra.  This year it will be May 6th.  They’ll get four tickets to that, and as well as a complimentary personal financial plan that we will do for them.  So, go to our website, that’s financialgroup.com/responder.  And as a reminder as well, this coming Thursday Denise Kovach and Nancy Hecht are sponsoring their Social Security boot camp in our offices in Altamonte Springs.  That will be from 7:30 to 9:00 and you can make a reservation for that, go to our website, once again financialgroup.com.  With all the planning strategies that are out there, this is one you don’t want to miss.  So, if you’re at or near Social Security age, you want to sign up for that.  And if it’s sold out, you can sign up for another one.  That’s financialgroup.com.  Click on workshops and that’s it.  So, I want to get back to Jodi.  We were talking earlier to — what case?

To Cole.

Cole.  Cole, yes, Cole.

About his father and cancer.

Unfortunately, for those who might have just tuned in, Cole was a caregiver to his dad, who was a veteran and died from cancer as a result of a blood transfusion he got I think probably in Vietnam.  And it sounded like he did not apply for caregiver benefits, unfortunately.

Right, many people don’t even know that there are benefits through the VA specifically for the caregivers as a financial resource, they offer respite care, there’s so many resources available, not just for the veterans but also for the caregivers.

So, if mom is home taking care of dad who has been a veteran and he needs care, she may be eligible.  Is that correct?

That’s correct.

But you have to file for that.

You have to file.  You can go down to the VA and they will help you do that.  You can go in and meet with an elder law attorney.

That’s what you do.

That’s what I do.

Don’t be so bashful.  That’s what you do.

So, there’s a lot of different ways you can qualify.  Something else that Cole’s father might not have been aware of, he might have been eligible for radiation exposure compensation from the VA.  There are certain cancers that no matter how you got the cancer, the VA will just automatically assume it was a result of your service.

Show our listeners how to find you.

So, you can find us directly by calling 407-865-9553.  Or, our website is www.murphybergland.com and there is a link to our website on the web page for Certified Financial Group.

Okay, we’ve got a call here from Denise in Orange County.  Good morning, Denise, how can we help you?

Good morning and thank you for always being there and getting us so much information.  I’m 69, going back to work, and I wanted to know if I had any issues with Social Security, Medicare, and what I could do to better my situation as I go forward.

Sure, you have no issues with Social Security.  You can have unlimited earnings, you will not be penalized.

Okay.

So, I presume you’re currently collecting Social Security.

I am.

So, you can continue doing that.  You won’t be penalized in any way.  As far as Medicare, is your new employer offering medical insurance?

They are.

Okay, you’ll need to check with HR and find out if they’re going to be primary, and then look at what your Medicare supplement is going to be, because your new employer may cover the cost of what that Medicare supplement may be.  So you have to — every company is different, Denise.  So, that’s where you want to be sure that you’ve got coordination in that regular.

Okay.

Then if you’re fortunate enough to have a retirement plan at work, there’s nothing wrong with putting some money into their company 401k if you have it, particularly if you have a match because that is free money.  And as you may know, that’s tax deductible and will grow for you without being taxed.  And even though you might be over the age of 70 and a half when you get to that point, if you’re still working you can continue to contribute to the 401k and just as a side benefit, if you happen to have an IRA or a 403b or a 457, if you have those kinds of plans — our listeners that might have those kinds of plans — if you’re still working, if you roll those plans into your 401k — and if you’re not a more than 5% stock holder, you don’t have to take what’s called a required minimum distribution when you get to be 70 and a half.  So, that’s something that you may want to consider.  Well, appreciate your call and good look to you.  Thank you, Denise.

Here’s a text for you.  My father was in the Army in Germany in the late 50s as a mechanic.  Would he qualify for VA hearing aids or shower remodel? He fell in the shower.

Well, that’s a great question.  I would definitely recommend that you go down to the VA for that because they do have a hearing aid program and I believe in order to qualify, all you needed was to be a veteran and to be involved in active service.  Depending on the dates that he was in and when he was discharged, he might be eligible for aid and attendance if he needed help in the home from this fall.  I will let you know that the Korean Conflict ended January 31, 1955, and Vietnam officially started February 28, 1961.  Since you didn’t give us the exact dates of service, I can’t tell you whether he would definitely be entitled to aid and attendance, but he might be.

Is there a way anybody could follow up with a question for you by calling your office perhaps?

Absolutely.  You can call our office at 407-865-9553.

Here’s another quick text before we go back to the calls.  This one was cut off because it’s kind of long.  It’s a question on VA benefits: I suffered a minor injury in Afghanistan and was in pain and visiting sick call constantly for months.  And now when I try to apply online — that’s where it cuts off, sir.

I’m not sure what that question is getting to because the text did cut off, but you are more than welcome to call our office.  I’d be happy to meet with you.  And we do offer a complimentary consultation.  So, if you want to just come in and meet with a VA accredited attorney or someone familiar with estate planning and elder law, call and make an appointment.  There’s no charge to come in and meet with an attorney.  Alright, well listen, here’s the telephone number if you’d like to join us: Jodi Murphy an estate planning attorney is here to take your call about VA benefits and other things, elder law perhaps.  The number is 844-220-0965.  Or, you can talk to Joe about any question regarding a pocketbook issue, 844-220-0965.

Got a call here from James about VA benefits.  Good morning, James.  How can we help you?

Good morning.

Good morning.  I’d like to talk to Jodi if she’s there.

I’m here.  What’s your question.

Okay.  A few years ago, March of 2015, I made an application to the Veteran’s Administration.  They offer benefits if you served <Inaudible> any services and been honorably discharged, which I was, and then you’re supposed to be eligible for these benefits.  And I have heard nothing from the VA.  <Inaudible> doing the work trying to get something for me is Douglas Bill and I think he’s no longer with the Veteran’s Administration.  I think he got fed up with the slow action by the Veteran’s Administration.  But anyhow, the <Inaudible> took me down on my assets, so they went down about 60% to 70% during the recession.  And so I’m beginning to run out of money.

Okay, well James, what exactly you probably applied for, what you were mentioning, if you were involved in active wartime service and you were honorably discharged might be that aid and attendance benefit.  They do have an income and an asset test, so you do have to look at both things before applying.  I’m concerned because you said it was over two years when you applied and you haven’t heard back.  So, I suspect that your application got lost somewhere.  That’s something you can either follow up with your congressman and get your congressperson involved, especially if you have a copy of that application, or again you can come in and meet with a VA accredited attorney.  We may need to file a new application if you qualify.  Again, you would have to qualify on all criteria; needing the assistance of another person, having been honorably discharged serving 90 days, at least one of those days must have been during an active wartime service, you have to meet the income test, and the asset test in order to qualify for these benefits.  So, you need to take a look at that.

I suggest you give Jodi a call because as there’s a lot of ups and downs, ins and outs of qualifying, whether or not — and she can stay on top of this for you.  See what happens?  This is two years, things drifted, and here you are two years later down the road.  So, you can have an attorney working the case for you, you know at least somebody’s on top of it.  So, give him a call.  Once again, Jodi, your number is:

407-865-9553.

It’s 9:47, coming up on 9:48.  Dave Wall is in the news center.  He’ll be joining us in two minutes with the very latest on the events in the search for Markeith Lloyd.  You know, you mentioned earlier, Joe, about the first responders appreciation week?

Yes.

And about how you can go on — you had this planned a long, long time ago.  It just so happens that we lost a —

We had a tragedy here in Orlando here this week, but we were talking about this in the end of last year and this is the state by the way.  This is first responders this week for the state of Florida and that’s what prompted us to do that.  And unfortunately, we had the tragedies here in Orlando.  But once again, if you know any first responders you think that’s worthy of recognition, go to our website.  That’s financialgroup.com/responder and put in the entry and we — hopefully they will be the winner of four tickets to the upcoming springs concert May 6th with the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, and also a complimentary financial plan.  So, we’re glad to help and do a little bit that we can to give back to the community.

I’d like to put in Master Sergeant <Inaudible> names.

Fill out the form, my friend.

Yeah, that’s a good idea folks.  Well, don’t let me influence you.  Financialgroup.com, it’s on the front page there.  Financialgroup.com and nominate your favorite first responder.  And I wouldn’t blame everybody for putting down Master Sergeant McClane.  You know what they call a Master Sergeant in the Army?

Tell me.

A top tick.

There you go.

Meaning they’re the boss.  And when she came in this studio with the mayor about a couple years ago, everybody that knew her — like from our sister station, Star 94 — they came over and talked to her, giving her a hug.  She was a lovely person.  I’ve got to say.

That was a real tragedy.

Yup. Alright, let’s get to Dave Wall in the news center and then we’ll come back with some more calls for you.  The number is 844-220-0965.  Ah, <Inaudible> sacrilege to talk over.  That’s a classic song by the Turtle <?>.  They don’t make music like they used to, Joe.

You can understand the words.  <Inaudible> listen to it.

Yeah, really.  Nowadays it’s talking music.

While we were on break there, Jodi took a call off the air.  Maybe you can recap for our listeners here what you talked about.

Sure, that was Mary calling in.  Her husband had passed away a few months ago and she was concerned that because her husband had been diagnosed with Agent Orange that her children would have been exposed.  So, that was her primary concern, but we started talking a little bit —

The answer to that, of course: No.

No, you have to be exposed directly.  It’s not something that can be transferred.  But, then it transitioned then to talk about aid and attendance and because she is the surviving spouse of a veteran who served during a wartime period, if she had to go into assisted living and could no longer live independently, or she needed a caregiver coming into her home to help with showering, bathing, taking medication, cooking, anything that would be considered an activity of daily living, she might be eligible for aid and attendance.  And what a lot of people don’t realize is how much money is available for this.  So, if you are a veteran and you need aid and attendance from another person, you can get $1,788 a month.  This is a cash benefit from the VA.  If you are a surviving spouse, your spouse has died and your spouse was the veteran, you can get $1,149 from the VA and that’s a month.  Now, some things to be aware of; there is planning that needs to be done to qualify for those benefits because the VA will look at both income and assets, and they don’t publish a bright line rule of what they can have in assets.  So, some attorneys will say $80,000 or less.  It is a sliding scale and the VA is currently looking at imposing a look back period.  So, if you transfer assets, there could be a problem.  So, this is the time you do it before that look back period is imposed.

Get a quick text in here.  62 year old male just diagnosed with cancer, no family, I need elder law attorney big time.  Can you meet with me and recommend a competent attorney?

Well, I certainly hope that I would be considered a competent attorney.

Yeah.

No question about that.

Well, if you’re schooling all the other people in the state, I would say yes.

Yes, we do offer a complimentary consultation.  We’d be more than happy to meet with you.  You can call our office at 407-865-9553.  We do service the entire state of Florida.  We can do that as a teleconference, a video conference, or an in-person appointment.

Is it true that if you’re a veteran and you’re 100% disabled that you don’t have to pay property taxes in the state of Florida?

There are definitely tax benefits that you can receive if you’re registered.  You do have to make sure, obviously, that you have filled out the right paperwork both with the county and the state.  There’s a lot of benefits that you can get as a disabled veteran.

Joe, you think this new incoming president might change things at the VA?

I think — let’s hope.

He’ll run it like a business.

Exactly.  This thing about waiting six months.

Oh, and that’s a minimum.

That’s ridiculous.

That is at a minimum.

And these are the folks, unfortunately, that need the care immediately.  They put their lives on the line for you and me to be able to — it’s enough to drive you crazy.

And you hear about the suicide rate.

The good thing to note though is that there are benefits available, but you will have to fill out the paperwork and apply correctly the first time because if you fill out an application on your own and you submit and it’s denied, you have to wait 13 months before you can re-apply.

Oh my gosh.

Good lord.

Because there’s a penalty period if you’re denied.  So, you don’t want to take a gamble, and just fill out paperwork, and hope you’re approved.

Real quick, Joe.  Remind everybody about that workshop that’s coming up.

This coming Thursday, January 19th from 6:00 — I said 7:30 to 9:00 — from 6:00 to 7:30 Nancy Hecht and Denise Kovach will be doing their Social Security boot camp.  So, register for that.  Everything you wanted to know about Social Security; when to claim or what your benefits might be, go to our website.  That’s financialgroup.com, financialgroup.com and click on workshops.  You can make reservations to that and all the other upcoming workshops that we have, and also don’t forget the responder initiative that we’re doing: financialgroup.com/responder.  Nominate your favorite EMT, fireman, policeman —

Police officer.

Police officer, thank you.

There are many competent women first responders.

Yes, yes.  So, go to our website, financialgroup.com/responder.

And thanks for your nomination, too.

Information presented on this program is believed to be factual and up to date, but we do not guarantee its accuracy and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed.  Discussions and answers to questions to not involve the rendering of personalized investment advice, but is limited to the dissemination of general information.  A professional advisor should be consulted

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