Tax Breaks Brought Back From the Dead

Federal lawmakers will simplify tax planning for many by making certain tax breaks permanent — including one for charitably inclined older investors. Many tax breaks expire after a year or so, requiring an act of Congress to briefly extend them again. That has made tax strategizing difficult, because people don’t know if Congress will let an expired deduction or credit lapse for good or revive it at the last minute. As part of the omnibus spending bill that the U.S. …

Three Big Wins for Retired People in New Budget Act

People of retirement age and their families scored three significant victories in the budget act passed by Congress. 1. We preserved every cent of current Social Security recipients’ benefits. Millions of Social Security recipients were going to have their benefits automatically cut by 20 percent in 2016. That’s been stopped. No current recipient will lose a cent of Social Security benefits. Social Security Calculator: When Should You Claim Your Benefits? » 2. We halted skyrocketing Medicare premiums. Millions of Medicare recipients …

How the Budget Deal Blunts Medicare Cost Increases, Tweaks Social Security

The bipartisan budget agreement reached by the White House and congressional leaders wards off a spike next year in Medicare premiums and deductibles for millions of older Americans as well as ensures full Social Security disability benefits to millions who had faced steep cuts. President Barack Obama signed the accord Nov. 2 after the House of Representatives adopted it Oct. 28 and the Senate Oct. 30. In a letter to Congress, AARP CEO Jo Ann Jenkins applauded the agreement: “Your …

Senate Transportation Bill Promotes Safety for Pedestrians and All Road Users

We must make our streets safer! Today in our country a pedestrian suffers an injury every eight minutes and one is killed every two hours! That’s been an upward trend in recent years. In the decade from 2003 to 2012, more than 47,000 people nationwide died while walking on our streets, 16 times the number who died in natural disasters during the same period. More than 676,000 pedestrians were injured over the same decade. These tragedies happen to individuals of …

New Bill in Congress Aims to Support Family Caregivers

Forty million Americans care for their older parents, spouses and other loved ones to help them live independently, at home, each and every day — I am one of them. We family caregivers help with bathing and dressing, transportation, providing meals, and much more. We even handle complex medical tasks like wound care or giving injections. Today, we are an essential part of the U.S. health care system. The unpaid care family caregivers provide is valued at about $470 billion …

Congress Approves Bill Bolstering Medicare Patients’ Hospital Rights

The U.S. Senate unanimously approved legislation Monday night requiring hospitals across the nation to tell Medicare patients when they receive observation care but have not been admitted to the hospital. It’s a distinction that’s easy to miss until patients are hit with big medical bills after a short stay. The vote follows overwhelming approval in the U. S. House of Representatives in March. The legislation is expected to be signed into law by President Barack Obama, said its House sponsor, …