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Money Mondays: More Tax Resources for People with Disabilities

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The deadline to file your taxes is Tuesday, April 15! Last month we listed a number of resources to help you or someone you know with a disability prepare and file their taxes. We know tax forms can seem daunting. You can use this information to help make filing taxes easier.

Did you know that many people with disabilities are eligible for special deductions? A deduction lowers your taxable income, meaning you pay less in taxes. Look at this list of tax credits and deductions for individuals with disabilities to see if there are any that apply to you!
 

  • Do you want help understanding what deductions you can make? Work Incentives Planning and Assistance (WIPA) projects are community based organizations that provide advice to disability beneficiaries. Here are some  questions about taxes and benefits that WIPAs hear a lot.
  • If you find yourself unsure where to begin, the Interactive Tax Assistant  will walk you through a number of questions to help you determine how you can file, what you can deduct from your income, and whether you’re eligible for certain tax credits.
  • If you have a tax question that can’t be answered by phone or online, free Taxpayer Assistance Centers can provide you face-to-face assistance.
  • If you are looking for specific forms in text or braille formats, take a look at this list of all accessible IRS documents.
  • Finally, whether you prepare your taxes yourself, with a professional, or using an online service, make sure you deal only with people and organizations you trust. You can use these 10 tips to help protect your privacy while online.  If you decide to file online.

We hope you find this information helpful as the deadline to file your taxes approaches! If you need more in-depth counseling, you can always call the IRS directly.  

#Money MondaysRead more money savings tips and financial wellness at #MoneyMondays!

 

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Money Mondays: Tax Resources for People with Disabilities

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Tax season is here! If you haven’t already done so, now is the time to organize your financial information and start preparing and filing your tax forms. There are a number of resources available to help you file your taxes, and you may qualify for some additional tax benefits.

If you or someone you know has a disability and need help filing taxes this year, there are a number of resources that are available:

  • Download accessible forms and publications. The IRS offers content in a number of accessible formats to accommodate people who use assistive technology including screen reading software, refreshable Braille displays, and voice recognition software. The tax forms and publications can be downloaded or viewed online.
  • Watch the IRS Accessibility video. The video highlights how to find accessible tax information, products and services.
  • Visit an IRS volunteer tax site. The IRS offers volunteer sites that help individuals with a low- to moderate-income (about $52,000 or less) obtain free tax preparation assistance. These sites are managed by volunteers that are certified by the IRS. Visit www.irs.gov/Individuals/Find-a-Location-for-Free-Tax-Prep to find a site in your state.
  • File your taxes online for free with MyFreeTaxes.com. The service helps people access free tax preparation and filing assistance services online at home, at a community center or with the help of a nonprofit partner.

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Money Mondays: Financial Wellness Resources from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

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Are you ready to gain control of your finances but unsure where to start?

Everyone needs good advice regarding their personal finances, but for people with disabilities, the barriers to financial independence can be especially high. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau may be able to help! The CFPB was founded in2011 to educate the public about managing personal finances, enforce laws governing banks, and compile information aimed at protecting consumers.

The CFPB is building a suite of resources designed to help you take control of your personal finances and get on the road to financial independence.

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Money Mondays: How to Create and Stick to Your Budget

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The new year is almost here and it is the perfect time to make some important financial decisions to start 2014 on the right track.

Did you get a job, a raise or a promotion this year? If you were lucky enough to increase your income in 2013, it might be the perfect time to create a budget if you haven’t done so already. The first step toward financial independence is developing a budget and then sticking to it, which can be hard during the holidays.

Here are steps to create a monthly budget so you can plan how to pay your expenses and save for your goals:

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Money Mondays: What You Should Know About Saving Your Money

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If you’ve used your Ticket, found a job, are keeping a budget and have started to save a little, you might still have questions about saving limits. In this post, we will share some ways you can manage your cash and benefits while saving.
 

The Saving Limit

If you receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI), you should make sure you are aware whether your total resources (for example, the total of your cash, checking and savings accounts, or stocks, bonds or IRAs) are within the program guidelines so that you can anticipate any changes to your cash benefits and avoid overpayments.

For example, if you receive SSI, the total for your countable resources cannot be more than $2,000 for an individual. You can own a home and one car for essential transportation, and the value of these items is not counted against the $2,000 resource limit. The limit is $3,000 for a couple. Remember, if you exceed cash benefit limits, your cash benefits will stop.

Certain assets are not counted when Social Security determines financial eligibility for SSI or your state determines financial eligibility for Medical Assistance. For a complete list of assets that are not counted, go to: http://www.socialsecurity.gov/ssi/textresources-ussi.htm.
 

Ways to Save and Receive Benefits

There are ways to save money while you are collecting benefits and trying work. In past posts we shared information about Plan to Achieve Self-Support (PASS), and an Individual Development Account (IDA). Today we are sharing another option, a Special Needs Trust.

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Money Mondays: Fall Round-up

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Work can be rewarding. For people with disabilities, returning to work or trying work for the first time can lead to more money and a more fulfilling life. Through work, many people meet their career and financial goals.

 

With the Ticket to Work program and Work Incentives you may discover a new career or return to a previous one to earn more money than receiving benefits. The program offers services and supports to guide you on your path to financial independence.

What does financial independence mean for people receiving disabilities?

  • Financial independence can mean being able to support yourself to meet your wants and needs with money that you earn from a job
  • It means being able to make choices and have options about what you buy, where you live, and what you do with your free time
  • It means not being limited by Social Security disability benefits and working your way off of cash benefits whenever possible

Learn what financial independence means to Lisa, Rob and Michelle, some of our Ticket to Work Success Stories who used the Ticket to Work program and Work Incentives to return to work or find a new job!

Think about how it would feel to have more money and get paid to do what you love. Through work, you can meet new people, learn new skills and contribute in meaningful ways.

Having more money from working can help you meet your career and personal goals, not to mention help reduce some stress. Check out some past Money Monday posts to help you get started on managing your money.

Money Mondays: Setting up a Bank Account
Money Mondays: Start Saving With Your New Bank Account
Money Mondays: Creating a Budget Today to Improve Your Tomorrow
Money Mondays: Know Your Credit

#Money MondaysRead more money savings tips and financial wellness at #MoneyMondays!

 

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Money Mondays: Lower Your Credit Card Interest

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When credit card users carry balances, one of their top priorities (besides paying down the balance) should be to lower their interest charges. Credit card balances and high finance charges cost you more money and can limit your financial options. And, if you let those balances continue to grow or just linger, they could keep you from achieving other important goals and dreams, such as buying a car, home or just being financially independent.

This week we are sharing some tips and strategies to lower your credit card interest rates to help you keep more money in your pocket.
 

What you should know first

  • Paying off high-interest credit card debt is an important step in the right direction. There are two ways to accomplish this:
    1. Decrease balances by paying down debt
    2. Get a lower interest rate.

While paying down debt requires cash, getting a lower credit card interest rate does not.

  • Get organized. You need to get organized. Gather up all your credit card information. Make note of the balance, interest rate, due date, and minimum payment for each card. Then, assess your situation. Ask yourself questions like: Do I have lots of balances spread out over many different cards? Do I have one big balance and several small ones? Have I consolidated my debt to one card but can't seem to make any headway on my balance? Have I been playing the balance transfer game for months and months?
     
  • Know your credit score. High credit card balances and interest rates also negatively impact your credit score. High balances also affect your credit score. Check your credit score and find out ways to improve it. Learn more in our post Money Mondays: Know Your Credit

Ask

If you weren’t given the lowest possible rate, and have reason to believe that that your credit score has gone up, call your bank and request to have your interest rate lowered. Many credit cards feature a range of interest rates, and the one you received depended on your credit worthiness at the time you applied. Maybe your situation has changed such as you are now working and earning more money.

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Money Mondays: Working Better Together!

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WorldatWork’s Alliance for Work-Life Progress established the month of October as National Work & Family Month (NWFM) in 2003. This year marks the 10th anniversary of NWFM and will focus on encouraging employers to think strategically about work-life benefits.

Work-life benefits and policies such as working from home, flexible schedules and health and wellness programs are especially important for people with disabilities who are pursuing financial independence. Many people on Social Security disability benefits find it more difficult to perform the work they did in the past due to their disability, so policies like working from home or flexible schedules can benefit them greatly.

Working from home can also help save money on work-related costs like transportation, National Work & Family 2013 logo food, clothing, childcare, and other assorted office expenses. According to Daily Finance, employees who work from home save around $4,300 annually on gas, food and clothes. However, one should be aware that there can also be some hidden costs when working from home, such as higher electricity, heating, cooling and phone bills. Here are a few tips to avoid higher hidden costs when working from home.

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