Archive for the ‘health’ Category

Are you having difficulty getting the pension or 401(k) plan funds you worked years to earn? Five pension counseling projects, funded through the U. S. Administration on Aging and serving plan participants and their beneficiaries in 22 states, can help!

The retirement system’s complexity and unresponsiveness can overwhelm the most tenacious retirees when they try to obtain the pensions they have earned. Companies change their names, merge or go bankrupt. They terminate, freeze and under-fund pensions. In some instances companies deny that employees worked for them, or they miscalculate pension benefits. Death or divorce can add difficulty in securing pension benefits. Solving these problems is the work of the pension counseling projects.

Since their inception in 1992, the pension counseling projects have obtained pension benefits valued at more than $75 million for workers and retirees who have earned them.

In most cases pension counseling projects confront a seemingly never-ending succession of brick walls to obtain what a retiree clearly appears to be entitled to. For example, a 62-year-old man from Connecticut worked for a large communications company for nearly 21 years, more than enough time to meet the legal requirements for vesting. He called the Pension Action Center at the University of Massachusetts Boston, utterly frustrated that after trying for more than a year, he was unable to get his pension.

First, company officials told him that they had no record of his employment. After he provided proof of his employment, they told him he must have worked in a position that was not covered by the pension plan. When he asked what that position was and why it was not covered, they said that they didn’t know because they had no records. The same baffling statements were initially repeated to the Pension Action Center.

Obtaining the legal documents that governed the plan proved that there was no basis for the statements. The documents specifically provided that “all employees” were pension plan participants and would accrue benefits under the plan. The Action Center filed a formal claim on the man’s behalf, pointing out the plan provisions and documenting his lengthy employment. After months of follow-up phone calls and letters, a favorable decision was received. The man received a monthly pension of more than $600 for his lifetime with an estimated value of more than $144,000.

Helping this man to get the benefits he had earned was gratifying, but the effort it took would anger and frustrate anyone who did not have the knowledge and persistence to finally win. That is what the pension counseling projects provide.

The pension counseling projects offer a unique and confidential service that is free of charge for individuals who need help. If either you, your company or pension plan is within a project’s service area, you may contact your project for help. Here are the pension counseling projects and the states they cover:

Mid-Atlantic Pension Rights Project
New York Pension Rights Office — (800) 355-7714

Serving New York and New Jersey
New England Pension Rights Project
Pension Action Center — (888) 425-6067

Serving Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont

Upper Mid-West Pension Rights Project
Minnesota Pension Rights Office — (866) 783-5021

Serving Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota and South Dakota

Iowa Pension Rights Office — (800) 992-8161

Serving Iowa

Western States Pension Rights Project
California Pension Rights Project — (916) 551-2140

Serving California, Nevada, Arizona and Hawaii

Mid-America Pension Rights Project
Michigan Pension Rights Office — (866) 735-7737

Serving Michigan, Tennessee and parts of Pennsylvania

Ohio Pension Rights Office — (866) 735-7737

Serving Ohio, Kentucky and parts of Pennsylvania

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Lorraine Hughes, Certified Herbalist

When we think about increasing our energy, sadly, us westerners will usually reach for something caffeinated.  Lorraine Hughes, a Certified Herbalist from Wappingers Falls has a different approach, one that is rooted in Chinese teachings thousands of years old.  Lorraine says “cultivating our life force increases our vitality.  How we nourish ourselves is always the root of who we are and how energetic we can be without depleting our essence.”  You are what you eat indeed.

Lorraine, who is the owner operator of Empowered By Nature, further explains that most people look outside themselves for the cause of their disease, when in fact they fail to recognize that only they have the power to initiate wellness.

Qi-Gong, also a discipline taught by Lorraine, is an essential modality of Chinese medicine used to assist our quest for balance of mind, body, and spirit.  Her next Qi-Gong classes will be held on Feb 19th, March 5th and 19th at the Inner Light Health Spa, located at 4158 Albany Post Road in Hyde Park.  For more information or to schedule a consultation visit her website here.

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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health and the American Heart Association, coronary heart disease is the number one killer of women and men in the United States. A 2009 survey by the American Heart Association indicates that a woman in the United States suffers a heart attack every minute.

In fact, women are twice as likely as men to experience nausea, vomiting, or indigestion during their heart attack. Because many women are unaware of the symptoms of a heart attack, they do not react properly and seek immediate help. Women are also more likely than men to have other conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure and congestive heart failure and, therefore, the need for timely medical response becomes even more crucial.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on Women’s Health has created a national public education campaign, “Make the Call. Don’t Miss a Beat” to educate women and their families about heart attack symptoms.

Symptoms include:

  • Unusually heavy pressure on the chest
  • Sharp upper body pain in the neck, back, and jaw
  • Severe shortness of breath
  • Cold sweats
  • Unusual or unexplained fatigue (tiredness)
  • Unfamiliar dizziness or light-headedness
  • Unexplained nausea (feeling sick to the stomach) or vomiting

For more information about women’s health, visit www.womenshealth.gov/heartattack.

Littman Krooks LLP offers legal services in several areas of law, including elder law, estate planning, veterans’ benefits, special needs planning, special education advocacy, and corporate and securities. The firm’s offices are located at 399 Knollwood Rd,. White Plains, New York; 655 Third Avenue, New York, New York; and 300 Westage Business Center Drive, Fishkill, New York. For more information about Littman Krooks LLP, visit www.littmankrooks.com.

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Well if not you are missing out on National Wear Red Day! The first Friday of every February since 2004 has been deemed “National Wear Red Day” created by  the American Heart Association. This day encourages women across the country to wear red in order to show support for fighting heart disease. The Go Red for Women campaign features a number of ways you can show your support, for more information the campaign’s website at  GoRedForWomen.org/WearRedDay. You can build your own fund-raising page and raise valuable dollars to help stop heart disease in our lifetimes.  Go to heart.org to find your local chapter and for more heart health facts.

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Breast Cancer. New directions are being explore. Check out some of  articles concerning breast cancer, exercise and diet using the link to the National Cancer Institute.

I found four facts that are worth considering:

FACT ONE:  Women who are heavier at the time of their breast cancer diagnosis and have gained weight during treatment are more likely to have a reoccurrence of their breast cancer.

FACT TWO:  Many cases of breast cancer can be avoided by losing weight after menopause according to a study by the Harvard Medical School.

FACT THREE: High levels of moderate and vigorous physical activity during adolescence may protect our kids from getting breast cancer.

FACT FOUR:  Most studies suggest that 30 to 60 minutes a day of moderate- to high-intensity physical activity is associated with a reduction in breast cancer. 

So the real question is, ‘Are we, women, willing to take control of our lives? Even though it is easier to grab a fast food restaurant hamburger are we willing to take a few minutes out of our day to eat a salad? (I fill up on Subway salads.)  And will we actually take the time to rev up our hearts by running, walking, joining a gym  or swimming?

We have more control over our lives than we are willing to admit or to accept responsibility for. It’s time for a change…NOW!

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Elderly Americans are facing overly strict standards when they apply for skilled nursing home care and home health care through Medicare, two federal courts recently decided.

The two courts, one in Pennsylvania and one in Vermont, ruled that the Obama administration’s standards were too strict and that some seniors have been unfairly denied home care.

The courts ruled against the government position that seniors are only entitled to home care if they can verify that their condition will improve because of it. They said that these rulings were a “failure to apply the correct legal standard”, and determined that seniors are entitled to Medicare coverage of home care if it will keep their condition from deteriorating or allow them to live life as they had been.

Before this ruling, elderly Americans with deteriorating conditions such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s may have had trouble receiving Medicare for home care, as their conditions often do not allow them to improve.

The court cited past rulings that decided Medicare law should be interpreted to best favor beneficiaries. In response, 17 Democrats from the House of Representatives sent the Obama administration a letter arguing against its Medicare policies.

The government has not yet responded to the case.

If you or a loved one has been denied Medicare coverage of home care, contact an experienced elder law attorney for assistance.

To learn more about New York elder law, New York estate planning, visit http://www.elderlawnewyork.com

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The phones have been ringing off the hook at the offices of the “Are You Okay?” program. Apparently, Dutchess Country residents are realizing the value of such a service and its potential for saving lives. The reassurance program, which is run by the Dutchess County Division of Aging, checks on seniors who live alone. The service is now experiencing a sudden surge in new applicants, after an 89-year-old East Fishkill man fell down on his walkway and died in the cold last week. Police say that Michael Zarrelli’s body was discovered by a neighbor. The elderly man apparently slipped outside his home and was unable to get back up. County officials say the incident has served as a wake- up call for some of the county’s elderly. There have been many new applications for the service, which is run conjunction with the Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office. Under the program, seniors are greeted with a daily computer generated phone call, asking them, “Are you okay?”  If the person fails to respond after fifteen minutes, the Sheriff’s Office will contact a relative and if necessary, an officer will be sent to the home to investigate. If you’re a Dutchess County Resident who would like to participate in “Are You Okay?” , contact the Division of Aging online or at 845-486-2555.

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