Center For Siouxland Offers a Representative Payee Program

Thu, Nov 16th, 2017

Center For Siouxland offers a Representative Payee Program for recipients of Social Security (SSA) disability benefits who have insecure housing, behavioral health issues, substance abuse, developmental disabilities, and for disabled individuals who cannot manage their own finances.  We use our secure, confidential system to receive and track income and pay monthly bills for vulnerable local residents.  Below is a list of some of the services we provide.

  • Pay rent, utilities and other fixed bills on time and make sure remaining income is used appropriately.

  • Help individuals meet basic needs and avoid homelessness, malnutrition, and other risks associated with disability

  • Assist clients respectfully and with compassion

  • Prevent exploitation by family members or acquaintances

  • Provide an alternative way for loving family members to manage a relative’s care

  • Link clients to benefits such as food stamps and Medicaid

  • Encourage client participation in budgeting and managing bills for a greater sense of empowerment

Pictured are our Financial Case Managers, from left Sarah Kleve, Patty Peck and Kellie Aslani.  Call Center For Siouxland at 712-252-1861 today for more information.

Money Monday - Tax Refund Loans

Tue, Nov 14th, 2017

Money Monday - Tax Refund Loans 

If you find yourself expecting a tax refund, you may wonder if there is a way to get your hands on that cash a bit sooner. The good news is you probably can. This can also be the bad news. Although the idea of getting some cash into your hands right now may seem appealing, it could turn out to be an expensive decision in the long run…very expensive. Several years ago, regulators stopped tax refund loans that charged exorbitant interest rates. The newest incarnation — the “interest-free tax refund loan” offered by tax preparation services may not be as benign as it seems.

People typically must pay tax preparation fees to get the loans for a portion of their refunds. Those fees — for services they might not pay for except to get the refund loan — can represent a sizable chunk of the loan. For example, a $200 fee represents an annual percentage rate equivalent to 480% on a one-month $500 loan. If the loan were $1,000, the APR would still be 240%.  That’s a pretty steep fee just to have someone fill out a few forms and get your tax refund a few days earlier.  In most cases, you’re better off just waiting for your refund. The IRS estimates that you'll get your refund in roughly ten days if you e-file and use direct deposit.

Many taxpayers can avoid paying anything for tax preparation by using places where they can get their tax return prepared for free and filed electronically. Center For Siouxland’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program (VITA) provides FREE tax service to the Siouxland area. File your taxes as soon as possible to get your refund as soon as possible.

If you absolutely must borrow immediately, look for less expensive alternatives. A tax preparer does your taxes — that’s not the best place to get a loan.

 If you get a refund, try to save at least some of it. Even a few hundred dollars in emergency funds can be enough to weather small financial shocks, break the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle and start down the path to a healthier financial life.

 

Center For Siouxland's VITA Program is Seeking Volunteers

Tue, Nov 7th, 2017

Money Monday - Great Iowa Treasure Hunt

Mon, Nov 6th, 2017

Money Monday – Great Iowa Treasure Hunt

Each year, millions of dollars in bank accounts, stock certificates, checks, insurance checks, bonds and dividends are turned over to the state of Iowa because the owner cannot be located.

Some of this money could belong to you! 

Unclaimed property laws began in the United States as a consumer protection program and they have evolved to protect not only the owners, but also their heirs and estates.  Unclaimed property includes, but is not limited to, abandoned financial assets such as checking and savings accounts, unpaid wages, securities, life insurance payouts, uncashed checks and the contents of safe deposit boxes that are without activity for a certain period of time. It does not include real estate or vehicles.

The organization holding the original obligation is required to make every effort to contact the owner and establish activity. If they are not able to make contact, the asset is reported to the state of the owner’s last known address.  Once property is in the custody of the state of Iowa, outreach begins through mailings, fairs and various events around the state, social media, advertisements and local media coverage. The state will maintain custody of the property in perpetuity until the rightful owner or heirs come forward to claim.

The Great Iowa Treasure Hunt program has returned more than $209 million in unclaimed property to more than 489,000 people since it started in 1983.  The state treasurer's office provides this service free of charge.

 Take a couple of minutes today to look for your name, family, or friends at http://www.greatiowatreasurehunt.gov

 

Money Monday - Don't Take This Secret to the Grave!

Mon, Oct 30th, 2017

Money Monday – Don’t Take This Secret to the Grave!  The location of your estate-planning papers shouldn't be a secret you take to the grave.  According to surveys only a third of people have told their heirs where they can find key documents like their will or powers of attorney.  In many states, if heirs can't find your will, the law presumes you revoked it and destroyed it. That could mean state intestacy laws determine who gets your assets, which may not be who you'd prefer.  It could also mean if someone finds an older version of your will, that's the one that stands, even if your wishes or family dynamics have changed.

Here's how to manage these critical documents:

1) Secure originals in a safe place

Keeping them safe is vital. A court may not accept copies or digital files as a replacement for lost original wills, especially if someone is contesting the estate, it becomes "he said-she said" as to whether you intentionally destroyed the original, or it was accidentally misplaced. States may also require originals of healthcare proxies or powers of attorney for your agent to act on your behalf.  Maintain each original document in its own sealed and marked envelope, which can help ensure pages don't go missing, or get jumbled with other documents. As for where, the best place to keep your original documents is in a fire-proof box or safe in your own home.  Some people prefer to keep originals with their attorney; although that isn't the best option for documents you'd need in an emergency, like a healthcare proxy.  Don't put these papers in a safe deposit box, at best, that limits family access to when the bank is open, which may not be convenient in a crisis.  State laws and bank policies also vary in who can access the box, for your protection. If you haven't properly set up access for your heirs, they may need a court order to do so should you become incapacitated or after your death. A power of attorney for financial transactions might help, but not if the paperwork your agent would need is in the box.

2) Provide key players with copies.

Financial professionals you work with, including your financial advisor, accountant and attorney, should all have copies of your estate documents. It's smart to have a copy in a neutral player's hands. Those pros can also help nudge you to make updates, as they notice changes in your personal and financial details.  Put copies in the hands of trusted family members, too, especially if they are named to make health care decisions or take financial actions on your behalf should you become incapacitated.  "Whoever you have appointed needs to have copies of those documents, and if you don't want them to have a copy, you need to reconsider why you appointed them."

3) Disclose what's where.

Even if you'd prefer to keep the location of your will close to the vest, someone other than your spouse should know where important documents are kept. That helps ensure your papers are found quickly, should both of you be injured in the same accident or pass away in close proximity.  All of the financial professionals you work with should know where you keep your original documents, to help in such a circumstance.  Any trusted family members or friends you alert should also be given access to any information they might need, he said. For example, the combination to your home safe or the location of its key, or your attorney's contact details if he or she has the original documents.

4) Manage outdated versions.

After you update a will, power of attorney or other key documents, destroy the old versions so that there's no confusion over which version reflects your current wishes.  Use a cross-cut shredder, get rid of them.  Any time you make changes; repeat the above steps to make sure all your key parties have updated information, copies or originals as necessary. Any time you make changes to your team of financial professionals, follow the same protocol, he said, to ensure your family knows who to reach out to now, and that that pro has the latest document versions.  That way there's no weak link.

 

© 2017 Center For Siouxland. All Rights Reserved. website by J.D. Gordon