How to Slow Down Cognitive Aging

Are there any proven strategies for preventing cognitive decline? I have a family history of dementia and worry about my own memory and cognitive abilities as I grow older. What can you tell me?


For most people, starting in their fifties and sixties, the brain's ability to remember names, multi-task or learn something new starts declining. While our genes (which we cannot control) play a key role in determining our cognitive aging, our general health (which we do have some control over) plays a big factor too.

Here are some healthy lifestyle strategies — recommended by medical experts — that you can employ to help stave off cognitive loss and maybe even build a stronger brain.

Manage health problems: Studies have shown that cognitive problems are related to health conditions, like diabetes, heart disease and even depression. So, if you have high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes, you should try to treat them with lifestyle changes and medication (if necessary) and get them under control. If you have a history of depression, you need to talk to your doctor about treatment options.

Exercise: Aerobic exercise increases blood flow to all parts of your body, including your brain, keeping your brain cells well nourished. So, choose an aerobic activity you enjoy such as walking, cycling, dancing, swimming, etc., that elevates your heart rate and do it for at least 30 to 40 minutes three times a week.

Eat healthy: A heart-healthy diet, like the Mediterranean diet, may also help protect the brain. A Mediterranean diet includes relatively little red meat and emphasizes whole grains, fruits and vegetables, fish and shellfish and nuts, olive oil and other healthy fats. Keep processed foods and sweets to a minimum.

Get some sleep: Quality, restful sleep contributes to brain health too. Typically, adults should get between seven and nine hours of sleep daily. If you have persistent problems sleeping, you need to identify and address the problem. Medications, late-night exercise and alcohol can interfere with sleep quality and length, as can arthritis pain, sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome.

If you need help, make an appointment with a sleep specialist who will probably recommend an overnight diagnostic sleep test.

Challenge your mind: Some research suggests that mind challenging activities can help improve memory and slow age-related mental decline. But, be aware that these activities consist of things you are not accustomed to doing. For example, crossword puzzles are not enough to challenge your brain, if you are already a regular puzzle doer. Instead, you need to pick up a new skill, like learning to dance, playing a musical instrument, studying a new language or working through math problems — something that is challenging and a little outside your comfort zone.

Brain-training websites may be good mind exercising tools because they continually adapt to your skill level to keep you challenged.

Socializing and interacting with other people is another important way to stimulate the brain. So make a point to reach out and stay connected to friends, family and neighbors. Join a club, take a class or even volunteer — anything that enhances your social life.

Do not smoke or drink excessively: Smoking and excessive alcohol consumption affect the brain in a negative way. It is recommended that you kick the habit if you smoke and, if you drink, do so only in moderation.

Reduce stress: Some stress is good for the brain, but too much can be toxic. There is growing evidence that things like mindfulness meditation, yoga and tai chi are all good ways to help reduce stress.

Savvy Living is written by Jim Miller, a regular contributor to the NBC Today Show and author of "The Savvy Living” book. Any links in this article are offered as a service and there is no endorsement of any product. These articles are offered as a helpful and informative service to our friends and may not always reflect this organization’s official position on some topics. Jim invites you to send your senior questions to: Savvy Living, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070.

Published February 1, 2019

Could You Have Glaucoma?

What are the warning signs for glaucoma? My 65-year-old brother lost some of his vision because of this disease but never had a clue anything was wrong. Could I be at risk too?

It is called the "silent thief of sight" for a reason. With no early warning signs or pain, most people that have glaucoma do not realize it until their vision begins to deteriorate. Here is what you should know.

Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that can damage the optic nerve and cause vision loss and blindness if left untreated. This typically happens because the fluids in the eye do not drain properly, causing increased pressure in the eyeball.

There are two main types of glaucoma, but the most common form that typically affects older individuals is called open-angle glaucoma. This disease develops very slowly when the eye's drainage canals become clogged over time, leading to blind spots in the peripheral or side vision. By the time it is noticeable, permanent damage is already done.

Are You at Risk?


It is estimated that more than 3 million Americans have glaucoma today, but that number is expected to surge to more than 4 million by 2030. If you answer "yes" to any of the following questions, you may have an increased risk of developing it.
  • Are you African American, Hispanic/Latino American or Asian American?
  • Are you over age 60?
  • Do you have an immediate family member with glaucoma?
  • Do you have diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, migraines or extreme nearsightedness?
  • Have you had a past eye injury?
  • Have you used corticosteroids (for example, eye drops, pills, inhalers or creams) for long periods of time?

What to Do


Early detection is the key to treating glaucoma. If you are age 40 or older and have any of the previously listed risk factors, you should get a comprehensive eye examination every year or two. If you notice some loss of peripheral vision, go to the eye doctor right away.

If you are a Medicare beneficiary, annual eye examinations are covered for those at high risk of being diagnosed with glaucoma. If you do not have vision coverage, check into EyeCare America, a national program that provides free glaucoma eye exams without income requirements. Visit EyeCareAmerica.org or call 877-887-6327 to learn more.

While there is currently no cure for glaucoma, most cases can be treated with prescription eye drops, which reduce eye pressure and can prevent further vision loss. It cannot, however, restore vision that has already been lost from glaucoma. If eye drops do not work, your doctor may recommend oral medication, laser treatments, incisional surgery or a combination of these methods.

For more information about glaucoma, visit the National Eye Institute at NEI.nih.gov, or the Glaucoma Research Foundation.

Salem Community Schools Employees Give Back

 Not everyone can do everything, but everyone can do something and those somethings add up. In this case, the somethings are a couple of dollars out of each paycheck for Salem Community Schools employees that choose to give to the Salem Community Schools Giving Tree Fund.  

This year, seven Salem Community Schools employees were awarded grants from the fund.

Third grade teacher, Emily Johnson, custodian, Matt Gorman, IT specialist Don Stinnette, and Aaron Pickett, fifth grade teacher have joined forces to bring a makerspace to Bradie Shrum Elementary School.  The space will be available for any classroom in grades K-5 and has the capability to be utilized by after-school programs as well.  The space will consist of both consumable and non-consumable items such as sewing machines, K’nex, building bricks, robots, and microbits.

Pam Barry’s Kindergarten class will be continuing to build their “Kinder Garden” with the purchase of a new Lego wall.

Students in Jenisa Collier’s Kindergarten class will start their training to be engineers.  She was awarded a grant to purchase materials for STEM education to design, build, and test one-of-a-kind creations.

Kindergarten students will also be learning to code.  Materials will be shared in all Kindergarten classrooms to promote critical thinking and problem solving skills.  Students will code Botley robots which will open the door to the world or robotics and coding.

Allison Brown’s second grade classroom will be improving mindfulness and movement through literacy with the addition of yoga mats, mediation cushions, and books to support learning in a wide variety of skill areas such as movement patters, spatial concepts, social interactions, emotional regulation, and language and literacy skills to develop self-awareness.

Washington County Community Foundation is a nonprofit public charity established in 1993 to serve donors, award grants, and provide leadership to improve Washington County forever

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Can You Deduct Medicare Costs on Your Income Taxes?

Can I deduct my Medicare premiums, deductibles and copayments on my income taxes? I had knee replacement surgery last year and spent quite a bit on medical care out-of-pocket and would like to know what I can write off.

The short answer is yes, you can deduct your Medicare costs, but only if you meet certain conditions established by the IRS. Here is how it works.

As a taxpayer, you are allowed to deduct many medical and dental expenses as well as your Medicare out-of-pocket costs. But you can only deduct those expenses that exceed 7.5% of your 2018 adjusted gross income (AGI), if you itemize your deductions. Next year (the 2019 tax season), the threshold will rise to 10%.

Here is an example. Suppose that your AGI in 2018 was $50,000. Of that amount, 7.5% is $3,750. If your total allowable medical expenses last year were $8,000, you would be able to deduct $4,250 ($8,000 minus $3,750). But, if your medical expenses were less than $3,750, you could not claim a deduction for your medical expenses.

You also need to understand that when taking a medical expense deduction, you do not get back every dollar you claim. While a tax credit reduces your taxes dollar-for-dollar, tax deductions simply reduce your taxable income, and your savings ultimately depend on the effective rate at which you are taxed. So, for example, if you qualify for a $4,250 deduction and your effective tax rate is 22%, you would get $935 in savings from that particular deduction.

To claim this deduction, you will need to file an itemized Schedule A with your tax return on Form 1040. You cannot claim a deduction for medical expenses on Form 1040A or Form 1040EZ.

Allowable Medical Expenses


The list of allowable medical expenses, as defined by the IRS, is long and fairly flexible. As a Medicare beneficiary, you can deduct your monthly premiums for Part B, Part C (Medicare Advantage plans), Part D drug plans and any supplemental (Medigap) insurance you have. If you pay a premium for Part A, a deduction is available for that too. You can also deduct the cost of all your deductibles, coinsurance and copayments under Medicare.

In addition, you are also allowed to deduct the cost of medical services not covered by Medicare, including dental treatment, vision care, prescription eyeglasses, hearing aids and even long-term care. Transportation to and from medical treatment also counts as an eligible medical expense. If necessary, you may even be able to deduct home alterations and equipment, like entrance ramps, grab bars, stair lifts and other items that can help you age in place.

Some things, however, cannot be deducted. The cost of vitamins and supplements, unless recommended by a physician to treat a specific medical condition, are not deductible. You also cannot deduct Medicare late penalties added to Part B or Part D premiums. Medicare beneficiaries who fail to sign up during their initial enrollment period are typically hit with a penalty that gets added to their monthly premiums, but these additional costs will not count for tax purposes.

For more information, including a detailed rundown of allowable and unallowable medical expenses, see IRS Publication 502 "Medical and Dental Expenses" at IRS.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p502.pdf or call the IRS at 800-829-3676 and ask them to mail you a copy.

Savvy Living is written by Jim Miller, a regular contributor to the NBC Today Show and author of "The Savvy Living” book. Any links in this article are offered as a service and there is no endorsement of any product. These articles are offered as a helpful and informative service to our friends and may not always reflect this organization’s official position on some topics. Jim invites you to send your senior questions to: Savvy Living, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070.

Smart Home Devices That Can Help With Aging In Place

I recently read an article about how "smart home" devices can help with aging in place. What types of smart home products can you recommend that can help with this?


There are actually a wide variety of affordable smart home devices you can add to your home that can help make it safer and easier to live in as you age. Here is what you should know.

Smart Home Technologies


While most Americans today use technology and enjoy the conveniences it provides, there are many who still do not have much use for it. But you do not have to like technology or be tech savvy to benefit from the many different smart home automation devices that can help with aging in place.

Smart home devices can also give family members and caregivers the ability to electronically keep tabs on a loved one from afar, which provides peace of mind.

If you are interested in adding some smart home products to your house, you need to know that these devices require home Wi-Fi. For many of the products, you will need a smartphone, tablet or voice-enabled assistant to operate them. Here are some popular smart home products to help you get started.

Voice-enabled assistant: Popular products like the Amazon Echo, Google Assistant and Apple HomePod will let you operate compatible smart home products with simple voice commands.

These devices can also play your favorite music, read audiobooks, make calls, set timers and alarms, provide reminders for appointments and to take medications, check traffic and weather, ask questions, and much more - all done by voice command.

Smart lights: The risk of a fall, a common concern among the elderly, can be elevated by fumbling around a dark room looking for a light switch. Smart light bulbs can be turned on and off by voice command, smartphone or tablet. These bulbs can also be dimmed and can be programmed to turn on and off whenever you want. There are also smart electric plugs that offer remote control automation for lamps, fans, or other electrical devices.

Video doorbell: Safety is also a concern for individuals who live alone. Smart doorbells allow you to see, hear and speak to someone at the door via smartphone, tablet or smart display without having to open it.

Stovetop shut-off: To help prevent home cooking fires, stovetop shut-off devices use motion sensors to turn off electric and gas stovetops when left unattended for a predetermined amount of time. These devices may also alert family members via text message.

Medication management: Individuals on a complex medication schedule may benefit from a smart medication tracking system that can remind them when pills are due, tracks when pills were taken and notifies loves ones.

Home monitoring: Family members can keep tabs on older loved ones from afar with smart home video cameras or a smart home sensor system.

Other options: Some other helpful smart home products to consider might include smart door locks and smart thermostats, which can enable family members to unlock doors or change the thermostat from afar. Smart nightlights can provide peace of mind and some can detect falls and alert caregivers in case of a fall.

The price for smart home products ranges anywhere from a few dollars to several hundred dollars. These products may be found in many local home improvement stores as well as online.

Savvy Living is written by Jim Miller, a regular contributor to the NBC Today Show and author of "The Savvy Living” book. Any links in this article are offered as a service and there is no endorsement of any product. These articles are offered as a helpful and informative service to our friends and may not always reflect this organization’s official position on some topics. Jim invites you to send your senior questions to: Savvy Living, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070.

Published January 11, 2019

What You Should Know About Your Aging Parents' Finances

My siblings and I do not know much about our elderly parents' financial situation or their wishes if something happens to them. When mom broke her hip last year, it got me thinking we need to be better prepared. What is the best way to handle this, and what should we know?

Many adult children do not know much about their elderly parents' financial situation or end-of-life plans, but they should. Getting up to speed on your parents' finances, insurance policies, long-term care plans and other information is important because someday you might have to help them handle their financial affairs, manage their care or execute their estate plan after they die. Without this information, your job becomes much more difficult. Here are some tips that can help.

Have the Conversation


If you are uncomfortable talking to your parents about this topic, use this column as a prompt or start by talking about your own finances or estate plan as a way to ease into it. Also see TheConversationProject.org, which offers free kits that can help you kick-start these discussions.

It is also a good idea to get your siblings involved. This can help you head off possible hard feelings. Plus, with others involved, your parents will know everyone is concerned.

When you talk with your parents, you should begin collecting certain information. Find out where they keep key documents and how they want certain things handled when they die or if they become incapacitated. Here is a checklist of areas to focus on.

PERSONAL & HEALTH INFORMATION


    • Contacts: Make a list of names and phone numbers of their doctors, lawyer, accountant, broker, tax preparer, insurance agent, etc.

    • Medical information: Make a copy of their medical histories (any drug allergies, past surgeries, etc.) and a list of medications they take.

    • Personal documents: Find out where they keep important documents, such as Social Security cards, marriage license, military discharge papers, etc.

    • Secured places: Make a list of places they keep under lock and key or protected by passwords, such as online accounts, safe deposit boxes, safe combination, security alarms, etc.

    • Pets: If they have any pets, find out what their instructions are for their animals' care.

    • End of life: What are their wishes for organ or body donation? What are their funeral instructions? If they have made pre-arrangements with a funeral home, get a copy of the agreement.

LEGAL DOCUMENTS


    • Will: Do they have an updated will or trust? If so, where is it located?

    • Power of attorney: Do they have a power of attorney document that names someone to handle their financial matters if they become incapacitated?

    • Advance directives: Do they have a living will and a medical power of attorney that spells out their wishes regarding end-of-life medical treatment? If they do not have these documents prepared, now is the time to make them.

FINANCIAL RECORDS


    • Debts and liabilities: Make a list of any loans, leases or debts they have, including mortgages, car loans, medical bills and credit card debts. Also, make a list of all their credit and charge cards, including the card numbers and contact information.

    • Financial accounts: Make a list of their bank and brokerage accounts (checking, savings, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, IRAs, etc.) and contact information for these accounts.

    • Company benefits: Make a list of any retirement plans, pensions or benefits from their former employers, including the contact information of the benefits administrator.

    • Insurance: Make a list of the insurance policies they have (life, long-term care, home, auto, Medicare, etc.) including the policy numbers, agents and phone numbers.

    • Property: Make a list of the real estate, vehicles or other properties they own, rent or lease and where they keep the deeds, titles and loan or lease agreements.

    • Taxes: Find out where they keep copies of past years' tax returns.

For more tips, see the Eldercare Locator publication "Let's Talk: Starting the Conversation about Health, Legal, Financial and End-of-Life Issues" at N4A.org/files/Conversations.pdf.

Savvy Living is written by Jim Miller, a regular contributor to the NBC Today Show and author of "The Savvy Living” book. Any links in this article are offered as a service and there is no endorsement of any product. These articles are offered as a helpful and informative service to our friends and may not always reflect this organization’s official position on some topics. Jim invites you to send your senior questions to: Savvy Living, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070.

The Retirement Benefits of a Health Savings Account

What can you tell me about health savings accounts? I have been reading that they are a great investment that can help with growing health care costs when I retire.

A health savings account is a fantastic financial tool that can help you build up a tax-free stash of money for medical expenses now and after you retire — but there is a catch. To qualify, you must have a high-deductible health insurance policy.

How They Work


Health savings accounts (or HSAs) have become increasingly popular over the past few years as health care costs continue to skyrocket and more and more Americans obtain high-deductible health plans.

The benefit of a HSA is the triple tax advantage that it offers: Your HSA contributions can be deducted pretax from your paycheck, lowering your taxable income, the money in the account grows tax-free and if you use the money for eligible medical expenses, withdrawals are tax-free. If you change jobs, your HSA moves with you.

To qualify, your health insurance policy deductible must be at least $1,350 for an individual or $2,700 for a family. In 2018, you can contribute up to $3,450 if you have single health insurance coverage, or up to $6,900 for family coverage. In 2019 you can contribute slightly more — up to $3,500 for single coverage or up to $7,000 for family coverage. In addition, individuals age 55 and older can contribute an extra $1,000 to their HSAs each year. But, be aware that you cannot make contributions after you sign up for Medicare.

The money in your HSA account can be used for out-of-pocket medical expenses, including deductibles, co-payments, Medicare premiums, prescription drugs, vision and dental care either now or when you retire (see IRS.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p502.pdf, page 5, for a complete list of covered expenses). You can use your HSA for yourself, your spouse and your tax dependents.

Unlike a flexible spending account, an HSA does not require you to use money in the account by the end of the year. Rather, HSA funds roll over year to year and continue to grow tax-free in your HSA account for later use. In fact, you will get a bigger tax benefit if you use other cash for current medical expenses and grow the HSA over time. Be sure to hold on to your receipts for medical expenses after you open your HSA, even if you pay those bills with cash, so you can claim the expenses later. After you open an account, there is no time limit for withdrawing the money for eligible medical expenses.

Be aware that if you use your HSA funds for non-medical expenses, you will be required to pay taxes on the withdrawal, plus a 20% penalty. The penalty is waived for those 65 and older. However, individuals age 65 and older who use HSA funds for non-medical expenses will still pay ordinary income tax on those withdrawals.

How to Open an HSA


You should first check with your employer to see if they offer an HSA and if they will contribute to it. If not, you can open an HSA through many banks, brokerage firms and other financial institutions as long as you have a qualified high-deductible health insurance policy.

If you plan to keep the money growing for the future, look for an HSA administrator that offers a portfolio of mutual funds for long-term investing and has low fees. HealthEquity, OptumBank and the HSA Authority and Bank of America are the top ranked HSA providers for long-term investing according to the investment research firm Morningstar. To search for providers, visit HSAsearch.com.

After setting up your HSA plan, adding money is pretty straightforward. Most plans let you make online transfers from your bank, send checks directly or set up a payroll deduction if offered by your employer. To access your HSA funds, many plans provide a debit card, some offer a checkbook and most allow for reimbursement.

Savvy Living is written by Jim Miller, a regular contributor to the NBC Today Show and author of "The Savvy Living” book. Any links in this article are offered as a service and there is no endorsement of any product. These articles are offered as a helpful and informative service to our friends and may not always reflect this organization’s official position on some topics. Jim invites you to send your senior questions to: Savvy Living, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070.

Does Medicare Cover Dental Care?

I will turn 65 in a few months and will be enrolling in Medicare, but I am concerned about my dental care coverage. Does Medicare cover dental procedures? If it does not, where can I get dental coverage?


Medicare's coverage of dental care is extremely limited. It will not cover routine dental care, including checkups, cleanings or fillings, or pay for dentures. 

Medicare will, however, cover some dental services if they are required to protect your general health. Coverage may also be provided if the dental care is required in connection with another health service that is covered by Medicare. For example, if you have cancer and need specific dental services in order to undergo radiation treatment or if you need surgery to treat fractures of the jaw or face, Medicare will pay for these dental services. 

Although Medicare's coverage of dental services is limited, there are other ways you can secure affordable care and coverage. Here are several options to consider:

Consider a Medicare Advantage plan: While dental services are mostly excluded under original Medicare, some Medicare Advantage plans do provide coverage for routine dental care. If you are considering joining a Medicare Advantage plan, find out what dental services, if any, the plan covers. Also, remember to make sure any Medicare Advantage plan you are considering covers the doctors and hospitals you prefer to use and the medications you take at a cost you can afford. See Medicare.gov/find-a-plan or call 800-633-4227 to research plans in your area.

Purchase dental insurance: If you have frequent gum problems or need extensive dental care, a dental insurance plan may be worth the cost. Expect to pay monthly premiums of $15 to $40 or more for insurance. To find dental plans in your state, go to NADP.org and use the "find a dental plan" tool. 

Consider dental savings plans: While savings plans are not as comprehensive as insurance, they are a good option for those who cannot receive coverage. With a savings plan, you will pay an annual membership fee — around $80 to $200 a year — in exchange for 10 to 60% discounts on services and treatments from participating dentists. To find a savings plan, go to DentalPlans.com or call 888-632-5353 to search for plans and participating dentists, as well as to get a breakdown of the discounts offered. 

Check veterans' benefits: If you are a veteran enrolled in the VA health care program or are a beneficiary of the Civilian Health and Medical Program (CHAMPVA), the VA offers a dental insurance program that provides you the option to buy dental insurance through Delta Dental or MetLife at a reduced cost. The VA also provides free dental care to veterans who have dental problems resulting from service. To learn more about these options, visit VA.gov/dental or call 877-222-8387.

Shop around: There are websites, such as FairHealthConsumer.org and HealthcareBlueBook.com, which allow you look up the costs of different dental procedures in your area so you can comparison shop. In addition, consider asking your regular dentist if he or she offers any discounts.

Try community health centers or dental schools: There are many health centers and clinics that provide low-cost dental care to those in need. In addition, most university dental schools and college dental hygiene programs offer dental care and cleanings for less than half of what you would pay at a dentist's office. Students who are supervised by their professors provide the care. See ToothWisdom.org to search for a center, clinic or school near you.

Savvy Living is written by Jim Miller, a regular contributor to the NBC Today Show and author of "The Savvy Living” book. Any links in this article are offered as a service and there is no endorsement of any product. These articles are offered as a helpful and informative service to our friends and may not always reflect this organization’s official position on some topics. Jim invites you to send your senior questions to: Savvy Living, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070.

Published December 21, 2018

Have You Checked Your Social Security Statement for Errors?

I have heard that Social Security sometimes makes mistakes on our earnings records, which can reduce our monthly retirement benefits. How can I make sure this doesn't happen to me?

Mistakes in the Social Security earnings record are not uncommon. Your Social Security benefits are calculated based on your average earnings during the 35 years in which you earned the most. So, if your earnings for any particular year are underreported, it can reduce your benefits.

Errors typically occur because employers either report earnings incorrectly or report earnings using the wrong name or Social Security number. Errors might also occur if you got married or divorced and changed your name but did not report the change to Social Security.

Check Your Statement


The best way to keep an eye on your benefits and avoid any possible mistakes is to carefully review your Social Security statement every year. To do this, go to SSA.gov/myaccount to view your statement.

If you are age 60 or older, are not yet receiving benefits and do not have a My Social Security account online, your statement will be mailed to you about three months before your birthday. Your Social Security statement lists your earnings record for each year of employment and estimates the benefits you and your family may receive as a result of those earnings.

Once you receive your statement, take some time to verify its accuracy by comparing the earnings listed on your statement with your own tax records or W-2 statements. You must correct errors within three years, three months and 15 days following the year of the mistake.

If you happen to spot a discrepancy within the permitted time limit, first, call your nearest Social Security office (see SSA.gov/locator or call 800-772-1213) to report the error. Some corrections can be made over the phone. You may need to schedule an appointment and go in with copies of your W-2 forms or tax returns to prove the mistake or mail in the requested documents.

If you suspect a discrepancy, but do not have backup records, the Social Security Administration (SSA) may be able to use your employment information to search its records and correct mistakes. If the SSA cannot locate your records, you will need to contact the employer to obtain a copy of your W-2 for the year in question.

Once your earnings record is corrected, Social Security will send you a confirmation letter. If you do not receive the confirmation within three months, contact them again and double-check the correction by making sure it appears on your Social Security statement.

If corrections are not made on your statement, you can choose to appeal (see SSA.gov/pubs/EN-05-10041.pdf).

Other Mistakes


Social Security earnings miscalculations can also happen if there is a mistake in the current mailing address that the IRS has on file for you. Check your federal tax returns for this possible error, especially if you have moved recently.

To correct your address, contact the IRS at 800-829-3676 and ask them to mail you the "Change of Address" form 8822. Alternatively, you can print a copy of the form (IRS.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f8822.pdf), fill it out and mail it to the address on the form.

If your name or date of birth in the SSA's records is not the same as it appears in the IRS files then this could lead to mistakes. Double-check your Social Security statement for these possible mishaps. If you find an error call 800-772-1213 and ask for Form SS-5, "Application for a Social Security Card," to submit with the correct information. The form can also be downloaded at SSA.gov/forms/ss-5.pdf.

Savvy Living is written by Jim Miller, a regular contributor to the NBC Today Show and author of "The Savvy Living” book. Any links in this article are offered as a service and there is no endorsement of any product. These articles are offered as a helpful and informative service to our friends and may not always reflect this organization’s official position on some topics. Jim invites you to send your senior questions to: Savvy Living, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070.

Published December 14, 2018

Free Basketball Tickets for Students of Salem Community Schools

Due to the generosity of Stanley Colglazier and his daughter, Sara Colglazier, to the Washington County Community Foundation, students of Salem Community Schools will receive free tickets to the January 5, 2019 JV and Varsity basketball games versus the Wolfpack of Crawford County.  Students may enter through any door accessible to the gymnasium and will need to sign-in for entrance to the game.   Salem students are strongly encouraged to wear Salem or black and gold attire.  The tickets are available for students attending Salem Community Schools in grades K-12; however, students in elementary school are required to be accompanied by an adult.  Be sure to take advantage of these free tickets as the Lions face off against the Crawford County.  For questions regarding tickets, please call the Washington County Community Foundation at 883-7334 or SHS athletic director, Hank Weedin at 883-3904. 

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