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Harikrishna Majumdar
By Harikrishna Majmundar -


Q: I am not an American citizen. I migrated to this country in 2001. I stay in Florida. Am I eligible for Medicare?

A: People on green card are eligible for Medicare after five years of continual stay without a break of more than six months. E-mail me at for further investigation of your claim.

Q: Going to the welfare office has become a nightmare these days. When our children are too busy to accompany us, what is the best way of dealing with the welfare officials?

A: The officials of the wefare offices are unsympathetic. I agree. A social worker who knows the welfare rules thoroughly and has a tact to deal with the officials is indispensable. Other communities such as Chinese, Japanese, Koreans, etc. have well-organized institutions. The person in charge is paid $5,000 a month. The funds are raised from he community and membership fees and members contributions. We have so far avoided that and managed with help from friends and relatives. Those who stay with their children and get free board and lodging can and should spend half their allowances for community work.

Q: I am too old to pass the citizenship test. As I am not an American citizen and have come after Aug. 22, 1996, I do not get any welfare benefits? Is there any alternative?

A: It is worth trying to apply for citizenship even if you feel you are too old to pass the test. Get a medical certificate and send your application. This year is the most ideal year to get citizenship.

Q: I arrived in October 1996 and for a delay of 45 days, I was treated like one who has arrived in 2006 for the purpose of welfare benefits. I am old and I cannot work since both my hands are paralyzed. Am I doomed?

A: No, please, you have an advantage over people who arrived after 1998 you are eligible for disability Supplemental Security Income (SSI) because your sponsor had given an old affidavit I-134. Please apply, you are bound to get SSI.

Q: I just got American citizenship. I am now 65 years and 4 months old. My SSI was refused because I had a house in my village and a plot attached to it. In the village, nobody is prepared to buy my house because of a cemetery visible from my four back windows. I told this fact but SSI people do not believe it. Do you suggest any way out of it?

A: There is a rule of conditional payment of SSI subject to your making efforts to sell the house. You get the market value from the assessor and advertise. If you do not get any buyer paying upto two-third of the market value for a period of nine months, your conditional SSI will be restored and you will get medical benefits immediately.

Q: I went to India to celebrate my birth anniversary. My son and daughter-in-law could not attend the function but gave me a free airfare. I came back in three weeks and like a simpleton told the facts to the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) office in review. They have stopped my SSI considering the gift as my income. When the Americans on welfare get gifts on Christmas and New Year's Day, they are not penalized. Should I appeal?

A: Yes. Though gifts of an international ticket is considered an income, this is a special occasion and a considerate administrative law judge may give a favorable decision.

Q: I wanted to buy a car and I borrowed $3,000 from my son. The deal took more than a month. In order to give the secondhand car price, I had encashed the check and kept it for 40 days considering the borrowed amount as my resources my Supplemental Security Income (SSI) was stopped. Can I appeal? What are the chances of my success?

A: You have a ground for appeal but the case workers take the advantage of the letter of the law. You may have to appeal to the Washington administration; the normal channel may not help.

These questions and answers are courtesy of Harikrishna Majmundar of California, author of “Mapping the Maze: A Guide to Welfare for Elderly Immigrants.” He has advised several hundred welfare applicants. A copy of this 2003 published book is available for a suggested donation of $10, plus $2 postage, from H.J. Majmundar, c/o Niral S. Dwivedi, 15915 Farrington Drive, Tampa, FL 33647 or call (813) 978-1200 or (813) 978-4996 if you have a question.

Bijan Mohseni


Affluent baby boomers have shifted their financial focus toward the future and retirement planning, according to the latest AXA Nest Egg Study, commissioned by AXA Financial Inc. The study, which was first conducted in 1993, revealed there is a new focus on retirement planning, an increase in financial sophistication and a greater belief in the American dream of success among baby boomers compared to 10 years ago.

Sources of retirement income

Once in retirement, what do baby boomers see as their source(s) of income? An increased number of baby boomers placed a high importance on their employer’s pension plan (57 percent in 2003 vs. 40percent in 1993) and privately created financial plans (49 percent in 2003 vs. 33 percent in 1993) as sources of retirement income. Indeed, those who have prepared well financially for retirement are most likely to place a high importance on a privately created financial plan as a source of retirement income with many citing this as the most important source.

Although respondents did not characterize Social Security as a key source of retirement income, they did indicate that it had some importance in planning for retirement (56percent in 2003 vs. 44percent in 1993). Those who have prepared poorly for retirement are most likely to rely on Social Security and most likely to believe they will have to sell their home to maintain their lifestyle in retirement.

These findings are mirrored in respondents who reported not having a financial plan. In AXA’s 2003 Nest Egg Study, those without a financial plan were more likely to rely on Social Security (11 percent of those with a plan vs. 24 percent of those without a plan) and were likely to say that they expect to sell their home in retirement (17 percent of those with a plan vs. 23 percent of those without a plan).

On their own

As they age, chances will increase that married baby boomers may find themselves on their own. In the AXA 2003 Nest Egg Study, a large majority acknowledges that their own lifestyle would decrease upon their spouse’s death (87 percent) and that their spouse’s lifestyle would decrease upon their death (82 percent). Women especially believe their lifestyle would be severely diminished upon their spouse’s death – 19 percent vs. 3 percent for men.

Respondents with less than $100,000 in household income who do not have a financial plan are more likely to believe that their spouse’s lifestyle would decrease severely (2 percent of those with a plan vs. 14 percent of those without a plan) upon their own death.

Looking to the future

Despite the political and economic events of recent years, nearly three-quarters of respondents to AXA’s 2003 Nest Egg Study believe “the American dream of success is alive” (74 percent). This increased by 17 percent from 1993, when 58 percent believed this to be true. And as with generations before them, more baby boomers believe the future will be better for their children with 53 percent believing it is realistic to think that their children will be better off than they are (an increase from 41 percent in 1993).

In closing

As the baby boom generation continues to mature, financial needs, goals and expectations will evolve and change. Results from AXA’s 2003 Next Egg Study indicate that this process is under way. Preparing financially for retirement has become significantly important for the generation that declared it would never trust anyone over 30. Having adequate resources in retirement has replaced paying for the children’s college education as the single greatest economic concern for a considerable portion of baby boomers. Compared to 1993, more baby boomers expect to assign a higher priority to providing a financial base for retirement.

Yet, some things haven’t changed. In both 1993 and 2003, more than 60 percent of respondents reported that they had a formal financial plan. Results further indicate that having a plan means a greater likelihood of achieving financial goals.

Overall, baby boomers seem to be anticipating retirement and have begun to face the task of building a nest egg for their future.

Bijan Mohseni of the Business Planning Group of Tampa offers securities through AXA Advisors, LLC (member NASD, SIPC) and annuity and insurance products through an insurance brokerage affiliate, AXA Network, LLC and its subsidiaries. He can be reached at 4890 W. Kennedy Blvd., Suite 800, Tampa, FL 33609 or call (813) 282-9088.

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