WEF report warns of Covid inequalities fueling social tensions

Protesters hold up a banner reading “Covid slave ticket” as they protest against the mandatory vaccination campaign against SARSCoV2, Belgium.

Thierry Monasse | Getty Images News | Getty Images

New research by the organizers of the annual meeting in Davos in the Swiss Alps warn of inequalities due to the Coronavirus Pandemic that could spark domestic and cross-border tensions around the world.

This year’s Global Risks Report from the World Economic Forum describes a “global divergence” – where poorer countries have much lower Covid-19 vaccination rates and therefore have longer-lasting economic problems.

“Covid-19 and its economic and societal consequences continue to pose a critical threat to the world. Vaccine inequality and the resulting uneven economic recovery risk exacerbating social rifts and geopolitical tensions,” the report said on Tuesday.

“The resulting global divergence will create tensions – within and across borders – that could exacerbate the cascading effects of the pandemic and complicate the coordination needed to address common challenges.”

Aside from the catastrophic death toll, one of the most immediate effects of the coronavirus pandemic has been the resulting increase in inequality, many economists said. They found that many people have faced job insecurity or were unable to attend online training due to bans.

Richer countries used to have access to Covid-19 vaccines and many are already giving their citizens their third or even fourth dose of the vaccine. Meanwhile, poorer countries are struggling to get their populations even a first dose.

In Ethiopia, only 1.3% of people are fully vaccinated against Covid. In Nigeria it is 2.1% according to Our World in Data. By comparison, 62% of Americans in the US are fully vaccinated. In the United Arab Emirates and Portugal, that number is around 90%.

“There are big worries about existential crises – that’s actually number two on this list, so big worries about jobs and what’s going on in the labor market,” said Saadia Zahidi, Executive Director of the World Economic Forum, about the result of the Global Risk Report.

Speaking to CNBC’s Julianna Tatelbaum, she added, “There is this concern about mental crisis and it is eroding social cohesion. For example, there are 53 million new cases of depression, particularly due to Covid. “

Dark prospects

In the report, nearly 1,000 global experts and leaders from academia, business, civil society, government and other organizations said that societal risks “have deteriorated the most since the pandemic began.”

These specific risks included social cohesion and deterioration in mental health.

In addition, only 16% of respondents said they were positive and optimistic about the outlook for the world. In addition, only 11% said they believe the global recovery will accelerate.

The International Monetary Fund already estimated a global growth rate of 5.9% for 2021 and 4.9% for 2022. These projections were made before concerns about a new variant of Covid-19 known as Omicron arose.

Since then, the IMF has admitted that these numbers could be revised downwards because of new restrictions. However, the institution has stated that vaccinations will remain crucial to boost economic performance around the world.

“We screamed from the top of a mountain that [the] Pandemic is the greatest risk to the global economy. And we worked very hard to vaccinate the world. Progress is being made, not enough, “IMF executive director Kristalina Georgieva told CNBC in December.

China bookstore growth fueled by visible enchantment, social media visitors

Visitors take photos and read books in Shenzhen on November 13, 2021 at a Zhongshuge bookstore, a chain known for interior design.

VCG | Visual China Group | Getty Images

BEIJING – Social media is so important to Chinese consumer goods companies that visual appeal tends to be a priority for a number of new bookstores.

Elaborate interior designs – sometimes reinforced by mirrors – not only have caught the attention of “Architectural Digest” but also young Chinese looking for new experiences.

“The Chinese consumer, especially the post-90s [generation]”They want convenience, they want new things,” said Derek Deng, partner at Shanghai-based Bain & Co. who heads the company’s consumer goods practice in Greater China.

“They covet the products [that] not only satisfying their functional needs, but also addressing their emotional needs, “he said,” whether it is something you can show your colleagues, something you always find joy in, or something you simply need makes it easier for you to blend in. “

Shopping malls noticed. Instead of signing contracts with large department stores to make them the main draw for customers, malls have turned to coffee and tea shops, finely crafted bookstores, Showrooms for electric cars and other trendy stores, said Jacky Zhu, research director for western China at JLL.

“You can increase pedestrian traffic. You can increase pedestrian traffic for a specific customer, ”he said. This is so much the case, he added, that malls make bookstores pay a third or a quarter of the rent of a clothing or cosmetics store.

In addition to visually appealing interiors, many bookstores in China sell coffee, stationery and gift items. Nostalgia for the China of past decades is a popular topic.

One of Mia Huang’s favorite bookstores is a shop in a traditional four-walled Beijing courtyard. The shop displays a lot of historical items like bicycles and door signs, and has a public reading area, she said.

Huang, of the post-90s generation, said she quit her job at an internet tech company in 2019 to become a full-time travel blogger – and share comments, photos, and videos about her experience.

This building in Beijing, China, was built in 1907 as the city’s first Anglican church, but has long since lost its religious functions and was converted into a bookstore before this photo was taken on June 21, 2019.

Jason Fan | Barcroft Media | Getty Images

Another of Huang’s favorite bookstores is one converted from a church building in Beijing.

“A lot of people go there to ‘check in,’” she said in Mandarin, referring to a trend where people visit places they’ve seen on social media and then take their own photos to prove they are were there.

Going to bookstores isn’t really intended for buying books, she said, noting that many of the stores have turned into tourist attractions or cozy places to take a break.

Some bookstores in China have become so popular that thousands of people are ready to go hike to remote areas, according to a report by the state-run online publication Sixth Tone from 2019. A village location of the hipster bookstore Librairie Avant-Garde brought, according to a. revenue of 1.5 million yuan ($ 234,375) for the year ended mid-November Report from the state newspaper China Daily.

Read more about China from CNBC Pro

What is less clear is whether the rising interest in visually appealing bookstores means that stores actually benefit from selling books.

Store stock selection often focuses on art and design, while non-book gift items can take up a significant portion of retail space, the reporter’s observations.

In China, tight government control means that titles published or sold in the country do not conflict with censorship. Books by or about Chinese President Xi Jinping are prominently displayed at many bookstore entrances, while the state operates its own nationwide chain of bookstores.

Locals read books at Xinhua Bookstore in Handan, Hebei Province, China on June 13, 2021.

Cost photo | Barcroft Media | Getty Images

Shops called bookstores are still open.

According to Qichacha, a company database, more than 40,000 new bookstore-related businesses have registered in the country every year since 2017. For that year through November, 39,000 new bookstores have registered – a 6% increase over the previous year, the data showed.

These new openings still outperform the annual closings of around 10,000 or more bookstore-related stores, the database shows.

A model walks the catwalk at the LEDIN collection show by Chinese designer Wang Dongyang during China Fashion Week 2020/2021 A / W Collection at Page One Bookstore on May 6, 2020 in Beijing, China.

Sheng Jiapeng | China Intelligence Service | Getty Images

However, in the digital age, bookstores have never been easy business, and the prestigious bookstore chain Yanyouji faced financial difficulties this fall Started an online discussion about the future of photogenic bookstores. It reflects the difficulty of running a business even after it has gained prominence on social media, and exemplifies a trend in the fast-growing Chinese consumer market.

Of the 46 Chinese consumer brands launched in 2018, only 17 are doing well this year, analysts at Bain and Kantar Worldpanel found in a report released earlier this month. In the makeup space, 30% of the brands launched in 2016 have been phased out, the report said.

China’s new consumer brands in recent years have tended to use online e-commerce and social media channels to make a first wave of traffic, Deng said. He found that digital data on consumer trends is helping new brands quickly test and customize their products.

A look inside TSUTAYA bookstore on March 29, 2021, Xi’an City, Shaanxi Province, China.

Cost photo | Barcroft Media | Getty Images

However, it is more difficult for these newcomers to find a second growth channel, which usually requires expansion into the more complicated world of physical business and local sales, Deng said.

“What has always been missing is once you’ve recruited [consumers] If they are first buying your product, how can you make sure they keep staying with you? “He said.” The repeat purchase rate has become a major factor for these insurgent brands on the first wave of successes to more sustained growth . “

For a novelty bookstore, that means the photographers will come back and spend money – even if they do Retail sales were sluggish.

Some are bringing in specialist supermarkets, hairdressers, and book authoring events to create a community that can cater to the needs of an entire family or a specific population group, said Zhu of JLL. “From my point of view, I believe the bookstore can survive,” he said. “They can survive because of their changing strategy to adapt to the changing retail market.”

Robocop-style Covid bot ‘hunts down individuals breaking social distancing’

Robots are here to enforce Covid restrictions, they just don’t look like it yet (Shutterstock)

A new Robocop-style Covid bot is chasing people who break the rules of social distancing.

The surveillance robot could help contain the spread of the virus and also aid in contact tracing, scientists say.

They explained how the mobile robot recognizes people in crowds who do not adhere to the rules of distance, navigates to them and “encourages” them to break up.

The study’s lead author, Adarsh ​​Jagan Sathyamoorthy, said: “Previous research has shown that a minimum distance of two meters from others can reduce the spread of Covid-19.

“Technology-based methods – like strategies with WiFi and Bluetooth – promise to detect and prevent failures in social distancing.

“However, many of these approaches require the involvement of individuals or existing infrastructure, so robots have shown themselves to be a potential tool to address social distancing in crowds.”

Now, Mr. Sathyamoorthy and his colleagues have developed a new way of using an autonomous mobile robot for this purpose.


The robot detects non-compliance with social distancing and autonomously navigates to the static group with most of the people in it. The robot encourages the non-compliant pedestrians to move apart by displaying a message on the mounted screen. Credits: Sathyamoorthy et al. / SWNS)

He said the robot can detect violations and navigate to them with its own camera and sensor, and tap into an existing CCTV system if available.

Mr. Sathyamoorthy, a PhD student specializing in robotics, said, “As soon as it reaches the breach, the robot encourages people to move apart via text shown on a mounted display.

“The robot uses a novel system to divide people who have broken the rules of social distancing into different groups, prioritize them based on whether they are still or moving, and then navigate to them.”

He said the system uses a machine learning method known as deep reinforcement learning and Frozone, an algorithm previously developed by several of the same researchers to help robots navigate crowds.

The researchers tested their method by letting volunteers run through socially distant injury scenarios while they were standing still, walking, or moving irregularly.

Your robot was able to detect and fix most of the security breaches that had occurred, and CCTV improved its performance.


Young couple distance themselves on a park bench (Getty)

Brits have been asked to maintain social distancing to stop the spread of Covid (Getty Images)

Mr Sathyamoorthy said, “The robot also uses a thermal imaging camera that can detect people with a potential fever, which aids in contact tracing while including privacy and anonymization measures.”

He said more research is needed to validate and refine the system, such as studying how the presence of robots affects human behavior in crowds.

Mr. Sathyamoorthy added, “Many health care workers and security personnel have had to compromise their health to serve the public during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The main goal of our work is to provide them with tools to serve their communities safely and efficiently.”

The results were published in the journal PLOS One.

MORE : The world’s first self-replicating “living” robots built by scientists

MORE : The tech company is paying you £ 150,000 to sell your identity to their robots

Will cash from inventory gross sales damage Social Safety and Medicare?

Q. If you trade stocks and have capital gains or sometimes losses after you retire and only one spouse trades, how does this affect your social security and health insurance costs? We collect our taxes together.

– dealers

A. We are happy that you ask.

Let’s start with social security.

If you’re already retired and on social security benefits, the amount of other unearned income doesn’t affect social security benefits, said Brian Scheiss, certified financial planner at Modera Wealth Management in Westwood.

In other words, there is no other threshold undeserved income reduced social security benefits in retirement, he said.

But a couple combined income Can affect how much of the service is taxed.

Couples filing joint tax returns will pay taxes on up to 85% of their combined social security benefits if their joint income is over $ 44,000 in 2021, Scheiss said.

If their combined income is between $ 32,000 and $ 44,000, only 50% of their benefits will be taxed, he said, while if their combined income is less than $ 32,000, none of their benefits will be taxed.

The combined income is your adjusted gross income plus tax-free interest plus half of your total social security benefits, he said.

Bonuses for Medicare Parts B and D increase due to the higher income, said Scheiss.

The premiums increase in certain stages if the modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) exceeds certain thresholds. The higher premiums are known as the earnings-based monthly adjusted amount.

However, he said these thresholds will be based on combined income and both spouses’ Medicare premiums will be affected.

“Income from capital gains and other sources can have an impact Health insurance premiums, but it doesn’t matter whether one or both spouses are trading, ”he said.

Send your questions by email to Ask@NJMoneyHelp.com.

Karin Price Müller writes the Bamboo led Column for NJ Advance Media and is the founder of NJMoneyHelp.com. Follow NJMoneyHelp on Twitter @NJMoneyHelp. Find NJMoneyHelp on Facebook. Sign up for NJMoneyHelp.com‘S weekly e-newsletter.

Savvy Senior: Little Recognized Social Safety Program Helps Seniors Handle Their Cash

Dear accomplished senior,
Does social security offer specific help to beneficiaries who have difficulty managing their benefits? My aunt, who has no children, has dementia and struggles with her bills and other financial obligations.
Inquiring niece

Dear inquiries,

Yes, Social Security actually has a little-known program known as the Representative Payee Program that helps beneficiaries who need help with managing their Social Security benefits. Here’s what you should know.

Representative payee program

The Social Security Funds Payee Program, approved by Congress back in 1939, provides money management assistance to beneficiaries unable to manage their Social Security income. Beneficiaries who need this help are often seniors with dementia or underage children who receive survivor benefits from social security.

Currently, more than five million social security beneficiaries have representative payees.

Representative payees also provide benefits for nearly three million recipients of Supplemental Security Income (SSI), a social security-administered benefit program for low-income people who are over 65 years of age, blind, or disabled.

Who are the payees?

A representative payee is usually a relative or close friend of the beneficiary who needs help, but Social Security can also designate an organization or institution for the role, such as a nursing home or social services agency.

The duties of a representative payee include:

  • Using the beneficiary’s Social Security or SSI payments to meet their basic needs such as food, shelter, household bills, and medical care. The money can also be used for personal needs such as clothing and recreation.
  • Retention of remaining funds from benefit payments on an interest-bearing bank account or savings bonds for future needs of the beneficiary.
  • Records of benefit payments received and how the money was spent or saved.
  • Report to Social Security any changes or events that could affect the beneficiary’s payments (e.g. move, marriage, divorce, or death).
  • Report circumstances that affect the payee’s ability to assume the role.

As a representative payee, you cannot combine the beneficiary’s social security contributions with your own money or use them for your own needs. The bank account into which the benefits are paid should be wholly owned by the beneficiary, with the payee listed as the financial agent.

Some payees, usually those who do not live with the beneficiary, are required to submit annual reports to Social Security on the use of the benefits. For more information about the responsibilities and limitations associated with the role, see the social security publication “A Guide for Representative Payees” at SSA.gov/pubs/EN-05-10076.pdf.

How to get help

If you think your aunt may need a representative payee, call Social Security at (800) 772-1213 and make an appointment to discuss the matter at her local office. Applying as a payee usually requires a personal interview.

Social security may consider other evidence, including medical assessments and statements from relatives, friends, and others who have an informed view of the beneficiary’s situation, in deciding whether a beneficiary needs a payee and selecting who to play the role can submit.

You should also know that if you become your aunt’s deputy payee, you will not be able to charge a fee for it. However, some organizations that serve in this role receive fees paid from the beneficiary’s Social Security or SSI payments.

More information about the program can be found at SSA.gov/payee.

Send your senior questions to: Experienced senior, PO Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit SavvySenior.org. Jim Miller is a contributor on the NBC Today Show and author of The Savvy Senior.

Social Safety will run out of cash in 12 years. Listed below are methods it may be fastened

This is the year social insurance begins to pay off more than it brings in. Which could get very expensive for those of us who hope to one day retire.

The retirement program for retirees, their survivors, and the disabled built a trillion dollar reserve when the economy grew faster and retirees didn’t live as long. But with Employers hire fewer people and more workers retire, Social Security is selling their large stacks of government bonds to keep the checks up for a while.

Last Tuesday is the plan Trustee warned they assume that the money will be used up in 12 years. When this happens, the law requires Social Security to cut payments to retirees by about a quarter – forget about the cost of living increases – and survive on what it still collects from workers and their bosses.

For decades, a dwindling pool of workers has supported a growing number of baby boomer retirees. COVID-19 has exacerbated trends – decreasing the number of working people who pay into the system, while increasing the number of those who have left the workforce and started collecting from it.

All of this means that Congress and the President may have to do something painful – raise social security taxes or cut payments, raise the retirement age, or do all of these at once. What they have done in the past: particularly in 1983 when President Ronald Reagan joined the Democrats to raise contributions a bit and slowly raise the age for “normal” retirement to the current 67, making the system more solvent, at least until this generation of Washington politicians was certain to be dead.

Unfortunately, Reagan and Congress were overly optimistic about the future of the system. As social security historian Sylvester Schieber points out, the increase in income inequality has thrown an unexpected curve ball into the system as it exempts the ultra-rich from payments after their income exceeds the tax ceiling (currently $ 142,800). Removing the cap would produce a lot of money, but it hits the notion that Social Security checks should have a relationship with deposited money.

What should I do?

The trustees made many suggestions:

  • Reduction of the annual increases in social security. There are many suggestions for doing this that would affect different retirees in different ways.

  • Raising the normal retirement age from currently 67 to 69. Raising the early retirement age from 62 to 65 and increasing the number of years you need to be eligible. That would greatly relieve the system. But as the trustees report does not add, doing so would leave millions of people of the current retirement age in employment or reduce their income, which would lead to much more stress.

  • Increase wage taxes. Social Security already charges 12.4% of the gross wage of Americans, split between workers and bosses. At a more realistic 16%, the system would pay for itself by the next century, the trustees estimate.

And yes, that would be extremely expensive. Social Security would end up consuming about $ 1 for every $ 6 of gross employee wages. Up from currently 1 USD for 8 USD each.

Of course, smaller or later social security checks would also be terribly unpopular. Because of this, changes are made in silence over time.

Sens. Mitt Romney (R., Utah) and Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.) headed a bipartisan list of colleagues who in April called for a National Fix-it Expert Commission on Social Security, like the one who did the 1983, instead of debating what to do in Congress under the heat of the cameras and the threat of toxic party politics, changes what to do.

Isn’t 12 years a long way to go? Why the rush?

The longer we wait, the less money is left in the program. Wait until it goes broke and the cuts have to be much bigger, or the bailout much more expensive, or we have to repeat it very often. Another reason for the current situation, according to Schieber, a former chairman of the system’s advisory board, is that Congress used to often tinker with social security, only to lose its nerve after the fixes in the early 1980s.

Can’t we just borrow the money? That could be a way out. But the system is currently excluded from deficit financing. Changing this would destroy another of the leading and popular principles of the system – that it is a pay-as-you-go system, not welfare, but one in which people earn their payments.

Some senators – for example, the lame duck Pat Toomey (R., Pennsylvania) – are still warning that credit has a fiscal price. Sooner or later, you’ll pump so much money into the economy that prices skyrocket, slowing down new hires, making incomes less worthwhile, and putting pressure on more government aid. Indeed, in recent talks, for example with the York Rotarians last month, Toomey accused the Democrats of using borrowed money to fund increasing numbers of ways to make the middle class more dependent on government aid.

Of course, Social Security saw itself, Toomey in the same speech alongside other early 20th reforms, Sun Oil Co. head Joseph Pew even tried to convince professors at his family-funded Grove City College in Pennsylvania not to Participate in social security as it eased the natural moral pressures that forced people to work and save. (He was disappointed that only two economists agreed and rejected wage deductions.)

Some people would even benefit if social security contributions were cut. Winners in particular include large investment firms that could count on attracting more savings from the minority of workers who believe they can afford to provide substantial income for retirement.

But not all Conservatives opposed social security. Friedrich Hayek, a godfather of libertarianism, praised worker-funded pension and insurance plans in The Road to Serfdom – although he cautioned that attempts to socialize the costs beyond participants would arouse fierce opposition.

That, of course, is the problem Washington is facing today: Who pays our most expensive benefits – not just Social Security, but Medicare and highway spending, both of which also run out of long-term funding? Just the users, of whom so many have fewer left? Or all Americans, even the most successful? How can financing and expenditure be balanced and made fair?

This is the stuff we should expect from our candidates for the Federal Office and propose realistic solutions, many of which we will not like.

Social Safety is working out of cash | EDITORIAL

Before DC Democrats consider breaking trillions in new spending, they should focus on propping up the Social Security Trust Fund.

This month the budget office of the Congress published detailed figures on its long-term outlook for social security. It’s sobering – at least for those who are paying attention. The trust fund will expire in 2032. The disability insurance trust fund runs until 2035.

Social security financial problems are often dismissed as a distant future problem. It’s time to stop hesitating.

Social security is actually a cross-generational wealth transfer program. The recipients do not get their own money back, but the contributions of the current employees. The trust fund is a form of fiscal fiction. In theory, excess social security taxes end up in the proverbial “locker box” to pay future bills. In reality, the federal government is taking this money and replacing it with promissory notes.

Otherwise, if the federal government were in a strong budget position, it might not be so worrying. But in February the CBO projected that Washington will have a deficit of $ 2.3 trillion this year. The CBO also predicts that federal debt will exceed U.S. gross domestic product this year.

Without changes, social security will increase the amount of debt significantly over the next few decades.

“If the current laws were to stay in place, the actuarial deficit of the program would be 1.7 percent of GDP or 4.9 percent of taxable wages over the next 75 years,” says the CBO.

Raising the Social Security income tax ceiling is a proposal, but that would further undermine the individual contribution-benefit ratio and potentially affect political support for the program among wealthier Americans. Benefit cuts could also be an option, but this will not be popular with younger workers. Also, any step in this direction should protect current beneficiaries and those approaching retirement age so as not to disrupt their financial planning.

The CBO predicts that a 30 percent benefit cut to future benefit recipients would require a 36 percent benefit cut.

Waiting longer makes things worse. In 2032, a 33 percent discount would be required for all attendees, or 45 percent discount only for future attendees.

With eligibility spending making up a larger chunk of the federal budget, one might expect Washington politicians to be cautious about allowing trillions in new spending. But you would be wrong. Democrats appear determined to push through a $ 3.5 trillion spending package that could skyrocket inflation and debt.

As George W. Bush learned the hard way, the popularity of social security makes reform difficult. But these numbers show that change is necessary – and the sooner, the better.

Will COVID Trigger Social Safety To Run Out Of Cash Quicker?

Does COVID threaten your social security benefits?

Getty Images

Social security is a program that you can pay into your entire working life. The prospect that this valuable source of income for retirement will no longer exist after leaving the job market is alarming to many Americans. As it stands now, it is not a question of “whether social security will run out of money”, but when. As the end of the COVID economy begins, you might be wondering if the coronavirus will accelerate the decline of social security?

According to the most recent eighth annual consumer survey on social security From Nationwide, 71% of Americans fear Social Security will run out of money in their lifetime. At the same time, 19% of respondents said the coronavirus pandemic would likely change if they chose to get social security benefits. I’m going to get on my nerves and guess that some of the 29% of people (apparently) who don’t worry about Social Security running out of money fall into one or more of the following categories:

1) Have a different state pension (think congressmen and senators)

2) Are so rich it doesn’t matter (think of multimillionaires and billionaires)

3) You have already started social benefits.

While the boom in real estate transactions and soaring stock markets have been reasons for optimism, the coronavirus has led to a more pessimistic outlook on things like social security. According to the survey, 59% of Americans are more concerned about their Social Security running out of money today than they were before the pandemic.

Interestingly, more people plan to apply for social security later (11%) than before (9%). Waiting for the social security application will increase your monthly benefits. This delay can also help increase your financial security later in life.

Annually, the social security trustees prepare a report on the expected long-term solvency of the social security program. The report has not yet been released in 2021, after the darkest days of the Covid pandemic. (I am optimistic that the worst days of the pandemic are behind us, at least in the vaccinated parts of America). So you know that the 2020 Social Security Report estimates that the combined reserves of the various social security programs (Pension, Survivor and Disability) would be depleted in 2035 if no changes were made to tax benefits.

MORE FROM FORBESThe 5 Biggest Social Security Mistakes to Avoid in 2021By David Rae

The pandemic was a wake-up call for many Americans to reassess their finances and retirement plans, including how social security fits into those plans. More than two thirds of those questioned in the nationwide survey stated that it is more important than ever today optimize their social security benefits.

It appears that the financial advisory community is not adequately advising its clients on the best strategies for making social security claims. As a fiduciary financial planner, I believe the Social Security Guide should be a part of any retirement plan. The majority of Nationwide respondents said they did not get advice from their financial experts. (Shame on you). In addition, two-thirds of respondents said they would likely switch from their current financial advisor to another financial professional who could help them make the right decisions about social security claims.

The Golden Girls may have gotten by on a steady income, but you will likely have a hard time keeping it … [+] Your standard of living in retirement from social security alone

getty

Can you live on social security alone?

Social security does not replace anything near your early retirement income. Most Americans will find it difficult to make a living on just social security. If you are amazingly thrifty and have paid off your mortgage, then you may be able to do so. The average social security check is only $ 1,543 per month in 2021. To be fair, a couple each receiving this amount could be fine in many parts of the country if they are both alive and receiving social security benefits as a result.

Maximum social security

The The maximum Social Security check in 2021 is $ 3,895provided you are receiving benefits at the age of 70. While this corresponds to a reasonable retirement income, it is far from a substitute for the income required to receive the maximum social security benefit. They would have needed around $ 140,000 (or more) in current salary to get the maximum benefit from Social Security.

Do your finances a favor and develop a plan for when to apply for welfare. Work with your financial advisor to determine the best time to get services. If they can’t provide you with the advice you need, it may be time to step up to become a financial planner who can help you maximize your social security benefits.

MORE FROM FORBESHow big will the increase be for social security recipients in 2022?By David Rae

Many worry Social Safety will run out of cash. Why that will not occur

Tara Moore | Getty Images

Most Americans are concerned about running out of Social Security during their lifetime, and those fears only got worse amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

That’s according to a survey by the financial services company Nationwide, which found 71% of adults feel this way. Fears about the benefit program were greatest among Generation X at 83% and Millennials at 77%, while only 61% of baby boomers agreed.

In addition, 47% of millennials said they believe they are “not getting a penny from the benefits they deserve”.

Many Americans – 59% – say they are more pessimistic now if the program is no longer supported after the pandemic outbreak. Meanwhile, 19% say Covid-19 caused them to rethink their plans to get benefits, with 11% planning to postpone filing and 9% planning to submit an earlier application.

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The trust funds that Social Security relies on to pay benefits have become scarce. The last official projection stated by the Social Security Administration that these funds could be used up in 2035, then 79% of the promised benefits would be payable. That estimate weighed all the effects of a pandemic.

Still, fears that the program would dry up and the performance reviews would end are unfounded, said Shai Akabas, director of economic policy at the bipartisan Policy Center.

“A lot of people hear the words bankrupt or bankrupt and automatically assume that the program will just go away,” Akabas said.

“The reality is that social security has been around for over 80 years and has more support than any other government function,” he said. “It’s very unlikely to go away anytime soon.”

While there is likely to be a solution, it takes Congress a long time to act. That can create uncertainty for Americans trying to plan their retirement, Akabas said.

The sooner the legislature acts, the less dramatic these changes can be. Higher taxes, benefit cuts, or a combination of both are among the adjustments they would likely consider.

“It’s not that serious or significant that the program will go away,” Akabas said. “But it’s also not a simple solution that we can wait for the last minute and just patch it overnight.”

Research suggests that benefit cuts would likely be less than 25% if they happen at all, said Joe Elsasser, founder and president of Covisum, a company that makes social security claims.

To calm these fears and enable people to plan, Covisum offers recently launched an online tool to show how cuts in social security benefits would affect a person’s monthly checks. It is noteworthy that the computer does not contain a scenario in which the advantages are completely eliminated.

“The probability that it will go to zero is as close as possible to zero,” said Elsasser.

Nationwide’s survey was conducted online from the Harris Poll between April 19 and May 7. It comprised 1,931 US adults.

In well being care, extra money is being spent on sufferers’ social wants. Is it working?

  • By Phil Galewitz/Kaiser Health News

June 21, 2021 | 12:14 PM

When doctors at a primary care clinic in Philadelphia noticed many of its poorest patients were failing to show up for appointments, they hoped giving out free rides would help.

But the one-time complimentary ride didn’t reduce these patients’ 36% no-show rate at the University of Pennsylvania Health System clinics.

“I was super surprised it did not have any effect,” says Dr. Krisda Chaiyachati, the Penn researcher who led the 2018 study of 786 Medicaid patients.

Many of the patients did not take advantage of the ride because they were either saving it for a more important medical appointment, or preferred their regular travel method, such as catching a ride from a friend, a subsequent study found.

It was not the first time that efforts by a health care provider to address patients’ social needs — such as food, housing and transportation— failed to work.

In the past decade, dozens of studies funded by state and federal governments, private hospitals, insurers and philanthropic organizations have looked into whether addressing patients’ social needs improves health and lowers medical costs.

But so far it’s unclear which of these strategies, focused on so-called social determinants of health, are most effective or feasible, according to several recent academic reports that evaluated existing research on the interventions. The reports were produced by experts at Columbia, Duke and the University of California-San Francisco.

The new reports found that even when such interventions show promising results, they usually serve only a small number of patients. Another challenge is that several studies did not go on long enough to detect an impact, or they did not evaluate health outcomes or health costs.

“We are probably at a peak of inflated expectations, and it is incumbent on us to find the innovations that really work,” says Dr. Laura Gottlieb, director of the UCSF Social Interventions Research and Evaluation Network. “Yes, there’s a lot of hype, and not all of these interventions will have staying power.”

But because health care providers and insurers are so eager to find ways to lower costs, the limited success of social-need interventions has done little to slow the surge of pilot programs — fueled by billions of private and government dollars.

Paying for health, not just health care

Across the country, both public and private health insurance programs are launching large initiatives aimed at improving health by helping patients with unmet social needs. One of the biggest efforts kicks off next year in North Carolina, which is spending $650 million over five years to test the effect of giving Medicaid enrollees assistance with housing, food and transportation.

California is redesigning its Medicaid program, which covers nearly 14 million residents, to dramatically increase social services to enrollees.

These moves mark a major turning point for Medicaid, which, since its inception in 1965, largely has prohibited government spending on most nonmedical services. To get around this, states have in recent years sought waivers from the federal government and pushed private Medicaid health plans to address enrollees’ social needs.

The move to address social needs is gaining steam nationally because, after nearly a dozen years focused on expanding insurance under the Affordable Care Act, many experts and policymakers agree that simply increasing access to health care is not nearly enough to improve patients’ health.

That’s because people don’t just need access to doctors, hospitals and drugs to be healthy, they also need healthy homes, healthy food, adequate transportation and education, a steady income, safe neighborhoods and a home life free from domestic violence — things hospitals and doctors can’t provide, but that in the long run are as meaningful as an antibiotic or an annual physical.

Researchers have known for decades that social problems such as unstable housing and lack of access to healthy foods can significantly affect a patient’s health, but efforts by the health industry to take on these challenges didn’t really take off until 2010 with the passage of the ACA. The law spurred changes in how insurers pay health providers — moving them away from receiving a set fee for each medical service, to payments based on value and patient outcomes.

As a result, hospitals now have a financial incentive to help patients with nonclinical problems — such as housing and food insecurity — that can affect health.

Temple University Health System in Philadelphia launched a two-year program last year to help 25 homeless Medicaid patients who frequently use its emergency room and other ERs in the city. The program provides the 25 patients with free housing, and caseworkers to help them access other health and social services. For example, the caseworkers can help with furnishing the new apartments, setting up healthy delivered meals, and submitting applications for income assistance such as Social Security.

To qualify, participants had to have visited the emergency room at least four times in the previous year, with medical claims exceeding $10,000 for that year.

Temple has seen promising results when comparing patients’ experience before the study to the first five months they were all housed. In that time, the participants’ average number of monthly ER visits fell 75% and inpatient hospital admissions dropped 79%.

At the same time, their use of outpatient services jumped by 50% — an indication that patients are seeking more appropriate and lower-cost settings for medical care.

Living life as ‘normal people do’

One participant is Rita Stewart, 53, who now lives in a one-bedroom apartment in Philadelphia’s Squirrel Hill neighborhood, home to many college students and young families.

“Everyone knows everyone,” Stewart says excitedly from her second-floor walk-up. It’s “a very calm area, clean environment. And I really like it.”

Before joining the Temple program last July and getting housing assistance, Stewart was living in a substance abuse recovery home. She had spent a few years bouncing among friends’ homes and other recovery centers. Once she slept overnight in the city bus terminal.

In 2019, Stewart had visited the Temple ER four times for various health concerns, including the flu, anxiety, and a heart condition.

Now, Stewart meets with her caseworkers at least once a week for help scheduling doctor appointments, arranging group counseling sessions and managing household needs.

“It’s a blessing,” she says from her apartment, with its small kitchen and comfortable couch.

“I have peace of mind that I am able to walk into my own place, leave when I want to, sleep when I want to,” Stewart says. “I love my privacy. I just look around and just — wow. I am grateful.”

Temple University Health System helped Rita Stewart get a one-bedroom apartment in Philadelphia’s Squirrel Hill neighborhood. Stewart and other patients in Temple’s housing assistance program have since stabilized their lives and avoided unnecessary ER visits. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

Stewart has sometimes worked as a nursing assistant and has gotten her health care through Medicaid for years. She still deals with depression, she says, but having her own home has improved her mood. And the program has helped keep her out of the hospital.

“This is a chance for me to take care of myself better,” she says.

Her apartment assistance is set to end next year, when the Temple program ends, but administrators say they hope to find all the participants permanent housing and jobs.

“Hopefully that will work out and I can just live my life like normal people do and take care of my priorities and take care of my bills and things that a normal person would do,” Stewart says.

“Housing is the second-most impactful social determinant of health after food security,” says Steven Carson, a senior vice president at Temple University Health System. “Our goal is to help them bring meaningful and lasting health improvement to their lives.”

Success with social interventions doesn’t come cheap

Temple is helping pay for the program; other funding comes from two Medicaid health plans, a state grant and a Pittsburgh-based foundation. A nonprofit human services organization helps operate the program.

Program leaders hope the positive results will attract additional financing so they can expand to help many more homeless patients.

The effort is expensive. The “Housing Smart” program cost $700,000 to help 25 people for one year, or $28,000 per person. To put this in perspective, a single ER visit can cost a couple of thousands of dollars. And “frequent flyer” patients can rack up health care bills many times that amount through ER visits and follow-up care.

If Temple wants to help dozens more patients with housing, it will need tens of millions of dollars more per year.

Still, Temple officials say they expect the effort will save money over the long run by reducing expensive hospital visits — but they don’t yet have the data to prove that.

The Temple program was partly inspired by a similar housing effort started at two Duke University clinics in Durham, North Carolina. That program, launched in 2016, has served 45 patients with unstable housing and has reduced their ER use. But it’s been unable to grow because housing funding remains limited. And without data showing the intervention saves on overall health care costs, the organizers have been unable to attract more financing.

Often there is a need to demonstrate an overall reduction in health care spending to attract Medicaid funding.

“We know homelessness is bad for your health, but we are in the early stages of knowing how to address it,” explains Dr. Seth Berkowitz, a researcher at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

Results remain to be seen

“We need to pay for health not just health care,” said Elena Marks, CEO of the Houston-based Episcopal Health Foundation, which provides grants to community clinics and organizations to help address the social needs of vulnerable populations.

The nationwide push to spend more on social services is driven first by the recognition that social and economic forces have a greater impact on health than do clinical services like doctor visits, Marks says. A second factor is that the U.S. spends far less on social services per capita compared with other large, industrialized nations.

“This is a new and emerging field,” Marks says, after reviewing the meta-evaluations of the many studies of social needs interventions. “The evidence is weak for some, mixed for some, and strong for a few areas.”

But despite incomplete evidence, Marks adds, the status quo isn’t working either: Americans generally have poorer health than their counterparts in other industrialized countries with more robust social services.

“At some point we keep paying you more and more, Mr. Hospital, and people keep getting less and less. So, let’s go look for some other solutions,” Marks says.

The COVID-19 pandemic has shined further light on the inequities in access to health services and sparked further interest in Medicaid programs to address social issues. Over half of states are implementing or expanding Medicaid programs that address social needs, according to a KFF study in October 2020. (The KHN newsroom is an editorially independent program of KFF.)

In many states, the Medicaid interventions are not intense: Often they involve simply screening patients for social needs problems or referring them to another agency for help. Only two states — Arizona and Oregon — require their Medicaid health plans to directly invest money into pilot programs to address the social problems that screenings reveal, according to a survey by consulting firm Manatt.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, which is funding a growing number of efforts to help Medicaid patients with social needs, said it “remains committed” to helping states meet enrollees’ social challenges including education, employment and housing.

On Jan. 7, CMS officials under the Trump administration sent guidance to states to accelerate these interventions. In May, under President Joe Biden, a CMS spokesperson told KHN:

“Evidence indicates that some social interventions targeted at Medicaid and CHIP beneficiaries can result in improved health outcomes and significant savings to the health care sector.”

The agency cited a 2017 survey of 17 state Medicaid directors in which most reported they recognized the importance of social determinants of health. The directors also noted barriers to address them, such as cost and sustainability.

In Philadelphia, Temple officials now face the challenge of finding new financing to keep their housing program going.

“We are trying to find the magic sauce to keep this program running,” says Patrick Vulgamore, project manager for Temple’s Center for Population Health.

Sojourner Ahébée contributed to this report. She is the health equity fellow at “The Pulse,” WHYY’s health and science show.

This Shots story was produced as part of NPR’s health reporting partnership with WHYY and KHN (Kaiser Health News).