By Rebecca A. Clay
Financial planning is crucial for people with MS and their families: As the disease continues, expenses tend to grow which may bring difficult financial choices. Early planning can help.
Get started: Call us
Begin by calling 1-800-344-4867 to connect with an MS Navigator™. This highly trained professional can refer you to service providers who can help you address issues like health insurance, employment and taxes.
Next: Read up
One key resource the Navigator will recommend is a brochure called: Adapting: Financial Planning for a Life with Multiple Sclerosis.
Full of worksheets, tips, and references, the 72-page publication is an overview of your financial options. The Navigator can mail you a free copy, or you can download it at nationalmssociety.org/financialplanning.
Finally: Talk to a professional
You may need more specific information, which means consulting one-on-one with a financial planning professional.
Through the Society’s partnership with the Society of Financial Service Professionals (SFSP), the Financial Education Partners
Program provides free personal counseling.
In this program, you receive advice during a telephone session with a volunteer from SFSP’s membership. These volunteers are certified public accountants, attorneys, or other professionals.
The more honest and open you are the more your advisor can help. Sessions are completely confidential, and the volunteers are not there to sell you anything but to share their financial knowledge.
Be aware that the program cannot help with crisis needs, such as foreclosure assistance. It is not a funding source and offers no programs for indigent care. The idea is to help you forge a workable plan to prevent crises from occurring in the future.
While the advisor can’t serve as a long-term advisor, he or she can get you started toward whatever your financial goals might be.
Rebecca A. Clay is an award-winning writer in Washington, DC. She specializes in health issues.
The IRS will help you prepare tax returns. The online Interactive Tax Assistant answers questions about deductions, eligibility for credit and more. For those who qualify, the IRS’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program offers free tax help by certified volunteers.
Call 1-800-906-9887. For general information, go to www.irs.gov or the IRS general number, 1-800-829-1040.
January brought the first gathering of Falmouth, Maine’s new Coffee and Conversation group. It was a great success! Greater Portland area residents are invited to join with others living with MS and the Maine staff of the National MS Society, Greater New England Chapter for a relaxed mid-morning coffee break! Coffee, tea, juice and delicious food items are available for purchase at Stonyfield Café. There is no need to register, just show up! We have the community table reserved for our group.
Join us! Third Friday of each month from 10-11:30 a.m.
Location: Stonyfield Café, Falmouth, Maine
Questions? Please contact Lori Fecteau at 207-781-7960 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Home LINKS Program is a short-term care management program available to people with MS who live in Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont. Our goal is to help people with MS continue to live in the community safely and independently for as long as possible. Home LINKS offers care management services to help stabilize a person and their family while they are experiencing a difficult time. Our care managers typically visit a person in their home and work with them to create a care plan based on their needs. We often help people research and locate services and resources that are available and assist with navigating the systems necessary to receive help. When possible, we connect the person with the appropriate resources that will provide support on a long-term basis. There is no cost to participate in Home LINKS.
Each year, Home LINKS recognizes a care manager for his or her outstanding work on behalf of people with MS. The 2010 Care Manager of the Year is Carrie Leggett.
Last year, Carrie worked with a client who, although only in her 50s, was facing nursing home placement because she did not have adequate support in her home. Carrie worked with several other agencies to help the client avoid long-term care and stay at home, and Carrie helped stabilize the client at home by connecting her to ongoing support. Carrie also helped the client obtain health insurance and reconnect with her estranged family. The Chapter is proud to recognize Carrie for her hard work and the positive impact on her client’s living situation. Congratulations, Carrie!
For more information on the Home LINKS program, please contact Rachel Castleman, Home LINKS Program Manager, at 781-693-5141 or Rachel.Castleman@nmss.org.
Physical wellness professionals at Quest Fitness in Kennebunk, Maine kicked off the New Year learning how to better serve their members with MS by hosting the Chapter’s Multiple Sclerosis and Wellness: An Interactive Workshop. Those who attended now understand what MS is and how it affects people. They gained hands-on experience working with people with MS and discussed appropriate modifications from a traditional exercise plan. Thank you for joining our Wellness Referral Network!