money-in-hands

Lessons on the value of a dollar

By TONY SAMPSON

As you know, Jim Tracy retired. I liked working with Jim over the years. Jim and I met at the 2010 Reinventing Quality Conference in Baltimore, Md.

Self-advocate Tony Sampson

Tony Sampson

I went up to his booth, and I gave him one of my handwritten articles, and I told him, “Why don’t you print this in your magazine?” And the rest is history, and great things are to come!

Jim and Larry Noonan even came to Baltimore spring 2012 to have dinner with me and Gail Godwin from Shared Support. We had dinner at Joe Squared on North Avenue. Gail even brought her daughter Violette along. We will miss him. Happy retirement, Jim!

Spend wisely

In my editorial, I would like to talk about disabilities and finances, from learning the value of a dollar, to managing a budget, to avoiding easy credit ripoff, to social security.

I learned the value of a dollar from my dad when he started giving me and my brother, Ronald, allowances.

He paid each of us a dollar a week. I even did some odd jobs around dad’s house in Capital Heights, Md. (I still have that picture of that house on Shamrock Avenue). When I was 18, dad got me on Social Security and cut my allowance because he knew I was savvy about my money, especially when I was using coupons for the store and restaurants.

Some agencies have custodian accounts to help people with disabilities. A custodian account is designed for the benefit of a beneficiary and administered by a third party from an agency. For the beneficiary to get the amount needed, he or she has to go to the third party and ask for the money. The third party signs a paper to get it, and then within a day or two, the beneficiary gets the money. The money in the account comes from the wages from jobs and Social Security.

In other agencies, counselors help people manage their own finances by creating a budget and showing them how to use the money they make from their wages and Social Security. The agencies teach how to pay bills, including rent (rent always come first); utilities like water, electric, cable and cell phone; needs like groceries, medication, transportation; and entertainment like movies, sports, bowling, malls, etc.

Agencies also teach people how to balance a checkbook and use an ATM card. (Don’t give the pin number to anyone. Memorize it!)

There is the matter of Social Security. People with disabilities can get it when they reach 18 years old. They can get Social Security and still work, but they can only make a certain amount when they work. They can only have $2,000 in their account(s).

Now, there’s a program called, Ticket to Work. The program is part of Social Security, which allows people keep their benefits while working. Go to ChooseToWork.net for more.

Now there are loans that are easy money rip-offs called payday loans. It is when you show them your pay stubs or your car title, and they give you money days ahead of your paycheck. They charge you a fee and a huge interest rate, like up to 476 percent.

Around tax season, which is when I am typing this editorial, there are tax companies that offer a tax-refund loan up to $1,000. These companies charge a fee for the loan. Make sure you understand how much they will charge you.

In closing, if we can be successful in running our own budgets, we can have a better quality of life, be closer to the American dream and have the finer things in life!

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