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Women coming home from military service are joining the ranks of the homeless in the U.S. The male former service members who become homeless after returning to the States largely do so when battling mental illness and/or substance abuse issues.  Female vets come home with those issues as well as a tougher time finding gainful employment and housing. Even more often, these women come home with issues stemming from military sexual trauma, or MST, which can cause or exacerbate post-traumatic stress disorder…

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Alarming Wait For Veterans Benefits Continues

A report by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has confirmed that disabled veterans continue to face unreasonable delays in receiving benefits.  According to the report, the average time to process a veteran’s disability claim is 272 days, an increase of 40 percent since 2011.

Every day approximately 53 veterans die while waiting for their benefits.  The VA has a backlog of about 900,000 claims.  Eric Shinseki, the United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs, has said that the claims system will be improved significantly by 2015.

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Making Donations From Your IRA Can Bring Tax Benefits

Congress has renewed a charitable rollover provision for individual retirement accounts (IRAs) that applies to people age 70-and-a-half and older.  The provision had expired and has now been renewed through the end of 2013.  The provision has several tax benefits.

IRA owners who meet the minimum age requirement can donate up to $100,000 directly from their retirement account to charities such as churches, schools and other nonprofit organizations – although not most private foundations.

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New York seniors are getting a prescription price break.

According to the AARP, almost 300,000 New York seniors enrolled under the state’s Elderly Pharmaceutical Insurance Coverage (EPIC) program are slated to receive co-payment assistance this year. Co-payment assistance, canceled due to budget constraints, was restored in the state’s budget as of January 1, 2013, though funding past March 31, 2013 has yet to be determined.

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James Gandolfini’s Estate Is a Lesson in What Not To Do

James Gandolfini, the actor who played mafioso Tony Soprano on HBO’s The Sopranos, died on June 19 of a sudden heart attack. Gandolfini had a reported net worth of $70 million. He had executed a new will in December of 2012 and had created at least one trust, for his son Michael. Although the actor clearly put some thought into estate planning, his estate will end up paying millions of dollars in federal and state estate taxes, much of which could have been delayed or reduced through the proper use of trusts and other estate planning tools.

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Life Insurance Should Be Part of an Estate Plan

Life insurance plays an important part in your estate plan, especially if you have young children or a spouse or family member with a disability who depends on you for support.  Life insurance can be especially helpful in providing immediate cash at death, which is often needed for funeral expenses and to pay the debts of the decedent.

In determining how much life insurance you need, you should consider both the long-term needs and short-term needs of the people who depend on your income.

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The role of caregiver for an aging parent or other family member is traditionally filled by women. You may tend to picture women as caregivers to all segments almost exclusively.

But although the stereotype of women caring for elderly relatives is widespread, it is increasingly inaccurate. A recent Pew Research Center report says that in the United States, men take on that responsibility in 45 percent of cases.

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