Seniors and others emerging from isolation face a host of challenges, from unplanned early retirements to foreclosures and evictions that had been put on hold during the pandemic.
Additionally, unemployment benefit scams abound and reports of romance and tech scams have risen, as unemployment and loneliness have led scammers to target vulnerable cohorts like the elderly.
Help is available, however, as the government offers a wealth of free resources to guide seniors past these barriers and navigate a thicket of expiring rules and regulations.
Know your housing rights
Millions of Americans lost their jobs during the pandemic and many are now behind on housing payments and fear eviction or foreclosure. In late June, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention extended a national moratorium on evicting tenants unable to pay rent until the end of July, and the Biden administration said it would take further steps to stabilize the rent. housing.
Information on the extension of the moratorium is available at the CDC website. The CDC also offers a list of Frequently asked questions and answers on the moratorium, as well as links to other websites with information on state-to-state deportation moratoria.
The CFPB offers information on the rules that debt collectors must follow when trying to collect a debt in the guide âKnow your rights as a tenant facing eviction. “ Some tips: If you think a debt collector has broken the rules, talk to a lawyer as soon as possible. The CFPB can receive complaints, but cannot represent you in court or delay an eviction.
Avoid tech and romance scams
With more people working from home, tech support scams are just one type of fraud that has increased during the pandemic, and scammers are targeting the elderly, said Deborah Royster, deputy director of the Office for the Elderly of the United States. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Additionally, after months of social distancing and estrangement from family and friends during the pandemic, more and more people are losing money to romance scams – in which someone pretends to be a lover, then tries to get you to give them your money or your financial account information, than any other type, she said.
The Ministry of Labor added cybersecurity information for retirees on its website in April, including tips on how to reduce the risk of fraud and loss on your retirement account. The CFPB also offers a guide, “What You Should Know About Tech Support Scams”, which describes how crooks will try to sell unnecessary services, steal credit card numbers, or install malware.
In “Break away from romantic online scams”, CFPB warns against sharing information about financial accounts with new love interests. The office also offers a document on romance scams, “Keep your wallet as well as your heart” with warnings about several types of scams and when to file a complaint with law enforcement or with the Federal Trade Commission.
And with millions of Americans still out of work, con artists have stepped up efforts to steal unemployment benefits. The CFPB offers a guide to report fraud attempts and protect you and others, and a warning that recipients of a 1099-G tax form may be victims of identity theft.
Navigate to early retirement
Many workers have retired earlier than expected or are considering retiring due to the pandemic, which could mean claiming social security or retirement benefits or drawing into retirement savings earlier than expected, Royster says .
In total, at least 1.7 million older workers retired between March 2020 and April 2021 amid the pandemic and recession, says Siavash Radpour, associate research director at the New School’s Schwartz Center. And the increase came mainly from low-income workers without a university degree and those 65 and over.
the CFPB offers information when withdrawing from a 401 (k) or individual retirement account, the implications of applying for early social security benefits and how to withdraw requests, and how to know if you are eligible for health benefits.
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