Selecting a charity

While selecting a charity to make donations to or for getting assistance , it is important to find out how efficiently it is run. In some charities, a large portion of the money donated is used for funding the administrative expenses like salaries or for promotional activities. Some of the websites where you can track the performance of a charity are:

www.charitywatch.org (The American Institute of Philanthrophy) – rates charities based on how efficiently they use their funds. The charities rated A to A- must use more than 75% of the money they raise on programs.

www.charitynavigator.org – considered one of America’s largest independent evaluator of charities and has more than 5000 charities listed. However, they do not evaluate many Christian charities, since they do not file a tax form. After considering their organizational efficiency and capacity charities are assigned a star rating. Income statements which includes revenues and expenses of the charity are listed. Registration allows users to compare charities.

Finding charities – I

Guidestar allows you to search for nonprofits by organization name and searching for key personnel. It has information on more than 1.7 million non-profit organizations worldwide. Visitors can access a list of the top 400 viewed nonprofits , with company profile , website and other information without registering.

Basic membership of  Guidestar is free and allows donor to find out whether a contribution will be tax deductible, to view a nonprofit’s recent Forms 990, or find out more about its mission, programs, and finances.

A premium membership of Guidestar is also available for professional users like financial firms and philanthropic foundations . The user friendly tool allows users to analyse the various charities.

Assistance for startups

SCORE is a nonprofit association founded in 1964 which  works for the  formation, growth and success of small business in the United States by helping entrepreneurs .  The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has partnered with SCORE.

Business owners, working and retired executives donate time and expertise as business counselors to entrepreneurs through SCORE. All the information provided remains confidential. There are 389 chapters of SCORE in the United States with over 10000 volunteers.

If you are starting a business, you can get information on sample business plans and instructions on how to write a business plan. at http://www.sba.gov , http://www.score.org or http://www.bplan.com . You can find the nearest SCORE chapter by entering your Zip code at the SCORE website. The business owner can call them and arrange for a free meeting with a SCORE counselor to review the business plan and discuss various loan options available to you.

Medicare

If a patient uses the services of a Medicare certified provider, the payments go directly to the provider. Today, most of the data and payments are transmitted electronically, only a few providers  receive paper checks to prevent fraud.

The only way a person can receive a reimbursement check from Medicare is a person used the services of a medical service provider who does not accept Medicare assignment. In this case, the entire amount may not be reimbursed. The patient will have to pay the entire amount initially and then wait for Medicare to reimburse the payment, and this usually takes some time.

An employees contribution towards Medicare is deducted from his or her salary check and this amount will available when the person retires and is over 65 years old.

More information is available at www.medicare.gov

Social security benefits for retired persons

The social security benefits for a retired person are calculated on the basis of the the income for the last 35 years when the wages were the highest. The yearly statement only is an approximation of the social security benefits a person could receive and assumes that the salary of the person will not change from year to year.

It is often incorrectly assumed that retirement benefits depend only on the wages drawn in the last year. The wages in the earlier years are indexed by assigning a multiplier based on the cost of living.

You can estimate your retirement benefits directly using the website
http://www.socialsecurity.gov/planners/calculators.htm
It also a person to find out how earnings, pensions and different retirement dates can affect the benefits they receive.