Financial literacy: Improving the numbers for people with disabilities

Mother going through bills with daughter

“Despite the Americans with Disabilities Act being signed into law 24 years ago, those of us with disabilities remain significantly less financially stable than those without.” – Kathy Martinez, assistant secretary of labor for disability employment policy. http://1.usa.gov/1sXWpTs

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Bank of America to pay nearly $17B in mortgage pact, says CBS News

Are American banks redeeming themselves by paying billions in financial settlements back to the U.S. taxpayers?  CBS News reports on one U.S. Department of Justice investigation led to the largest settlement so far in 2014.  http://cbsn.ws/1q2HHXz

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Is technology replacing the human workforce?

By Sharon Dunten, editor of SurvivingTimes.com

If you look forward to the next 50 years you might not like what you see when it comes to the American workforce. The workforce could be robots and not humans. I am not trying to bring up a Dooms Day scenario, but if you look back 50 years ago, computer technology has grown so rapidly that humans don’t seem to be catching up — but the robots are and so are the corporations that might see the future human workforce as a liability or poor investment in labor.

After watching the video below I became concerned more about the low-wage worker as they might be replaced by a “bot” at a favored fast-food joint or industrial manufacturing job for more efficiency. The initial investment of a bot may be substantial, yet in the long run, it could pay for itself. Through bot technology, corporations don’t have to worry about wages, medical insurance or staff vacations. So where do the low-wage workers go for jobs in the future?

Not only low-wage workers should be concerned about the bots. As computers get smarter and continue to retain more information, computer problem-solving white collar workers could be replaced by hardware and software workers, namely advanced super-computers. So where do the higher salaried white collar workers find jobs in the future?

As Americans we have become more and more dependent on computer technology. We love our smart phones, tablets and laptops. These instruments have made our lives easier and computer technology has infiltrated into every aspect of our lives: cars, refrigerators, maps, education, publishing, supermarkets, advertising, social groups, farming, advanced manufacturing.  Americans are capable of producing more crops, goods and information than in anytime in human history. And we are enjoying the comforts of this technology.

But at what point will computer technology replace the jobs Americans hold today? What will a child born in 2014 need for education and job training to provide for their families – shelter, medical needs and food on the table?  It is something to seriously contemplate, or maybe you should just Google it.

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New film to help students take action on global water crisis

- SurvivingTimes.com staff report

We take it for granted when we turn on the faucet and clean drinking water  appears and is plentiful.  Yet, throughout the world more than 1 billion people do not have clean drinking water.  The Thirst Project, an proactive student organization hitting the clean water problem head on, says  80 percent of global diseases are water-borne and result from drinking contaminated water.  These diseases kill more than 2.2 million people per year.

In a new movie, “Earth to Echo,” the stars of the film receive “distress signals” on their phones from someone who needs their help.

Students can join The Thirst Project and “Earth to Echo” to take action against the global water crisis without having to give, donate, or raise any of their own money. All you have to do is TEXT the keyword ECHO (in all caps) followed by your message for hope and encouragement to someone in a developing community without safe, clean drinking water to 51555. For every message we receive, the movie “Earth to Echo” will donate to The Thirst Project to build wells to give clean water to those who need it most. Not only that, but we will capture the actual messages we receive and install them on murals on the wells funded by this campaign. Then, go see the movie “Earth to Echo” in theaters everywhere July 2014. Visit www.ThirstProject.org/EarthToEcho to learn how you can get involved today!

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ST Blog: Some healthcare insurance coverage might deter doctors to give quality medical care

In February 2014, I was diagnosis by a podiatrist surgeon that I had a torn Achilles tendon and other tendons in my left foot.  I saw the MRI results — horrible stuff. The podiatrist said my left foot was a mess with Planter Fasciitis, a bone spur, and again, a torn Achilles tendon.  I was fitted with an orthopedic boot and scheduled for physical therapy. He said two surgeries were needed.  Okay, I said to myself, “This is serious, and I have proactive measures in my future.” The podiatrist said weight loss, physical therapy and a wellness program was the formula to provide strength and a good plan for recovery after the surgical repairs. I was vigilant in keeping up with my physical therapy, lost some weight and felt positive in moving toward the enviable surgery.

By April, the physical therapy had greatly reduced the foot pain, but the pain returned if I walked without the orthopedic boot for very long.  I knew the long-term goal: surgery.

I returned  to my podiatrist in late April for a six-week check up.  Soon after I checked in at the doctor’s office,  the receptionist immediately asked me to make a payment for what the insurance company had not paid for the doctor visits, the MRI and orthopedic equipment. I had no idea how much the insurance company paid or did not pay — ya know, the deductible thing.

I was told that if a payment was not paid immediately I would not be able to see the doctor today for the appointment. The receptionist said I owed $800. At this time, I did not have the information to make a decision about any payment.  I asked when the bill with insurance information was sent.  The receptionist said, “Yesterday.”

With my Irish temper in check, I assertively pronounced that I was not going to make a payment until I received “the bill.”  Again she said I would not be able to see the doctor today. My voice became a little louder. The other clients in the waiting room no doubt had heard me. I asked to see the doctor. The receptionist said she would see if the podiatrist was available to talk to me.

The doctor agreed to see me for the appointment.

After sternly articulating the humiliating experience I had at his reception desk, he looked at my foot for a follow-up. Oddly enough, he kept mentioning my insurance company in his conversations with me. Next, twisting my foot back and forth, he said the physical therapy was doing a great job in lessening my pain. His next statement, well, it shocked me. The doctor said the nothing of my major surgeries ahead but instead spoke of small cuts to release scar tissue on my foot as the new medical plan. Period. He said to come back in six weeks.

Stunned, I left the doctor’s office even more humiliated. This podiatrist had changed his mind about my medical care based on my insurance company’s ability to pay him well and not wanting to face an imaginary billing battle with me in the future. By the way, I have never defaulted on any medical bills.

I am looking for a new podiatrist.

- Sharon Dunten, editor of SurvivingTimes.com

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Pop-up store might provide dignity for America’s homeless

Capetown, South Africa, has found a way to clothe their homeless with dignity. Can we do the same here in America? The Street Store concept is to provide a series of multifunctional cardboard posters that would turn city sidewalks or fences into a shop for the homeless. The posters are designed with holes in them for citizens to donate clothes and shoes they don’t wear and to provide an inventory of clothing for the homeless living on the streets. Instead of rummaging through dumpsters and trash cans, the homeless can with dignity select clothing of their taste and need.

For more information on this movement, link to The Street Store and read the article from the Huffington Post entitled, “Charity ‘Store’ For Homeless Gives Customers So Much More Than Just Clothes.”

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2011 Sundance film launches movement for equality

The Representation Project is a movement that uses film and media content to expose injustices created by gender stereotypes and to shift people’s consciousness towards change. Interactive campaigns, strategic partnerships and education initiatives inspire individuals and communities to challenge the status quo and ultimately transform culture so everyone, regardless of gender, race, class, age, sexual orientation or circumstance can fulfill their potential.

For more information visit therepresentationproject.org. 

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