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April 2 AARP Coronavirus Tele-Town Hall

Experts share information about COVID-19 and how to protect yourself

AARP will host a weekly live Coronavirus Information Tele-Town Hall right here on Thursdays at 1 p.m. ET. Please bookmark this page and join us each week for the latest information on the coronavirus by calling toll-free 855-274-9507.

April 2 Tele-Town Hall

Coronavirus: Managing Your Money and Protecting Your Health

Experts addressed your health concerns and questions related to managing your income, credit and retirement accounts, accessing Social Security services, the extension of the tax filing deadline, and the effects of the economic stimulus legislation. You can listen to the recorded audio stream here.

CORONAVIRUS  Tele-Town Hall April 2, 2020

Bill Walsh: Hello.

I am AARP Vice President Bill Walsh, and I want to welcome you to this important discussion about the coronavirus. AARP, a nonprofit, nonpartisan member organization, has been working to promote the health and well-being of older Americans for more than 60 years. In the face of the global coronavirus pandemic, AARP is providing information and resources to help older adults and those caring for them.

Today, we will talk with experts. We’ll share the latest information on the virus, give tips to help you make informed financial decisions during these challenging times, and let you know what to expect from the government stimulus.

If you participated in one of our tele-town halls before, you know this is similar to a radio talk show and you have the opportunity to ask questions — live.

If you'd like to ask a question about safeguarding your health from the coronavirus or protecting your finances on the economic fallout of the global pandemic, press star 3 on your telephone. This will connect you to an AARP staff member, who will note your name and question and place you in a queue to ask that question live. To ask a question, please press star 3.

Joining us today is Vice Admiral Jerome Adams, M.D., the U.S. surgeon general; Jean Chatzky, best-selling author and CEO of hermoney.com; and Erik Jones, assistant deputy commissioner for operations at the Social Security Administration.

This event is being recorded and you can access the recording at aarp.org/coronavirus just 24 hours after the event.

 Hello, if you're just joining, I'm Bill Walsh with AARP, and I want to welcome you to this important discussion about the impact of the global coronavirus pandemic. We're talking with leading experts and taking your questions live. Ask your question, please press star 3.

 Now I'd like to welcome our first guest, U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams, M.D.

Dr. Adams is the 20th surgeon general of the United States. His mission as the nation doctor is to advance the health of the American people, and his motto is “Better Health Through Better Partnerships.”

Welcome and thanks for your partnership and joining us today, Dr. Adams.

Jerome Adams: Thank you so much, and I appreciate the opportunity to join you all. I applaud AARP for bringing you both health guidance and financial insights from the Social Security Administration, the Small Business Administration, and, especially, I'm excited to hear from Jean Chatzky.

One of my signature priorities as surgeon general is making the link between community health and business success, and I look forward to working with AARP to spread the word about that report when it's released later this year. As we all know, our COVID-19 crisis won't be solved from Washington, D.C. or from the CDC in Atlanta, but at the community level. When people are scared or threatened, when they need help, comfort or support, they typically don't look to Washington, D.C. They look to their communities.

And that's why we're trying to empower and equip communities, including health care professionals, hospitals, public health departments and organizations like AARP to do what works to keep our citizens safe from harm. The novel coronavirus or COVID-19 have now spread to over 150 countries, all 50 states and our territories. Over 200,000 cases had been reported in the U.S., and tragically death reports are over 5,000.

The truth is, we expect many more cases in the weeks ahead. That's why it's so critical that we as a nation, a united community, take a few simple steps to slow the spread of the virus. These steps are outlined in the president’s plan to slow the spread of coronavirus, and you can find that plan at coronavirus.gov and put its steps into action immediately.

I'm asking you to share it with your friends, your family and your networks, and use your voices to encourage its adoption. Ask those that you share it with to share it with others. Critically important, there's not a question I've been asked by the media that isn't addressed on that coronavirus.gov website.

It really is a toolkit for how you get through this epidemic. The essence of the plan is social distancing, keeping a safe and consistent separation between people. We talk about 6 feet or two-arm lengths. If you, your child or your grandchild might be sick, we ask that you stay home and keep everyone in the household home.

Stay home if you're older, especially, or if you have a compromised immune system. Avoid dining out, nonessential travel, and please don't visit long-term care facility unless medically necessary. We know that it's hard, but we also know it can mean the difference between life and death for many of our citizens. By social distancing, along with good hand and cough hygiene, we know we can dramatically reduce the spread of this disease.

We've seen it in places that have leaned into this early — like California, like the state of Washington. While we do everything we can together to limit this illness, I want to make sure you know what to do if you develop a fever, a dry cough or shortness of breath, which are the top three symptoms of the coronavirus.

First of all, I want you to know that we partnered with Apple, and if you go to apple.com/COVID19, it will walk you through symptoms and help you understand whether or not you should reach out to talk to your health care provider about getting a test. But if you experience symptoms, we ask that you not head directly into your doctor's office.

Give your health care professional a call and make a plan together. And if you don't have a health care professional, if you call your emergency room or if you go to your state Department of Health website, there's usually numbers there to help you get screened and figure out how you can safely get tested without exposing other people or without exposing yourself.

It's also important to note that even if you're feeling well, you may have been exposed to the virus still and you could unknowingly spread it to those least able to fight it. In fact, our advice is if you are around anyone considered vulnerable due to age or underlying conditions such as heart disease, lung disease, diabetes or being on an immunosuppressant, we ask that you behave as if you have COVID-19, test or no test.

Your extra care will keep your loved ones, strangers and our nation safe. Finally, what else can you do? Follow the guidance from your local health department and find ways to partner with them to strengthen their impact within your communities. And if you're able, make an appointment today to donate blood in the days and weeks ahead to help patients counting on life-saving blood throughout this pandemic. We know blood donations are down, and we know that seniors actually donate blood at much higher rates than other age groups, so we're worried about this disconnect, this mismatch here. But if you call and make an appointment first, then you can go in in a way which will still facilitate social distancing. Workers at blood clinics are being screened for COVID-19, and anyone who comes in is being screened for temperature and symptoms for COVID-19. And they're increasing even more so than before their already fantastic infection-control policies. So now is a safe time to give blood.

Thank you for the opportunity to address you today. I look forward to the questions, and I thank you for your support of this whole of America response.

Bill Walsh: All right.

Jerome Adams: No doubt about it. This is a challenging time. Please know I appreciate your efforts to communicate our work and the steps that can be taken to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

Bill Walsh: All right, Dr. Adams, thanks so much for that comprehensive overview. Let's get right to it. First, how can people safely get medical treatment? What steps have been taken by the public and private sectors to ease access and lower costs?

Jerome Adams: There are many things that we've done. But a lot of these efforts have been led by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. One of the things they've done is increased access to telehealth services. Before this all started to evolve, it was only available in limited circumstances and in rural areas. Now, telehealth is available everywhere. People can get paid the full amount for telehealth services. We're also lowering regulations to build hospitals without walls to make it easier for people to stand up care for both COVID-19 and non-COVID patients outside of traditional hospitals, so that it's easier for people to access care. And so I want seniors to remember that, unfortunately, one of the unintended consequences of this or outcomes of this epidemic is going to be seniors not dying from COVID-19, but seniors dying from their diabetes or not paying attention to their heart disease or not doing the things that are appropriate for their lung disease.

Now more than ever it's appropriate that you stay in touch with your health care provider, that you take your medications, that you come up with a plan to take care of your comorbidities so that those don't end up taking out more people than coronavirus.

Bill Walsh: OK. Thank you for that information. Dr. Adams, the pandemic seems to be unfolding at a series of urban hotspots. Is this primarily an issue for largest communities?  Do the needs of rural America differ? And if so, how?

Jerome Adams: Well, we know that everyone is going to have a different curve in their communities, if you will. Curve meaning increase in cases, peak and then decreasing cases. Coronavirus or spread person to person, so the more people you have in a densely packed area — New York has 8.6 million people in a very small area — the quicker the disease is going to spread. But as I mentioned at the beginning of my remarks, every state, all the territories have seen cases. There was actually an article this morning that I was reading talking about a small rural Georgia community where individuals came together for a funeral. And in this small rural community, coronavirus spread like wildfire. There is nowhere that is immune to this disease and so it's important that we all take measures to protect ourselves. That's why we put out the 30 days to slow the spread recommendations nationally, because we want everyone to understand you've got a role to play in determining what this looks like in your community and how many people are ultimately put at risk in your community, rural or urban.

Bill Walsh: OK. Let's move to the topic of masks. Are there any circumstances in which people should wear masks, or is the priority to preserve masks for health care providers?

Jerome Adams: Thank you so much for asking that question, because it's complicated and I'm going to try to succinctly give you an answer. Initially, the World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control and my office recommended against the general public wearing masks because of the evidence at the time. The majority of the evidence suggested that they were not effective at preventing a wearer of the mask from catching coronavirus. We have always recommended that people who have coronavirus or other cold and flu symptoms wear a mask to prevent spreading disease to other people.

So we've committed to continuing to look at the data. And as we look at the data, we've seen that there is about a quarter of the people who spread coronavirus are spreading it before they get symptoms or they're not getting symptoms. It's called asymptomatic spread. And so there is reason to believe that if people wear a face covering then that can prevent them from asymptomatically spreading the coronavirus in their communities. So again, it's not wearing a mask or face covering to protect yourself so much as it's wearing a mask or face covering when you go out to protect other people in case you are an asymptomatic spreader, and CDC is looking at that data right now and may be soon issuing advanced or revised recommendations.

But this is important, three quick things. Number one, if you do wear a mask, please wash your hands before you put it on and wash your hands after you take it off, and don't touch your face. We are worried that people will touch their face more frequently when they're wearing a mask, and actually potentially expose themselves to disease that is on surfaces.

Number two, when it comes to wearing a mask you don't need an N95 or a surgical mask; please save those for the health care providers. If you choose to wear a mask, you can make a mask, you can wear a bandana, you can wear a scarf — anything that will prevent those droplets from coming out of your mouth when you are coughing or sneezing or talking or singing or yelling.

Number three, this is not a substitute for social distancing. The most important thing you can do to stay safe from the coronavirus is to stay away from other people who may have the coronavirus. And so social distancing, staying at home is the most important thing. Just because you decide to wear a mask doesn't mean it's now OK for you to go out and be around other people because you will still be at increased risk for getting COVID-19.

Bill Walsh: Thank you so much for that clarification. I know there's been some confusion around that. I appreciate you giving us the facts there. It's now time to address your questions with the U.S. surgeon general, Dr. Jerome Adams. Press star 3 at any time on your telephone keypad to be connected with an AARP staff member to share your questions.

It is my pleasure today to be joined by my colleague Jean Setzfand, AARP senior vice president of programs. Jean will be our organizer and help facilitate your calls today. Welcome, Jean.

Jean Setzfand: Hi Bill, delighted to be here.

Bill Walsh: Let's turn to our questions. Please stay tuned after these live questions. We'll talk to other experts about what you can expect about the recently approved governance stimulus law. Let's take our first question for Dr. Adams.

Jean, who do we have on the line?

Jean Setzfand: Our first caller is Joyce from Colorado.

Bill Walsh: Hey Joyce, go ahead and ask your question.

Joyce: I've seen articles about new coronavirus tests coming up. How do I get tested?

Jerome Adams: Joyce, thank you so much for that question. And I used to live out in Boulder, Colorado. Love it out there. Great question about testing. It’s important to know that we are now testing over 100,000 people per day. We've surpassed 1.2 million tests as a nation, and testing is becoming more and more available. We initially prioritize those at highest risk, meaning health care workers, people in hospitals or people who met one of our risk categories — over 65 or with underlying medical conditions, because those were the people who were most likely to get sick and die from coronavirus. So we initially prioritized them. We also initially prioritized urban areas like New York City that were particularly hard hit. We are now trying to increase the availability of testing in other areas, and in many cases a lot of rural areas have stepped up. Montana actually has tested more people per capita than the national average. So we know that testing is becoming more available. There's a new testing from Abbott and other companies that returned results in five minutes. And so we're trying to make that more available for people so that not only you can get a test, but you can get a result right away. But there's a difference between diagnostic testing, which is making sure we are testing the people who were sick, and surveillance testing, which means we're testing people who aren't showing any symptoms. We're trying to transition from a place of making sure everyone who needs the test to be diagnosed can get a test to a place where we're doing surveillance testing of asymptomatic people and can truly understand the rate of disease and communities. But talk to your health care provider. Again, apple.com/COVID19 is a great way to determine if based on symptoms and risk you need a test, and that will also increase your chances if you go to call your health care provider and say, look I feel like I'm in a risk category and the app told me I was, for you to go in and get diagnostic testing. And again, surveillance testing will be more and more available over the next coming weeks with 100,000 tests being done per day.

Bill Walsh: OK, very good. Thank you for that. Jean, who's our next caller?

Jean Setzfand: We have Lois calling in from North Carolina.

Bill Walsh:  Go ahead, Lois.

Lois: I'm a caregiver right now for my husband, who has health issues, and I'm

concerned about people who need to come into our home. How do I keep a safe social distance and what should I do to keep my house clean and safe after they leave?

Jerome Adams: Fantastic question, Lois. Love North Carolina; great barbecue out there — I probably shouldn't say that as surgeon general. But everything in moderation, and you know everything in moderation including family and friends. If you or your husband or if you know someone who is at higher risk, now is the time to really hunker down and to say look, we can see the grandkids from the window or over Skype or through FaceTime. But now's not the time to have people coming in and out of the house, because everyone who comes in and out of the house can potentially be an asymptomatic carrier. And remember, 25 percent of the cases of COVID-19 are estimated to be spread by asymptomatic carriers. If people do come in the house, please pay attention to what they're touching. Please clean your surfaces frequently — door knobs, door handles, tabletops. Clean them with a bleach cleaner or a  disinfectant or alcohol-based cleaner, and make sure people when they come in wash their hands right away. If anyone is coming into your house who is sick or has cold symptoms, you should feel empowered to ask them, Have you been running a fever? Do you have a cough? Do you have a sneeze? Do you have any symptoms? Then ask them to wear a facial covering so that when they're talking to your loved one they aren't potentially spitting out droplets that could be containing COVID-19. So those are the things you can do to stay safe — frequent cleaning, good hygiene, but most importantly for the next 30 days at least — until we see a peak and see things start to come back down — the best thing is just to have that good social distancing and to keep your husband safe and away from other people.

Bill Walsh: OK. Did you say a peak is coming, Dr. Adams?

Jerome Adams: Based on the models that we're looking at, we anticipate the United States peak to be in the next two to three weeks in terms of cases. But every community is going to see their peak at a different time. New York is going to hit their peak sooner. Washington looks like they've already hit their peak and are coming back down. Many communities have not yet hit their peak because the cases are just starting to spread. So it’s important to, again, know what's going on in your in your local communities by following your local health department's website, and your state by looking at your state department of health website, because when we give out information we're giving it out nationally. But  really what's important to you is to know what's going on locally.

Bill Walsh: Right. OK, very good. Jean, who do we have on the line now?

Jean Setzfand: We have Jerry from Arizona.

Bill Walsh: Hi Jerry, go ahead with your question.

Jerry: Yeah. I’m Jerry, I'm calling from Phoenix. I'd like some information about we're not hearing a lot about people once they get the virus, how they are being treated. And I know there's not a cure yet. I am a 50-year survivor of tuberculosis. I was given a treatment in a pill form called INH Isoniazid …  with a regimen of I think a B12 or B6 shot. It completely helped me kick that tuberculosis. So I was just wondering if that's been considered or what you're doing to treat patients with the coronavirus.

Jerome Adams: Jerry, thank you for the question. I love your name. I'm the United States surgeon general, but my first name is Jerome and I have been called Jerry a time or two in my life. We have several officers out there at Phoenix Indian Medical Center. You asked some great questions. Number one, there are many studies going on right now looking at different therapeutic medicines that can treat people with the coronavirus. I'm going to walk backward. About a year from now we hope that we will have a vaccine. We're on track to have it about a year from now, and that could be a game changer in the event that this virus comes back. And in weeks to months we hope to have much better information about different drugs and therapies that can treat people with COVID-19, but right now the most important thing to do, the way these outbreaks are usually slowed down and stopped, is by good old public health measures. What's your mother told you: Wash your hands, keep your hands to yourself, don't talk to strangers. Social distancing and good hand hygiene are going to be critical. Now you asked about the clinical course. It's important for people to know that 80 percent of individuals who get COVID-19 are going to have a mild type of a course. It's going to be like a bad cold or a flu, and they will get over it. They won't need hospitalization. Twenty percent of people will need to see a doctor and may need hospitalization. And of that 20 percent we know that people who have underlying medical conditions and are older are going to be at highest risk for needing to be on a ventilator, and ultimately, unfortunately, some of them will pass away. But 98 to 99 percent of people around the world so far on average have recovered from COVID-19, so even if you get COVID-19 chances are you won't need medical care, and 80 percent chance if you do need medical care, most people are still recovering and going home. The most important thing you can do is try to prevent yourself from getting it in the first place through social distancing and good hygiene.

Bill Walsh: Very good. Dr. Adams. And Jerry was getting at something that we've heard a lot about, which are experimental treatments. What can you say about that? Are there any things you want to warn people not to be doing?

Jerome Adams: Well, I would want to warn people to always talk to your health care provider. There is a terrible, terrible story out there, I believe it's from Arizona, about a gentleman who took fish-tank cleaner because he had heard about hydroxychloroquine. Well, that's not the same hydroxychloroquine that people take as a medication. So before you do anything, talk to your medical provider first and foremost. We are trying to do everything we can at a federal level to give people an array of options on an experimental basis. And we're collecting data so that we can quickly tell you whether or not these medications work, are actually effective, and who they're safe for. So right now it really is on an experimental level from a compassionate use standpoint, which is why you need to talk to your health care provider and determine on a case-by-case basis if the risks are less than the benefits from trying these new methods. But again, the best way to make sure you recover from COVID-19 is to make sure you never get COVID-19 in the first place. So stay at home, and I know I keep harping on that, but I don't want you to be in a situation where you're having to make a tough choice about whether to try a new experimental drug. If you get there, and some of you will, we want to make sure you have every option available. But my first choice, my first option is that you not get exposed to COVID-19 in the first place.

Bill Walsh: OK, very good. Jean, let's take one other question.

Jean Setzfand: We have a call from Sandy from Florida.

Bill Walsh: Hi Sandy, go ahead with your question.

Sandy: I live in a senior apartment complex. I stay in my apartment with the exception of doing laundry and going to take my garbage out. My daughter and her son and her husband go to work every day, and they would like me to come stay with them. What is your opinion on this?

Jerome Adams: Sandy, thank you so much. I just talked to your governor in Florida yesterday. You know, those are decisions that are tough and that you have to decide on a case-by-case basis. What I would say is, if you are comfortable and you feel safe and you can get what you need in your apartment, the safest thing is for you to be in an environment where there aren't people coming and going. But we know that seniors in many cases need help or rely on assistance from others. And so if that's the situation, then we just want to make sure the people who you're staying with are wearing a mask when appropriate so that they don't spread disease to you, or a facial covering if that's appropriate if they have cough and cold symptoms. We also want to make sure they're washing their hands frequently and that they're showering as soon as they come in and out of the house so that they aren't bringing COVID-19 back and forth. So my recommendation would be to try to stay where you are if you can, because the fewer people you're around the better. The more people you're around and the more people they're around, the more chances you're going to be exposed to COVID-19. But if you do go and stay with them, please make sure they're wiping down surfaces frequently and that they're practicing good hygiene around you, and that if they get sick they wear a mask and let you know immediately that they're sick so that they don't expose you to their potential illness. And best of luck to you; those are tough choices. But again there are choices that need to be made by families and by friends and colleagues with the scientific information guiding it.

Bill Walsh: And I think about the piece of advice you gave to the caller earlier about staying in touch through other means, whether it's like the telephone or Skype or Facebook or whatever it is. You know, the social distancing shouldn't lead to social isolation.

Jerome Adams: Exactly. I say social distancing doesn't mean social disengagement. Now's a great time to establish a buddy system, to look out for other people in your neighborhoods, in your apartments, in your complexes. You can check in on them and just see if some people can't get out and get groceries. So asking them, Hey can I bring you groceries? Is there something I can do for you? There are still things you can do to stay connected by telephone, by Skype, by FaceTime and by all this new technology while still keeping a good social distance of 6 feet from one another. So thank you for the opportunity. These were fantastic questions. I think I may post some of them on my own website and on my Twitter so that people hear those answers. And everyone out there, please stay safe. We will get through this. The good news again if that we're seeing places that have done this lower their  death rates, flatten their curve, and start to decrease cases in a matter of about two to four weeks. And so I'm confident that we can do this in all communities across America if everyone participates and does their part.

Bill Walsh: All right. Excellent. I know you have to leave. Thank you so much again for being with us today, surgeon general.

Jerome Adams: My pleasure.

Bill Walsh: Now I'd like to transition to another important topic. What should you expect from the new stimulus law and how can you best manage your income and finances during this turbulent time? Before we begin, though, we need to hear from you. Please take a moment to tell us what's the most significant way the coronavirus pandemic has affected your financial situation at the moment. Press 1 on your telephone keypad If the most significant impact at the moment is lost income; press 2 if the most significant impact is depleted savings; press 3 if the most significant impact is missed payments or worried about your bills; press 4 if the most significant impact is needing to work longer than expected; and press 5 if you've not been affected financially.

Today we're talking with experts about what to expect from the new economic stimulus law, managing your money during these turbulent times, staying healthy and protected from the coronavirus, and changes that the Social Security Administration has made to protect the public. This is a timely discussion. Last week Congress passed and the president signed a bipartisan law with several vital measures that AARP fought for. I want to touch on a few that are important to our members. First, the law will send payments of $1,200 to most Americans, no matter their work status — including people whose primary source of income is Social Security.

AARP worked hard to get this included. The law also includes expanding unemployment insurance benefits for people who are out of work due to the pandemic. And extend deadlines for Americans to take the required minimum distributions from their retirement plan. It hasn't gotten a lot of attention but the law also allows employers to delay payment of their Social Security and Medicare payroll taxes. This could negatively affect the finances of these critical programs, so AARP successively fought to ensure the trust funds are replenished. And finally, and this is important, we received word last night that Social Security recipients who would normally file a tax return will receive the $1,200 payment automatically. This is the direct result of AARP advocacy. So we're delighted to share this news with you.

These are important victories for older Americans that would not have been possible without the phone calls emails and actions from AARP members, volunteers and other adults across the country. So thank you.

Now I'd like to introduce our next speakers. First we are joined today by Jean Chatzky,

an award-winning personal finance journalist and best-selling author with more than two decades of experience helping people manage their money, including serving as AARP financial ambassador. Thanks for joining us today, Jean. We're also joined today by Erik Jones, the assistant deputy commissioner for operations at the Social Security Administration. Eric helps direct and manage an organization of approximately 45,000 federal employees who served more than 40 million visitors and completed nearly 8 million claims for benefits last year. Thanks for being here.

Erik Jones: Hi, Bill. Good afternoon and thank you for inviting me to participate on today's call. My greetings as well to Dr. Adams and both Jeans that are with us today. It's a pleasure to be on the show with you. Since we are talking about finances today I thought I'd start with the bottom line. First, Social Security checks continue to be deposited as normal.

It is true that out of a concern for our employees and our visitors, we had closed their offices to the public, but while our offices are not physically open at present our employees are continuing to work. What I would ask your listeners is that if you need help from Social Security in the weeks ahead, please check out our website first at ssa.gov. I think you might be pleasantly surprised at just how much you can get done online with us.

Bill Walsh: All right. Thank you for that greeting. We're going to swing back to you in just a moment to get into some more of those details. Jean Chatzky, I'd like to start with you if you don't mind.

Jean Chatzky: Hello to all of your listeners as well.

Bill Walsh: Thank you for being with us. There's been a lot of information about the stimulus package and direct payments from the federal government. Tell us what people can expect; what do they need to do?

Jean Chatzky: So let's break it down for people, because there are a lot of facts and figures in these answers and it's very important that people understand what they have to do, but what they also don't have to do in order to get these payments. And the good news for most people listening is that you're not going to have to do anything. So here are the facts. As long as you are a resident of the United States; you have a valid Social Security number; you're not claimed as a dependent by another taxpayer — so if you're supported by adult children, for example, they can't have claimed you as a dependent; and you have an adjusted gross income of $75,000 or less as a single person, $112,500 or less if you're head of household, or $150,000 or less if you're a married couple, you should be eligible for that full stimulus check. And that stimulus check will be $1,200 for single people and $2,400 for married couple.

 Now the deal is that if you make more than those initial thresholds, the amount of your check will gradually decrease once your adjusted gross income hits those numbers, and by the time you earn $99,000 for singles and $198,000 for married couples, that stimulus check will vanish completely. The IRS is the agency that is going to determine, first if you're eligible, and second send out those checks. And send out Is not the appropriate term in many cases; a lot of these checks will be direct deposited if you have received a direct deposit of a tax refund in the past or if you get your Social Security that way. The agency will base the amount that you'll get on your 2019 tax return if you've already filed it. If you haven't already filed it — and don't panic, you do not have to have filed until this point — it'll be based on your 2018 tax return. The IRS is stepping up to say that the vast majority of people don't have to do anything. The IRS will automatically send the economic impact payments to those people who are eligible. So that should really clear things up for a lot of people. Again, this payment will be deposited directly into the same bank account that is reflected on your tax return. And as Bill mentioned — and this is really important because it's such a change we just learned of yesterday: Social Security recipients who are not typically required to file a tax return don't have to take action. You will receive your payment right in your bank account by direct deposit. Or if you typically get your Social Security payments by paper check, you'll get this payment in the same way. And a big shout out again to AARP. AARP worked so hard to make sure that the vast majority of Americans — people who work, people who are unable to work, who are unemployed, who are retired — get the most money as possible in the midst of this crisis.

Bill Walsh: Thank you very much for that, Jean. And for our listeners, I know Jean threw a lot of data points at you. You can find out more at aarp.org/coronavirus. There is a lot of content there that will walk you through the eligibility guidelines that Jean just covered. While we're on the topic of the economic stimulus, we want to provide a quick AARP Fraud Watch Network coronavirus alert. Scam artists are at it again, posing as banking government representatives to steal your personal information. They're asking for confidential information as a requirement to receive stimulus or coronavirus checks. It's simply not true. The Justice Department advises you to only accept or follow financial guidance from a source you trust and can verify, and to be very wary of anyone requesting your bank account, Social Security number, or payments by wire transfer, cash, gift card or through the mail. Please report any suspected fraud by calling the National Center for Disaster Fraud hotline at 866-720-5721. Scams like these can really hurt at a time like this.

Now staying on the topic of income, Jean, if somebody is struggling to pay bills or coping with job loss, what assistance is available and what can they do now without hurting themselves in the long run?

Jean Chatzky: There are a number of things that we should talk about in answer to this question. The first is that there has been a step-up pace as part of the CARES Act in unemployment benefits. So if you have lost your job, if you were previously unemployed,  there are benefits that will be available to you. You can now get an additional $600 a week on top of the benefits that you typically would receive from your state, and under the CARES Act — which is this the formal name for the federal coronavirus response bill — you'll now be able to receive unemployment benefits for up to 39 weeks, and that's 13 weeks longer than the cutoff that many states use. You can and you have to file for unemployment with your own state. I understand that unemployment offices are overwhelmed right now. They are really … I mean, if you saw the unemployment number that came down the pike this morning — 6.3 million, I believe maybe 6.6 million unemployment claims — it's bigger than we've seen in our history. Just stick with it. You will be able to apply, file for your unemployment, and you will be able to get through it. It just may take a little more patience and a little more perseverance than you would have to apply in normal times. As far as  bills, then it's a really really good time to talk about them, because we just passed the first of the month. Bills are starting to come due. If you don't have money to pay your bills, you want to first reach out to your creditors. There is a lot of relief now for mortgages, for rent. There are procedures in place that will not allow you to be foreclosed upon or evicted during these times. Same with student loan payments. There's a lot of relief out there and there are many credit card companies that are willing to work with customers and let them skip a payment. Same with auto insurance companies, but you have to contact your creditors. You have to pick up the phone or go online, get in touch with them, and let them know what's going on in your life. And then although this is not advice that I would give in normal times, it's a good time to hold onto your cash. So let's say you're sitting with a credit card bill and you are in the habit of always paying your credit card bill in full because you know that that's the best thing to do if you want to avoid interest charges. But you're a little bit tight on cash right now, don't pay that full credit card bill. This is the time to actually make a smaller payment and hold onto some of that cash to tide you through.

Bill Walsh: All right, Jean, a lot of good advice there. Callers, just remember that you can ask a question by pressing star 3 on your telephone keypad.

OK, Erik Jones, I'd like to bring you into the conversation. The Social Security Administration announced a couple of weeks ago that local offices are closed in response to the coronavirus pandemic. How can people get the information and resources they need? Will it create any delays or affect any decisions for beneficiaries, including for disability benefits? You had started to get into this a little bit earlier. You want to return to it?

Erik Jones: Thank you, Bill. And welcome, Jean. I'm glad you were able to join the conversation. I think before I was mentioning that Social Security checks continue to go out and be deposited as normal. Our offices are currently closed to the public out of safety concerns for both our employees and the visitors. My first and foremost request is that folks go online first and see if they can't help themselves. We have a lot of services that are self-service online that can allow folks to get their business with Social Security taken care of quickly and efficiently. If that's not the case, our folks are still answering the phones and are in their local office. So if you have a question or a service that needs to be taken care of immediately, please do call the line and we will answer those calls. Here's the deal, though: For the near term we are going to prioritize critical requests first. So this means we're focusing on getting and making sure that those who should be getting benefits are set up to get those payments. Similarly, we are going to focus on processing actions like Medicare and Medicaid enrollments to ensure those who should be getting health care coverage are getting it. Some other requests may take a little longer, and we ask your patience in advance for that, but we're here to serve even though the offices are closed to the public. We're here to get to your questions answered.

Bill Walsh: OK, Erik Jones of the Social Security Administration. Thank you for that.

Erik, are we seeing an uptake in first-time Social Security claims due to the financial hardship, and what is the long-term cost of someone claiming early? Appreciate your expertise on that.

Erik Jones: Sure, thanks Bill.

I think it may be still a little bit too early to see if we're going to see an uptick in claims as a result of the current COVID-19 pandemic and the associated unemployment. However, it's true that in past times, similar times of a higher unemployment, we have seen increased both retirement and disability filings. And so we will not be surprised if that happens this go-around again.

You know, filing or not filing is very individualistic and is based on a case-by-case situation. I think one of the best pieces of advice I can give your listeners is to go online to ssa.gov and create your My SSA account. And we have a number of things that you can play around with. One is you can access your Social Security statement, which will look at your past earnings and your past payments into Social Security. And we'll give you an estimate based on different retirement ages of what you would get if you are retiring before your full-retirement age. That monthly amount is going to be a little bit less, and if you're able to wait until past 67 for most of us, that's going to be a little bit more. We also have online a retirement calculator that again allows you to plug in some different variables and see how that might affect your retirement income.

Bill Walsh: OK. And Jean, on the on the topic of claiming Social Security early, do you have some uh thoughts on what people should consider before they do that?

Jean Chatzky: Absolutely. It's a really, really important question, because for so many people Social Security is the backbone of what they live on during the latter portion of their life, and the difference in the amount of money that you receive from claiming early versus waiting until age 70 can just be staggering. It can be tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars when you add it all up together. So you want to take it really carefully. And I would say if possible, in good times, the advice is always if possible you want to try to wait or at least have the higher-earning person in your family wait, because the difference in monthly payment for every year that you delay taking Social Security from age 62 when you're first eligible until age 70 equals about an 8 percent bump in your payment every single year. That is a lot of money, and so before you say “Oh my gosh I need money; I have to claim my Social Security now,” think about whether there are other things that you could do to relieve your cash crunch in the short term so that you don't have to make this long-term decision on the fly. We were talking, Bill, a little bit earlier about how there is relief out there. You may be able to defer your mortgage payment or your rent or your utilities or your student loan payment, and that may give you the relief that you need in order to say “OK, I can wait. I can pump the brakes. I'm not going to take Social Security.” I want everybody to think long and hard if this wasn't something that you were planning to do along if you were planning to wait, think about it; there are other tools that you have in your toolkit that you could pull out so that you can still continue to wait.

Bill Walsh: Jean, I wonder if you've seen any of those lenders be more flexible in the face of the crisis to either renegotiating terms or at least being flexible in terms of payment deadlines.

Jean Chatzky: Oh, absolutely. And the CARES Act, by the way, has some relief built into it. So for example we know that it requires mortgage servicers to offer 60 days of forbearance to borrowers who are having financial hardship because of the COVID-19 pandemic. And this can be extended for another four months. This applies, by the way, to mortgages that are owned by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, FHA, VA, USDA and Indian mortgage loans. We know that during this period the CARES Act prohibits landlords who are receiving forbearance on their properties from evicting tenants, so that offers some relief. Student loans are on pause. Federal student loan payments are on pause for six months through Sept. 30, and if you make your payments, interest rates have gone to zero on those federal loans. So everything that you pay will go to principal. And then on an individual case, I have seen a number of banks — the website that I run is called hermoney.com — we've put up a list of a number of banks that have said that we will work with you if you can't make your credit card payment, if you can't make your car loan payment. So yeah, the answer is we are seeing a lot of it. This is a time unlike that we've ever seen before, but you do have to pick up the phone and call your lenders. You can't just put your head in the sand in most cases and not pay. You have to tell them what you're doing.

Bill Walsh: OK. Thank you so much, Jean Chatzky and Erik Jones from the Social Security Administration. It's now time to address your questions with Erik Jones and Jean Chatzky. Press star 3 at any time on your telephone keypad to be connected with AARP staff to share your question.

Let's take our first question. Jean, who do we have?

Jean Setzfand: We have Annie from New York.

Bill Walsh: OK. Hey Annie, go ahead with your question.

Annie: Good afternoon. I'm a social worker. I work with the Department for the Aging, and I’ve been getting a lot of calls from my seniors who are on lower income, living on Medicaid, you know, getting their medications through Medicaid. And they're being told that they're going to get this stimulus money. And their fear is that maybe this $1,200 will increase their income and they may lose their Medicaid and their medications. And the other part of the question, is this in all states or just New York?

Bill Walsh: Thank you very much, Annie. Jean Chatzky, that sounds like a question for you. Will receiving the stimulus checks disqualify people from the programs that Annie mentioned?

Jean Chatzky: No, it will not. That is not something that the seniors that you're dealing with — Annie, thank you, by the way, for everything that you're doing. I'm in New York just like you and it is a different world out there — but, no these payments are being treated like a tax refund. They are not treated as income for the purposes of determining eligibility for any of these programs. And that's not just the ones that you mentioned but Social Security income and SNAP as well, so please tell people they do not have to worry about this. And it's not just New York. This is countrywide.

Bill Walsh: Very good.

Erik Jones: I can go ahead.

Bill Walsh: Erik, jump right in.

Erik Jones: I can just confirm what Jean said from a Social Security standpoint that this is not countable income. It is not going to come against anyone for SSI purposes.

Bill Walsh: Very good. Thank you very much. Jean Setzfand, do we have another caller on the line?

Jean Setzfand: Yes, we do. We have Pat from Pennsylvania.

Bill Walsh: Go ahead with your question.

Pat: Hi. Thank you so much. My question was, if on last year I owe taxes to the IRS, how will that affect my stimulus package this year?

Bill Walsh: Jean Chatzky, you want to take that one?

Jean Chatzky: Sure. I don't believe this will impact your stimulus payment at all. The only thing that we are hearing payments being reduced for at this point are for people who owe back child support. So even in the case where you are on a payment plan with the IRS or you're delinquent on your student loans, things that would normally get garnished, that is not happening.

Bill Walsh: OK. Thank you very much. Jean, do we have another caller?

Jean Setzfand: Yes, we had a caller, I think, it's Wilmer, from an 858 area code.

Bill Walsh: Go ahead with your question. Is that Wilmer?

Wilmer: Hello.

Bill Walsh: Hi, is that Wilmer?

Wilmer: Hi, yeah. I have question on unemployment insurance. I'm a senior, I'm 75 years old, but I was doing Uber driving, which I discontinued because of my car condition.

Am I like, can I claim I need unemployment insurance for the lost income that I have over the past three months and for future months?

Bill Walsh: Jean Chatzky, do you want to take that?

Jean Chatzky: You may be able to, but you also may not be able to. These additional payments are supposed to cover people who are working part time, in addition for the first time to people who are self-employed, file a 1099 or received 1099, or are Independent contractors or sole proprietors. I would go through the process; I would go ahead and try to see if you are able to file a claim, but based on the level of your income I am not sure whether or not you will qualify.

Bill Walsh: OK. And just a clarification on that wanting to folks. If they're filing an employment claim, do they file where they live or where they work?

Jean Chatzky: You file in your state of residence.

Bill Walsh: in your state of residence? OK. Well thank you very much.

Jean Chatzky: Excuse me, I just misspoke. You have to file typically for benefits through the state where you work, not where you live.

Bill Walsh: You work.

Jean Chatzky: Not where you live.

Bill Walsh: Exactly. Thank you for clearing that up. I appreciate it.

Do we have another caller on the line?

Jean Setzfand:  I have actually a question coming in from Facebook live, and I think this is one for Social Security. The question is, can people still get disability determinations while the offices are shut down?

Bill Walsh: Erik, do you want to take that one?

Erik Jones: I sure do and I appreciate the question. The answer is yes. Those are one of the cases we're trying to get online; we're trying to do it as quickly as possible. You know, I will say, Social Security has been affected by COVIT-19 as well, so we do have reduced staff levels, and it may take a little bit longer but those are the types of cases I was talking about that we are trying to prioritize and get folks online who should be in payable status.

So absolutely file, if you can file online. I think that'll be the easiest way to do it. And we're absolutely taking and processing those cases.

Bill Walsh: OK. Thank you so much for that. Do we have another caller on the line?

Jean Setzfand: We have Pat from North Carolina.

Bill Walsh: Go ahead, Pat. What's your question?

Pat: Hi. My question is I've been retired now for quite a few years and I've lost a third of my 401k that we are currently living on. And because we lost so much, I was afraid that we would not have enough left if we lost even more. So I pulled out of the market. So what I'd like to know is, A) was that the smart thing to do, to put things in cash? And B), if it wasn't, when would be the best time for us to get back in? I know we can't time the market, but I would like to know when the best time to get back in is since it's so volatile right now.

Bill Walsh: Jean Chatzky, do you want to take that question? I think it's a question in the minds of a lot of people these days?

Jean Chatzky: I know it's a question on the minds of a lot of people, and it is such a tough call. The volatility emotionally is so difficult to take, so I completely understand why you did what you did. Historically, what we've seen is that it's better if you can ride through it. It's better if you can hold on as things come back, things do, historically, recover. If you look at 2001, 2008, 1987, big downturns in the market, a few years later, things were back where they were before. But I also understand the need for money for people in retirement. And so as you think about how much to put back into stocks and when to put that money back into stocks, I'd first take a look at what your needs for cash coming out of that account are going to be in the next three to five years. You want to make sure that the money that you need in that short term, and I’m really talking about over the next three years, doesn't belong In stocks. It never belonged in stocks. We should be at a place in our lives when we are in retirement pulling money out of stuff on a regular basis, selling on a regular basis, and consoling to cash for that money that we know that we need for our living expenses.

And so as you look at when to put the money back in, I'd answer that question first and I’d corral the money off to a side that you know that you are going to need to live on. As for the rest, I don't know what's going to happen in the market; I wish I had a crystal ball and I can tell you exactly the day that things were going to turn around and when they're going to turn around and how long they're gonna stay and if they're going to go down again from there. I think that the strategy of dollar-cost averaging of dividing that money into a group of piles, 12 piles perhaps, and just putting some into the market continually on a regular monthly basis is what makes sense. It enables you to buy the market at all levels and it also gives you a little bit to hold onto when markets are down, knowing that you bought shares at those lower prices.

 If you want to wait and see how all of this has washed out and in three, six months, I think that that is an OK thing to do, but I also think it's OK to say there's been a lot of pain already and I'm going to start putting some money to work knowing that it could go down again. I also want to say for anybody who has had their retirement plans upended, this is a really good time to seek the assistance of a financial adviser. There are financial advisers out there who work in all sorts of ways, and you can hire a financial adviser, a fee-only financial adviser, who is not going to try to sell you anything, to look over your account and give you some objective advice about how to make sure that you have enough money to last the rest of your life.

 The association of fee-only financial advisers is called NAPFA.org. That's the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors, and they are not going to try to sell anything.

Bill Walsh: OK. I mean, we often think of financial advisers just for people who had a great deal of money, but you'd recommend a financial adviser even for people just making decisions, Should I continue to contribute to my 401k? and maybe people still on Social Security.

Jean Chatzky: Let me let me say something about the continued contributions as well. Look, I think we all have to look at how we're using our resources these days. Perhaps hiring a financial adviser to do everything for you, which can get pricey, is definitely not in the cards for everybody, but for spending a little bit of money on an hour or two of expertise is often a smart move. There's also often the opportunity, if you have a 401k that is administered by a major financial institution, there is often a financial planning advisory service that you have access to for free through your employer; you can just pick up the phone and call, so think about that as well. And if you still are able to contribute to a 401k, I would say go ahead because the matching dollars that you get from your employer in many cases are free money. You don't want to leave those on the table. And because the markets have come down so far, putting money in at these levels are, at least according to a lot of the smart folks watching these things, chances are you're getting a better buy on these same shares than you would have gotten a few months ago.

Bill Walsh:  OK. Jean, thanks so much for that.

Jean Setzfand, do  we have another caller on the line?

Jean Setzfand: Yes, we do. We have Carole from Chicago.

Bill Walsh: Hey Carole. Go ahead and ask your question.

Carole: You may have answered this a little earlier, but I recently applied for Medicare benefits. I was there actually on the last day before the office closed to the public. And I'm just wondering if those requests are being processed on a timely basis or if I need to somehow plan for that because I would not have health insurance if I did not have Medicare.

Bill Walsh: Erik Jones of Social Security, You want to take that one?

Erik Jones: Yes, I sure do. And thank you, Carole.

I think I did mention earlier on that one of the high priority workloads that we have our folks focusing on are Medicare and Medicaid benefits. So I would hope you would see yourself enrolled in the short term. If you don't I would encourage you to call our office again, and that’s one of the things we would hope to help you out with in the short term because we want you to have your health care benefits.

Bill Walsh: Erik, what should Carole expect? Is there a confirmation letter that would go out, would she get an email? How would she know that the coverage is activated?

Erik Jones:  She should get a letter in the mail.

Bill Walsh: OK. And if she's not getting that in a few weeks to call the office?

Erik Jones: I think it should be within a week to 10 days that you should see the letter. You said you were in, I guess on the 16th it sounds like, Carole, cause I think we closed the offices on the 17th, so I think you would get a letter fairly shortly, and I think your coverage based on when you file would start around July.

Bill Walsh: OK. Very good. Thank you for that, Erik Jones of the Social Security Administration. Do we have another question?

Jean Setzfand: Yes. This is coming in from Elaine from Connecticut.

Bill Walsh: Elaine, go ahead with your question.

Elaine: Yes, thank you. Just want to ask about the $1,200 check. Do you know the timing of when people would see that in their direct deposit, or however they are receiving it?

Bill Walsh: Jean Chatzky, do you want to field that one?

Jean Chatzky: Maybe Eric actually knows better than I do, because I'm hearing a number of dates. I've heard two weeks, I've heard three weeks, and I've heard the end of the month.

Erik Jones: Thanks, Jean. And that was going to be something I covered in my opening is that we have worked really closely with the IRS and our colleagues at Treasury. I think we all heard the good news last night that most folks are going to have their checks deposited automatically or mailed if that's how they get their benefits right now. The IRS has set up a website, and Bill, I know we've probably both mentioned a couple of websites and your folks were good enough to put those online. I'm going to mention another one and it's the IRS site that they set up specifically to give you status updates on when those checks might be mailed out. That website is irs.gov/coronavirus. And if you go there — and it may still be a little early cause I think they're still working out the timing themselves; I, like Jean, have heard two weeks, three weeks. They're trying to get those out as quickly as possible, but that website will be the best place to go to get up-to-date information on when you might see your payments.

Bill Walsh: OK. And I have just a little bit to add to this. We had heard that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin say that people may get their payments by April 17. So the IRS has not said when they'd be receiving checks — people receiving checks — would get them. But that appears to be a date that's been put out there right now for these direct deposits. But I think that's good advice to check with the website that Erik Jones suggested and go to that portal.

Do we have another question for our experts?

Jean Setzfand: Yes we do. We have a call from from Cybill from New York.

 Bill Walsh: Hey Cybill, you're on the line. Go ahead and ask your question. I think we might've lost Cybill. Do we have another caller?

Jean Setzfand: Absolutely. We have a call coming in from Gerri of Ohio.

Bill Walsh: Hey Gerri, go ahead and ask your question.

Gerri: Hello. I am a senior living in a HUD facility. Will this stimulus check deposit affect my rent, because our rent is based on a third of our income. How will this affect my rent?

Bill Walsh: You want me to take that, Jean? Did you have any insight on that?

Jean Chatzky: Absolutely it should not affect your rent at all. It is not treated as taxable income. And so if your rent is based on your taxable income, if your rent is based on your adjusted gross income, this will not impact that.

Bill Walsh: You had said before it's like a tax refund.

Jean Chatzky: Right, exactly. It's this stimulus and it's a little confusing because of the lingo that everybody is using and throwing around, but that's the bottom line. It's treated like a tax refund. It's not treated as taxable income. I'm getting questions from people who want to know, Am I going to have to pay this money back in 2020? The answer to that is no as well.

Bill Walsh: I am Bill Walsh with AARP and we're taking your questions today about the coronavirus with key experts. I had asked for everyone on the line to participate in a poll earlier, and I have some results. It's clear that there are a range of concerns related to the immediate financial impact of the coronavirus based on the poll that many of you answered earlier. It looks like 38 percent of people on the line say it hasn't affected them financially. Well, that's good news. Another 28 percent, however, said it has depleted their savings, and 14 percent report lost income. So it's having an effect on some and not on others.

Let's take more questions from our callers. Jean, who do we have up next?

Jean Setzfand: We have a caller, Anita from West Virginia.

Bill Walsh: Anita, go ahead with your question.

Anita: I filed my income tax on the 5th of March. I'm eligible for money back, which I elected to leave in, no big deal. But today I got a letter — IRS, it says, Austin, Texas, and they say I need to call a certain 800 number in the next 30 days between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. to verify this. They say if we don't hear from you we won't be able to process your December 31, 2019, income tax returns.

And to expedite this process I must have all the following: this letter; a prior year income tax return — all my forms, 1040 etc,; the income tax returns for the years shown above which will be 2019 and all those 1040s etc.; and any supporting documents for each year's income tax return. And if I don't call this and give them this information my form will not be filed. I think it's a scam.

Bill Walsh: Yeah, and I was going to say the same thing. Jean Chatzky, Erik Jones, what's your sense of what's happening there with Anita?

Jean Chatzky: So we know that the IRS will not call you; the IRS won't email you, and they won't text you. If they are going to reach out to you, they are going to reach out by mail. However, the amount of information they're asking for makes me very wary as well. I would crosscheck that phone number, Anita. I might place a call to the IRS but I wouldn't necessarily call the number on that letter. I would go to irs.gov, and I would place a call to the IRS directly or send an email directly to make sure before you give any information to anybody that this is legit. And if and when you do call them, I would be very, very wary of giving them any personal detail. Erik?

Erik Jones: Jean, I was going to echo exactly what you said. Since it's IRS I'm a little less familiar with the different types of scams that are out there. We certainly encourage you to crosscheck those numbers. Go to our official website, call our official number, talk to one of our agents, and make it be a call that you placed as opposed to responding to a number that's on a piece of paper that you find suspicious. So I think your gut instinct is probably right; I think the advice to go online, find the number to IRS themselves and talk to someone there to either confirm that that was a legitimate request on their part or quite likely that was not something that was issued from the IRS.

Bill Walsh:  All right. And Erik, are we seeing any scams related to Social Security that you've been aware of since the outbreak of the pandemic?

Erik Jones: Absolutely. And some of them are quite heinous. I think you know over the course of the last year we've seen a lot of either phone calls, mail, emails, texts that say: We suspended your number, we suspended your payments. Now they're saying: We suspended because of COVID-19. Even more heinous from my consideration is you're seeing some out there that say: We're going to increase your Social Security benefit by this amount because of the new stimulus package but you need to call us. I assure you none of those are coming from the Social Security Administration. We are not suspending anybody's number because of COVID-19. We're not suspending anybody's payment because of COVID-19. We have another website, our inspector general's website. I know you had a website as well, Bill, that you mentioned before, but if it's specifically related to Social Security, I would ask that you go to our inspector general’s site and provide the specific information. We are trying very hard to track down these individuals that are doing this. It's more important now than ever. And so any information you can provide that help us track these folks down is so much appreciated.

Bill Walsh: OK. Very good. And Jean and Erik had made reference to the IRS customer service number. I have that here if folks on the line want to take that down. That number is  800-829-1040. That's 800-829-1040.

Jean, do we have another caller on the line?

Jean Setzfand: We actually have an interesting question coming in from our YouTube watch channel, and it's a question about eligibility for the stimulus:

My son is a full-time student at the University of Puerto Rico. He's 23 years old. Will he receive the $1,200 stimulus package, and if so, how?

Bill Walsh: OK, the person's son is a 23-year-old student. Will they be eligible for the stimulus payment? Jean Chatzky, do you want to take a crack at that one?

Jean Chatzky: It’s going to depend if he is a dependent or not. People who are claimed as dependents, whether they are your children or perhaps older parents, are not going to be eligible for any stimulus payments. And parents are only getting stimulus payments for children under the age of 17. So it really depends on the status on his parents' tax returns.

Bill Walsh: Jean, do we have another question?

Jean Setzfand: Yes, we do. We have a caller Joan from Henderson, Nevada.

Bill Walsh: Joan, go ahead with your question.

Joan: I'm still working, I'm 80 years old, but I still work and I do have a 1099 coming in. Well that money is no of course I can't work Uh I can't go outside to work And uh I was wondering I can't I understand I can't go for unemployment but is there some kind of a payment that we can get as 1099 workers.

Bill Walsh: Do you want to jump on that one, Jean Chatzky?

Jean Chatzky: Joan, actually you can claim unemployment in this case. The rules have been changed in this scenario where people who are self-employed 1099 sole proprietors are eligible for unemployment benefits. So I would look there. The other thing that is available to you as an independent contractor is what's being called a PPP loan from the Small Business Administration That's a paycheck protection loan. The applications for those loans,  which are again part of the CARES Act, are coming out tomorrow, April 3. I believe for  independent contractors you're not eligible to apply until April 10, but you may want to read up on whether that's something that makes sense for you as well. And can I just say, good for you working at 80 — you sound like you're 80 years young. So I hope that you're doing OK.

Bill Walsh: Yeah, that's fantastic.

All right, Jean, do you want to take one more caller?

Jean Setzfand: Yes, I think that here's a quick one from Facebook. This question refers to a relative who lives on their Social Security overseas. What did we tell them about their Social Security? Are they still going to get their checks?

Bill Walsh: Erik Jones, do you want to take that are relatively accuracies on Social Security?

Erik Jones: Absolutely,  100 percent, those checks are still going out, and they should count on that monthly income.

Bill Walsh: OK, very good. Jean, do want to take another question?

Jean Setzfand: Sure. Since we have an abundance of Jean … here's another one, from Jean from Alaska.

Jean:  Hi. My question is, I have a daughter who has a disability and we file her taxes with ours. She does have a minimum income. Will she get a stimulus check? It doesn't sound like we're going to be eligible, but would she and another daughter who doesn't file and does not get Social Security?

Bill Walsh: Jean, how old are your daughters?

Jean: 20 and 21

Bill Walsh:  And do you claim either of them as dependents on your taxes?

Jean: Yes.

Bill Walsh: Jean Chatzky, do you want to handle that one?

Jean Chatzky: Basically, a two-part answer. If you claim them as dependents, they will not receive their own stimulus payments. But you did raise an interesting point for people who haven't filed taxes and don't claim Social Security. You should file a very basic quick tax return. That's the best way to ensure that you get your stimulus checks.

Bill Walsh:  A very quick tax return for 2019, you mean?

Jean Chatzky: For 2019, yes.

Bill Walsh: And you that will accelerate the …

Jean Chatzky: That will put you in the system. That'll put you in the system. It'll help them know where to find you and you want to accelerate that payment, you want to both file the tax return but also elect direct deposit.

Bill Walsh: Direct deposit. That should expedite things as well.

Jean Setzfand, do you want to give us another question?

Jean Setzfand: Sure. We have a call coming in from Ida from Texas.

Bill Walsh: Hey Ida, go ahead with your question.

Ida:  I want to find out about the stimulus payment, if you are on SSI, will you have to fill out a form or anything to get your payment?

Bill Walsh: Erik Jones, do you want to take that one?

Erik Jones: So I hope the answer is going to … I'm going to hedge just a little bit. Ida.

I hope the answer is going to be no, but we are honestly still figuring out the logistics for that, working with our colleagues at the IRS.

So for the most part everybody, as Jean mentioned earlier, is going to get those checks automatically. For our SSI folks we are working hard with the IRS to figure out how to make that happen as well. But I can't say for 100 percent certain yet that you might not need to file something. So what I'd ask you to do is stay-tuned for the next few days as we try and work through that. I mentioned the website earlier. If you're able to access that, we'll continue to provide updated information there. And so we hope to have an answer for that in the coming days, but I don't have a 100 percent answer for you just yet.

Bill Walsh: Just to clarify, it was our understanding that Social Security recipients would not have to file a tax return in order to get the stimulus payments. Are you making a distinction there, Erik, between folks who are on SSI?

Erik Jones: Yes, exactly. So it's a different file for us and so it's a little more complicated there, but again we're trying to work through that. We hope to find an answer to that; I just don't want to say for certain one way or another just yet.

Bill Walsh: And where's the best place for Ida to track that? Obviously this is a major issue for her. We would direct your day aarp.org/coronavirus. Is there a phone number you would suggest she call to stay on top of that?

Erik Jones: if you're able to, I'd go to that irs.gov/coronavirus website. That's where IRS is trying to centralize the most current information on everything to do with the stimulus or the economic impact payments. So I think that's the number one source. We're trying to refer everyone to it so that everybody is getting the most current information.

Bill Walsh: And if you don't have access to the internet, I can give you that phone number again to the IRS customer service. It's 800-829-1040.

Jean, do you have another question for us?

Jean Setzfand:  have a caller, Caroline from Florida.

Bill Walsh: Caroline, go ahead with your question.

Caroline:  I own an S corporation. And I put on one event per year that's not going to happen this August. And I'm 62, and I do collect full Social Security. But I do take a salary under the max, which is allowed when taking Social Security. It sounds like from the other callers that I am eligible for unemployment, and there are two things I'm not sure. Can you apply online or do you have to call and wait those hours? Cause I certainly don't want to go in person at my age and I'm high risk.  And the second question is, Is there anything else as a small business that I could apply for besides unemployment?

Bill Walsh: Jean Chatzky, do you want to take that one?

Jean Chatzky: My first answer to your first question is you absolutely can apply online, so I would go ahead and try to do that. There is a lot happening in terms of small businesses in the CARES Act, but the big thing that people are looking at is something that's called paycheck protection, which allows small businesses to apply for loans that would cover two- and-a-half months’ worth of their average 2019 payroll. I don't know how you paid yourself for this event that you put on per year, but if you had a regular payroll it would cover two- and-a-half times that monthly obligation, and the way that it is being structured as long as employers do not lay off people during the eight-week period following the taking of the loan, then they are eligible to have that loan forgiven. It becomes a grant rather than a loan. So that's a great benefit for small businesses. The applications for those loans, which will be made through existing SBA lenders — banks, nonbank lenders and credit unions, will be coming out tomorrow. And what I'm hearing is that it's best to work through the bank where you have your preexisting business relationship. Banks are expecting to be so overwhelmed that some are saying: Unless you have your business account with us, we would rather you work through the institution where you already bank.

Bill Walsh: I'm afraid that's all the time we have for callers.

Jean Chatzky and Erik Jones, I wonder if you have any closing thoughts or recommendations for us.  Jean, do you want to go first?

Jean Chatzky: Absolutely. First of all, thank you for having me. I really enjoyed participating in this conversation and I would just encourage everybody to take care of themselves. I think that we all have to keep in mind that our number one job in this  very trying and unexpected period is to keep ourselves healthy. And if you can keep yourself healthy, that will be a great financial benefit to you ultimately as well. So I hope everybody stays safe and takes care.

Bill Walsh Thank you, Jean Chatzky, and Erik Jones of the Social Security Administration, I apologize earlier for cutting you off. Do you have any closing thoughts or recommendations for what AARP members should understand from the conversation today?

Erik Jones: Thank you, Bill, and no worries there. Jean, I've learned an awful lot from you today as well and so enjoyed our conversation. One thing I would say in going out that really ties to something you said, Jean, in terms of education — postponing collections for student loans for six months. We as well are suspending our collection of overpayments for six months. So I think you're finding a lot of folks around the board are trying to pull back where they can to help folks make ends meet. Again, my parting words are Social Security is there. We're there to answer your questions. Please try and do your work with us online first. But if you can't, give us a call; our folks are there for you. Look out for those scams; if you're suspicious, do a crosscheck on those numbers and report anything suspicious to us. And finally, as Jean said, please everybody, stay safe, stay healthy.

Bill Walsh: Erik Jones from the Social Security Administration and Jean Chatzky, a financial expert, thank you so much for taking the time today, and thank you our AARP members, volunteers and listeners for participating in this discussion. If your question was not addressed, please go to aarp.org/coronavirus. AARP, a nonprofit, nonpartisan member organization, has been working to promote the health and well-being of older Americans for more than 60 years. In the face of this crisis we are providing information and resources to help older adults and those caring for them protect themselves from the virus, protect spread to others while taking care of themselves. All of the resources referenced today, including a recording of today's Q&A event can be found at aarp.org/coronavirus starting on April 3. Again, that web address is aarp.org/coronavirus. There you'll find the latest updates as well as information created specifically for older adults and family caregivers. We hope you learned something that can help keep you and your loved ones healthy. Please be sure to tune into our next AARP tele-town hall on April 9 at 1 p.m. ET. Thank you, and have a good day. This concludes our call.

Tele-Town Hall April 2, 2020

 Bill Walsh: Hello.

[00:00:01] I am AARP Vice President Bill Walsh, and I want to welcome you to this important discussion about the coronavirus. AARP, a nonprofit, nonpartisan member organization, has been working to promote the health and well-being of older Americans for more than 60 years. In the face of the global coronavirus pandemic, AARP is providing information and resources to help older adults and those caring for them.

[00:00:26] Today, we will talk with experts. We’ll share the latest information on the virus, give tips to help you make informed financial decisions during these challenging times, and let you know what to expect from the government stimulus.

[00:00:39] If you participated in one of our tele-town halls before, you know this is similar to a radio talk show and you have the opportunity to ask questions — live.

[00:00:49] If you'd like to ask a question about safeguarding your health from the coronavirus or protecting your finances on the economic fallout of the global pandemic, press star 3 on your telephone. This will connect you to an AARP staff member, who will note your name and question and place you in a queue to ask that question live. To ask a question, please press star 3.

[00:01:12] Joining us today is Vice Admiral Jerome Adams, M.D., the U.S. surgeon general; Jean Chatzky, best-selling author and CEO of hermoney.com; and Erik Jones, assistant deputy commissioner for operations at the Social Security Administration.

[00:01:29] This event is being recorded and you can access the recording at aarp.org/coronavirus just 24 hours after the event.

[00:01:39] Hello, if you're just joining, I'm Bill Walsh with AARP, and I want to welcome you to this important discussion about the impact of the global coronavirus pandemic. We're talking with leading experts and taking your questions live. Ask your question, please press star 3.

[00:01:57] Now I'd like to welcome our first guest, U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams, M.D.

[00:02:02] Dr. Adams is the 20th surgeon general of the United States. His mission as the nation doctor is to advance the health of the American people, and his motto is “Better Health Through Better Partnerships.”

[00:02:15] Welcome and thanks for your partnership and joining us today, Dr. Adams.

[00:02:19]Jerome Adams:  Thank you so much, and I appreciate the opportunity to join you all. I applaud AARP for bringing you both health guidance and financial insights from the Social Security Administration, the Small Business Administration, and, especially, I'm excited to hear from Jean Chatzky.

[00:02:34] One of my signature priorities as surgeon general is making the link between community health and business success, and I look forward to working with AARP to spread the word about that report when it's released later this year. As we all know, our COVID-19 crisis won't be solved from Washington, D.C. or from the CDC in Atlanta, but at the community level. When people are scared or threatened, when they need help, comfort or support, they typically don't look to Washington, D.C. They look to their communities.

[00:03:05] And that's why we're trying to empower and equip communities, including health care professionals, hospitals, public health departments and organizations like AARP to do what works to keep our citizens safe from harm. The novel coronavirus or COVID-19 have now spread to over 150 countries, all 50 states and our territories. Over 200,000 cases had been reported in the U.S., and tragically death reports are over 5,000.

[00:03:31] The truth is, we expect many more cases in the weeks ahead. That's why it's so critical that we as a nation, a united community, take a few simple steps to slow the spread of the virus. These steps are outlined in the president’s plan to slow the spread of coronavirus, and you can find that plan at coronavirus.gov and put its steps into action immediately.

[00:03:52] I'm asking you to share it with your friends, your family and your networks, and use your voices to encourage its adoption. Ask those that you share it with to share it with others. Critically important, there's not a question I've been asked by the media that isn't addressed on that coronavirus.gov website.

[00:04:09] It really is a toolkit for how you get through this epidemic. The essence of the plan is social distancing, keeping a safe and consistent separation between people. We talk about 6 feet or two-arm lengths. If you, your child or your grandchild might be sick, we ask that you stay home and keep everyone in the household home.

[00:04:30] Stay home if you're older, especially, or if you have a compromised immune system. Avoid dining out, nonessential travel, and please don't visit long-term care facility unless medically necessary. We know that it's hard, but we also know it can mean the difference between life and death for many of our citizens. By social distancing, along with good hand and cough hygiene, we know we can dramatically reduce the spread of this disease.

[00:04:54] We've seen it in places that have leaned into this early — like California, like the state of Washington. While we do everything we can together to limit this illness, I want to make sure you know what to do if you develop a fever, a dry cough or shortness of breath, which are the top three symptoms of the coronavirus.

[00:05:10] First of all, I want you to know that we partnered with Apple, and if you go to apple.com/COVID19, it will walk you through symptoms and help you understand whether or not you should reach out to talk to your health care provider about getting a test. But if you experience symptoms, we ask that you not head directly into your doctor's office.

[00:05:29] Give your health care professional a call and make a plan together. And if you don't have a health care professional, if you call your emergency room or if you go to your state Department of Health website, there's usually numbers there to help you get screened and figure out how you can safely get tested without exposing other people or without exposing yourself.

[00:05:47] It's also important to note that even if you're feeling well, you may have been exposed to the virus still and you could unknowingly spread it to those least able to fight it. In fact, our advice is if you are around anyone considered vulnerable due to age or underlying conditions such as heart disease, lung disease, diabetes or being on an immunosuppressant, we ask that you behave as if you have COVID-19, test or no test.

[00:06:10] Your extra care will keep your loved ones, strangers and our nation safe. Finally, what else can you do? Follow the guidance from your local health department and find ways to partner with them to strengthen their impact within your communities. And if you're able, make an appointment today to donate blood in the days and weeks ahead to help patients counting on life-saving blood throughout this pandemic. We know blood donations are down, and we know that seniors actually donate blood at much higher rates than other age groups, so we're worried about this disconnect, this mismatch here. But if you call and make an appointment first, then you can go in in a way which will still facilitate social distancing. Workers at blood clinics are being screened for COVID-19, and anyone who comes in is being screened for temperature and symptoms for COVID-19. And they're increasing even more so than before their already fantastic infection-control policies. So now is a safe time to give blood.

[00:07:07] Thank you for the opportunity to address you today. I look forward to the questions, and I thank you for your support of this whole of America response.

[00:07:14]Bill Walsh:  All right.

[00:07:15]Jerome Adams:  No doubt about it. This is a challenging time. Please know I appreciate your efforts to communicate our work and the steps that can be taken to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

[00:07:25]Bill Walsh:  All right, Dr. Adams, thanks so much for that comprehensive overview. Let's get right to it. First, how can people safely get medical treatment? What steps have been taken by the public and private sectors to ease access and lower costs?

[00:07:41]Jerome Adams:  There are many things that we've done. But a lot of these efforts have been led by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. One of the things they've done is increased access to telehealth services. Before this all started to evolve, it was only available in limited circumstances and in rural areas. Now, telehealth is available everywhere. People can get paid the full amount for telehealth services. We're also lowering regulations to build hospitals without walls to make it easier for people to stand up care for both COVID-19 and non-COVID patients outside of traditional hospitals, so that it's easier for people to access care. And so I want seniors to remember that, unfortunately, one of the unintended consequences of this or outcomes of this epidemic is going to be seniors not dying from COVID-19, but seniors dying from their diabetes or not paying attention to their heart disease or not doing the things that are appropriate for their lung disease.

[00:08:45] Now more than ever it's appropriate that you stay in touch with your health care provider, that you take your medications, that you come up with a plan to take care of your comorbidities so that those don't end up taking out more people than coronavirus.

[00:09:00]Bill Walsh:  OK. Thank you for that information. Dr. Adams, the pandemic seems to be unfolding at a series of urban hotspots. Is this primarily an issue for largest communities? Do the needs of rural America differ? And if so, how?

[00:09:15]Jerome Adams:  Well, we know that everyone is going to have a different curve in their communities, if you will. Curve meaning increase in cases, peak and then decreasing cases. Coronavirus or spread person to person, so the more people you have in a densely packed area — New York has 8.6 million people in a very small area — the quicker the disease is going to spread. But as I mentioned at the beginning of my remarks, every state, all the territories have seen cases. There was actually an article this morning that I was reading talking about a small rural Georgia community where individuals came together for a funeral. And in this small rural community, coronavirus spread like wildfire. There is nowhere that is immune to this disease and so it's important that we all take measures to protect ourselves. That's why we put out the 30 days to slow the spread recommendations nationally, because we want everyone to understand you've got a role to play in determining what this looks like in your community and how many people are ultimately put at risk in your community, rural or urban.

[00:10:19]Bill Walsh:  OK. Let's move to the topic of masks. Are there any circumstances in which people should wear masks, or is the priority to preserve masks for health care providers?

[00:10:31]Jerome Adams:  Thank you so much for asking that question, because it's complicated and I'm going to try to succinctly give you an answer. Initially, the World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control and my office recommended against the general public wearing masks because of the evidence at the time. The majority of the evidence suggested that they were not effective at preventing a wearer of the mask from catching coronavirus. We have always recommended that people who have coronavirus or other cold and flu symptoms wear a mask to prevent spreading disease to other people.

[00:11:06] So we've committed to continuing to look at the data. And as we look at the data, we've seen that there is about a quarter of the people who spread coronavirus are spreading it before they get symptoms or they're not getting symptoms. It's called asymptomatic spread. And so there is reason to believe that if people wear a face covering then that can prevent them from asymptomatically spreading the coronavirus in their communities. So again, it's not wearing a mask or face covering to protect yourself so much as it's wearing a mask or face covering when you go out to protect other people in case you are an asymptomatic spreader, and CDC is looking at that data right now and may be soon issuing advanced or revised recommendations.

[00:11:47] But this is important, three quick things. Number one, if you do wear a mask, please wash your hands before you put it on and wash your hands after you take it off, and don't touch your face. We are worried that people will touch their face more frequently when they're wearing a mask, and actually potentially expose themselves to disease that is on surfaces.

[00:12:07] Number two, when it comes to wearing a mask you don't need an N95 or a surgical mask; please save those for the health care providers. If you choose to wear a mask, you can make a mask, you can wear a bandana, you can wear a scarf — anything that will prevent those droplets from coming out of your mouth when you are coughing or sneezing or talking or singing or yelling.

[00:12:29] Number three, this is not a substitute for social distancing. The most important thing you can do to stay safe from the coronavirus is to stay away from other people who may have the coronavirus. And so social distancing, staying at home is the most important thing. Just because you decide to wear a mask doesn't mean it's now OK for you to go out and be around other people because you will still be at increased risk for getting COVID-19.

[00:12:55]Bill Walsh:  Thank you so much for that clarification. I know there's been some confusion around that. I appreciate you giving us the facts there. It's now time to address your questions with the U.S. surgeon general, Dr. Jerome Adams. Press star 3 at any time on your telephone keypad to be connected with an AARP staff member to share your questions.

[00:13:16] It is my pleasure today to be joined by my colleague Jean Setzfand, AARP senior vice president of programs. Jean will be our organizer and help facilitate your calls today. Welcome, Jean.

[00:13:28]Jean Setzfand:  Hi Bill, delighted to be here.

[00:13:31]Bill Walsh:  Let's turn to our questions. Please stay tuned after these live questions. We'll talk to other experts about what you can expect about the recently approved governance stimulus law. Let's take our first question for Dr. Adams.

[00:13:46] Jean, who do we have on the line?

[00:13:54]Jean Setzfand:  Our first caller is Joyce from Colorado.

[00:13:58]Bill Walsh:  Hey Joyce, go ahead and ask your question.

[00:14:01]Joyce:  I've seen articles about new coronavirus tests coming up. How do I get tested?

[00:14:07]Jerome Adams:  Joyce, thank you so much for that question. And I used to live out in Boulder, Colorado. Love it out there. Great question about testing. It’s important to know that we are now testing over 100,000 people per day. We've surpassed 1.2 million tests as a nation, and testing is becoming more and more available. We initially prioritize those at highest risk, meaning health care workers, people in hospitals or people who met one of our risk categories — over 65 or with underlying medical conditions, because those were the people who were most likely to get sick and die from coronavirus. So we initially prioritized them. We also initially prioritized urban areas like New York City that were particularly hard hit. We are now trying to increase the availability of testing in other areas, and in many cases a lot of rural areas have stepped up. Montana actually has tested more people per capita than the national average. So we know that testing is becoming more available. There's a new testing from Abbott and other companies that returned results in five minutes. And so we're trying to make that more available for people so that not only you can get a test, but you can get a result right away. But there's a difference between diagnostic testing, which is making sure we are testing the people who were sick, and surveillance testing, which means we're testing people who aren't showing any symptoms. We're trying to transition from a place of making sure everyone who needs the test to be diagnosed can get a test to a place where we're doing surveillance testing of asymptomatic people and can truly understand the rate of disease and communities. But talk to your health care provider. Again, apple.com/COVID19 is a great way to determine if based on symptoms and risk you need a test, and that will also increase your chances if you go to call your health care provider and say, look I feel like I'm in a risk category and the app told me I was, for you to go in and get diagnostic testing. And again, surveillance testing will be more and more available over the next coming weeks with 100,000 tests being done per day.

[00:16:08]Bill Walsh:  OK, very good. Thank you for that. Jean, who's our next caller?

[00:16:13]Jean Setzfand:  We have Lois calling in from North Carolina.

[00:16:17]Bill Walsh:  Go ahead, Lois.

[00:16:17]Lois:  I'm a caregiver right now for my husband, who has health issues, and I'm

[00:16:23] concerned about people who need to come into our home. How do I keep a safe social distance and what should I do to keep my house clean and safe after they leave?

[00:16:33]Jerome Adams:  Fantastic question, Lois. Love North Carolina; great barbecue out there — I probably shouldn't say that as surgeon general. But everything in moderation, and you know everything in moderation including family and friends. If you or your husband or if you know someone who is at higher risk, now is the time to really hunker down and to say look, we can see the grandkids from the window or over Skype or through FaceTime. But now's not the time to have people coming in and out of the house, because everyone who comes in and out of the house can potentially be an asymptomatic carrier. And remember, 25 percent of the cases of COVID-19 are estimated to be spread by asymptomatic carriers. If people do come in the house, please pay attention to what they're touching. Please clean your surfaces frequently — door knobs, door handles, tabletops. Clean them with a bleach cleaner or a disinfectant or alcohol-based cleaner, and make sure people when they come in wash their hands right away. If anyone is coming into your house who is sick or has cold symptoms, you should feel empowered to ask them, Have you been running a fever? Do you have a cough? Do you have a sneeze? Do you have any symptoms? Then ask them to wear a facial covering so that when they're talking to your loved one they aren't potentially spitting out droplets that could be containing COVID-19. So those are the things you can do to stay safe — frequent cleaning, good hygiene, but most importantly for the next 30 days at least — until we see a peak and see things start to come back down — the best thing is just to have that good social distancing and to keep your husband safe and away from other people.

[00:18:11]Bill Walsh:  OK. Did you say a peak is coming, Dr. Adams?

[00:18:16]Jerome Adams:  Based on the models that we're looking at, we anticipate the United States peak to be in the next two to three weeks in terms of cases. But every community is going to see their peak at a different time. New York is going to hit their peak sooner. Washington looks like they've already hit their peak and are coming back down. Many communities have not yet hit their peak because the cases are just starting to spread. So it’s important to, again, know what's going on in your in your local communities by following your local health department's website, and your state by looking at your state department of health website, because when we give out information we're giving it out nationally. But really what's important to you is to know what's going on locally.

[00:18:58]Bill Walsh:  Right. OK, very good. Jean, who do we have on the line now?

[00:19:03]Jean Setzfand:  We have Jerry from Arizona.

[00:19:06]Bill Walsh:  Hi Jerry, go ahead with your question.

[00:19:09]Jerry:  Yeah. I’m Jerry, I'm calling from Phoenix. I'd like some information about we're not hearing a lot about people once they get the virus, how they are being treated. And I know there's not a cure yet. I am a 50-year survivor of tuberculosis. I was given a treatment in a pill form called INH Isoniazid … with a regimen of I think a B12 or B6 shot. It completely helped me kick that tuberculosis. So I was just wondering if that's been considered or what you're doing to treat patients with the coronavirus.

[00:20:05]Jerome Adams:  Jerry, thank you for the question. I love your name. I'm the United States surgeon general, but my first name is Jerome and I have been called Jerry a time or two in my life. We have several officers out there at Phoenix Indian Medical Center. You asked some great questions. Number one, there are many studies going on right now looking at different therapeutic medicines that can treat people with the coronavirus. I'm going to walk backward. About a year from now we hope that we will have a vaccine. We're on track to have it about a year from now, and that could be a game changer in the event that this virus comes back. And in weeks to months we hope to have much better information about different drugs and therapies that can treat people with COVID-19, but right now the most important thing to do, the way these outbreaks are usually slowed down and stopped, is by good old public health measures. What's your mother told you: Wash your hands, keep your hands to yourself, don't talk to strangers. Social distancing and good hand hygiene are going to be critical. Now you asked about the clinical course. It's important for people to know that 80 percent of individuals who get COVID-19 are going to have a mild type of a course. It's going to be like a bad cold or a flu, and they will get over it. They won't need hospitalization. Twenty percent of people will need to see a doctor and may need hospitalization. And of that 20 percent we know that people who have underlying medical conditions and are older are going to be at highest risk for needing to be on a ventilator, and ultimately, unfortunately, some of them will pass away. But 98 to 99 percent of people around the world so far on average have recovered from COVID-19, so even if you get COVID-19 chances are you won't need medical care, and 80 percent chance if you do need medical care, most people are still recovering and going home. The most important thing you can do is try to prevent yourself from getting it in the first place through social distancing and good hygiene.

[00:22:11]Bill Walsh:  Very good. Dr. Adams. And Jerry was getting at something that we've heard a lot about, which are experimental treatments. What can you say about that? Are there any things you want to warn people not to be doing?

[00:22:24]Jerome Adams:  Well, I would want to warn people to always talk to your health care provider. There is a terrible, terrible story out there, I believe it's from Arizona, about a gentleman who took fish-tank cleaner because he had heard about hydroxychloroquine. Well, that's not the same hydroxychloroquine that people take as a medication. So before you do anything, talk to your medical provider first and foremost. We are trying to do everything we can at a federal level to give people an array of options on an experimental basis. And we're collecting data so that we can quickly tell you whether or not these medications work, are actually effective, and who they're safe for. So right now it really is on an experimental level from a compassionate use standpoint, which is why you need to talk to your health care provider and determine on a case-by-case basis if the risks are less than the benefits from trying these new methods. But again, the best way to make sure you recover from COVID-19 is to make sure you never get COVID-19 in the first place. So stay at home, and I know I keep harping on that, but I don't want you to be in a situation where you're having to make a tough choice about whether to try a new experimental drug. If you get there, and some of you will, we want to make sure you have every option available. But my first choice, my first option is that you not get exposed to COVID-19 in the first place.

[00:23:47]Bill Walsh:  OK, very good. Jean, let's take one other question.

[00:23:52]Jean Setzfand:  We have a call from Sandy from Florida.

[00:23:56]Bill Walsh:  Hi Sandy, go ahead with your question.

[00:24:01]Sandy:  I live in a senior apartment complex. I stay in my apartment with the exception of doing laundry and going to take my garbage out. My daughter and her son and her husband go to work every day, and they would like me to come stay with them. What is your opinion on this?

[00:24:22]Jerome Adams:  Sandy, thank you so much. I just talked to your governor in Florida yesterday. You know, those are decisions that are tough and that you have to decide on a case-by-case basis. What I would say is, if you are comfortable and you feel safe and you can get what you need in your apartment, the safest thing is for you to be in an environment where there aren't people coming and going. But we know that seniors in many cases need help or rely on assistance from others. And so if that's the situation, then we just want to make sure the people who you're staying with are wearing a mask when appropriate so that they don't spread disease to you, or a facial covering if that's appropriate if they have cough and cold symptoms. We also want to make sure they're washing their hands frequently and that they're showering as soon as they come in and out of the house so that they aren't bringing COVID-19 back and forth. So my recommendation would be to try to stay where you are if you can, because the fewer people you're around the better. The more people you're around and the more people they're around, the more chances you're going to be exposed to COVID-19. But if you do go and stay with them, please make sure they're wiping down surfaces frequently and that they're practicing good hygiene around you, and that if they get sick they wear a mask and let you know immediately that they're sick so that they don't expose you to their potential illness. And best of luck to you; those are tough choices. But again there are choices that need to be made by families and by friends and colleagues with the scientific information guiding it.

[00:25:55]Bill Walsh:  And I think about the piece of advice you gave to the caller earlier about staying in touch through other means, whether it's like the telephone or Skype or Facebook or whatever it is. You know, the social distancing shouldn't lead to social isolation.

[00:26:10]Jerome Adams:  Exactly. I say social distancing doesn't mean social disengagement. Now's a great time to establish a buddy system, to look out for other people in your neighborhoods, in your apartments, in your complexes. You can check in on them and just see if some people can't get out and get groceries. So asking them, Hey can I bring you groceries? Is there something I can do for you? There are still things you can do to stay connected by telephone, by Skype, by FaceTime and by all this new technology while still keeping a good social distance of 6 feet from one another. So thank you for the opportunity. These were fantastic questions. I think I may post some of them on my own website and on my Twitter so that people hear those answers. And everyone out there, please stay safe. We will get through this. The good news again if that we're seeing places that have done this lower their death rates, flatten their curve, and start to decrease cases in a matter of about two to four weeks. And so I'm confident that we can do this in all communities across America if everyone participates and does their part.

[00:27:14]Bill Walsh:  All right. Excellent. I know you have to leave. Thank you so much again for being with us today, surgeon general.

[00:27:20]Jerome Adams:  My pleasure.

[00:27:22]Bill Walsh:  Now I'd like to transition to another important topic. What should you expect from the new stimulus law and how can you best manage your income and finances during this turbulent time? Before we begin, though, we need to hear from you. Please take a moment to tell us what's the most significant way the coronavirus pandemic has affected your financial situation at the moment. Press 1 on your telephone keypad If the most significant impact at the moment is lost income; press 2 if the most significant impact is depleted savings; press 3 if the most significant impact is missed payments or worried about your bills; press 4 if the most significant impact is needing to work longer than expected; and press 5 if you've not been affected financially.

[00:28:11] Today we're talking with experts about what to expect from the new economic stimulus law, managing your money during these turbulent times, staying healthy and protected from the coronavirus, and changes that the Social Security Administration has made to protect the public. This is a timely discussion. Last week Congress passed and the president signed a bipartisan law with several vital measures that AARP fought for. I want to touch on a few that are important to our members. First, the law will send payments of $1,200 to most Americans, no matter their work status — including people whose primary source of income is Social Security.

[00:29:10] AARP worked hard to get this included. The law also includes expanding unemployment insurance benefits for people who are out of work due to the pandemic. And extend deadlines for Americans to take the required minimum distributions from their retirement plan. It hasn't gotten a lot of attention but the law also allows employers to delay payment of their Social Security and Medicare payroll taxes. This could negatively affect the finances of these critical programs, so AARP successively fought to ensure the trust funds are replenished. And finally, and this is important, we received word last night that Social Security recipients who would normally file a tax return will receive the $1,200 payment automatically. This is the direct result of AARP advocacy. So we're delighted to share this news with you.

[00:30:06] These are important victories for older Americans that would not have been possible without the phone calls emails and actions from AARP members, volunteers and other adults across the country. So thank you.

[00:30:19] Now I'd like to introduce our next speakers. First we are joined today by Jean Chatzky,

[00:30:24] an award-winning personal finance journalist and best-selling author with more than two decades of experience helping people manage their money, including serving as AARP financial ambassador. Thanks for joining us today, Jean. We're also joined today by Erik Jones, the assistant deputy commissioner for operations at the Social Security Administration. Eric helps direct and manage an organization of approximately 45,000 federal employees who served more than 40 million visitors and completed nearly 8 million claims for benefits last year. Thanks for being here.

[00:31:04]Erik Jones:  Hi, Bill. Good afternoon and thank you for inviting me to participate on today's call. My greetings as well to Dr. Adams and both Jeans that are with us today. It's a pleasure to be on the show with you. Since we are talking about finances today I thought I'd start with the bottom line. First, Social Security checks continue to be deposited as normal.

[00:31:26] It is true that out of a concern for our employees and our visitors, we had closed their offices to the public, but while our offices are not physically open at present our employees are continuing to work. What I would ask your listeners is that if you need help from Social Security in the weeks ahead, please check out our website first at ssa.gov. I think you might be pleasantly surprised at just how much you can get done online with us.

[00:31:55]Bill Walsh:  All right. Thank you for that greeting. We're going to swing back to you in just a moment to get into some more of those details. Jean Chatzky, I'd like to start with you if you don't mind.

[00:32:10]Jean Chatzky:  Hello to all of your listeners as well.

[00:32:14]Bill Walsh:  Thank you for being with us. There's been a lot of information about the stimulus package and direct payments from the federal government. Tell us what people can expect; what do they need to do?

[00:32:24]Jean Chatzky:  So let's break it down for people, because there are a lot of facts and figures in these answers and it's very important that people understand what they have to do, but what they also don't have to do in order to get these payments. And the good news for most people listening is that you're not going to have to do anything. So here are the facts. As long as you are a resident of the United States; you have a valid Social Security number; you're not claimed as a dependent by another taxpayer — so if you're supported by adult children, for example, they can't have claimed you as a dependent; and you have an adjusted gross income of $75,000 or less as a single person, $112,500 or less if you're head of household, or $150,000 or less if you're a married couple, you should be eligible for that full stimulus check. And that stimulus check will be $1,200 for single people and $2,400 for married couple.

[00:33:34] Now the deal is that if you make more than those initial thresholds, the amount of your check will gradually decrease once your adjusted gross income hits those numbers, and by the time you earn $99,000 for singles and $198,000 for married couples, that stimulus check will vanish completely. The IRS is the agency that is going to determine, first if you're eligible, and second send out those checks. And send out Is not the appropriate term in many cases; a lot of these checks will be direct deposited if you have received a direct deposit of a tax refund in the past or if you get your Social Security that way. The agency will base the amount that you'll get on your 2019 tax return if you've already filed it. If you haven't already filed it — and don't panic, you do not have to have filed until this point — it'll be based on your 2018 tax return. The IRS is stepping up to say that the vast majority of people don't have to do anything. The IRS will automatically send the economic impact payments to those people who are eligible. So that should really clear things up for a lot of people. Again, this payment will be deposited directly into the same bank account that is reflected on your tax return. And as Bill mentioned — and this is really important because it's such a change we just learned of yesterday: Social Security recipients who are not typically required to file a tax return don't have to take action. You will receive your payment right in your bank account by direct deposit. Or if you typically get your Social Security payments by paper check, you'll get this payment in the same way. And a big shout out again to AARP. AARP worked so hard to make sure that the vast majority of Americans — people who work, people who are unable to work, who are unemployed, who are retired — get the most money as possible in the midst of this crisis.

[00:36:06]Bill Walsh:  Thank you very much for that, Jean. And for our listeners, I know Jean threw a lot of data points at you. You can find out more at aarp.org/coronavirus. There is a lot of content there that will walk you through the eligibility guidelines that Jean just covered. While we're on the topic of the economic stimulus, we want to provide a quick AARP Fraud Watch Network coronavirus alert. Scam artists are at it again, posing as banking government representatives to steal your personal information. They're asking for confidential information as a requirement to receive stimulus or coronavirus checks. It's simply not true. The Justice Department advises you to only accept or follow financial guidance from a source you trust and can verify, and to be very wary of anyone requesting your bank account, Social Security number, or payments by wire transfer, cash, gift card or through the mail. Please report any suspected fraud by calling the National Center for Disaster Fraud hotline at 866-720-5721. Scams like these can really hurt at a time like this.

[00:37:26] Now staying on the topic of income, Jean, if somebody is struggling to pay bills or coping with job loss, what assistance is available and what can they do now without hurting themselves in the long run?

[00:37:38]Jean Chatzky:  There are a number of things that we should talk about in answer to this question. The first is that there has been a step-up pace as part of the CARES Act in unemployment benefits. So if you have lost your job, if you were previously unemployed, there are benefits that will be available to you. You can now get an additional $600 a week on top of the benefits that you typically would receive from your state, and under the CARES Act — which is this the formal name for the federal coronavirus response bill — you'll now be able to receive unemployment benefits for up to 39 weeks, and that's 13 weeks longer than the cutoff that many states use. You can and you have to file for unemployment with your own state. I understand that unemployment offices are overwhelmed right now. They are really … I mean, if you saw the unemployment number that came down the pike this morning — 6.3 million, I believe maybe 6.6 million unemployment claims — it's bigger than we've seen in our history. Just stick with it. You will be able to apply, file for your unemployment, and you will be able to get through it. It just may take a little more patience and a little more perseverance than you would have to apply in normal times. As far as bills, then it's a really really good time to talk about them, because we just passed the first of the month. Bills are starting to come due. If you don't have money to pay your bills, you want to first reach out to your creditors. There is a lot of relief now for mortgages, for rent. There are procedures in place that will not allow you to be foreclosed upon or evicted during these times. Same with student loan payments. There's a lot of relief out there and there are many credit card companies that are willing to work with customers and let them skip a payment. Same with auto insurance companies, but you have to contact your creditors. You have to pick up the phone or go online, get in touch with them, and let them know what's going on in your life. And then although this is not advice that I would give in normal times, it's a good time to hold onto your cash. So let's say you're sitting with a credit card bill and you are in the habit of always paying your credit card bill in full because you know that that's the best thing to do if you want to avoid interest charges. But you're a little bit tight on cash right now, don't pay that full credit card bill. This is the time to actually make a smaller payment and hold onto some of that cash to tide you through.

[00:40:53]Bill Walsh:  All right, Jean, a lot of good advice there. Callers, just remember that you can ask a question by pressing star 3 on your telephone keypad.

[00:41:02] OK, Erik Jones, I'd like to bring you into the conversation. The Social Security Administration announced a couple of weeks ago that local offices are closed in response to the coronavirus pandemic. How can people get the information and resources they need? Will it create any delays or affect any decisions for beneficiaries, including for disability benefits? You had started to get into this a little bit earlier. You want to return to it?

[00:41:27]Erik Jones:  Thank you, Bill. And welcome, Jean. I'm glad you were able to join the conversation. I think before I was mentioning that Social Security checks continue to go out and be deposited as normal. Our offices are currently closed to the public out of safety concerns for both our employees and the visitors. My first and foremost request is that folks go online first and see if they can't help themselves. We have a lot of services that are self-service online that can allow folks to get their business with Social Security taken care of quickly and efficiently. If that's not the case, our folks are still answering the phones and are in their local office. So if you have a question or a service that needs to be taken care of immediately, please do call the line and we will answer those calls. Here's the deal, though: For the near term we are going to prioritize critical requests first. So this means we're focusing on getting and making sure that those who should be getting benefits are set up to get those payments. Similarly, we are going to focus on processing actions like Medicare and Medicaid enrollments to ensure those who should be getting health care coverage are getting it. Some other requests may take a little longer, and we ask your patience in advance for that, but we're here to serve even though the offices are closed to the public. We're here to get to your questions answered.

[00:43:03]Bill Walsh:  OK, Erik Jones of the Social Security Administration. Thank you for that.

[00:43:07] Erik, are we seeing an uptake in first-time Social Security claims due to the financial hardship, and what is the long-term cost of someone claiming early? Appreciate your expertise on that.

[00:43:20]Erik Jones:  Sure, thanks Bill.

[00:43:21] I think it may be still a little bit too early to see if we're going to see an uptick in claims as a result of the current COVID-19 pandemic and the associated unemployment. However, it's true that in past times, similar times of a higher unemployment, we have seen increased both retirement and disability filings. And so we will not be surprised if that happens this go-around again.

[00:43:51] You know, filing or not filing is very individualistic and is based on a case-by-case situation. I think one of the best pieces of advice I can give your listeners is to go online to ssa.gov and create your My SSA account. And we have a number of things that you can play around with. One is you can access your Social Security statement, which will look at your past earnings and your past payments into Social Security. And we'll give you an estimate based on different retirement ages of what you would get if you are retiring before your full-retirement age. That monthly amount is going to be a little bit less, and if you're able to wait until past 67 for most of us, that's going to be a little bit more. We also have online a retirement calculator that again allows you to plug in some different variables and see how that might affect your retirement income.

[00:44:52]Bill Walsh:  OK. And Jean, on the on the topic of claiming Social Security early, do you have some uh thoughts on what people should consider before they do that?

[00:45:03]Jean Chatzky:  Absolutely. It's a really, really important question, because for so many people Social Security is the backbone of what they live on during the latter portion of their life, and the difference in the amount of money that you receive from claiming early versus waiting until age 70 can just be staggering. It can be tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars when you add it all up together. So you want to take it really carefully. And I would say if possible, in good times, the advice is always if possible you want to try to wait or at least have the higher-earning person in your family wait, because the difference in monthly payment for every year that you delay taking Social Security from age 62 when you're first eligible until age 70 equals about an 8 percent bump in your payment every single year. That is a lot of money, and so before you say “Oh my gosh I need money; I have to claim my Social Security now,” think about whether there are other things that you could do to relieve your cash crunch in the short term so that you don't have to make this long-term decision on the fly. We were talking, Bill, a little bit earlier about how there is relief out there. You may be able to defer your mortgage payment or your rent or your utilities or your student loan payment, and that may give you the relief that you need in order to say “OK, I can wait. I can pump the brakes. I'm not going to take Social Security.” I want everybody to think long and hard if this wasn't something that you were planning to do along if you were planning to wait, think about it; there are other tools that you have in your toolkit that you could pull out so that you can still continue to wait.

[00:47:16]Bill Walsh:  Jean, I wonder if you've seen any of those lenders be more flexible in the face of the crisis to either renegotiating terms or at least being flexible in terms of payment deadlines.

[00:47:30]Jean Chatzky:  Oh, absolutely. And the CARES Act, by the way, has some relief built into it. So for example we know that it requires mortgage servicers to offer 60 days of forbearance to borrowers who are having financial hardship because of the COVID-19 pandemic. And this can be extended for another four months. This applies, by the way, to mortgages that are owned by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, FHA, VA, USDA and Indian mortgage loans. We know that during this period the CARES Act prohibits landlords who are receiving forbearance on their properties from evicting tenants, so that offers some relief. Student loans are on pause. Federal student loan payments are on pause for six months through Sept. 30, and if you make your payments, interest rates have gone to zero on those federal loans. So everything that you pay will go to principal. And then on an individual case, I have seen a number of banks — the website that I run is called hermoney.com — we've put up a list of a number of banks that have said that we will work with you if you can't make your credit card payment, if you can't make your car loan payment. So yeah, the answer is we are seeing a lot of it. This is a time unlike that we've ever seen before, but you do have to pick up the phone and call your lenders. You can't just put your head in the sand in most cases and not pay. You have to tell them what you're doing.

[00:49:19]Bill Walsh:  OK. Thank you so much, Jean Chatzky and Erik Jones from the Social Security Administration. It's now time to address your questions with Erik Jones and Jean Chatzky. Press star 3 at any time on your telephone keypad to be connected with AARP staff to share your question.

[00:49:38] Let's take our first question. Jean, who do we have?

[00:49:43]Jean Setzfand:  We have Annie from New York.

[00:49:46]Bill Walsh:  OK. Hey Annie, go ahead with your question.

[00:49:49]Annie:  Good afternoon. I'm a social worker. I work with the Department for the Aging, and I’ve been getting a lot of calls from my seniors who are on lower income, living on Medicaid, you know, getting their medications through Medicaid. And they're being told that they're going to get this stimulus money. And their fear is that maybe this $1,200 will increase their income and they may lose their Medicaid and their medications. And the other part of the question, is this in all states or just New York?

[00:50:29]Bill Walsh:  Thank you very much, Annie. Jean Chatzky, that sounds like a question for you. Will receiving the stimulus checks disqualify people from the programs that Annie mentioned?

[00:50:40]Jean Chatzky:  No, it will not. That is not something that the seniors that you're dealing with — Annie, thank you, by the way, for everything that you're doing. I'm in New York just like you and it is a different world out there — but, no these payments are being treated like a tax refund. They are not treated as income for the purposes of determining eligibility for any of these programs. And that's not just the ones that you mentioned but Social Security income and SNAP as well, so please tell people they do not have to worry about this. And it's not just New York. This is countrywide.

[00:51:20]Bill Walsh:  Very good.

[00:51:22]Erik Jones:  I can go ahead.

[00:51:23]Bill Walsh:  Erik, jump right in.

[00:51:23]Erik Jones:  I can just confirm what Jean said from a Social Security standpoint that this is not countable income. It is not going to come against anyone for SSI purposes.

[00:51:34]Bill Walsh:  Very good. Thank you very much. Jean Setzfand, do we have another caller on the line?

[00:51:40]Jean Setzfand:  Yes, we do. We have Pat from Pennsylvania.

[00:51:43]Bill Walsh:  Go ahead with your question.

[00:51:51]Pat:  Hi. Thank you so much. My question was, if on last year I owe taxes to the IRS, how will that affect my stimulus package this year?

[00:52:04]Bill Walsh:  Jean Chatzky, you want to take that one?

[00:52:07]Jean Chatzky:  Sure. I don't believe this will impact your stimulus payment at all. The only thing that we are hearing payments being reduced for at this point are for people who owe back child support. So even in the case where you are on a payment plan with the IRS or you're delinquent on your student loans, things that would normally get garnished, that is not happening.

[00:52:38]Bill Walsh:  OK. Thank you very much. Jean, do we have another caller?

[00:52:44]Jean Setzfand:  Yes, we had a caller, I think, it's Wilmer, from an 858 area code.

[00:52:56]Bill Walsh:  Go ahead with your question. Is that Wilmer?

[00:53:05]Wilmer:  Hello.

[00:53:06]Bill Walsh:  Hi, is that Wilmer?

[00:53:09]Wilmer:  Hi, yeah. I have question on unemployment insurance. I'm a senior, I'm 75 years old, but I was doing Uber driving, which I discontinued because of my car condition.

[00:53:23] Am I like, can I claim I need unemployment insurance for the lost income that I have over the past three months and for future months?

[00:53:34]Bill Walsh:  Jean Chatzky, do you want to take that?

[00:53:37]Jean Chatzky:  You may be able to, but you also may not be able to. These additional payments are supposed to cover people who are working part time, in addition for the first time to people who are self-employed, file a 1099 or received 1099, or are Independent contractors or sole proprietors. I would go through the process; I would go ahead and try to see if you are able to file a claim, but based on the level of your income I am not sure whether or not you will qualify.

[00:54:21]Bill Walsh:  OK. And just a clarification on that wanting to folks. If they're filing an employment claim, do they file where they live or where they work?

[00:54:30]Jean Chatzky:  You file in your state of residence.

[00:54:34]Bill Walsh:  in your state of residence? OK. Well thank you very much.

[00:54:45]Jean Chatzky:  Excuse me, I just misspoke. You have to file typically for benefits through the state where you work, not where you live.

[00:54:57]Bill Walsh:  You work.

[00:54:57]Jean Chatzky:  Not where you live.

[00:54:58]Bill Walsh:  Exactly. Thank you for clearing that up. I appreciate it.

[00:55:02] Do we have another caller on the line?

[00:55:06]Jean Setzfand:  I have actually a question coming in from Facebook live, and I think this is one for Social Security. The question is, can people still get disability determinations while the offices are shut down?

[00:55:20]Bill Walsh:  Erik, do you want to take that one?

[00:55:21]Erik Jones:  I sure do and I appreciate the question. The answer is yes. Those are one of the cases we're trying to get online; we're trying to do it as quickly as possible. You know, I will say, Social Security has been affected by COVIT-19 as well, so we do have reduced staff levels, and it may take a little bit longer but those are the types of cases I was talking about that we are trying to prioritize and get folks online who should be in payable status.

[00:55:49] So absolutely file, if you can file online. I think that'll be the easiest way to do it. And we're absolutely taking and processing those cases.

[00:56:00]Bill Walsh:  OK. Thank you so much for that. Do we have another caller on the line?

[00:56:06]Jean Setzfand:  We have Pat from North Carolina.

[00:56:09]Bill Walsh:  Go ahead, Pat. What's your question?

[00:56:13]Pat:  Hi. My question is I've been retired now for quite a few years and I've lost a third of my 401k that we are currently living on. And because we lost so much, I was afraid that we would not have enough left if we lost even more. So I pulled out of the market. So what I'd like to know is, A] was that the smart thing to do, to put things in cash? And B], if it wasn't, when would be the best time for us to get back in? I know we can't time the market, but I would like to know when the best time to get back in is since it's so volatile right now.

[00:56:54]Bill Walsh:  Jean Chatzky, do you want to take that question? I think it's a question in the minds of a lot of people these days?

[00:56:59]Jean Chatzky:  I know it's a question on the minds of a lot of people, and it is such a tough call. The volatility emotionally is so difficult to take, so I completely understand why you did what you did. Historically, what we've seen is that it's better if you can ride through it. It's better if you can hold on as things come back, things do, historically, recover. If you look at 2001, 2008, 1987, big downturns in the market, a few years later, things were back where they were before. But I also understand the need for money for people in retirement. And so as you think about how much to put back into stocks and when to put that money back into stocks, I'd first take a look at what your needs for cash coming out of that account are going to be in the next three to five years. You want to make sure that the money that you need in that short term, and I’m really talking about over the next three years, doesn't belong In stocks. It never belonged in stocks. We should be at a place in our lives when we are in retirement pulling money out of stuff on a regular basis, selling on a regular basis, and consoling to cash for that money that we know that we need for our living expenses.

[00:58:42] And so as you look at when to put the money back in, I'd answer that question first and I’d corral the money off to a side that you know that you are going to need to live on. As for the rest, I don't know what's going to happen in the market; I wish I had a crystal ball and I can tell you exactly the day that things were going to turn around and when they're going to turn around and how long they're gonna stay and if they're going to go down again from there. I think that the strategy of dollar-cost averaging of dividing that money into a group of piles, 12 piles perhaps, and just putting some into the market continually on a regular monthly basis is what makes sense. It enables you to buy the market at all levels and it also gives you a little bit to hold onto when markets are down, knowing that you bought shares at those lower prices.

[00:59:51] If you want to wait and see how all of this has washed out and in three, six months, I think that that is an OK thing to do, but I also think it's OK to say there's been a lot of pain already and I'm going to start putting some money to work knowing that it could go down again. I also want to say for anybody who has had their retirement plans upended, this is a really good time to seek the assistance of a financial adviser. There are financial advisers out there who work in all sorts of ways, and you can hire a financial adviser, a fee-only financial adviser, who is not going to try to sell you anything, to look over your account and give you some objective advice about how to make sure that you have enough money to last the rest of your life.

[01:00:48] The association of fee-only financial advisers is called NAPFA.org. That's the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors, and they are not going to try to sell anything.

[01:01:10]Bill Walsh:  OK. I mean, we often think of financial advisers just for people who had a great deal of money, but you'd recommend a financial adviser even for people just making decisions, Should I continue to contribute to my 401k? and maybe people still on Social Security.

[01:01:27]Jean Chatzky:  Let me let me say something about the continued contributions as well. Look, I think we all have to look at how we're using our resources these days. Perhaps hiring a financial adviser to do everything for you, which can get pricey, is definitely not in the cards for everybody, but for spending a little bit of money on an hour or two of expertise is often a smart move. There's also often the opportunity, if you have a 401k that is administered by a major financial institution, there is often a financial planning advisory service that you have access to for free through your employer; you can just pick up the phone and call, so think about that as well. And if you still are able to contribute to a 401k, I would say go ahead because the matching dollars that you get from your employer in many cases are free money. You don't want to leave those on the table. And because the markets have come down so far, putting money in at these levels are, at least according to a lot of the smart folks watching these things, chances are you're getting a better buy on these same shares than you would have gotten a few months ago.

[01:02:58]Bill Walsh:  OK. Jean, thanks so much for that.

[01:03:01] Jean Setzfand, do we have another caller on the line?

[01:03:04]Jean Setzfand:  Yes, we do. We have Carole from Chicago.

[01:03:07]Bill Walsh:  Hey Carole. Go ahead and ask your question.

[01:03:12]Carole:  You may have answered this a little earlier, but I recently applied for Medicare benefits. I was there actually on the last day before the office closed to the public. And I'm just wondering if those requests are being processed on a timely basis or if I need to somehow plan for that because I would not have health insurance if I did not have Medicare.

[01:03:37]Bill Walsh:  Erik Jones of Social Security, You want to take that one?

[01:03:41]Erik Jones:  Yes, I sure do. And thank you, Carole.

[01:03:44] I think I did mention earlier on that one of the high priority workloads that we have our folks focusing on are Medicare and Medicaid benefits. So I would hope you would see yourself enrolled in the short term. If you don't I would encourage you to call our office again, and that’s one of the things we would hope to help you out with in the short term because we want you to have your health care benefits.

[01:04:09]Bill Walsh:  Erik, what should Carole expect? Is there a confirmation letter that would go out, would she get an email? How would she know that the coverage is activated?

[01:04:17]Erik Jones:  She should get a letter in the mail.

[01:04:20]Bill Walsh:  OK. And if she's not getting that in a few weeks to call the office?

[01:04:25]Erik Jones:  I think it should be within a week to 10 days that you should see the letter. You said you were in, I guess on the 16th it sounds like, Carole, cause I think we closed the offices on the 17th, so I think you would get a letter fairly shortly, and I think your coverage based on when you file would start around July.

[01:04:47]Bill Walsh:  OK. Very good. Thank you for that, Erik Jones of the Social Security Administration. Do we have another question?

[01:04:55]Jean Setzfand:  Yes. This is coming in from Elaine from Connecticut.

[01:04:59]Bill Walsh:  Elaine, go ahead with your question.

[01:05:02]Elaine:  Yes, thank you. Just want to ask about the $1,200 check. Do you know the timing of when people would see that in their direct deposit, or however they are receiving it?

[01:05:13]Bill Walsh:  Jean Chatzky, do you want to field that one?

[01:05:19]Jean Chatzky:  Maybe Eric actually knows better than I do, because I'm hearing a number of dates. I've heard two weeks, I've heard three weeks, and I've heard the end of the month.

[01:05:30]Erik Jones:  Thanks, Jean. And that was going to be something I covered in my opening is that we have worked really closely with the IRS and our colleagues at Treasury. I think we all heard the good news last night that most folks are going to have their checks deposited automatically or mailed if that's how they get their benefits right now. The IRS has set up a website, and Bill, I know we've probably both mentioned a couple of websites and your folks were good enough to put those online. I'm going to mention another one and it's the IRS site that they set up specifically to give you status updates on when those checks might be mailed out. That website is irs.gov/coronavirus. And if you go there — and it may still be a little early cause I think they're still working out the timing themselves; I, like Jean, have heard two weeks, three weeks. They're trying to get those out as quickly as possible, but that website will be the best place to go to get up-to-date information on when you might see your payments.

[01:06:41]Bill Walsh:  OK. And I have just a little bit to add to this. We had heard that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin say that people may get their payments by April 17. So the IRS has not said when they'd be receiving checks — people receiving checks — would get them. But that appears to be a date that's been put out there right now for these direct deposits. But I think that's good advice to check with the website that Erik Jones suggested and go to that portal.

[01:07:15] Do we have another question for our experts?

[01:07:19]Jean Setzfand:  Yes we do. We have a call from from Cybill from New York.

[01:07:22] Bill Walsh: Hey Cybill, you're on the line. Go ahead and ask your question. I think we might've lost Cybill. Do we have another caller?

[01:07:39] Absolutely. We have a call coming in from Gerri of Ohio.

[01:07:48]Bill Walsh:  Hey Gerri, go ahead and ask your question.

[01:07:51]Gerri:  Hello. I am a senior living in a HUD facility. Will this stimulus check deposit affect my rent, because our rent is based on a third of our income. How will this affect my rent?

[01:08:17]Bill Walsh:  You want me to take that, Jean? Did you have any insight on that?

[01:08:27]Jean Chatzky:  Absolutely it should not affect your rent at all. It is not treated as taxable income. And so if your rent is based on your taxable income, if your rent is based on your adjusted gross income, this will not impact that.

[01:08:45]Bill Walsh:  You had said before it's like a tax refund.

[01:08:48]Jean Chatzky:  Right, exactly. It's this stimulus and it's a little confusing because of the lingo that everybody is using and throwing around, but that's the bottom line. It's treated like a tax refund. It's not treated as taxable income. I'm getting questions from people who want to know, Am I going to have to pay this money back in 2020? The answer to that is no as well.

[01:09:14]Bill Walsh:  I am Bill Walsh with AARP and we're taking your questions today about the coronavirus with key experts. I had asked for everyone on the line to participate in a poll earlier, and I have some results. It's clear that there are a range of concerns related to the immediate financial impact of the coronavirus based on the poll that many of you answered earlier. It looks like 38 percent of people on the line say it hasn't affected them financially. Well, that's good news. Another 28 percent, however, said it has depleted their savings, and 14 percent report lost income. So it's having an effect on some and not on others.

[01:09:59] Let's take more questions from our callers. Jean, who do we have up next?

[01:10:04]Jean Setzfand:  We have a caller, Anita from West Virginia.

[01:10:08]Bill Walsh:  Anita, go ahead with your question.

[01:10:11]Anita:  I filed my income tax on the 5th of March. I'm eligible for money back, which I elected to leave in, no big deal. But today I got a letter — IRS, it says, Austin, Texas, and they say I need to call a certain 800 number in the next 30 days between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. to verify this. They say if we don't hear from you we won't be able to process your December 31, 2019, income tax returns.

[01:10:49] And to expedite this process I must have all the following: this letter; a prior year income tax return — all my forms, 1040 etc,; the income tax returns for the years shown above which will be 2019 and all those 1040s etc.; and any supporting documents for each year's income tax return. And if I don't call this and give them this information my form will not be filed. I think it's a scam.

[01:11:23]Bill Walsh:  Yeah, and I was going to say the same thing. Jean Chatzky, Erik Jones, what's your sense of what's happening there with Anita?

[01:11:31]Jean Chatzky:  So we know that the IRS will not call you; the IRS won't email you, and they won't text you. If they are going to reach out to you, they are going to reach out by mail. However, the amount of information they're asking for makes me very wary as well. I would crosscheck that phone number, Anita. I might place a call to the IRS but I wouldn't necessarily call the number on that letter. I would go to irs.gov, and I would place a call to the IRS directly or send an email directly to make sure before you give any information to anybody that this is legit. And if and when you do call them, I would be very, very wary of giving them any personal detail. Erik?

[01:12:30]Erik Jones:  Jean, I was going to echo exactly what you said. Since it's IRS I'm a little less familiar with the different types of scams that are out there. We certainly encourage you to crosscheck those numbers. Go to our official website, call our official number, talk to one of our agents, and make it be a call that you placed as opposed to responding to a number that's on a piece of paper that you find suspicious. So I think your gut instinct is probably right; I think the advice to go online, find the number to IRS themselves and talk to someone there to either confirm that that was a legitimate request on their part or quite likely that was not something that was issued from the IRS.

[01:13:23]Bill Walsh:  All right. And Erik, are we seeing any scams related to Social Security that you've been aware of since the outbreak of the pandemic?

[01:13:32]Erik Jones:  Absolutely. And some of them are quite heinous. I think you know over the course of the last year we've seen a lot of either phone calls, mail, emails, texts that say: We suspended your number, we suspended your payments. Now they're saying: We suspended because of COVID-19. Even more heinous from my consideration is you're seeing some out there that say: We're going to increase your Social Security benefit by this amount because of the new stimulus package but you need to call us. I assure you none of those are coming from the Social Security Administration. We are not suspending anybody's number because of COVID-19. We're not suspending anybody's payment because of COVID-19. We have another website, our inspector general's website. I know you had a website as well, Bill, that you mentioned before, but if it's specifically related to Social Security, I would ask that you go to our inspector general’s site and provide the specific information. We are trying very hard to track down these individuals that are doing this. It's more important now than ever. And so any information you can provide that help us track these folks down is so much appreciated.

[01:14:51]Bill Walsh:  OK. Very good. And Jean and Erik had made reference to the IRS customer service number. I have that here if folks on the line want to take that down. That number is 800-829-1040. That's 800-829-1040.

[01:15:14] Jean, do we have another caller on the line?

[01:15:18]Jean Setzfand:  We actually have an interesting question coming in from our YouTube watch channel, and it's a question about eligibility for the stimulus:

[01:15:30] My son is a full-time student at the University of Puerto Rico. He's 23 years old. Will he receive the $1,200 stimulus package, and if so, how?

[01:15:44]Bill Walsh:  OK, the person's son is a 23-year-old student. Will they be eligible for the stimulus payment? Jean Chatzky, do you want to take a crack at that one?

[01:15:54]Jean Chatzky:  It’s going to depend if he is a dependent or not. People who are claimed as dependents, whether they are your children or perhaps older parents, are not going to be eligible for any stimulus payments. And parents are only getting stimulus payments for children under the age of 17. So it really depends on the status on his parents' tax returns.

[01:16:32]Bill Walsh:  Jean, do we have another question?

[01:16:35]Jean Setzfand:  Yes, we do. We have a caller Joan from Henderson, Nevada.

[01:16:41]Bill Walsh:  Joan, go ahead with your question.

[01:16:46]Joan:  I'm still working, I'm 80 years old, but I still work and I do have a 1099 coming in. Well that money is no of course I can't work Uh I can't go outside to work And uh I was wondering I can't I understand I can't go for unemployment but is there some kind of a payment that we can get as 1099 workers.

[01:17:11]Bill Walsh:  Do you want to jump on that one, Jean Chatzky?

[01:17:13]Jean Chatzky:  Joan, actually you can claim unemployment in this case. The rules have been changed in this scenario where people who are self-employed 1099 sole proprietors are eligible for unemployment benefits. So I would look there. The other thing that is available to you as an independent contractor is what's being called a PPP loan from the Small Business Administration That's a paycheck protection loan. The applications for those loans, which are again part of the CARES Act, are coming out tomorrow, April 3. I believe for independent contractors you're not eligible to apply until April 10, but you may want to read up on whether that's something that makes sense for you as well. And can I just say, good for you working at 80 — you sound like you're 80 years young. So I hope that you're doing OK.

[01:18:30]Bill Walsh:  Yeah, that's fantastic.

[01:18:32] All right, Jean, do you want to take one more caller?

[01:18:36]Jean Setzfand:  Yes, I think that here's a quick one from Facebook. This question refers to a relative who lives on their Social Security overseas. What did we tell them about their Social Security? Are they still going to get their checks?

[01:18:52]Bill Walsh:  Erik Jones, do you want to take that are relatively accuracies on Social Security?

[01:18:56]Erik Jones:  Absolutely, 100 percent, those checks are still going out, and they should count on that monthly income.

[01:19:04]Bill Walsh:  OK, very good. Jean, do want to take another question?

[01:19:09]Jean Setzfand:  Sure. Since we have an abundance of Jean … here's another one, from Jean from Alaska.

[01:19:16]Jean:  Hi. My question is, I have a daughter who has a disability and we file her taxes with ours. She does have a minimum income. Will she get a stimulus check? It doesn't sound like we're going to be eligible, but would she and another daughter who doesn't file and does not get Social Security?

[01:19:46]Bill Walsh:  Jean, how old are your daughters?

[01:19:48]Jean:  20 and 21

[01:19:53]Bill Walsh:  And do you claim either of them as dependents on your taxes?

[01:19:56]Jean:  Yes.

[01:19:58]Bill Walsh:  Jean Chatzky, do you want to handle that one?

[01:20:03]Jean Chatzky:  Basically, a two-part answer. If you claim them as dependents, they will not receive their own stimulus payments. But you did raise an interesting point for people who haven't filed taxes and don't claim Social Security. You should file a very basic quick tax return. That's the best way to ensure that you get your stimulus checks.

[01:20:29]Bill Walsh:  A very quick tax return for 2019, you mean?

[01:20:34]Jean Chatzky:  For 2019, yes.

[01:20:36]Bill Walsh:  And you that will accelerate the …

[01:20:39]Jean Chatzky:  That will put you in the system. That'll put you in the system. It'll help them know where to find you and you want to accelerate that payment, you want to both file the tax return but also elect direct deposit.

[01:20:54]Bill Walsh:  Direct deposit. That should expedite things as well.

[01:20:58] Jean Setzfand, do you want to give us another question?

[01:21:02]Jean Setzfand:  Sure. We have a call coming in from Ida from Texas.

[01:21:06]Bill Walsh:  Hey Ida, go ahead with your question.

[01:21:09]Ida:  I want to find out about the stimulus payment, if you are on SSI, will you have to fill out a form or anything to get your payment?

[01:21:27]Bill Walsh:  Erik Jones, do you want to take that one?

[01:21:29]Erik Jones:  So I hope the answer is going to … I'm going to hedge just a little bit. Ida.

[01:21:37] I hope the answer is going to be no, but we are honestly still figuring out the logistics for that, working with our colleagues at the IRS.

[01:21:47] So for the most part everybody, as Jean mentioned earlier, is going to get those checks automatically. For our SSI folks we are working hard with the IRS to figure out how to make that happen as well. But I can't say for 100 percent certain yet that you might not need to file something. So what I'd ask you to do is stay-tuned for the next few days as we try and work through that. I mentioned the website earlier. If you're able to access that, we'll continue to provide updated information there. And so we hope to have an answer for that in the coming days, but I don't have a 100 percent answer for you just yet.

[01:22:32]Bill Walsh:  Just to clarify, it was our understanding that Social Security recipients would not have to file a tax return in order to get the stimulus payments. Are you making a distinction there, Erik, between folks who are on SSI?

[01:22:46]Erik Jones:  Yes, exactly. So it's a different file for us and so it's a little more complicated there, but again we're trying to work through that. We hope to find an answer to that; I just don't want to say for certain one way or another just yet.

[01:23:03]Bill Walsh:  And where's the best place for Ida to track that? Obviously this is a major issue for her. We would direct your day aarp.org/coronavirus. Is there a phone number you would suggest she call to stay on top of that?

[01:23:21]Erik Jones:  if you're able to, I'd go to that irs.gov/coronavirus website. That's where IRS is trying to centralize the most current information on everything to do with the stimulus or the economic impact payments. So I think that's the number one source. We're trying to refer everyone to it so that everybody is getting the most current information.

[01:23:50]Bill Walsh:  And if you don't have access to the internet, I can give you that phone number again to the IRS customer service. It's 800-829-1040.

[01:24:03] Jean, do you have another question for us?

[01:24:06]Jean Setzfand:  have a caller, Caroline from Florida.

[01:24:10]Bill Walsh:  Caroline, go ahead with your question.

[01:24:14]Caroline:  I own an S corporation. And I put on one event per year that's not going to happen this August. And I'm 62, and I do collect full Social Security. But I do take a salary under the max, which is allowed when taking Social Security. It sounds like from the other callers that I am eligible for unemployment, and there are two things I'm not sure. Can you apply online or do you have to call and wait those hours? Cause I certainly don't want to go in person at my age and I'm high risk. And the second question is, Is there anything else as a small business that I could apply for besides unemployment?

[01:24:56]Bill Walsh:  Jean Chatzky, do you want to take that one?

[01:25:00]Jean Chatzky:  My first answer to your first question is you absolutely can apply online, so I would go ahead and try to do that. There is a lot happening in terms of small businesses in the CARES Act, but the big thing that people are looking at is something that's called paycheck protection, which allows small businesses to apply for loans that would cover two- and-a-half months’ worth of their average 2019 payroll. I don't know how you paid yourself for this event that you put on per year, but if you had a regular payroll it would cover two- and-a-half times that monthly obligation, and the way that it is being structured as long as employers do not lay off people during the eight-week period following the taking of the loan, then they are eligible to have that loan forgiven. It becomes a grant rather than a loan. So that's a great benefit for small businesses. The applications for those loans, which will be made through existing SBA lenders — banks, nonbank lenders and credit unions, will be coming out tomorrow. And what I'm hearing is that it's best to work through the bank where you have your preexisting business relationship. Banks are expecting to be so overwhelmed that some are saying: Unless you have your business account with us, we would rather you work through the institution where you already bank.

[01:27:07]Bill Walsh:  I'm afraid that's all the time we have for callers.

[01:27:10] Jean Chatzky and Erik Jones, I wonder if you have any closing thoughts or recommendations for us. Jean, do you want to go first?

[01:27:19]Jean Chatzky:  Absolutely. First of all, thank you for having me. I really enjoyed participating in this conversation and I would just encourage everybody to take care of themselves. I think that we all have to keep in mind that our number one job in this very trying and unexpected period is to keep ourselves healthy. And if you can keep yourself healthy, that will be a great financial benefit to you ultimately as well. So I hope everybody stays safe and takes care.

[01:27:58] Bill Walsh Thank you, Jean Chatzky, and Erik Jones of the Social Security Administration, I apologize earlier for cutting you off. Do you have any closing thoughts or recommendations for what AARP members should understand from the conversation today?

[01:28:12]Erik Jones:  Thank you, Bill, and no worries there. Jean, I've learned an awful lot from you today as well and so enjoyed our conversation. One thing I would say in going out that really ties to something you said, Jean, in terms of education — postponing collections for student loans for six months. We as well are suspending our collection of overpayments for six months. So I think you're finding a lot of folks around the board are trying to pull back where they can to help folks make ends meet. Again, my parting words are Social Security is there. We're there to answer your questions. Please try and do your work with us online first. But if you can't, give us a call; our folks are there for you. Look out for those scams; if you're suspicious, do a crosscheck on those numbers and report anything suspicious to us. And finally, as Jean said, please everybody, stay safe, stay healthy.

[01:29:14]Bill Walsh:  Erik Jones from the Social Security Administration and Jean Chatzky, a financial expert, thank you so much for taking the time today, and thank you our AARP members, volunteers and listeners for participating in this discussion. If your question was not addressed, please go to aarp.org/coronavirus. AARP, a nonprofit, nonpartisan member organization, has been working to promote the health and well-being of older Americans for more than 60 years. In the face of this crisis we are providing information and resources to help older adults and those caring for them protect themselves from the virus, protect spread to others while taking care of themselves. All of the resources referenced today, including a recording of today's Q&A event can be found at aarp.org/coronavirus starting on April 3. Again, that web address is aarp.org/coronavirus. There you'll find the latest updates as well as information created specifically for older adults and family caregivers. We hope you learned something that can help keep you and your loved ones healthy. Please be sure to tune into our next AARP tele-town hall on April 9 at 1 p.m. ET. Thank you, and have a good day. This concludes our call.

[01:30:41]

Tele-Town Hall April 2, 2020

BILL WALSH: Hola, soy el vicepresidente de AARP, Bill Walsh,y quiero darle la bienvenida a esta importante discusión sobre el coronavirus. AARP, una organización sin fines de lucro y no partidista, compuesta por socios, ha estado trabajando para promover la salud y el bienestar de los adultos mayores en el país durante más de 60 años.

Ante la pandemia mundial de coronavirus, AARP proporciona información y recursos para ayudar a los adultos mayores y a quienes los cuidan. Hoy hablaremos con expertos, compartiremos la información más reciente sobre el virus, le daremos consejos para ayudarlo a tomar decisiones financieras informadas durante estos tiempos difíciles.

Le haremos saber qué esperar del estímulo del Gobierno. Si ya participó en alguna de nuestras teleasambleas, sabe que esto es similar a un programa de radio y tiene la oportunidad de hacer preguntas en vivo.

Si desea hacer una pregunta sobre cómo proteger su salud del coronavirus o proteger sus finanzas de las consecuencias económicas de la pandemia global, presione * 3 en su teléfono.

Esto lo conectará con un miembro del personal de AARP que anotará su nombre y pregunta y lo colocará en una lista para hacer esa pregunta en vivo. Para hacer su pregunta, presione * 3.

Nos acompañan hoy el Vicealmirante Jerome Adams, MD, el Cirujano General de EE.UU., Jean Chatzky, exitosa autora y CEO de hermoney.com, y Erik Jones, Subcomisionado Adjunto de Operaciones, Administración del Seguro Social.

Este evento está siendo grabado y puede acceder a la grabación en aarp.org/elcoronavirus en solo 24 horas luego de que haya terminado el evento.

Hola, si recién se une, soy Bill Walsh de AARP y quiero darle la bienvenida a esta importante discusión sobre el impacto de la pandemia mundial de coronavirus. Estaremos hablando con expertos líderes y respondiendo sus preguntas en vivo. Para hacer su pregunta, presione * 3.

Ahora quisiera dar la bienvenida a nuestro primer invitado, el cirujano general de EE.UU. Jerome Adams, MD. El Dr. Adams es el vigésimo cirujano general de Estados Unidos. Su misión como médico de la nación es avanzar en la salud de las personas en el país. Y su lema es lograr una mejor salud a través de mejores asociaciones. Bienvenido, gracias por su asociación y por unirse a nosotros hoy, Dr. Adams.

JEROME ADAMS: Muchas gracias. Y agradezco la oportunidad de unirme a todos ustedes. Aplaudo a AARP por brindar orientación sobre salud y conocimientos financieros de la Administración del Seguro Social, la Administración de Pequeñas Empresas, y especialmente, quisiera escuchar hablar a Jean Chatzky.

Una de mis principales prioridades como cirujano general es establecer el vínculo entre la salud comunitaria y el éxito empresarial. Y espero con ansias trabajar con AARP para correr la voz sobre ese informe cuando se publique a finales de este año.

Como todos sabemos, la crisis de COVID-19 no se resolverá desde Washington D.C. o los CDC en Atlanta, sino a nivel comunitario. Cuando las personas están asustadas o amenazadas, cuando necesitan ayuda, consuelo o apoyo, por lo general no acuden a Washington D.C., sino a sus comunidades.

Y es por eso que estamos tratando de empoderar y equipar a las comunidades, incluidos los profesionales de la salud, hospitales, departamentos de salud pública y organizaciones como AARP, para que hagan lo necesario para mantener a nuestros ciudadanos a salvo. El nuevo coronavirus o COVID-19 ahora se ha extendido a más de 150 países, los 50 estados y nuestros territorios. Se han reportado más de 200,000 casos en Estados Unidos. Y trágicamente, se informaron más de 5,000 muertes.

La verdad es que esperamos muchos más casos en las próximas semanas. Por eso es tan crítico que nosotros, como nación, como una comunidad unida, sigamos unos simples pasos para frenar la propagación del virus. Estos pasos se describen en el plan del presidente para frenar la propagación del coronavirus. Y pueden encontrar ese plan en coronavirus.gov y ponerlo en práctica de inmediato.

Les pido que lo compartan con sus amigos, su familia y sus redes, y que usen sus voces para alentar su práctica. Pídales a aquellos con quienes lo comparten, que lo compartan con otros. Dé importancia crítica, no hay una pregunta que me hayan hecho los medios que no se aborde en el sitio web coronavirus.gov.

Realmente es un kit de herramientas sobre cómo superar esta epidemia. La esencia del plan es el distanciamiento social, mantener una separación segura y consistente entre las personas. Hablamos de seis pies o dos brazos de largo. Si puede que usted, su hijo o su nieto estén enfermos, le pedimos que se quede en casa y que mantenga a todos en el hogar.

Quédese en casa si es mayor, especialmente si tiene un sistema inmunitario comprometido. Evite salir a cenar, los viajes no esenciales. Y no visite centros de atención de salud a menos que sea médicamente necesario. Sabemos que es difícil, pero también sabemos que puede significar la diferencia entre la vida y la muerte para muchos de nuestros ciudadanos.

Mediante el distanciamiento social, y una buena higiene de manos y tos, sabemos que podemos reducir drásticamente la propagación de esta enfermedad. Lo hemos visto en lugares que lo adoptaron temprano, como California, como el estado de Washington.

Si bien hacemos todo lo posible para limitar esta enfermedad, quiero asegurarme de que sepa qué hacer si desarrolla fiebre, tos seca o dificultad para respirar, que son los tres principales síntomas del coronavirus.

En primer lugar, quiero que sepa que nos asociamos con Apple, y que si visita apple.com\covid19, lo guiará a través de los síntomas y lo ayudará a saber si debe hablar o no con su proveedor de atención médica para hacerse una prueba.

Pero si experimenta síntomas, le pedimos que no vaya directamente al consultorio de su médico. Llame a su profesional de la salud y hagan un plan juntos. Y si no tiene un profesional de la salud, si llama a la sala de emergencias o visita el sitio web del Departamento de Salud del Estado, generalmente hay números para ayudarlo a evaluarse y descubrir cómo puede hacerse la prueba de manera segura sin exponer a otras personas o sin exponerse usted.

También es importante saber que, incluso si se siente bien, es posible que haya estado expuesto al virus y que, sin saberlo, pueda contagiarlo a aquellos menos capaces de combatirlo. De hecho, nuestro consejo es que si se encuentra cerca de alguien considerado vulnerable, debido a la edad o trastornos subyacentes como enfermedades cardíacas, pulmonares, diabetes o porque toma inmunosupresores, le pedimos que se comporte como si tuviese COVID-19, con o sin prueba. Su cuidado adicional mantendrá a salvo a sus seres queridos, desconocidos y nuestra nación.

Finalmente, ¿qué más puede hacer? Siga las instrucciones de su departamento de salud local y encuentre formas de asociarse con él para fortalecer su impacto dentro de sus comunidades. Y si puede, haga una cita hoy para donar sangre en los próximos días y semanas para ayudar a los pacientes que dependen de transfusiones de sangre para sobrevivir durante esta pandemia.

Sabemos que las donaciones de sangre han disminuido, y que las personas mayores donan sangre a tasas mucho más altas que otros grupos de edad. Así que estamos preocupados por esta desconexión, este desajuste. Pero si llama y pide una cita primero, puede ir al lugar de una manera que aún facilitará el distanciamiento social.

Los trabajadores de las clínicas de sangre son examinados para detectar COVID-19 y cualquier persona que ingrese es examinada para detectar fiebre y los síntomas de COVID-19. Y están aumentando aún más que antes, ya hay políticas fantásticas de control de infecciones. Así que ahora es un momento seguro para donar sangre.

Gracias por la oportunidad de dirigirme a ustedes hoy. Espero con ansias las preguntas. Y les agradezco su apoyo a esta respuesta de todo EE.UU. No hay duda al respecto. Este es un momento desafiante. Sepan que aprecio sus esfuerzos para comunicar nuestro trabajo y los pasos que se pueden tomar para ayudar a frenar la propagación de COVID-19.

BILL WALSH: Muy bien, Dr. Adams, muchas gracias por ese resumen detallado. Vamos a comenzar. Primero, ¿cómo pueden las personas obtener

tratamiento médico de manera segura? ¿Qué pasos han seguido los sectores público y privado, la facilidad de acceso y los menores costos?

JEROME ADAMS: Bueno, hay un par de ellos, diría más que un par. Hemos tomado muchas medidas. Pero muchos de estos esfuerzos han sido liderados por los Centros de Servicios de Medicare y Medicaid.

Una de las cosas que han hecho es aumentar el acceso a los servicios de telesalud. Antes de que todo esto comenzara a evolucionar, solo estaba disponible en circunstancias limitadas, en las zonas rurales; ahora la telesalud está disponible en todas partes.

A las personas se les puede pagar el monto total de los servicios de telesalud. También estamos reduciendo las regulaciones para construir hospitales sin paredes, para que sea más fácil la atención de los pacientes COVID y no COVID fuera de los hospitales tradicionales, para que sea más fácil para las personas acceder a la atención. Y por eso quiero que las personas de la tercera edad recuerden que, desafortunadamente, una de las consecuencias o resultados no deseados de esta epidemia será que las personas de la tercera edad no mueran por COVID, sino que mueran por su diabetes o por no prestarle atención a su enfermedad cardíaca o no hacer las cosas que son apropiadas para su enfermedad pulmonar.

Ahora más que nunca, es apropiado que se mantenga en contacto con su proveedor de atención médica, que tome sus medicamentos, que elabore un plan para atender sus comorbilidades para que esas cosas no terminen causando más muertes que el coronavirus.

BILL WALSH: Bien, gracias por la información. Dr. Adam, la pandemia parece desarrollarse como una serie de puntos urbanos críticos. ¿Es esto principalmente un problema para las comunidades más grandes que difieren de las necesidades de las zonas rurales del país, y si es así, cómo?

JEROME ADAMS: Bueno, sabemos que cada comunidad tendrá una curva diferente, en donde curva significa aumento de casos, ápice y luego disminución de casos. El coronavirus se transmite de persona a persona. Entonces, cuantas más personas haya en un área densamente poblada, y Nueva York tiene 8.6 millones de personas en un área muy pequeña, más rápido se propagará la enfermedad.

Pero como mencioné al comienzo, todos los estados, todos los territorios han tenido casos. Leí un artículo esta mañana que hablaba de una pequeña comunidad rural de Georgia donde las personas se reunieron para un funeral. Y en la pequeña comunidad rural, el coronavirus se propagó como un incendio forestal. No hay ningún lugar que sea inmune a esta enfermedad. Por lo tanto, es importante que todos tomemos medidas para protegernos. Y es por eso que publicamos las recomendaciones para retrasar el contagio en 30 días a nivel nacional, porque queremos que todos entiendan que cada uno tiene un papel que desempeñar para determinar la realidad de su comunidad, y cuántas personas están en riesgo en su comunidad, ya sea rural o urbana.

BILL WALSH: De acuerdo. Bueno, pasemos al tema de las máscaras. ¿Hay alguna circunstancia en la que las personas deban usar máscaras o es la prioridad preservar las máscaras para los proveedores de atención médica?

JEROME ADAMS: Muchas gracias por hacer esa pregunta, porque es complicada y voy a tratar de darle una respuesta sucinta.

Inicialmente, la Organización Mundial de la Salud, los Centros para el Control de Enfermedades y mi oficina recomendaron que el público en general no usara máscaras porque en ese momento la mayoría de la evidencia sugería que no eran eficaces para prevenir que aquel que usa la máscara se contagie de coronavirus. Siempre hemos recomendado que las personas que tienen coronavirus u otros síntomas de resfriado y gripe usen una máscara para prevenir la propagación de la enfermedad a otras personas.

Por lo tanto, nos hemos comprometido a seguir observando los datos. Y a medida que observamos los datos, hemos visto que aproximadamente una cuarta parte de las personas que transmiten el coronavirus, lo están propagando antes de presentar síntomas o sin presentar síntomas. Se denomina propagación asintomática. Por lo tanto, hay razones para creer

que si las personas se cubrieran la cara, eso podría evitar que propaguen coronavirus de manera asintomática en sus comunidades.

Entonces, de nuevo, no se trata de usar una máscara para protegerse uno, sino de usar una máscara o una cubierta facial cuando sale para proteger a otras personas en caso de que sea un esparcidor asintomático. Y los CDC están analizando esos datos en este momento y pronto emitirán recomendaciones avanzadas o revisadas.

Pero esto es importante, tres cosas rápidas. Número uno, si usa una máscara, lávese las manos antes de ponérsela y lávese las manos después de quitársela, y no se toque la cara, porque nos preocupa que las personas se toquen la cara con más frecuencia cuando llevan una máscara y, se expongan potencialmente a enfermedades que se encuentran en las superficies.

Número dos, cuando se trata de usar una máscara, no necesita una N95 o una máscara quirúrgica, guárdelas para los proveedores de atención médica. Si elige usar una máscara, puede elaborarla, puede usar un pañuelo o una bufanda, cualquier cosa que evite que esas gotas salgan de su boca cuando tose, estornuda, habla, canta o grita.

Número tres, esto no es un sustituto del distanciamiento social. Lo más importante que puede hacer para mantenerse a salvo del coronavirus es mantenerse alejado de otras personas que puedan tener coronavirus. Entonces el distanciamiento social, quedarse en casa, es lo más importante.

El hecho de que decida usar una máscara no significa que ahora está bien que salga y esté cerca de otras personas, porque aún tendrá un mayor riesgo de contraer COVID-19.

BILL WALSH: Muy bien, muchas gracias por esa aclaración. Sí, ha habido cierta confusión al respecto. Aprecio que nos esté presentando los hechos.

Es hora de abordar sus preguntas con el cirujano general de EE.UU. Dr. Jerome Adams. Presione * 3 en cualquier momento en el teclado de su teléfono para conectarse con un miembro del personal de AARP para compartir su pregunta.

Hoy me complace estar acompañado por mi colega Jean Setzfand, vicepresidenta sénior de programas de AARP. Jean será nuestra organizadora y ayudará a facilitar sus llamadas el día de hoy. Bienvenida, Jean.

JEAN SETZFAND: Hola, Bill, encantada de estar aquí.

BILL WALSH: De acuerdo. Bueno, pasemos a nuestras preguntas. Estén atentos después de estas preguntas en vivo, hablaremos con otros expertos sobre lo que puede esperar sobre la ley de estímulo gubernamental que se aprobó recientemente.

Tomemos nuestra primera pregunta para el Dr. Adams. Jean, ¿a quién tenemos en la línea?

JEAN SETZFAND: Muy bien, nuestra primera llamada es de Joyce de Colorado.

BILL WALSH: Hola, Joyce, adelante, haga su pregunta.

JOYCE: He visto artículos que hablan de una nueva prueba de coronavirus. ¿Cómo me hago la prueba?

JEROME ADAMS: Joyce, muchas gracias. Y solía vivir en Boulder, Colorado. Me encanta. Buena pregunta sobre las pruebas. Es importante saber que ahora estamos evaluando a más de 100,000 personas por día, hemos superado 1.2 millones de pruebas como nación y cada vez hay más pruebas disponibles.

Inicialmente, priorizábamos a aquellos con mayor riesgo, es decir, trabajadores de la salud, personas en hospitales o personas que cumplían con una de nuestras categorías de riesgo, mayores de 65 años o con trastornos médicos subyacentes porque esas eran las personas que tenían más probabilidades de enfermarse y morir de coronavirus.

Entonces, inicialmente las priorizamos. También priorizamos inicialmente las áreas urbanas como la ciudad de Nueva York que fueron particularmente afectadas. Ahora estamos tratando de aumentar la disponibilidad de pruebas en otras áreas. Y en muchos casos, muchas áreas rurales han tomado acción.

Montana en realidad ha evaluado a más personas per cápita que el promedio nacional. Entonces sabemos que cada vez hay más pruebas disponibles. Hay nuevas pruebas de Avid y otras compañías que arrojan resultados en cinco minutos. Por lo tanto, estamos tratando de hacer que haya mayor disponibilidad para las personas para que no solo pueda hacerse una prueba, sino que pueda obtener un resultado de inmediato.

Pero hay una diferencia entre las pruebas de diagnóstico, en las que evaluamos a personas que estaban enfermas, y las pruebas de vigilancia, en las que evaluamos a personas que no muestran ningún síntoma. Estamos tratando de hacer la transición de asegurarnos de que todos los que necesitan una prueba para ser diagnosticados puedan hacerse una prueba,

a hacer pruebas de vigilancia de personas asintomáticas y realmente poder entender la tasa de enfermedad en las comunidades. Pero hable con su proveedor de atención médica.

Nuevamente, apple.com/covid19 es una excelente manera de determinar en función de los síntomas y el riesgo si necesita una prueba, y eso también aumentará sus posibilidades. Para ser atendido y hacerse una prueba de diagnóstico, llame a su proveedor de atención médica y dígale: "Siento que estoy en una categoría de riesgo, y la aplicación me dijo que lo estoy".

Y repito, las pruebas de vigilancia estarán disponibles cada vez más en las próximas semanas; haremos 100,000 pruebas por día.

BILL WALSH: Muy bien. Gracias. Jean, ¿quién es nuestro próximo oyente?

JEAN SETZFAND: Muy bien, tenemos a Lois llamando desde Carolina del Norte.

BILL WALSH: Adelante, Lois.

LOIS: Hola, ahora soy cuidadora de mi esposo, que tiene problemas de salud, y me preocupan las personas que deben venir a nuestra casa. ¿Cómo mantengo una distancia social segura y qué debo hacer para mantener mi casa limpia y segura después de que se vayan?

JEROME ADAMS: Fantástica pregunta, Lois. Me encanta Carolina del Norte, hacen una buena barbacoa allí. Probablemente no debería decir eso como cirujano general, pero todo con moderación. Y ya saben, todo con moderación, incluidos familiares y amigos.

Si usted o su esposo o alguien que conocen, está en mayor riesgo, ahora es el momento de plantarse y decir: "Miren, podemos ver a los nietos desde la ventana o por Skype o por FaceTime, pero ahora no es el momento de que la gente entre y salga de la casa". Porque todos los que entran y salen de la casa pueden ser potencialmente portadores asintomáticos.

Y recuerde que se estima que el 25% de los casos de COVID se propagan por portadores asintomáticos. Si las personas entran a la casa, preste atención a lo que tocan, limpie las superficies con frecuencia. Manijas de las puertas, mesas, límpielas con un limpiador con cloro o un desinfectante o un limpiador a base de alcohol.

Y asegúrese de que las personas se laven las manos de inmediato cuando entren. Si alguien que entra a su casa está enfermo o tiene síntomas de resfriado, debe sentirse con derecho a preguntarles: "¿Has tenido fiebre? ¿Tienes tos? ¿Tienes estornudos? ¿Tienes algún síntoma?" Luego pídales que usen una cubierta facial para que cuando estén hablando con su ser querido, no estén liberando gotitas que podrían contener COVID-19.

Esas son las cosas que puede hacer para mantenerse segura: limpieza frecuente, buena higiene, pero lo más importante durante los próximos 30 días, al menos hasta que veamos un ápice y veamos que los contagios comienzan a bajar, lo mejor es mantener un buen distanciamiento social y mantener a su esposo a salvo y alejado de otras personas.

BILL WALSH: De acuerdo. ¿Dijo ápice? ¿Se acerca un ápice, Dr. Adams?

JEROME ADAMS: Según los modelos que estamos analizando, anticipamos que el pico de Estados Unidos llegará en las próximas dos o tres semanas en términos de casos. Pero cada comunidad verá su ápice en un momento diferente. Nueva York llegará a su punto máximo antes. Washington parece que ya ha alcanzado su punto máximo y está volviendo a bajar.

Muchas comunidades aún no han alcanzado su ápice porque los casos apenas comienzan a extenderse. Por eso es tan importante saber qué está sucediendo en sus comunidades locales al seguir el sitio web de su departamento de salud local y al visitar el sitio web del Departamento de Salud del Estado, porque cuando damos información, la damos a nivel nacional. Pero lo que realmente es importante para usted es saber qué sucede localmente.

BILL WALSH: Bueno. Muy bien. Jean, ¿a quién tenemos en la línea ahora?

JEAN SETZFAND: Muy bien, tenemos a Jerry de Arizona.

BILL WALSH: Hola Jerry. Adelante con su pregunta.

JERRY: Sí. Sí, soy Jerry, llamo desde Phoenix. Me gustaría obtener información que no escuchamos mucho, acerca de las personas, una vez que contraen el virus, cómo están siendo tratadas. Y sé que todavía no hay una cura. Soy un sobreviviente de 50 años de tuberculosis. Y me dieron un tratamiento en forma de píldora llamado INH, isoniazida.

Creo que era un régimen de una vacuna B12 o B6, me ayudó a eliminar por completo la tuberculosis. Entonces, me preguntaba si eso se ha considerado o ¿qué se está haciendo para tratar a los pacientes con coronavirus?

JEROME ADAMS: Jerry, gracias por la pregunta. Me gusta su nombre. Soy el cirujano general de los Estados Unidos. Pero mi primer nombre es Jerome, y me han llamado Jerry una o dos veces en mi vida.

Y tenemos varios funcionarios en el Phoenix Indian Medical Center en Phoenix, Arizona. Hizo muy buenas preguntas. Número uno, en este momento

hay muchos estudios que analizan diferentes terapias, medicamentos que pueden tratar a las personas con coronavirus. Voy a ir en reversa.

Dentro de un año, esperamos tener una vacuna. Estamos en buen camino para tenerla dentro de un año. Y eso podría cambiar el juego en caso de que este virus regrese. En semanas o meses, esperamos tener mucha más información sobre diferentes medicamentos y terapias para tratar a las personas con COVID-19.

Pero en este momento, lo más importante, la mejor forma en que estos brotes generalmente se ralentizan y se detienen es mediante buenas medidas de salud pública, lo que su madre le dijo. "Lávate las manos,

no toques nada, no hables con extraños". El distanciamiento social y la buena higiene de manos serán críticos.

Ahora, preguntó sobre el curso clínico. Es importante que las personas sepan que el 80% de los individuos que contraen COVID tendrán un tipo de resfriado leve, será como un resfriado fuerte o una gripe, y lo superarán.

No necesitarán hospitalización, el 20% de las personas necesitarán ver a un médico, pueden necesitar hospitalización. Y de ese 20%, sabemos que las personas que tienen trastornos médicos subyacentes y son mayores presentan un mayor riesgo y necesitarán un ventilador.

Y al final, desafortunadamente, algunos de ellos fallecerán. Pero hasta ahora, en promedio, del 98% al 99% de las personas en todo el mundo se han recuperado de la COVID-19. Entonces, incluso si se contagia de COVID-19, hay un 80% de probabilidades de que no necesite atención médica, y aún si necesita atención médica, la mayoría de las personas se están recuperando y regresando a casa.

Lo más importante que puede hacer es tratar de evitar contraerlo en primer lugar, mediante el distanciamiento social y la buena higiene.

BILL WALSH: Muy bien, Dr. Adams. Y Jerry tocaba un tema del que hemos escuchado mucho, que son los tratamientos experimentales. ¿Qué puede decir sobre eso? ¿Hay alguna cosa que quiera advertir a la gente que no haga?

JEROME ADAMS: Bueno, me gustaría aconsejar a las personas que siempre hablen con su proveedor de atención médica. Hay una historia terrible dando vueltas. Creo que es de Arizona sobre un caballero que bebió limpiador de acuarios porque había oído hablar de la hidroxicloroquina.

Bueno, esa no es la misma hidroxicloroquina que las personas toman como medicamento. Entonces, antes de hacer nada, hable primero con su proveedor médico. Estamos tratando de hacer todo lo posible a nivel federal para ofrecer a las personas una variedad de opciones de forma experimental.

Y estamos recopilando datos para poder decirles rápidamente si estos medicamentos funcionan o no, si son eficaces, y para quién son seguros. En este momento, realmente es a nivel experimental desde un punto de vista de uso compasivo, por lo que debe hablar con su proveedor de atención médica.

Se determina caso por caso si los riesgos de probar estos nuevos métodos

son menores que los beneficios. Pero, de nuevo, la mejor manera de asegurarse que se recuperará de la COVID es asegurarse de que nunca contraiga COVID en primer lugar, así que quédese en casa.

Y sé que sigo insistiendo en eso, pero no quiero que se encuentren en una situación en la que tengan que tomar una decisión difícil sobre si probar un nuevo medicamento experimental. Si llega a eso, y algunos de ustedes lo harán, queremos asegurarnos de que tengan todas las opciones disponibles. Pero mi primera opción, es que no se expongan a la COVID en primer lugar.

BILL WALSH: Muy bien. Jean, tomemos otra pregunta.

JEAN SETZFAND: De acuerdo. Tenemos una llamada de Sandy desde Florida.

BILL WALSH: Hola, Sandy, adelante con su pregunta.

SANDY: Hola. Tengo una pregunta. Vivo en un complejo de apartamentos para personas mayores. Me he quedado en mi apartamento con la excepción de lavar la ropa y sacar la basura. Mi hija, su hijo y su esposo prefieren ir a trabajar todos los días y les gustaría que me quede con ellos. ¿Qué opina usted?

JEROME ADAMS: Sandy, muchas gracias. Acabo de hablar con su gobernador, el gobernador DeSantis en Florida ayer. Esas son decisiones difíciles y que se deben decidir caso por caso.

Lo que yo diría es que si se siente cómoda y segura, y puede obtener lo que necesita en su apartamento, lo más seguro es que permanezca en un entorno donde no haya personas yendo y viniendo. Pero sabemos que las personas mayores, en muchos casos, necesitan ayuda o dependen de la asistencia de otros.

Entonces, si esa es la situación, solo queremos asegurarnos de que las personas con las que se está quedando usen una máscara cuando sea apropiado, para que no le transmitan la enfermedad, o una cobertura facial si tienen tos y síntomas de resfriado.

También queremos asegurarnos de que se laven las manos con frecuencia y que se duchen tan pronto como entren y salgan de la casa para que no lleven COVID de un lado a otro. Por lo tanto, mi recomendación sería tratar de permanecer donde está si puede, porque cuantas menos personas tenga alrededor, mejor, y cuanta más gente tenga alrededor, y cuanta más gente ellos tengan alrededor, las posibilidades de estar expuesto

a la COVID serán mayores.

Pero si va y se queda con ellos, asegúrese de que estén limpiando las superficies con frecuencia y que estén practicando una buena higiene a su alrededor. Y que si se enferman, usen una máscara y le informen de inmediato que están enfermos para que no la expongan a su posible enfermedad.

Le deseo mucha suerte. Esas son decisiones difíciles. Pero nuevamente, las familias, amigos y colegas deben tomar decisiones guiadas por la información científica.

BILL WALSH: Y pienso en el consejo que le dio a la persona que llamó antes de mantenerse en contacto mediante otros medios, ya sea por teléfono, Skype, Facebook o lo que sea. Ya saben, el distanciamiento social no debería conducir al aislamiento social.

JEROME ADAMS: Exactamente. Yo digo que el distanciamiento social no significa la desconexión social. Ahora es un buen momento para establecer un sistema de amigos para vigilar a otras personas en sus vecindarios, en sus apartamentos, en sus complejos, pueden comunicarse y ver si...

Algunas personas no pueden salir y comprar alimentos. Entonces preguntarles: "Oye, ¿puedo traerte comestibles? ¿Tal vez hay algo

que pueda hacer por ti?"

Todavía hay cosas que pueden hacer para mantenerse conectados por teléfono, por Skype, por FaceTime, por toda esta nueva tecnología,

manteniendo una buena distancia social de seis pies entre sí.

Así que gracias por la oportunidad. Estas fueron preguntas fantásticas. Creo que publicaré algunas de ellas en mi propio sitio web y en mi Twitter para que la gente escuche esas respuestas.

Y un mensaje para todos, por favor manténgase a salvo, lo superaremos. La buena noticia, una vez más, es que vemos que los lugares que han hecho esto, redujeron sus tasas de mortalidad, aplanaron su curva y comenzaron a disminuir los casos en cuestión de dos a cuatro semanas.

Por lo tanto, estoy seguro de que podemos hacer esto en todas las comunidades de Estados Unidos si todos participan y cumplen con su parte.

BILL WALSH: Muy bien, excelente. Sé que tiene que irse. Nuevamente, muchas gracias por estar hoy, cirujano general.

JEROME ADAMS: Un placer.

BILL WALSH: Ahora me gustaría hacer la transición a otro tema importante. ¿Qué debe esperar de la nueva ley de estímulo y cómo puede administrar mejor sus ingresos y finanzas durante este tiempo turbulento? Pero antes de comenzar, queremos conocerlos más a ustedes. Tómese un momento para decirnos cuál es la forma más significativa en que la pandemia de coronavirus ha afectado su situación financiera en este momento.

Presione 1 en el teclado de su teléfono si el impacto más significativo en este momento es la pérdida de ingresos, presione 2 si el impacto más significativo son los ahorros agotados, presione 3 si el impacto más significativo son los pagos que no pudo efectuar o si está preocupado por sus facturas, presione 4 si el impacto más significativo es la necesidad de trabajar más de lo esperado, y presione 5 si no ha sido afectado financieramente.

¿Cuál es la forma más significativa en que la pandemia de coronavirus ha afectado su situación financiera en este momento?

Presione 1 para pérdida de ingresos, 2 para ahorros agotados, 3 para retraso en pagos de facturas, 4 para tener que trabajar más tiempo y 5 si no lo afecta financieramente.

Hoy, hablaremos con expertos sobre qué esperar de la nueva ley de estímulo económico. Administrar su dinero durante estos tiempos turbulentos, mantenerse saludable y protegerse del coronavirus, y los cambios que la Administración del Seguro Social ha realizado para proteger al público. Esta es una discusión oportuna.

La semana pasada, el Congreso aprobó y el presidente firmó una ley bipartidista con varias medidas vitales por las que AARP luchó.

Quiero tocar algunos temas que son importantes para nuestros socios. Primero, la ley enviará pagos de $1,200 dólares a la mayoría de las personas en el país, sin importar su estado laboral, incluidas las personas cuya fuente principal de ingresos es el Seguro Social. AARP trabajó duro para incluir esto. La ley también incluye la ampliación de los beneficios del seguro de desempleo para las personas que no tienen trabajo debido a la pandemia y extiende los plazos para que los individuos tomen las distribuciones mínimas requeridas de su plan de jubilación.

No ha recibido mucha atención, pero la ley también permite a los empleadores retrasar los pagos de sus impuestos de nómina de Seguro Social y Medicare. Esto podría afectar negativamente las finanzas de estos programas esenciales. Por lo tanto, AARP luchó con éxito para garantizar que los fondos fiduciarios se repongan.

Finalmente, y esto es importante, anoche recibimos la noticia de que los beneficiarios del Seguro Social que normalmente presentarían una declaración de impuestos recibirán el pago de $1,200 dólares automáticamente. Este es un resultado directo de la defensa de AARP, por lo que estamos encantados de compartir esta noticia con ustedes.

Estas son victorias importantes para los adultos mayores y no hubieran sido posibles sin las llamadas telefónicas, correos electrónicos y acciones de socios de AARP, voluntarios y otros adultos en todo el país. Así que gracias.

Ahora me gustaría presentar a nuestros próximos oradores.

Primero, nos acompaña Jean Chatzky, una galardonada periodista de finanzas personales y exitosa autora con más de dos décadas de experiencia ayudando a las personas a administrar su dinero, incluso sirviendo como embajadora financiera de AARP. Gracias por acompañarnos hoy, Jean. Muy bien.

También nos acompaña hoy Erik Jones, el Subcomisionado Adjunto de Operaciones de la Administración del Seguro Social. Erik ayuda a dirigir y administrar una organización de aproximadamente 45,000 empleados federales que atendieron a más de 40 millones de visitantes y completaron casi 8 millones de reclamaciones de beneficios el año pasado. Gracias por estar aquí, Erik.

ERIK JONES: Hola, Bill. Buenas tardes y gracias por invitarme a participar en la llamada de hoy. Saludos también al Dr. Adams y a ambas Jean que nos acompañan hoy, es un placer estar en el programa con ustedes. Dado que hoy hablaremos de finanzas, pensé que primero comenzaría con el resultado final, los cheques del Seguro Social continúan depositándose de manera normal.

Es cierto que debido a la preocupación de nuestros empleados y nuestros visitantes, hemos cerrado nuestras oficinas al público. Pero aunque nuestras oficinas no están físicamente abiertas en este momento, nuestros empleados continúan trabajando.

Lo que les pediría a sus oyentes es que

si necesitan ayuda del Seguro Social en las próximas semanas, primero

visiten nuestro sitio web en ssa.gov. Creo que se sorprenderán gratamente de lo mucho que pueden hacer en línea con nosotros.

BILL WALSH: Muy bien, gracias por ese saludo. Vamos a regresar con usted en un momento para entrar en más detalles. Jean Chatzky, me gustaría comenzar con usted, si no le molesta. Ha habido mucha información sobre el estímulo.

JEAN CHATZKY: Claro que sí, un saludo para todos sus oyentes también.

BILL WALSH: Muy bien, gracias por estar con nosotros. Ha habido mucha información sobre el paquete de estímulo y los pagos directos del Gobierno federal. Cuéntenos qué puede esperar la gente. ¿Qué deben hacer?

JEAN CHATZKY: Sí, desglosémoslo para las personas porque hay muchos hechos y cifras en estas respuestas. Y es muy importante que las personas entiendan lo que tienen que hacer, pero también lo que no tienen que hacer para recibir estos pagos.

Y la buena noticia para la mayoría de la gente que escucha es que no deberá hacer nada. Estos son los hechos. Mientras sea residente de Estados Unidos y tenga un número de Seguro Social válido, otro contribuyente no lo reclama como dependiente. Es decir, si usted es apoyado por hijos adultos, por ejemplo, no pueden haberlo reclamado como dependiente. Y debe tener un ingreso bruto ajustado de $75,000 o menos como persona soltera, $112,500 o menos si es jefe de familia, o $150,000 o menos si es una pareja casada, para ser apto para recibir el cheque de estímulo completo, y ese cheque de estímulo será de $1,200 para personas solteras, $2,400 para parejas casadas.

Ahora el acuerdo es que si gana más que esos umbrales iniciales, el monto de su cheque disminuirá gradualmente una vez que su ingreso bruto ajustado llegue a esos números. Y para cuando gane $99,000 para solteros y $198,000 para parejas casadas, ese cheque de estímulo desaparecerá por completo. El IRS es la agencia que determinará primero si reúne los requisitos y luego enviará esos cheques.

Y enviar no es el término apropiado en muchos casos. Muchos de estos cheques serán depositados directamente si ha recibido un depósito directo, un reembolso de impuestos en el pasado o si recibe su Seguro Social de esa manera.

La agencia basará la cantidad que obtendrá, de su declaración de impuestos de 2019 si ya la ha presentado, si aún no la ha presentado, no se preocupe, no tendría que haberla presentado todavía, se basará en su declaración de impuestos de 2018. Y el IRS indicó que la gran mayoría de las personas no tienen que hacer nada, que el IRS hará los cálculos y enviará automáticamente los pagos de impacto económico a las personas que cumplen los requisitos. Eso debería aclarar las cosas para mucha gente.

Nuevamente, este pago se depositará directamente en la misma cuenta bancaria reflejada en su declaración de impuestos. Y como Bill mencionó, y esto es realmente importante porque es el cambio más reciente, del cual supimos ayer.

Los beneficiarios del Seguro Social que generalmente no están obligados a presentar una declaración de impuestos, no tienen que tomar medidas. Recibirán el pago directamente en su cuenta bancaria mediante depósito directo. O si normalmente reciben sus pagos del Seguro Social mediante un cheque en papel, recibirá este pago de la misma manera.

Y un gran agradecimiento nuevamente a AARP.  AARP trabaja tan duro para asegurarse de que la gran mayoría de las personas en el país, las personas que trabajan, las que no pueden trabajar, los desempleados, los jubilados, obtengan la mayor cantidad de dinero posible en medio de esta crisis.

BILL WALSH: Muchas gracias por eso, Jean, y para nuestros oyentes, sé que Jean dio mucha información. Pueden encontrar más información en aarp.org/elcoronavirus. Tenemos mucho contenido que los guiarán por las pautas de elegibilidad que Jean acaba de cubrir. Mientras estamos en el tema del estímulo económico, queremos proporcionar una alerta rápida de coronavirus de la Red contra el Fraude, de AARP.

Los estafadores aparecen nuevamente, haciéndose pasar por representantes bancarios del Gobierno, roban su información personal. Solicitan información confidencial como requisito para recibir estímulos o cheques por coronavirus. Simplemente no es verdad.

El Departamento de Justicia le aconseja que solo acepte o siga la orientación financiera de una fuente en la que confíe y que pueda verificar. Y ser muy cauteloso con cualquier persona que solicite su cuenta bancaria, número de Seguro Social o pagos por transferencia bancaria, efectivo, tarjeta de regalo o por correo.

Informe cualquier sospecha de fraude al llamar a la línea directa del Centro Nacional contra Fraudes en Desastres al 1-866-720-5721.

Las estafas como estas realmente pueden ser perjudiciales en un momento como este. Ahora, manteniéndome en el tema de los ingresos, Jean, si alguien tiene problemas para pagar facturas o está lidiando con la pérdida de trabajo, ¿qué asistencia hay disponible y qué pueden hacer ahora sin afectarse a largo plazo?

JEAN CHATZKY: Hay varias cosas que deberíamos discutir y responder a esta pregunta. Lo primero es que se ha establecido algo como parte de la ley CARES respecto a beneficios por desempleo. Entonces, si ha perdido su trabajo, si anteriormente estaba desempleado, hay beneficios que estarán disponibles para usted.

Ahora puede obtener $600 adicionales por semana además de los beneficios que normalmente recibiría del estado, y bajo la ley CARES, que este es el nombre formal de la ley federal de respuesta al coronavirus, ahora podrá recibir beneficios por desempleo por hasta 39 semanas, 13 semanas más que

el límite que usan muchos estados.

Puede y debe solicitar beneficios por desempleo en su propio estado. A mi entender, las oficinas de desempleo están abrumadas en este momento. Realmente, si viera los números de desempleo que llegaron al límite esta mañana, 6.3, creo, tal vez 6.6 millones de reclamaciones por desempleo. Es el mayor número en nuestra historia, manténgase firme.

Podrá presentar una solicitud, solicitar su desempleo, y podrá superar la situación. Puede que tome un poco más de paciencia y perseverancia de lo que llevaría solicitar en tiempos normales. En cuanto a las facturas, y es un buen momento para hablar de ellas porque acabamos de pasar

el primero del mes, las facturas comienzan a vencerse.

Si no tiene dinero para pagar sus facturas, primero debe comunicarse con sus acreedores. Ahora hay bastante alivio para las hipotecas, para el alquiler. Se establecieron procedimientos que no le permitirán ser embargado o desalojado durante estos tiempos. Lo mismo con los pagos de préstamos estudiantiles, hay alivio.

Y hay muchas compañías de tarjetas de crédito que están dispuestas a trabajar con los clientes y les permiten saltar un pago, al igual que las compañías de seguros de automóviles.

Pero debe ponerse en contacto con sus acreedores, debe levantar el teléfono o conectarse, ponerse en contacto con ellos y hacerles saber lo que está sucediendo en su vida.

Y también, aunque este no es un consejo que daría normalmente, es un buen momento para guardar su dinero en efectivo. Supongamos que tiene la factura de su tarjeta de crédito, y tiene siempre la costumbre de pagar por completo la factura de su tarjeta de crédito porque sabe que eso es lo mejor que puede hacer si desea evitar cargos por intereses. Pero ahora está un poco escaso de efectivo.

No pague la factura completa de la tarjeta de crédito.  Este es el momento de hacer un pago menor y retener parte de ese efectivo para mantenerse.

BILL WALSH: Muy bien, Jean, buenos consejos. Oyentes, recuerden que pueden hacer una pregunta presionando * 3 en el teclado de su teléfono.

Erik Jones, me gustaría invitarlo a la conversación. La Administración del Seguro Social anunció hace un par de semanas que las oficinas locales están cerradas en respuesta a la pandemia de coronavirus. ¿Cómo pueden las personas obtener los recursos de información que necesitan? ¿Creará algún retraso o afectará las decisiones de los beneficiarios, incluidos los beneficios por discapacidad?

Había empezado a hablar un poco del tema antes, ¿quiere volver a él?

ERIK JONES: Sí, gracias, Bill. Y bienvenida, Jean. Me alegra que haya podido unirse a la conversación. Sí, creo que estaba mencionando que los cheques del Seguro Social se continúan emitiendo y siendo

depositados de manera normal. Sí, nuestras oficinas están actualmente cerradas al público por motivos de seguridad tanto para nuestros empleados como para los visitantes.

Mi primera y principal solicitud es que se conecten primero en línea y vean si pueden encargarse de esto solos. Tenemos una gran cantidad de servicios de autoservicio en línea que pueden permitir que las personas se encarguen de sus negocios con el Seguro Social de manera rápida y eficaz. Si no, seguimos atendiendo llamadas en su oficina local.

Por lo tanto, si tiene una pregunta o un servicio que debe ser atendido de inmediato, llame a la línea y responderemos esas llamadas. Pero el caso es el siguiente. Para el corto plazo, vamos a priorizar las solicitudes críticas primero. Esto significa que nos estamos enfocando en obtener y asegurarnos de que aquellos que deberían obtener beneficios

estén configurados para recibir esos pagos. Del mismo modo, nos vamos a centrar en procesar cosas como la inscripción en Medicare y Medicaid para asegurarnos de que aquellos que deberían obtener cobertura de atención médica, la obtengan.

Algunas otras solicitudes pueden tardar un poco más, y le pedimos paciencia por adelantado. Pero estamos a su servicio, a pesar de que las oficinas están cerradas al público, estamos aquí para responder sus preguntas.

BILL WALSH: De acuerdo, Erik Jones de la Administración del Seguro Social. Gracias por eso. Erik, ¿se ve un aumento en los reclamos de Seguridad Social por primera vez debido a las dificultades financieras? ¿Y cuál es el costo a largo plazo de alguien que reclama temprano?

Agradeceríamos su experiencia en eso.

ERIK JONES: Claro. Gracias Bill. Creo que aún puede ser demasiado pronto para saber si vamos a ver un aumento en los reclamos como resultado de la actual pandemia de COVID-19 y el desempleo asociado a ello. Sin embargo, es cierto que en el pasado, en tiempos similares, el mayor desempleo que hemos visto aumentó tanto la solicitud de jubilación como la de discapacidad. Así que no nos sorprenderá si esto vuelve a suceder.

Presentar o no presentar una declaración es muy individualista y se basa en una situación de caso por caso. Creo que uno de los mejores consejos

que puedo darles, oyentes, es que visiten socialsecurity.gov, creen su cuenta My SSA, y tenemos varias cosas con las que pueden jugar.

Una es que pueden acceder a su estado de cuenta del Seguro Social, que analizará sus ganancias pasadas y sus pagos pasados del Seguro Social. Y le daremos una estimación de lo que obtendría basada en las diferentes edades de jubilación. Si se jubila antes de cumplir la edad de jubilación, esa cantidad mensual será un poco menor y si puede esperar a pasar los 67 años, para la mayoría de nosotros, eso será un poco más.

También tenemos una calculadora de jubilación en línea que les permite colocar algunas variables diferentes y ver cómo eso podría afectar sus ingresos de jubilación.

BILL WALSH: De acuerdo. Y, Jean, con respecto a reclamar el Seguro Social temprano, ¿tiene alguna idea sobre lo que la gente debería considerar antes de hacer eso?

JEAN CHATZKY: Absolutamente. Es una pregunta muy, muy importante porque para muchas personas, el Seguro Social es principalmente de lo que viven durante la última parte de su vida. Y la diferencia en la cantidad de dinero que reciben por reclamar temprano en vez de esperar hasta los 70 años puede ser asombrosa.

Pueden ser decenas, si no cientos de miles de dólares cuando se suman todos. Por lo que deben analizarlo con calma. Y diría que, si es posible, en los buenos tiempos, siempre se aconseja que intenten esperar o al menos que la persona con mayores ingresos de su familia espere, porque la diferencia en el pago mensual por cada año que demora solicitar el Seguro Social, desde los 62 años cuando es apto por primera vez hasta los 70 años, equivale a un aumento del 8% en sus pagos cada año. Eso es mucho dinero.

Por eso, antes de decir: "Oh, Dios mío, necesito dinero. Tengo que reclamar mi Seguro Social ahora", piense si no hay otras cosas que podría hacer para aliviar su crisis de efectivo a corto plazo, de modo que no tenga que tomar esta decisión a largo plazo sobre la marcha.

Un poco antes estábamos hablando, Bill, sobre cómo hay alivio. Es posible que pueda diferir el pago de su hipoteca o su renta o sus servicios públicos o el pago de su préstamo estudiantil. Y eso puede brindarle el alivio que necesita para decir: "Está bien, puedo esperar. Puedo frenar. No voy a solicitar el Seguro Social". Quiero que todos piensen detenidamente si esto no era algo que planeaban hacer. Si planeaba esperar, piénselo.

Hay otras herramientas que tiene en su kit de herramientas que puede usar para poder seguir esperando.

BILL WALSH: Y, Jean, me pregunto si ha visto a algún prestamista ser más flexible ante la crisis para renegociar los términos o al menos ser flexible, en términos de plazos de pago.

JEAN CHATZKY: Oh, absolutamente. Y la ley CARES, por cierto, tiene algo de alivio incorporado. Por ejemplo, sabemos que requiere que los administradores de hipotecas ofrezcan 60 días de tolerancia a los prestatarios que tienen dificultades financieras debido a la pandemia de COVID, y esto se puede extender por otros cuatro meses.

Esto se aplica a las hipotecas que son propiedad de Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, FHA, VA, USDA y préstamos de Indian Mortgage. Sabemos que durante este período, la ley CARES les prohíbe a los propietarios que reciben indulgencia en sus propiedades desalojar a los inquilinos, para ofrecer un alivio. Los préstamos estudiantiles están en pausa. Los pagos de préstamos federales para estudiantes están en pausa durante seis meses hasta el 30 de septiembre. Y si realiza sus pagos, las tasas de interés se han reducido a cero en esos préstamos federales.

Entonces, todo lo que pague irá al principal. Y luego, en un caso individual, he visto varios bancos, el sitio web que administro se llama hermoney.com, hemos puesto una lista de varios bancos que han dicho: "Trabajaremos con usted si no puede realizar el pago de su tarjeta de crédito, si no puede pagar su préstamo automovilístico".

Entonces, sí, la respuesta es que se ve mucho eso. Este es un momento nunca visto antes. Pero sí tiene que levantar el teléfono y llamar a sus prestamistas. En la mayoría de los casos no se puede simplemente desaparecer y no pagar. Debe hacerles saber lo que está haciendo.

BILL WALSH: Bien, muchas gracias, Jean Chatzky y Erik Jones de la Administración del Seguro Social. Ahora es el momento de responder sus preguntas con Erik Jones y Jean Chatzky, presione * 3 en cualquier momento en el teclado de su teléfono para conectarse con el personal de AARP para compartir su pregunta.

Veamos la primera pregunta. Jean, ¿a quién tenemos?

JEAN SETZFAND: Tenemos a Annie de Nueva York.

BILL WALSH: Hola, Annie, haz tu pregunta.

ANNIE: Buenas tardes. Soy trabajadora social. Trabajo para el Departamento para el Envejecimiento, y he recibido muchas llamadas de adultos mayores que tienen bajos ingresos y viven de Medicaid, obtienen sus medicamentos a través de Medicaid. Y se les dice que recibirán el dinero del estímulo. Y temen que tal vez estos $1,200 aumenten sus ingresos y pierdan así su Medicaid y sus medicamentos.

Y la otra parte de la pregunta es, ¿es esto en todos los estados o solo en Nueva York?

BILL WALSH: Muchas gracias, Annie. Jean Chatzky, esa parece ser una pregunta para usted. ¿Recibir los cheques de estímulo descalificará a las personas para los programas que Annie mencionó?

JEAN CHATZKY: No, no lo hará. Annie, gracias por todo

lo que está haciendo. Estoy en Nueva York como usted, y es otro mundo. Pero no, a estos pagos se los toma como un reembolso de impuestos. No se los toma como ingresos a los efectos de determinar la elegibilidad para ninguno de estos programas. Y no son solo los que mencionó, sino también la Seguridad de Ingreso Suplementario y SNAP. Así que dígale a la gente que no tienen que preocuparse por eso.

Y no es solo Nueva York, esto es así en todo el país.

BILL WALSH: Bien. Gracias.

ERIK JONES: Y, Bill, si puedo...

BILL WALSH: Oh, adelante, Erik, diga lo que quiera.

ERIK JONES: Puedo confirmar lo que dijo Jean desde el punto de vista del Seguro Social de que esto no es un ingreso contable, no se tiene en cuenta para nadie con fines de SSI.

BILL WALSH: Muy bien. Muchas gracias. Jean Setzfand, ¿tenemos otra llamada en la línea?

JEAN SETZFAND: Sí, tenemos a Pat de Pensilvania.

BILL WALSH: Adelante con su pregunta.

PAT: Hola, muchas gracias. Mi pregunta es si le debo impuestos al IRS del año pasado, ¿cómo afectará eso a mi paquete de estímulo este año?

BILL WALSH: Muy bien, Jean Chatzky, ¿quiere contestar esta?

JEAN CHATZKY: Claro. No creo que esto afecte su pago de estímulo en absoluto. La única razón por la que sabemos que se reducen los pagos en este momento es para las personas que deben la manutención infantil.

Entonces, incluso en el caso de que tenga un plan de pago con el IRS o que esté atrasado en sus préstamos estudiantiles, cosas que normalmente se embargarían, eso no está sucediendo.

BILL WALSH: Bien, muchas gracias. Jean, ¿tenemos otra llamada?

JEAN SETZFAND: Sí, tenemos un oyente. Creo que es Wilmer de un código de área 858.

BILL WALSH: Adelante con su pregunta. ¿Wilmer?

WILMER: ¿Hola?

BILL WALSH: Hola, ¿Wilmer?

WILMER: Hola

BILL WALSH: Adelante con su pregunta.

WILMER: Tengo una pregunta sobre el seguro de desempleo. Soy mayor, tengo 75 años. Y estaba conduciendo Uber, que interrumpí debido a mi enfermedad cardíaca, etc. ¿Puedo reclamar un seguro de desempleo

por los ingresos perdidos que tengo en los últimos tres meses y en los próximos meses?

BILL WALSH: Jean Chatzky, si quiere responder.

JEAN CHATZKY: Sí, es posible que pueda, pero también es posible que no pueda. Se supone que estos pagos adicionales cubren a las personas que trabajan medio tiempo, además de, por primera vez, a las personas que trabajan por cuenta propia, que reciben un 1099 o son contratistas independientes o propietarios únicos.

Yo pasaría por el proceso. Lo haría y trataría de ver si puede presentar un reclamo pero, según el nivel de sus ingresos  no estoy segura de si calificará o no.

BILL WALSH: Bien, solo una aclaración sobre ese punto para la gente. Si están presentando un reclamo de desempleo, ¿lo presentan en donde viven o donde estaban?

JEAN CHATZKY: Lo presentan en su estado de residencia.

BILL WALSH: ¿En su estado de residencia? Bien, muchas gracias, Jean.

JEAN CHATZKY: Oh, lo siento. No, disculpe, no lo dije bien. Por lo general, debe presentar una solicitud de beneficios en el estado donde trabaja, no donde vive.

BILL WALSH: Entiendo. Se solicitan beneficios por desempleo donde trabaja.

JEAN CHATZKY: Donde trabaja, no donde vive. Exactamente.

BILL WALSH: De acuerdo. Gracias por aclarar eso. ¿Tenemos a otra persona en la línea?

JEAN SETZFAND: Bill, tengo una pregunta de Facebook Live. Y creo que es por la seguridad. La pregunta es: "¿Pueden las personas obtener determinaciones de discapacidad mientras las oficinas están cerradas?"

BILL WALSH: Erik, ¿quiere responder?

ERIK JONES: Claro que sí. Gracias por la pregunta. La respuesta es sí.

Ese es uno de los casos que estamos tratando de poner en línea. Estamos tratando de hacerlo lo más rápido posible.

Les diré que el Seguro Social también se ha visto afectado por la COVID. Por lo tanto, tenemos personal reducido, y puede llevar un poco más de tiempo. Pero esos son los tipos de casos de los que estaba hablando que estamos tratando de priorizar y poner en línea a las personas que deberían estar en estado de pago. Así que presente la solicitud.

Si puede presentar una solicitud en línea, creo que esa será la forma más fácil de hacerlo. Y absolutamente, estamos tomando y procesando esos casos.

BILL WALSH: Bien, Erik, muchas gracias por eso. Jean, ¿tenemos otra llamada en la línea?

JEAN SETZFAND: Sí, tenemos a Pat de Carolina del Norte.

BILL WALSH: Adelante, Pat, con su pregunta.

PAT: Hola. Mi pregunta es que hace varios años que estoy jubilada. Y he perdido un tercio de mi 401(k) del que estamos viviendo actualmente. Y debido a que perdimos tanto, temía que no nos quedara suficiente si perdíamos aún más. Entonces me retiré del mercado. Me gustaría saber si,

A, ¿era lo mejor poner las cosas en efectivo? Y, B, si no fuera así, ¿cuándo sería el mejor momento para que volvamos?

Sé que no podemos encontrar el mercado, pero me gustaría saber cuándo es el mejor momento para regresar, ya que es muy volátil en este momento.

BILL WALSH: Sí. Jean Chatzky, ¿quiere responder esa pregunta? Creo que es una pregunta presente en la mente de muchas personas hoy en día.

JEAN CHATZKY: Oh, sé que es una pregunta que está en la mente de muchas personas, y es una decisión tan difícil. La volatilidad, emocionalmente, es muy difícil de aceptar. Así que entiendo completamente por qué hizo lo que hizo. Históricamente, lo que hemos visto es que es mejor si puede atravesarlo.

Es mejor si puede aguantar, dejar que las cosas vuelvan, las cosas se recuperan. Si observa el 2001, 2008, 1987, grandes recesiones en el mercado. Unos años más tarde, las cosas volvieron a donde estaban antes.

Pero también entiendo la necesidad de dinero de las personas jubiladas. Y así, cuando piense en cuánto volver a depositar en el mercado y cuándo volver a depositar ese dinero en el mercado, primero miraría cuánto efectivo necesita que produzca esa cuenta en los próximos tres a cinco años.

Debe asegurarse de que el dinero que necesita en ese corto plazo, y realmente estoy hablando en los próximos tres años, no pertenezca en la bolsa. Nunca pertenece en la bolsa. Deberíamos estar en un lugar en nuestras vidas cuando estamos jubilados, sacando dinero de la bolsa

de manera regular, vendiendo de manera regular y consolando para cobrar ese dinero que sabemos que necesitamos para subsistir. Y a medida que observa cuándo volver a poner el dinero, respondería esa pregunta primero.

Y separaría el dinero que usted sabe que va a necesitar para vivir. En cuanto al resto, no sé qué va a pasar en el mercado. Desearía tener una bola de cristal y decirle exactamente el día en que las cosas iban a cambiar y cuándo van a cambiar y cuánto tiempo van a quedarse así y si van a caer de nuevo a partir de ahí.

Creo que la estrategia del costo promedio en dólares de dividir ese dinero en un grupo de pilas, 12 pilas quizás. Y simplemente poner algo en el mercado de forma continua y mensual es lo que tiene más sentido. Le permite comprar el mercado a todos los niveles, y también le provee de dónde aferrarse cuando los mercados bajan sabiendo que compró acciones a esos precios más bajos. Si quiere esperar y ver cómo ha resultado esto en tres, seis meses, creo que está bien. Pero también creo que se puede decir que ya ha habido mucho dolor, y que voy a comenzar a invertir algo de dinero sabiendo que podría volver a caer.

También quiero decir para cualquiera que se le hayan ofendido sus planes de jubilación, este es un muy buen momento para buscar la ayuda de un asesor financiero. Hay asesores financieros que trabajan de muchas maneras y usted puede contratar a un asesor financiero, un asesor financiero de pago que no va a tratar de venderle nada, para que revise sus cuentas y le dé algunos consejos objetivos sobre cómo asegurarse de tener suficiente dinero para que le dure el resto de su vida.

La asociación de los únicos asesores financieros se llama NAPFA, N-A-P como Peter, F como Frank, A.org. Esa es la Asociación Nacional de Asesores Financieros Personales, y no van a tratar de venderle nada.

BILL WALSH: De acuerdo. A menudo pensamos en asesores financieros solo para personas que tienen una gran cantidad de dinero, pero recomendaría un asesor financiero incluso para personas que simplemente están tomando una decisión: "¿Debería continuar contribuyendo a mi 401(k)?" ¿Y tal vez la gente que todavía recibe el Seguro Social?

JEAN CHATZKY: Sí.

BILL WALSH: Sí.

JEAN CHATZKY: Y déjenme decir algo sobre esas contribuciones continuas. Creo que todos tenemos que ver cómo estamos usando nuestros recursos hoy en día, y quizás contratar a un asesor financiero para que haga todo por usted, lo cual puede ser costoso, definitivamente no es para todos.

Pero gastar un poco de dinero en una o dos horas en alguien con experiencia, generalmente es aconsejable. También existe la oportunidad de que si tiene un 401(k) administrado por una institución financiera importante, a menudo hay un servicio de asesoramiento de planificación financiera al que tiene acceso de forma gratuita a través de su empleador, simplemente puede levantar el teléfono y llamar. Así que piense en eso también.

Y si aún puede contribuir a un 401(k), diría que siga adelante porque los dólares equivalentes que obtiene de su empleador en muchos casos son dinero gratis, no debe dejarlos sobre la mesa.

Y debido a que los mercados han bajado tanto, al poner dinero en estos niveles, de acuerdo con muchas personas inteligentes que observan estas cosas, es probable que sea una mejor compra en estas mismas acciones de la que habría sido hace unos meses.

BILL WALSH: Bien, Jean, muchas gracias por eso. Jean Setzfand, ¿tenemos otra llamada en la línea?

JEAN SETZFAND: Sí, tenemos a Carol de Chicago.

BILL WALSH: Hola, Carol, adelante, haga su pregunta.

CAROL: Oh, hola. Es posible que ya hayan respondido esto antes.

Pero recientemente solicité los beneficios de Medicare. En realidad estuve allí el último día antes de que la oficina cerrara al público. Y me pregunto si esas solicitudes se procesan oportunamente, o si necesito planificar de alguna manera, porque no tendría seguro médico ya que no tenía Medicare.

BILL WALSH: Erik Jones del Seguro Social, ¿quiere responder esa pregunta?

ERIK JONES: Sí, claro. Y gracias, Carol. Creo que mencioné anteriormente que esa es una de las cargas de trabajo de alta prioridad, que tenemos a nuestra gente centrándose en nuestros beneficios de Medicare y Medicaid, por lo que espero que se encuentre inscrita dentro de poco.

Si no es así, le diría que vuelva a llamar a nuestra oficina. Y esa es una de las cosas con las que esperamos ayudarlos a corto plazo, porque queremos que tengan los beneficios de atención médica.

BILL WALSH: Erik, ¿qué debería esperar Carol? ¿Ella recibiría una carta de confirmación? ¿Ella recibiría un correo electrónico? ¿Cómo sabría ella que la cobertura fue activada?

ERIK JONES: Debería recibir una carta por correo.

BILL WALSH: De acuerdo. ¿Y si no la recibe en unas semanas debería llamar a la oficina?

ERIK JONES: Creo que dentro de una semana a 10 días debería recibir la carta. Supongo que estaba allí el 16, Carol, porque creo que cerramos nuestras oficinas el 17, así que creo que recibiría una carta en breve, y creo que su cobertura se basa en cuándo solicita, y comenzaría alrededor de julio

BILL WALSH: De acuerdo. Muy bien. Gracias Erik Jones, de la Administración del Seguro Social. ¿Tenemos otra pregunta en la línea?

JEAN SETZFAND: Sí, Elaine de Connecticut.

BILL WALSH: Hola, Elaine, adelante con su pregunta.

ELAINE: Sí, gracias. Solo me pregunto respecto al cheque de $1,200,

¿sabe en qué momento las personas lo verían en su cuenta o donde sea que lo reciban?

BILL WALSH: Jean Chatzky, ¿quiere responder?

JEAN CHATZKY: Claro. La verdad es que quizás Erik lo sabe mejor que yo porque yo escuché varias fechas. He escuchado dos semanas, he escuchado tres semanas, y he escuchado a fin de mes.

ERIK JONES: Gracias, Jean. Y eso era algo que iba a cubrir en mi presentación, que hemos trabajado muy de cerca con el IRS y nuestros colegas del Tesoro. Creo que todos escuchamos las buenas noticias anoche de que a la mayoría de las personas se les depositarán sus cheques automáticamente o se enviarán por correo, así es como se obtienen los beneficios en este momento.

El IRS ha creado un sitio web. Y, Bill, sé que probablemente ambos mencionamos un par de sitios web y ustedes los pusieron en línea. Voy a mencionar otro. Y es el sitio que el IRS configuró específicamente

para brindarle actualizaciones de estado, sobre cuándo puede ser que se envíen esos cheques. Y ese sitio web es irs.gov/coronavirus.

Entonces, si visita esa página, y aún puede que sea muy pronto, porque creo que todavía están resolviendo los tiempos ellos mismos. Como Jean, yo he escuchado dos semanas, tres semanas. Ellos están tratando de enviarlos lo más rápido posible.

Pero ese sitio web será el mejor lugar para obtener información actualizada sobre cuándo puede ser que se acredite su pago.

BILL WALSH: De acuerdo. Y tengo algo que añadir a esto. Habíamos escuchado que el secretario del Tesoro, Steven Mnuchin, dijo que puede que las personas reciban sus cheques antes del 17 de abril. Y sus pagos, lo siento, el 17 de abril.

El IRS no ha dicho cuándo las personas recibirían los cheques. Pero esa parece ser una fecha que se ha publicado ahora para estos depósitos directos. Pero creo que es un buen consejo consultar el sitio web que sugirió Erik Jones.

Jean Setzfand, ¿tenemos otra pregunta para nuestros expertos?

JEAN SETZFAND: Sí, tenemos una llamada de Sibel desde Nueva York.

BILL WALSH: Hola, Sibel, está en línea. Adelante, haga su pregunta.

Puede que hayamos perdido a Sibel. ¿Tenemos otra llamada?

JEAN SETZFAND: Absolutamente Recibimos una llamada de Jerry de Ohio.

BILL WALSH: Hola, Jerry, haz tu pregunta.

JERRY: Hola. Soy mayor y estoy viviendo en una instalación de HUD. ¿Este depósito de cheques de estímulo afectará mi renta? Porque nuestra renta se basa en un tercio de nuestros ingresos. ¿Cómo afectará esto mi renta?

JEAN CHATZKY: ¿Quiere que yo responda eso, Bill?

BILL WALSH: Muy bien, Jean, ¿tiene información sobre eso?

JEAN CHATZKY: Absolutamente, no debería afectar su alquiler en absoluto. No se lo trata como ganancia sujeta a impuestos. Entonces, si su renta se basa en ganancia sujeta a impuestos, en su ingreso bruto ajustado, esto no afectará eso.

BILL WALSH: De acuerdo. Lo había dicho antes, es como un reembolso de impuestos.

JEAN CHATZKY: Correcto, exactamente.

BILL WALSH: Sí.

JEAN CHATZKY: Este estímulo es un poco confuso debido a la jerga que todos usan pero esa es la conclusión. Se lo trata como un reembolso de impuestos, no se lo trata como un ingreso sujeto a impuestos. Recibo preguntas de personas que quieren saber: "Bueno, ¿tendré que devolver este dinero en el 2020?" La respuesta a eso también es no.

BILL WALSH: De acuerdo. Muy bien. Soy Bill Walsh con AARP y hoy estamos respondiendo a sus preguntas sobre el coronavirus con expertos clave. Les había pedido a todos en la línea que participaran en una encuesta antes, y tengo algunos resultados.

Está claro que hay una variedad de preocupaciones relacionadas con el impacto financiero inmediato del coronavirus.

Según la encuesta que muchos de ustedes respondieron anteriormente, parece que el 38% de las personas en la línea dijeron que no las había afectado financieramente. Bueno, esas son buenas noticias.

Sin embargo, otro 28% dijo que había agotado sus ahorros, y el 14% reportó pérdida de ingresos. Entonces está afectando a algunos y a otros.

Tomemos más preguntas de nuestros oyentes. Jean, ¿a quién tenemos ahora?

JEAN SETZFAND: Tenemos una llamada de Anita de Virginia Occidental.

BILL WALSH: Hola, Anita, adelante con su pregunta.

ANITA: Presenté mi impuesto sobre mis ingresos el 5 de marzo. Soy apta para reembolso de dinero, del cual decidí dejar ahí, no es gran cosa. Pero hoy recibí una carta, dice IRS, Austin, Texas, y dicen que debo llamar a un cierto número 800 en los próximos 30 días entre las 7 a.m. y las 7 p.m. para verificar esto, dicen: "Si no tenemos noticias suyas, no podremos procesar su declaración de impuestos del 31 de diciembre del 2019". Y para acelerar este proceso, debo tener todo lo siguiente, esta carta, la declaración de impuestos del año anterior, todos mis formularios, N-40, etc. Las declaraciones de impuestos del año que se muestra arriba, que sería 2019, y todos esos N-40, etc. Y cualquier documento de respaldo para la declaración de impuestos de cada año, y si no los llamo y les doy esta información, mi formulario no será fichado.

Creo que es una estafa.

BILL WALSH: Sí, iba a decir lo mismo. Jean Chatzky, Erik Jones, ¿qué sienten que está pasando con Anita?

JEAN CHATZKY: Sabemos que el IRS no lo llamará, y no le enviará un correo electrónico ni le enviará mensajes de texto. Si van a comunicarse con usted, lo harán por correo. Sin embargo, la cantidad de información que solicitan también me hace desconfiar. Verificaría ese número de teléfono, Anita. Me aseguraría. Llamaría al IRS, pero no necesariamente llamaría al número que figura en esa carta, visitaría irs.gov y llamaría al IRS directamente o enviaría un correo electrónico directamente para asegurarme antes de dar cualquier tipo de información a alguien, que esto es legítimo.

Y si los llama, sería muy, muy cautelosa con los detalles personales que provea. ¿Erik?

ERIK JONES: Jean, iba a decir exactamente lo que has dicho, porque el IRS está un poco menos familiarizado con los diferentes tipos de estafas que existen. Sin duda, lo alentamos a que si sospecha algo, verifique esos números, vaya a nuestro sitio web oficial, llame a nuestro número oficial, hable con uno de nuestros agentes y que sea una llamada que realizó usted en lugar de responder a un número que está en una hoja de papel que le parece sospechoso.

Así que, creo que su instinto está en lo correcto. Creo que el consejo es ir en línea, encontrar el número del IRS y hablar con alguien para confirmar que fue una solicitud legítima de su parte, o lo que es probable, que no haya sido emitida por el IRS.

BILL WALSH: De acuerdo. Y, Erik, ¿se ha visto alguna estafa relacionada con el Seguro Social de la que esté al tanto desde el estallido de la pandemia?

ERIK JONES: Absolutamente. Y algunas de ellas son bastante atroces. Creo que, en el transcurso del año pasado, hemos visto muchas

llamadas telefónicas, correos, correos electrónicos, mensajes de texto que dicen: "Oye, hemos suspendido tu número. Suspendimos tus pagos". Ahora dicen: "Suspendimos debido a COVID-19".

Aún más atroz para mí, hay algunos por ahí que dicen: "Oiga, vamos a aumentar sus beneficios de Seguro Social en esta cantidad debido al nuevo paquete de estímulo, pero debe llamarnos".

Les aseguro que ninguno proviene de la Administración del Seguro Social. No estamos suspendiendo el número de nadie debido a COVID. No estamos suspendiendo el pago de nadie debido a COVID.

Tenemos otro sitio web, el sitio web de nuestro inspector general. Sé que también tienen un sitio web, Bill, que mencionó usted antes. Pero si está específicamente relacionado con el Seguro Social, le pediría que vaya a nuestro sitio general de inspectores y proporcione la información específica. Estamos tratando arduamente de localizar a las personas que están haciendo esto. Ahora es más importante que nunca, por lo que cualquier información que pueda proporcionar que nos ayude a rastrear a estas personas, será muy apreciada.

BILL WALSH: Bueno, muy bien. Y Jean y Erik habían hecho referencia

al número de atención al cliente del IRS. Lo tengo aquí, por si la gente en la línea quiere anotarlo, el número es 1-800-829-1040. 1-800-829-1040.

Bueno, muy bien. Jean, ¿tenemos otra llamada en la línea?

JEAN SETZFAND: Así es. De hecho, tenemos una pregunta interesante proveniente de nuestro canal de reproducción de YouTube. Y es una cuestión sobre la elegibilidad para el estímulo. Dice así: "Mi hijo es un estudiante de tiempo completo en la Universidad de Puerto Rico. Tiene 23 años. ¿Recibirá el paquete de estímulo de $1,200? Y si es así, ¿cómo?

BILL WALSH: Bien, entonces el hijo de la persona es un estudiante de 23 años, ¿será apto para el pago de estímulo? Jean Chatzky, ¿quiere echarle un vistazo a eso?

JEAN CHATZKY: Sí, va a depender de si es un dependiente o no. Las personas inscritas como dependientes, ya sea hijos o quizás padres mayores, no serán aptos para ningún pago de estímulo. Y los padres solo reciben pagos de estímulo para niños menores de 17 años. Por lo tanto, realmente depende del estado en la declaración de impuestos de sus padres.

BILL WALSH: Muy bien. Jean, ¿tenemos otra pregunta?

JEAN SETZFAND: Sí. Tenemos una llamada de Joan, de Henderson, Nevada.

BILL WALSH: Joan, adelante con su pregunta.

JOAN: Sí. Todavía estoy trabajando, tengo 80 años, pero sigo trabajando, y me entra un 1099. Bueno, ese dinero ahora, por supuesto, no puedo trabajar. No puedo salir a trabajar. Y me preguntaba, entiendo que no puedo pedir el desempleo, pero ¿hay algún tipo de pago que podamos obtener como trabajadores con 1099?

BILL WALSH: Jean Chatzky, ¿quieres aportar algo?

JEAN CHATZKY: Sí, Joan, en realidad, puede reclamar el desempleo en este caso. Las reglas se han cambiado en este caso donde las personas que trabajan por cuenta propia con 1099, propietarios únicos, son aptos para beneficios por desempleo, por lo que buscaría allí.

La otra cosa que está disponible para usted como contratista independiente es lo que se llama un préstamo PPP de la Administración de Pequeñas Empresas, que es el préstamo de protección de cheques de pago. Las solicitudes para esos préstamos que son, nuevamente, parte de la Ley CARES, saldrán mañana, 3 de abril. Creo que para los contratistas independientes, no será apto para presentar una solicitud hasta el 10 de abril.

Pero es posible que desee investigar si eso es algo que tiene sentido para usted. Y puedo decir, bien por usted, trabajando a los 80 años, parece que es una joven de 80 años, así que espero que esté bien.

BILL WALSH: Sí, eso es fantástico. Muy bien. Jean, ¿tomamos una pregunta más?

JEAN SETZFAND: Sí, creo que aquí hay una rápida de Facebook. Y esta pregunta se refiere a un pariente que vive del Seguro Social en el extranjero. "¿Qué les decimos con respecto a su seguridad? ¿Van a continuar recibiendo sus cheques?

BILL WALSH: Erik Jones, ¿quiere responder, relativamente, que procede del Seguro Social?

ERIK JONES: Sí, absolutamente, esos cheques todavía salen y deberían contar con ese ingreso mensual.

BILL WALSH: Bien. Muy bien. Jean, ¿tomamos otra pregunta?

JEAN SETZFAND: Claro. Ya que hay varias Jeans, aquí hay otra, Jean de Alaska.

JEAN: Hola, mi pregunta es que tengo una hija que tiene una discapacidad y presentamos sus impuestos con los nuestros. Ella tiene un ingreso mínimo. ¿Recibirá un cheque de estímulo? No parece que nosotros

seamos aptos. ¿Pero ella? Y otra hija que no presenta y no obtiene el Seguro Social.

BILL WALSH: Y, Jean, ¿cuántos años tienen sus hijas?

JEAN: Uh, 20 y 21.

BILL WALSH: De acuerdo. ¿Y usted reclama a cualquiera de ellas como dependientes en sus impuestos?

JEAN: Sí.

BILL WALSH: Bien. Jean Chatzky, ¿quiere responder eso?

JEAN CHATZKY: Sí. Básicamente es una respuesta de dos partes. Si las reclama como dependientes, no recibirán sus propios pagos de estímulo. Pero planteó un punto interesante para las personas que no han presentado impuestos y no reclaman el Seguro Social.

Debe presentar una declaración de impuestos rápida y muy básica. Esa es la mejor manera de asegurarse de obtener su cheque de estímulo.

BILL WALSH: ¿Se refiere a una declaración de impuestos muy rápida para el 2019?

JEAN CHATZKY: Para el 2019, sí.

BILL WALSH: De acuerdo. ¿Y eso acelerará los pagos?

JEAN CHATZKY: Eso la pondrá en el sistema. Eso la pondrá en el sistema. Les ayudará a saber dónde encontrarla. Para acelerar el pago, deberá presentar la declaración de impuestos, pero también elegir depósito directo.

BILL WALSH: Depósito directo, de acuerdo. Eso también debería acelerar las cosas. Jean Setzfand, ¿quieres darnos otra pregunta de la línea?

JEAN SETZFAND: Claro, recibimos una llamada de Ayda desde Texas.

BILL WALSH: Hola, Ayda, adelante con su pregunta.

AYDA: Quiero averiguar... Con referencia al pago de estímulo. Si posee SSI, ¿se debe completar un formulario o algo para recibir el pago?

BILL WALSH: Erik Jones, ¿quiere responder?

ERIK JONES: Espero que la respuesta sea... Voy a protegerme un poco, Ayda. Espero que la respuesta sea no, pero honestamente todavía estamos descubriendo la logística para trabajar con nuestros colegas del IRS.

Entonces, en su mayor parte, todos, como Jean mencionó anteriormente, obtendrán esos cheques automáticamente. Para nuestros amigos de SSI, estamos trabajando duro con el IRS para descubrir cómo hacer que eso suceda también. Pero aún no puedo decir con un 100% de certeza que no necesite presentar algo.

Entonces, lo que le pediría que haga es estar atenta durante los próximos días mientras intentamos resolverlo. Mencioné el sitio web anteriormente, si puede acceder a él, continuaremos brindando información actualizada allí. Y esperamos tener una respuesta en los próximos días. Pero todavía no tengo una respuesta certera para darle.

BILL WALSH: De acuerdo. Solo para aclarar, se entiende que los beneficiarios del Seguro Social no tendrían que presentar una declaración de impuestos para recibir los pagos de estímulo. ¿Está haciendo una distinción, Erik, con las personas que están en SSI?

ERIK JONES: Sí, exactamente. Es un archivo diferente para nosotros. Y entonces es un poco más complicado. Pero de nuevo, estamos tratando de superar eso. Esperamos encontrar una respuesta a eso. Simplemente no quiero decir con certeza que será de una manera u otra todavía.

BILL WALSH: ¿Y dónde es el mejor lugar para que Ayda rastree eso? Obviamente, este es un problema importante para ella. Nosotros la dirigiríamos a aarp.org/coronavirus. ¿Hay algún número de teléfono al que le sugiere que llame para estar al tanto de eso?

ERIK JONES: Nuevamente, si puede, Ayda, iría a ese sitio web irs.gov/coronavirus que es donde el IRS está tratando de centralizar la información más actualizada sobre todo lo que tiene que ver con el estímulo o los pagos de impacto económico. Así que creo que esa es la fuente principal a la que estamos tratando de referir a todos, Bill, para que todos obtengan la información más actualizada.

BILL WALSH: De acuerdo. Y, Ayda, si no tiene acceso a internet, puedo darle nuevamente el número de teléfono de atención al cliente del IRS. Es 1-800-829-1040.

Bueno. Jean, ¿tiene otra pregunta para nosotros?

JEAN SETZFAND: Sí, tengo una llamada, Carolyn de Florida.

BILL WALSH: Muy bien, Carolyn, adelante con su pregunta.

CAROLYN: De acuerdo. Soy dueña de una corporación S. Y organizo un evento por año, eso no va a suceder en agosto de este año. Y tengo 62 años, y cobro el Seguro Social completo, pero recibo un salario por debajo del máximo, ya sabe, que está permitido cuando se toma el Seguro Social.

Pareciera ser, por los otros oyentes, que soy apta para el desempleo. Y dos cosas, no estoy segura, ¿se puede solicitar en línea o se tiene que llamar y esperar horas? Porque claramente no quiero ir en persona, a mi edad, y soy de alto riesgo.

Y la segunda pregunta es, ¿hay algo más que pueda solicitar como pequeña empresa, además del desempleo?

BILL WALSH: Jean Chatzky, ¿quiere responder?

JEAN CHATZKY: Sí. Primero responderé a su primera pregunta, es absolutamente posible postularse en línea. Así que intentaría hacer eso. Están sucediendo muchas cosas en términos de pequeñas empresas en la Ley CARES, pero lo más importante que se está teniendo en cuenta, es algo que se llama protección de cheques de pago, que permite a las pequeñas empresas solicitar préstamos que cubrirían 2.5 meses de su nómina promedio del 2019.

No sé cómo pagó por ese evento que organiza por año, pero si tuviese una nómina regular, cubriría dos veces y media esa obligación mensual y la forma en que se estructura, siempre y cuando los empleadores no despidan a las personas durante el período de ocho semanas después de sacar el préstamo, entonces son aptos para que se les perdone ese préstamo. Se convierte en una subvención en lugar de un préstamo.

Es un gran beneficio para las pequeñas empresas. Las solicitudes para esos préstamos, que se realizarán a través de prestamistas de la SBA, bancos, prestamistas no bancarios y cooperativas de crédito saldrán mañana.

Y lo que he escuchado es que es mejor trabajar para postularse a través del banco con el que tiene una relación comercial preexistente. Los bancos esperan estar tan abrumados, que algunos dicen que a menos que tenga su cuenta comercial con ellos, preferimos que trabaje a través de la institución donde ya realiza sus operaciones bancarias.

BILL WALSH: Muy bien, Jean, muchas gracias. Y me temo que es todo el tiempo que tenemos para las llamadas. Jean Chatzky y Erik Jones, me pregunto si tienen alguna idea final o recomendación para nosotros. Jean, ¿quiere ir primero?

JEAN CHATZKY: Absolutamente. En primer lugar, gracias por invitarme. Realmente disfruté participar de esta conversación. Y solo animo a todos a cuidarse a sí mismos. Creo que todos debemos tener en cuenta que nuestra prioridad en este período tan difícil e inesperado es mantenernos saludables. Y si puede mantenerse saludable, en última instancia, también será un gran beneficio financiero para usted. Así que espero que todos se mantengan seguros y se cuiden.

BILL WALSH: Bien, gracias, Jean Chatzky. Y Erik Jones, de la Administración del Seguro Social, me disculpo por haberlo interrumpido antes. ¿Tiene alguna idea final o recomendación sobre aquello que los socios de AARP deberían entender de la conversación de hoy?

ERIK JONES: Sí, gracias, Bill, y no se preocupe. Jean, también he aprendido mucho de usted hoy y disfruté mucho de nuestra conversación. Una cosa que diría para cerrar realmente se relaciona con algo que dijo Jean, en términos de educación, posponiendo los cobros de préstamos estudiantiles por seis meses, también estamos suspendiendo nuestro cobro de pagos en exceso por seis meses.

Así que creo que encontrarán a mucha gente por ahí que está tratando de aflojar en tanto puedan, para ayudar a la gente a llegar a fin de mes.

Una vez más, mis palabras de despedida son: el Seguro Social está presente, estamos aquí para responder sus preguntas. Primero intente y haga su trabajo con nosotros en línea, pero si no puede llamarnos, nuestra gente está a su disposición. Esté atento a las estafas. Si sospecha, ya sabe, verifique esos números e infórmenos ante cualquier cosa sospechosa.

Y finalmente, como dijo Jean, por favor, manténganse todos seguros y saludables.

BILL WALSH: Muy bien. Erik Jones, de la Administración del Seguro Social, experta en finanzas Jean Chatzky, muchas gracias por tomarse el tiempo hoy. Y gracias a nuestros socios, voluntarios y oyentes de AARP por participar en esta discusión.

Si su pregunta no fue respondida, visite www.aarp.org/coronavirus.

AARP, una organización sin fines de lucro y no partidista ha estado trabajando para promover la salud y el bienestar de las personas mayores durante más de 60 años.

Ante esta crisis, proporcionaremos información y recursos para ayudar a los adultos mayores y a quienes los cuidan, a protegerse del virus, prevenir su contagio a otros mientras se cuidan a sí mismos. Todos los recursos a los que se hizo referencia hoy, incluida una grabación del evento de preguntas y respuestas de hoy, se pueden encontrar en aarp.org/coronavirus a partir del 3 de abril.

De nuevo, la dirección web es aarp.org/coronavirus. Allí encontrarán las últimas actualizaciones, así como información creada específicamente para adultos mayores y cuidadores familiares.

Esperamos que haya aprendido algo que pueda ayudarlo a mantenerse saludable usted y a sus seres queridos. Asegúrese de sintonizar nuestra próxima teleasamblea de AARP el 9 de abril a la 1 p.m. EST.

Gracias y que tengan un buen día.

Esto concluye nuestro llamado.

For the latest coronavirus news and advice, go to AARP.org/coronavirus.

Visit the Social Security Administration website for more information.

See Social Security Administration’s response to the coronavirus

Find your local Social Security field office phone number. 

Establish a My Social Security Account

Report an attempted fraud incident

Get more information on economic impact payments from the IRS. 


AARP Coronavirus Tele-Town Halls

  • May 14 –  Coronavirus: Veterans & Staying at Home With Lifestyle Experts
  • May 7 – Coronavirus: Protecting Your Health & Bank Account and Managing Your Career, Business & Income
  • April 30 – Coronavirus: Caring for Parents, Kids & Grandkids
  • April 23 – Coronavirus: Supporting Loved Ones in Care Facilities and Disparate Impact on Communities
  • April 16 – Coronavirus: Telehealth
  • April 9 – Coronavirus: Coping and Maintaining Your Well-Being
  • April 2 – Coronavirus: Managing Your Money and Protecting Your Health
  • March 26 – Coronavirus: Protecting and Caring for Loved Ones
  • March 19  Coronavirus: Protect Your Health, Wealth and Loved Ones
  • March 10 – Cornavirus: Symptoms. How to Protect Yourself, and What It Means for Older Adults and Caregivers

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