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What are My Options if I Can’t Attend My Biometrics Appointment?

What are My Options if I Can’t Attend My Biometrics Appointment?

 

Most applicants seeking immigration benefits must undergo a records check. This records check is often initiated through a scheduled biometrics appointment held at a USCIS Application Support Center (ASC). During the appointment, your fingerprints will be taken and electronically submitted to various government agencies’ databases. Your biometric information is captured in order to conduct a criminal background check and to also ensure that you are the same person who submitted the application for immigration benefits. 

Financial Survival After a Job Loss

You may have lost your job already, or it's something you're concerned about. Either way, the keys to surviving a job loss financially are to plan ahead, take stock of your income, and cut your expenses.

Plan ahead

If you haven't been laid off, it's a good idea to plan ahead for that possibility. It's hard to know how long you'll be out of work, so to be on the safe side, prepare for at least six months of unemployment. You might find a job much sooner, but you don't want to be forced to take the first opportunity that comes along, especially if it isn't suitable.

Come up with a financial plan for unemployment, and design your plan with some flexibility to allow for adjustments if your situation changes. Circumstances can vary based on how long you're out of work, and whether unanticipated expenses arise while you're unemployed.

Prepare a survival budget

Managing Expenses During the College Years

Introduction

For most parents, paying for a child's college or graduate school education is a major event. For some parents, it rivals only the purchase of a home in number of dollars spent. As the cost of college continues to rise, it's little wonder that parents view their ability to pay college costs with some apprehension. Yet, in all but the most affluent families, paying for college does not involve a 100 percent out-of-pocket contribution from parents. Rather, the average family uses a combination of strategies to pay higher education costs--savings, financial aid, education tax credits, out-of-pocket contributions, and other creative solutions.

Savings

Hopefully, you're one of the parents who have been saving money for their child's college education on a regular basis. If so, now's the time to use those funds. But in many cases, this won't be enough to cover all the bills.

Financial aid

Health Savings Accounts: Are They Just What the Doctor Ordered?

Health Savings Accounts: Are They Just What the Doctor Ordered?

Are health insurance premiums taking too big of a bite out of your budget? Do you wish you had better control over how you spend your health-care dollars? If so, you may be interested in an alternative to traditional health insurance called a health savings account (HSA).

How does this health-care option work?

An HSA is a tax-advantaged account that's paired with a high-deductible health plan (HDHP). Let's look at how an HSA works with an HDHP to enable you to cover your current health-care costs and also save for your future needs.

Inherited IRAs and Bankruptcy

Background

Since the enactment of the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act in 2005, individual retirement accounts (IRAs) have been protected under federal law if you declare bankruptcy. The exemption was originally capped at $1 million, but has since grown to $1,245,475 (as of April 1, 2013) due to cost-of-living increases. (The million-dollar cap does not apply to amounts rolled over from a qualified employer plan like a 401(k)--these amounts are fully protected under federal law.)

Over the years, federal court decisions have been divided over whether or not inherited IRAs are protected under the Act. To resolve this conflict, the United States Supreme Court agreed to hear the case of Clark v. Rameker.

The Supreme Court's decision

Catholic Charities Awarded $100,000 Grant from Ralph C. Wilson Foundation

Catholic Charities Awarded $100,000 Grant from  Ralph C. Wilson Foundation

Catholic Charities of Buffalo has received a $100,000 grant from the Ralph C. Wilson Foundation to support case management service coordination for military members and their families throughout the eight counties of Western New York. The grant reflects a commitment of $100,000 over the next three years.

The Ralph C. Wilson Foundation provides support to charitable and educational purposes with a mission to support non-profit organizations that make a tangible positive impact on people's lives.

Catholic Charities sought the funds in its effort to ensure that the organization is responding to the needs of the many current and past military members and their families in our communities. A Vision Military committee was begun more than a year ago and this support will help to further the group’s goal that clients and the community see Catholic Charities as responsive to the needs of servicemen and servicewomen.

Expansion of Pay As You Earn Program for Student Loans

Against a backdrop of growing alarm over student loan debt and its potential impact on the economy, President Obama recently took executive action to expand the federal Pay As You Earn (PAYE) repayment program for federal student loans.

Current program

Under the PAYE program, borrowers pay 10% of their discretionary income toward their federal student loans each month, and all remaining debt is generally forgiven after 20 years of payments (10 years for those in certain public service jobs). But the program is currently limited to borrowers who took out their first loans after October 2007 and who borrowed as recently as October 2011.

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