EVERYBODY'S BUSINESS: Social Security and scammers, pet clinic, and MDA fundraiser

Oct. 06, 2013 @ 04:59 AM

If Social Security were a person, it would have been on itself for more than a decade, having turned 78 last month. Like most people, however, it might not make it to 100.

Because of the bad economy and a rapidly aging population, the New York Times reported earlier this year, Social Security will stop being completely solvent by 2033 unless something changes.

It’s not just retirees receiving the checks, either. In North Carolina last year, 18 percent of the state’s 1.9 million Social Security recipients were disabled. And according to Social Security Works, a special interest group that supports increased taxes to keep the program funded, the average disabled person on Social Security depends on it for 90 percent of his or her income. The group also reported that nationwide, 27 percent of workers who turned 20 in 2012 will become severely disabled before retirement age.

So with more retirees and, possibly, more disabled people — the two biggest groups of recipients by far — swelling the ranks of Social Security in the coming years, it’s inevitable that more and more people will try to scam others out of their benefits. After all, it doesn’t pay that poorly: The average North Carolina retiree received $15,576 in 2012, as much as they would have made working 30 hours per week at an hourly wage of $9.98, for example. That’s $2.73 per hour more than the minimum wage.

Both the federal and state government have online resources for people to learn about scamming tactics or to report possible issues. North Carolina has a website set up to tell people — and especially older folks — about specific scams or alerts they should be aware of at www.ncdhhs.gov/aging/fraud/cfalert.htm. It’s not Social Security specific, but an 80-year-old woman in Cumberland County did lose her entire life savings this August to a fake lottery group, which the state says is a frequent type of scam.

Just about anything related to Social Security can be found at www.ssa.gov. There’s also a toll free customer service line at 1-800-772-1213, or 1-800-325-0778 for deaf or hearing-impaired people.

In other news...

* The Tractor Supply store in Sanford’s Southside Plaza has launched a PetVet Clinic, which it describes as “an easy, affordable and convenient way to protect your pet by providing all of its vaccination needs.” The clinic will be open from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. a week from today on Oct. 13 and again on Nov. 10.

* Toyota-Scion of Sanford is raising funds to benefit the Muscular Dystrophy Association this month. It will donate $100 to the cause for every new and used car sold during October. The dealership, located at 3321 N.C. Highway 87 South, will also host a family fun day from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 19 with food, games and more.

* Business fluctuations: In the past week, seven new corporations formed in Lee County — Cbe Talk of the Town Salon, Divine Life Interventions, Exclusive Auto Gallery, Jbk Sales, Men Creating Men, SSND and Taylor Automotive — and two were dissolved or revoked: Westlake Club and Aircorp Aviation.

Have business news? Contact Will Doran at (919) 718-1217 or wdoran@sanfordherald.com