Glossary

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

A

Annual Fee

A yearly payment charged by many credit card companies for use of their card.

Asset

Something you own that has value. An example of an asset is a house, vehicle, or savings account.

Asset Limit

The total amount of countable resources you can have (including money in your checking and savings accounts) while remaining eligible to receive a government benefit.

Assistive Technology (AT)

A device that helps a person who has a disability do the things he or she wants to do. Examples of AT devices include an adapted vehicle, a ramp into a home, an iPad, hearing aids, and a wheelchair or scooter.

The federal definition of an assistive technology (AT) device is “any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities.” [29 U.S.C. Sec 202(2)]

An assistive technology service is defined as any service that directly assists an individual with a disability in the selection, acquisition, or use of an assistive technology device. The term also includes designing, fitting, customizing, adapting, maintaining, repairing, or replacing AT devices. 

ATM

ATM stands for Automated Teller Machine. This is a machine that allows you to take money out of or put money into your checking or savings account without having to go directly to your bank or credit union. You can also check your account balances at an ATM.

Authorize

To give your permission.

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B

Balance

Balance means “amount.” It can refer to the amount of money you have in your checking or savings account; or, the amount that is owed on a credit card or another type of loan.

Balance Carried Forward

Used at the start of a month to show how much money is in your account. When balance forward is used on a bill, it shows either the amount your account is charged or credited from a previous billing cycle. 

Bank

A for-profit financial institution that provides financial services to its customers. These services include such things as checking and savings accounts, access to loan products, debit cards, online banking and financial education. You should look for a bank that is insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).

Benefits

Many people need help paying for food, housing, utilities, medical care and other basic items. The state and federal governments have developed programs that can help pay for these things. These programs are called government benefits. 

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C

Cash

Cash is the currency (paper bills) and coins you have on hand. You use cash to pay for something immediately.

Cash Flow

The difference between your income and your expenses. A positive cash flow means your income is greater than your expenses (you are making more than you are spending). A negative cash flow means your income is less than your expenses (you are spending more than you are making).

Checking Account

A service, offered by a bank or credit union, which allows you to put your cash in a safe place and then use it whenever you need it. You get your money from your checking account by writing checks, or using your ATM or debit card.

Countable Resources

Certain assets are not counted when the Social Security Administration determines financial eligibility for SSI, or when Pennsylvania determines financial eligibility for Medical Assistance. For a complete list of assets that are not counted, go to https://www.ssa.gov/ssi/text-resources-ussi.htm

Credit

Money that you can borrow with the promise to repay it at a later date. If you pay with cash, you pay immediately. If you use credit, you agree to pay in the future. 

Credit Bureau

A company that compiles information reported by your creditors and provides information on a person’s borrowing and repayment habits.

Credit Card

A plastic card issued by a bank or business that allows you to purchase items now and pay for them later. 

Credit History

A record of how you have managed your credit and debts in the past. It includes information on borrowing and repayment of credit cards, bank and car loans, mortgages and any other debt owed to someone. An individual’s credit history will include open accounts and accounts that have closed. It lists late payments, defaults on loans and bankruptcies. 

Credit Limit

The maximum amount of credit (money) that a financial institution will authorize for your use. The credit limit is based on your credit history and income.

Credit Report

A report of your credit history. A credit report is a system lenders use to decide whether or not to give you credit, or a loan, and how much interest they will charge you. Your credit report is a record of how much you owe and how well you pay it back. A credit report will include such information as where you live, your work history, your repayments on loans, whether you’ve filed and been discharged from a bankruptcy, and if you have any tax liens.

Credit Score

A number that represents the credit-worthiness of a person, or the likelihood that a person will pay back a debt. Often a FICO (Fair, Isaac and Company) score is reported on your credit report. The higher the number, the better your credit score.

Credit Union

A non-profit, community-based financial company that provides its members with checking and savings accounts, loans, financial education, access to debit cards, credit cards and online banking. Many credit unions also provide services and grants that support community development. You should look for a credit union that is insured by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA).

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D

Debit Card

A plastic card that is connected to your credit union or bank account. When you use it to buy something in a store, money is taken directly out of your checking or savings account. Debit cards can also be used for the withdrawal of cash. Debit cards work the same way as paying for something with cash.

Debt

Money that you have borrowed and must repay.

Deficit

When there isn’t enough money to cover all expenses. For example, if you want something that costs $20 but you only have $15, then you have a deficit of $5.

Deposit

To put money into a checking or savings account. It is the opposite of withdraw.

Due Date

The date on the calendar when your bill must be paid.

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E

Earned Income

The money you receive from a job. 

Equity

The value of an asset (such as your home or vehicle) minus what you owe on any loans (such as a mortgage or vehicle loan payment) connected to it.

Expenses

What you spend money on, whether you pay in cash or with a check or charge to a credit card. 

F

FDIC

Federal Deposit Insurance Fund. 

Finances

This is another word for everything that has to do with your money, including your  checking and savings accounts, and your income and expenses. It’s important to learn how to manage your finances, instead of letting your money manage you.

Food Stamp Program

Now called SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), this is a government program available to families and individuals who are low-income, to help with the cost of food.

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G

Gross Earnings

The total amount of your earned income.

Guarantee

A guarantee is a promise or assurance (typically in writing) to assume responsibility for something. A loan guarantee is a promise by someone to assume the debt obligation of a borrower if he does not repay his loan. 

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I

Income

This is the money you have to live on. Your money can come from such sources as earnings from a job, Supplemental Security Income, a pension, and SNAP (food stamps).

Income Limit

The total amount of earned and unearned income you can make in a month and still receive services from a government benefit.

Insurance

This is a word meaning protection from loss.

Interest

A fee you pay when you borrow money, such as a loan. When you deposit your money into a bank or credit union savings account, the bank pays interest to you.

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L

Lease

A legal contract where one person lends something to another person for a specified time (apartment, vehicle, equipment, etc.), usually in exchange for payments.

Liability Insurance

Protects you from a lawsuit if someone is injured or suffers property damage while in your rental unit.

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M

Medical Assistance (MA)

Also known as Medicaid, is a government program that provides medical insurance for people who are low-income.

Medicare

Medicare is a federal health insurance program for people 65 or older, as well as people under 65 who have a permanent disability or medical condition.

Minimum Monthly Payment

The lowest payment the credit card company, or other lender, will accept toward your balance owed each month.

Money Mapping

Money mapping is a new term for budgeting, and involves understanding your income and tracking your expenses, making short and long-term savings and spending goals, and building good credit.

Mortgage

A specific type of loan for the purchase of a home. You make a promise to the lender to repay the loan, with interest, during the course of 15 or 30 years.

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N

NCUSIF

National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund. 

Need

Something you must have to survive, like a place to live and enough food to eat.

Net Earnings

The amount you take home, after taxes and other deductions have been taken out of your total (gross) earnings.

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P

Payroll Deduction

Money that is taken out of your earnings by an employer to pay taxes, health insurance, retirement benefits, and other items.

Peril

An insurance term for the cause of a possible loss, like a fire.

Phishing

A kind of identity theft where criminals try to get your personal information by pretending to be an honest business.

PIN

A PIN (Personal Identification Number) is the secret code you use to gain access to the money in your accounts. It’s best not to share your PIN with other people. If you must, because you need assistance, always ask for a receipt and check your monthly bank statements.

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R

Rebate

A rebate can be an additional discount when you purchase a product or it can be a partial refund if you have paid too much money for taxes, rent, or a utility, such as electricity, gas, or water.

Receipt

Usually a paper, or an online statement, that lists the items you purchased and the amount you paid for them. A receipt is proof that you paid for an item.

Refund

A repayment of a sum of money, typically to a customer who is not satisfied with something that was purchased. This means that a store promises to give back all or some of the money that was spent if you’re not happy with what you bought. To get a refund you usually need to show a receipt.

Revolving Credit

A type of credit that a borrower may use to withdraw funds up to a pre-approved amount. The amount of available credit decreases and increases as funds are borrowed and then repaid. The credit may be used repeatedly. The borrower makes payments based only on the amount that is actually used or withdrawn, plus interest. The borrower may repay over time, or in-full.

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S

Salary

The amount of money an employer agrees to pay an employee. 

Savings Account

A secure place to keep your money for future use. Money deposited in a savings account earns interest over time. 

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)

An earned benefit for people with significant disabilities who are no longer able to work. SSDI is funded through payroll taxes, so the amount you receive is based on how long you’ve worked and how much you have paid into the system.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

A federal (unearned) income benefit for adults and children with disabilities, and adults 65+, who have limited income and resources. SSI is funded by general tax dollars and provides a cash benefit that pays for basic living needs.

Surplus

Money left over. If you have $50 and you spend $40, you have a surplus of $10, meaning you have $10 left. A surplus is the opposite of a deficit.

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U

Unearned Income

The money you receive that does not come from a job.

User ID

This is a made-up name you choose to use to identify yourself when you are signing in to an account. It’s best not to share your username with anyone. If you must share your username because you need assistance, be sure you trust that person.

Utilities

Services such as electricity, gas, water and heating oil.

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V

Values

Those ideas and beliefs that really matter to each of us.

Veteran Benefits

These are benefits received by a person who has served in the United States military. 

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W

Wages

This is what you earn when your job pays you by the number of hours you work or for each piece of work you complete. 

Waivers

Programs funded with a combination of Pennsylvania and federal government dollars that provide supports and services to people with disabilities who live in the community. Services include, for example, assistive technology, accessibility adaptations (home modifications), vehicle adaptations, habilitation, personal assistance services, community integration, and transportation. People who live in a nursing home or in another institution cannot receive waiver services. 

Want

Something you might like to have, but you don’t need it to live. 

Withdrawal

Money you take out of your bank or credit union account. A withdrawal is the opposite of a deposit (putting money into an account).

Work Incentives

Work Incentives are programs that the Social Security Administration (SSA) offers to people with disabilities who are receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and/or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) to help make it possible for them to explore work while still receiving health care and cash benefits.

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