Providing accurate and timely information about what matters in Franklin, MA since 2007. * Working in collaboration with Franklin TV and Radio (wfpr.fm) since October 2019 *
Friday, March 17, 2023
Slam the Scam: Keep Your Personal Information
Saturday, February 18, 2023
Social Security’s Plain Language Is “An Excellent Model to Follow”
"I know how important it is that we communicate information to you—and everyone—in a clear and concise way. Our programs and policies can sometimes be complex and difficult. This is why we strive to use plain language that is easy to read, understand, and use.I am proud to say that we achieved the highest score of any agency in government on the Center for Plain Language’s 2022 Federal Plain Language Report Card.The Center evaluated 21 Executive Branch agencies, including all 15 cabinet-level departments, and graded each between an A+ and F- for writing quality and organizational compliance.Social Security received an A+ for organizational compliance and an A for writing quality. This is an improvement over last year’s high scores of A+ and B."
|Social Security’s Plain Language Is “An Excellent Model to Follow”|
Monday, October 10, 2022
New York Times: "Retirees are expected to get the biggest Social Security cost-of-living increase in decades"
"Social Security will soon announce the largest inflation adjustment to benefits in four decades — a welcome development for millions of older Americans struggling to keep up with fast-rising living costs.The cost-of-living adjustment for 2023 is likely to be around 8.7 percent, based on the latest government inflation figures. The final COLA, as the adjustment is known, will be released Thursday, when the federal government announces inflation figures for September. Medicare enrollees can anticipate some additional good news: The standard Part B premium, which is typically deducted from Social Security benefits, will decline next year.The COLA, one of Social Security’s most valuable features, will give a significant boost to more than 70 million Americans next year. While retirement comes to mind when most people think about Social Security, the program plays a much broader role in providing economic security."
|New York Times: "Retirees are expected to get the biggest Social Security cost-of-living increase in decades"|
Friday, August 26, 2022
Expand Your Social Security Knowledge With These Four Terms
"We strive to explain your benefits using easy-to-understand, plain language. The Plain Writing Act of 2010 requires federal agencies to communicate information clearly in a way “the public can understand and use.” This can be particularly challenging when talking about complicated programs like Social Security, Supplemental Security Income, and Medicare.Take a moment to learn a few common Social Security terms and acronyms!
COLA, credits, earnings record, FICA
Continue reading the article -> https://blog.ssa.gov/expand-your-social-security-knowledge-with-these-four-terms/
|Expand Your Social Security Knowledge With These Four Terms|
Sunday, July 24, 2022
Social Security Celebrates the Americans with Disabilities Act
Thursday, June 16, 2022
World Elder Abuse Awareness Day: Advancing Equity
"World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) serves as a reminder about the factors surrounding abuse and neglect of older persons. The pandemic highlighted the disproportionate impact of tragedy on underserved communities, including seniors, who faced high rates of elder abuse, fraud, and nursing homes deaths."
|World Elder Abuse Awareness Day: Advancing Equity|
Friday, June 3, 2022
"Total cost began to be higher than total income in 2021"
The Social Security Board of Trustees today released its annual report on the financial status of the Social Security Trust Funds. The combined asset reserves of the Old-Age and Survivors Insurance and Disability Insurance (OASI and DI) Trust Funds are projected to become depleted in 2035, one year later than projected last year, with 80 percent of benefits payable at that time.
Social Security 2022 Trustees Report
The OASI Trust Fund is projected to become depleted in 2034, one year later than last year’s estimate, with 77 percent of benefits payable at that time. The DI Trust Fund asset reserves are not projected to become depleted during the 75-year projection period.
In the 2022 Annual Report to Congress, the Trustees announced:
- The asset reserves of the combined OASI and DI Trust Funds declined by $56 billion in 2021 to a total of $2.852 trillion.
- The total annual cost of the program is projected to exceed total annual income in 2022 and remain higher throughout the 75-year projection period. Total cost began to be higher than total income in 2021. Social Security’s cost has exceeded its non-interest income since 2010.
- The year when the combined trust fund reserves are projected to become depleted, if Congress does not act before then, is 2035 – one year later than last year’s projection. At that time, there would be sufficient income coming in to pay 80 percent of scheduled benefits.
“It is important to strengthen Social Security for future generations. The Trustees recommend that lawmakers address the projected trust fund shortfalls in a timely way in order to phase in necessary changes gradually,” said Kilolo Kijakazi, Acting Commissioner of Social Security. “Social Security will continue to be a vital part of the lives of 66 million beneficiaries and 182 million workers and their families during 2022.”
Saturday, March 19, 2022
Use These Scam Tools to Spot Fraud
- Check out our Fraud Prevention and Reporting page to learn about Social Security fraud – and how we fight scammers -> https://www.ssa.gov/fraud/
- Read our Scam Alert factsheet to learn what tactics scammers use and how to protect yourself -> https://www.ssa.gov/fraud/assets/materials/EN-05-10597.pdf
Friday, March 11, 2022
Slam the Scam: How to Spot Government Imposters
"Do you know how to spot a government imposter scam?
That’s the question we’re asking as part of our annual Slam the Scam Day on Thursday, March 10, 2022. Scammers continue to evolve and find new ways to steal your money and personal information. On Slam the Scam Day and throughout the year, we raise awareness about Social Security-related scams and other government imposter scams. We want you to know how you and your loved ones can avoid becoming victims!
There are common elements to many of these scams. Scammers often exploit fears, threatening you with arrest or legal action. Scammers also pose as Social Security or other government employees and claim there’s a problem with your Social Security number (SSN) or your benefits. They may even claim your SSN is linked to a crime."
Friday, February 25, 2022
SSA: 6 Ways to Make Saving for Retirement Easier
I heartily endorse starting small as one of the steps to save for your future retirement. The Social Security Administration provides additional tips in this article. I am fortunate to be in a good retirement position now having saved early on and then gradually increased my savings along the way.
"It’s America Saves Week! That means it’s a great time to see how you’re doing with your savings goals. Most working Americans know they need to save for retirement. Sometimes though, because retirement is far off in the future, we may delay saving. When everyday expenses routinely pop up, saving for a time that is years away in the future can seem less urgent.
We’re working with Social Security to help you consider what your retirement will look like. The following strategies can make it easier for you to save for retirement:
Start Small. Saving something is better than saving nothing – especially with compound interest. Just $5 per day could yield a return of $1 million in 48 years with the right investments. Consider saving as early as possible. Start with 1% and increase how much you save each year."
|6 Ways to Make Saving for Retirement Easier|
Saturday, January 29, 2022
Social Security’s Top 5 Data Privacy Resources
From the Social Security Administration:
"Are you looking for better ways to stay safe online? As you know, Security is in our name. We are committed to protecting your personal information and take this responsibility seriously. We keep this commitment in mind when we collect information from you to carry out our mission.
As we celebrate Data Privacy Week, we are sharing our top five privacy resources:"
|Social Security’s Top 5 Data Privacy Resources|
Saturday, January 15, 2022
Military Service and Increased Social Security Benefits
"A misleading letter, from an unknown source, is circulating online that mentions a $1,200 special Social Security earnings credit for people who served in the military. We want to make sure veterans with active and inactive service have the appropriate information that they need and do not take unnecessary action.
Under certain circumstances, special earnings can be credited to your military pay record for Social Security purposes. Since 1957, if you have earnings for active-duty military service or active-duty training, your military service earnings have been covered under Social Security. Since 1988, inactive duty service in the armed forces reserves (such as weekend drills) is also covered by Social Security. If you served in the military before 1957 and did not pay Social Security taxes, we have added special credit to your earnings record for some of your service. These extra earnings may help you qualify for Social Security benefits or increase the amount of your benefit.
You can read more in our Military Service and Social Security fact sheet. We take your benefits seriously because we know you depend on them. Thank you for your service!"
Via Social Security Matters: https://blog.ssa.gov/military-service-and-increased-social-security-benefits/
|Military Service and Increased Social Security Benefits|
Thursday, December 2, 2021
Protect Yourself from Social Security-related Scams
Friday, June 18, 2021
People with ALS Can Get Social Security Disability Benefits Sooner
The ALS Disability Insurance Access Act of 2019 eliminates the required five-month SSDI waiting period for ALS applicants approved for benefits on or after July 23, 2020. The new law, however, does not affect our disability application or determination process.
This past month, we made the ALS claims processing even faster. Our system now automatically eliminates the five-month waiting period for ALS disability insurance claims. Previously, we had to prepare manual awards and send them to our Processing Centers for action—which took much more time. Now, we can help people with this debilitating disease in just a matter of days.
To give a real life example, a claimant with ALS recently submitted to us an online disability application. Using an electronic health exchange, we were able to collect sufficient medical evidence for the claimant and processed the claim in just two days. To learn more about how this process works, please visit our Disability Benefits Approval page (https://www.ssa.gov/benefits/disability/approval.html) .
Friday, June 4, 2021
World Elder Abuse Awareness Day: What We Have Learned
"World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) on June 15 raises awareness of the cultural, social, economic, and demographic processes affecting elder abuse and neglect. This is more important than ever as cases of elder abuse have increased significantly during the pandemic. Abuser tactics—isolation, manipulation, and systemic barriers (such as ageism and racism)—put older adults at greater risk for harm.
One common tactic scammers use is to pose as Social Security employees. They may claim the older person’s Social Security number is linked to a crime. Feeling isolated and frightened, the scammers get the older person to provide them money or vital personal information that they then can use to exploit them financially. Social Security offers guidance and reporting assistance to help prevent this form of elder abuse. If you or someone you know is a target of one of these scams, we encourage you to report it on the Social Security’s Office of the Inspector General website."
|World Elder Abuse Awareness Day: What We Have Learned|
Continue reading the article online
Wednesday, May 5, 2021
Social Security Matters: "What to Do If You’re Missing Economic Impact Payments"
"The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued the third round of Economic Impact Payments (EIP) in April. Most Social Security beneficiaries and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients should have received their EIPs by now. If you, your eligible spouse, or eligible dependent did not receive their EIP – or full amount of the EIP – for this round or any previous round of EIPs, please read this carefully. We have information to share from the IRS to help you get that money.
To get any missing first or second EIPs, you’ll need to file a 2020 tax return with the IRS and claim the 2020 Recovery Rebate Credit (RRC) as soon as possible. You would need to file the 2020 tax return even if you have no income to report for 2020. When your tax return is processed, the IRS will pay the RRC as a tax refund. The IRS will send you any additional third EIP amount you are eligible for in 2021 separately.
If you already filed your 2020 tax return, you don’t need to do anything else. You can visit our Economic Impact Payments and Tax Credits page to learn more. Please share this with your family and friends—and post it on social media to help us spread the word."
|Social Security Matters: "What to Do If You’re Missing Economic Impact Payments"|
Saturday, April 3, 2021
Social Security Admin: New Fact Sheets Added to Your Online Statement
Thursday, February 11, 2021
Inspector General Announces 2nd National “Slam the Scam” Day
"The Inspector General for the Social Security Administration (SSA), Gail S. Ennis, is designating Thursday, March 4, 2021 as the second annual National “Slam the Scam” Day, to raise public awareness of government imposter telephone scams, which continue to spread across the United States. This is part of National Consumer Protection Week, February 28 – March 6.
Last year, we received over 718,000 reports of Social Security-related telephone scams—with a total of $44.8 million reported lost. Victims who lost money reported an average loss of $5,800. On National “Slam the Scam” Day, we will work to spread the word far and wide about these scams—and encourage people to warn their friends and family to just Hang Up!"
|Inspector General Announces 2nd National “Slam the Scam” Day|
Monday, February 1, 2021
5 Ways SSA.gov Saves You Time
"Our online tools and services save you time and make your life easier. Often, there’s no need to contact us. Here are five of our webpages that can make your life easier:1. With your own personal my Social Security account, you can request a replacement Social Security card, verify your earnings, get future benefit estimates, obtain benefit verification letters."
Friday, December 18, 2020
Consumer Alerts: Santa doesn’t need your Social Security number