By: Diana Varela, Public Affairs Specialist, Social Security Administration
We are excited to announce that August 17 -23, 2014 will mark our First National my Social Security Week!. Whether retirement seems like it is just around the corner or years away, it is good to know that Social Security is working for you now—even if you are not receiving benefits yet. How? By providing you with the information you need to plan ahead for the retirement you want.
One of the best tools for planning a secure retirement is waiting for you at www.socialsecurity.gov: a my Social Security account. When you create your personal my Social Security online account, you will be able to get your online Social Security Statement, review your lifetime earnings history (and catch any errors while it is easier to fix them), see estimates of your future benefits, and more—important information that can help you plan and save for greater peace of mind.
Opening a my Social Security account online is quick, safe, free, and easy. It takes only minutes. Go to the Social Security website at www.socialsecurity.gov and click on my Social Security. Then follow the instructions for creating your secure, online account. You must be at least 18 years of age and have:
A valid e-mail address,
A Social Security number, and
A U.S. mailing address.
You will also need to provide some personal information and answer some questions only you are likely to know. This process protects you and keeps your information private. There are extra security features, too. You can have unique text message codes sent to your cell phone each time you want to sign in. There is even an address bar at the top of your screen indicating the website has an extended validation certificate. This means the information you provide to Social Security will be encrypted and that the website has been verified by a certification authority.
Once you see your estimated retirement benefits, you can really start to plan, invest, and save with more confidence. You can even explore when you might retire.
While Social Security will be here to provide you with a secure foundation in the future, it was never intended to be your sole source of retirement income. You may want to put aside more for a comfortable retirement.
And once you do retire, or start receiving benefits for any reason, your my Social Security account is the best place to manage those benefits. You can use your account to get an instant benefit verification letter, change your address and phone number on Social Security’s records, and start or change direct deposit of your benefit payment.
More than 11 million people have opened a safe and secure my Social Security account. Join them—take control of your future retirement security by signing up for a my Social Security account. Learn more and create yours today at www.socialsecurity.gov.
It is never too early—or too late—to plan for retirement.
Going to a farmers market is a great way to make sure you are eating fresh, healthy foods and reducing your carbon footprint by buying locally. They also allow farmers to establish relationships with their customers and create a sense of loyalty.
The USDA maintains a National Farmers Market Directory where you can locate a farmers market near you, find out what products are available there, and the types of payment they accept.
Flash floods occur in all 50 states, including Alaska and Hawaii. And unfortunately, many homeowners do not find out until it’s too late that their policies do not cover flooding. Because of this, it’s important to take proper precautions to protect yourself, family, and home should flooding occur.
Almost half of flash flood fatalities occur in vehicles. It doesn’t take much water (about 2 feet) to wash cars and SUVs off the road. When you approach a flooded road, TURN AROUND.
Flash floods are increasingly likely around streams. When hunting, boating, fishing or camping be aware of your proximity to the water. During a storm a 6-inch deep creek can become a 10-foot deep river in less than an hour. Immediately head to higher ground when the weather shows signs of a storm.
High risk locations include: low water crossings, recent burn areas, and urban areas (where pavement collects run off). Be aware of your surroundings, and their risk.
Listen to NOAA radio, or check their website for warnings and advisories for flooding. Use their AHPS map to see where flooded spots are, and avoid traveling in those places.
Develop a family evacuation plan, so everyone knows where they should go should your home be in danger of flooding. Determine a meeting spot and communication system to be used if not all family members are together.
If you plan to move, planning ahead can save you time and money.
Things like packing and finding a reliable moving company are just some of the ways you can avoid problems. And, depending on your situation, you may be able to deduct moving expenses from your federal tax return.
When you’re ready to move, make sure to keep these tips in mind:
Instead of packing what you don’t use anymore, sell anything you don’t need. You can also donate clothes or household items that are in good condition to charity.
Use recycled packing boxes. Look for unused boxes at local stores or supermarkets. Save the boxes if you have a moving date ahead.
Write on the box what it contains, for example: kitchen utensils, bathroom towels, tools, cosmetics, etc. This will make it easier to unpack in your new home.
Use newspaper to wrap any fragile or delicate items.
Choosing a moving company
Request written quotes from various moving companies so that you can compare rates and services.
Make sure to pick a moving company that has a number with the U.S. Department of Transportation, known as U.S. DOT #, and check if the mover is properly registered.
TSA is looking for ideas to redesign its security queues in airports to better accommodate TSA Pre-check flyers. TSA Pre-check is an expedited screening program that allows low-risk travelers to experience a faster, more efficient security screening. They need the new design to include, but not be limited to the following lanes:
Premier Passengers (first class, business class, frequent flyers)
Employees & flight crews
PWD (wheelchair access)
The deadline for entry is August, 15th. For details and requirements, see the challenge overview.
The recommended immunization schedules list the age or age range when each vaccine or series of shots is recommended. If your preteen or teen (age 7 through 18 years old) has missed any shots, consult the catch-up scheduler AND check with the doctor about getting back on track.
Help Us Tweet (and Facebook) to Beat Heatstroke on July 31
By National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Acting Administrator David Friedman
Summer is supposed to be a time of fun and freedom for children. But, too often during the summer months, a child left alone in a vehicle dies due to heatstroke. Already this year 18 children died due to heatstroke, in addition to the 44 children we lost in 2013.
To help parents and caregivers protect children, NHTSA launched the “Where’s Baby? Look Before You Lock” public education campaign. The campaign’s web page – safecar.gov/heatstroke – seeks to arm parents, caregivers, and bystanders with the information they need to protect our kids.
This year, we’re also again asking everyone on Twitter and Facebook to help spread our lifesaving message as part of Heatstroke Awareness Day on July 31.
To prevent heatstroke, parents need to understand that vehicles heat up quickly—even with a window rolled down two inches. If the outside temperature is in the low 80s degrees Fahrenheit, the temperature inside a vehicle can reach deadly levels in only 10 minutes.
Heatstroke is a serious risk even with temperatures in the 60s or 70s and cracking a window does not help. When a child’s temperature reaches 107 degrees that child dies.
The threat of heatstroke is real, which is why NHTSA offers helpful tips on how to help keep children safe at safercar.gov/heatstroke. We hope that you’ll help share this advice on Facebook and on Twitter on July 31.
Along with our partners, Safe Kids and the Administration for Children and Families, we’ll be tweeting and posting every 30 minutes from 8 AM to 4 PM. Our Twitter account - @NHTSAgov – will be using the hashtags #checkforbaby and #heatstrokekills on all of our social media posts, and we’d like you to do the same.
Our commitment to preventing heatstroke extends all the way up to the Secretary’s Office at the U.S. Department of Transportation and throughout the federal government.
But the most powerful message sent at our heatstroke event came from Reginald McKinnon, who lost his 2-year old daughter when he accidentally left her in his vehicle four years ago. His story is a heart wrenching reminder that this tragedy can happen to anyone. Reggie has shown great courage by choosing to dedicate his time to helping parents avoid a similar tragedy.
Every single death from leaving children in hot cars is 100 percent avoidable, and even one heatstroke death is too many. To learn more about how you can help keep children safe visit safercar.gov/heatstroke. And please join with us on Facebook and Twitter on July 31 to help spread the word that heatstroke kills.
It is always important to protect yourself and your personal information when you’re online. But it’s especially important for your kids - particularly in the summer, when it’s easy to get “bored” and spend more time on the internet.