The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and over 6,000 partners are teaming up to recognize tomorrow, March 8th, as “What’s on My Plate?” Day. The national campaign highlights the importance of people choosing nutritious foods for healthy, well-balanced meals. As part of National Nutrition Month, the USDA is hoping to create a national buzz about making healthy food choices, and promoting the resources available to the public.
ChooseMyPlate.gov offers tips of the day, how to eat healthy on a budget, dietary guidelines and lots of sample menus and recipes for healthy eating. These free resources encourage you to build a healthier plate and give you the knowledge you need to make healthier decisions.
On Thursday, you can tweet a picture of your healthy plate using the hashtag #MyPlate, or post a photo on USDA’s Flickr page. The USDA will then highlight some of the pictures on its blog.
A permanent resident is someone who has been granted authorization to live and work in the United States on a permanent basis. As proof of that status, a person is granted a permanent resident card, commonly called a “green card.”
You can become a permanent resident several different ways, such as being sponsored by a family member or employer in the United States. The steps to getting a green card vary depending on which category you fall under.
What is the Burden of Proof for Deceptive Business Practices?
On Twitter, @erconger asked us, “What is burden of proof of deceptive business practice?”
Before a company runs an ad, it has to have a solid proof to back up all claims - express and implied - that consumers take from the ad. If the claim is about health, safety or benefits of the product, companies need “competent and reliable scientific evidence.”
Companies Must Have Permission to Charge Your Account
On Twitter, @sneech416 asked us, “For “mail order” merch, are “auto-ship” rules being changed, i.e.,do sellers have to make more clear the rules?”
The Federal Trade Commission says it’s the law - and it’s always been the law - that companies can’t charge people for stuff without their express permission. The FTC has brought dozens of cases against companies that signed people up for negative option plans illegally.
The Restore Online Shoppers Confidence Act puts new protections in place. The bottom line for internet or mail order companies: Don’t bill or debit people’s accounts without their express permission. Silence does not mean consent. And don’t bury terms and conditions in fine print or hard-to-find hyperlinks.
we got a bill from yponline that said we owed $599.95. we never ordered this or got it,how do I get them to stop harassing us, the address was wrong for us& lot of other errors. please address this on Tuesday
You should first contact the company directly to ask them to stop sending you bills. You can find a sample complaint letter at http://go.usa.gov/P17.
If this does not work, you should file a complaint with your state consumer protection office or the attorney general office. Find your state’s consumer protection at http://1.usa.gov/q8U4Jl.
How do people with a millions or billions of dollars protect their assets? It can't be stored in a bank because their limit is 250K by FDIC. And there is simply not enough banks to hold your money because you will accumulate interest. Do the US treasury have bonds or stock that your money can be placed in?
The FDIC protects depositors of insured banks located in the United States against the loss of their deposits if an insured bank fails. The standard deposit insurance amount is $250,000 per depositor, per insured bank, for each account ownership category. The FDIC does not insure U.S. Treasury bills, bonds or notes, but these investments are backed by the full faith and credit of the United States government.
People may also chose to invest their money in other opportunities such as stocks, bonds, mutual funds, life insurance policies, annuities or municipal securities, however, these are not insured by the FDIC.
On Twitter, @VJillAnnie asked us, “Could the Bureau of Consumer Protection assist w/ Transparency Strategies to Reduce Land Use Consumption 4 land owners?”
The Federal Trade Commission says land use is usually a matter for local groups. Clearly people are looking for accurate information about making choices that are good for the environment.
When companies make “green” claims, they need to back them up with solid science. The FTC is revising its Green Guides to help companies comply with the law and make sure you have access to accurate information. Find the latest at ftc.gov/green.
Your school closed before you could complete your program.
For FFEL℠ and Direct Stafford Loans only: Your school owes your lender a refund, forged your signature on a promissory note, or certified your loan even though you didn’t have the ability to benefit from the coursework.
You work in certain designated public school service professions (including teaching in a low-income school).
You file for bankruptcy. (This cancellation is rare and occurs only if a bankruptcy court rules that repayment would cause undue hardship.)
If you are unable to work and earn money because of an injury or illness that is expected to continue indefinitely or result in death, you may apply for a Total and Permanent Disability (TPD) discharge of your FFEL Loans, Federal Perkins Loans, Federal Direct Loans, or TEACH Grant service obligation. Disabilitydischarge.com has more information on qualifying and to apply for a TPD discharge.
What is the Law that governs the operation of credit reporting agencies?
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is a federal law that was enacted in 1970 to regulate the dissemination and use of consumer information, including credit information.
The FCRA requires consumer reporting agencies to maintain correct and complete files. It also requires the agencies to provide you with a free copy of your credit report every year. Annualcreditreport.com is the ONLY website authorized to get free credit reports.
Banks with National in the name or N.A. after the name, federal savings and loans, and federal saving banks are regulated by the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.
Citizens cannot recall a U.S. Senator or Representative because the ability to remove a member of Congress was not written into the Constitution. The Constitution describes the term length and the courts have said that no action by a state or citizen can override it.
However, there is one way for a U.S. Senator or Representative to be terminated before the end of the normal term. Other members of the House or Senate, whichever body the member of Congress belongs to, can remove a fellow member by a two-thirds vote. This process is called “expulsion” and it’s outlined in the Constitution.
THOMAS.gov, a service of the Library of Congress, shows all laws passed by the current Congress and lets you search for bills in the House and Senate. You can also see the top five bills of the week or current activity in Congress.
Do you need help paying for college? If you do, it’s time to apply for financial aid. Almost all two- and four-year colleges, universities and career schools use the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form to award federal student aid, and most state and college financial aid.
Federal student aid covers expenses such as tuition, fees, room and board, books, supplies and transportation. Aid also can help pay for a computer and for dependent care.
There are three categories of federal student aid:
Grants: Funds that don’t have to be repaid
Work-study: A part-time work program to earn money while you’re in school
Loans: Funds that must be repaid with interest
It’s a good idea to apply for federal aid before other sources, because federal loans usually offer lower interest rates, and have more flexible repayment options than loans from banks or other private sources. Your school’s financial aid office is the best place to learn about the full range of financial aid available to you.
I have an incredible amount of APR for my credit. 29%+ from CapitalOne. It used to be quite low, and I was able to pay for it diligently, then I was out of work for 1 Month, forgot to pay some bills and the interest went up to 29%. I am paying for it now for about 2 years now, but I was wondering if there's a consumer law that can help me lower it to a single-digit percentage, or at least less than 15%?
There is no federal law that limits the interest rate that a credit card issuer can charge. The law of the state where the credit card issuer has its headquarters generally determines the maximum interest rate the card issuer can charge.
However, if you are a servicemember serving on active duty, you may have unique protections under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA). Find out how you can protect your finances by visiting the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau website.
Answer provided by Dave DuBois, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Office of Servicemember Affairs.
Work discrimination is not only wrong, it’s illegal.
The U.S. government has laws that prohibit work discrimination based on age, disability, place of origin, race, religion and sex, as well as pregnancy and other things. These laws protect both employees and applicants.
In 2011, the agency received a record of almost 100,000 work discrimination claims, and obtained more than $455 million in compensation for both employees and job applicants. The information below will give you a general idea of how the process of filing a claim works.
In most cases you must file your discrimination claim no later than 180 days after the date of the incident. However, the deadline can be extended up to 300 days depending on the type of discrimination that occurred and also on state and local employment discrimination laws.
Call your local EEOC office to find out on how they handle appointments and walk-ins. If you’re filing by mail, you will need the following information:
Your name, address and telephone number as well as those of the employer.
The number of employees that work for the company (if known).
A description of why you think you were discriminated against and the type of discrimination you were subjected to.
The date of the offense.
What Happens during Investigation
The EEOC will evaluate your complaint and contact the employer within 10 days to request more information about the incident. They might ask both parties to participate in the agency’s mediation program (see below).
If an investigation is open, representatives from the agency might visit the employer to obtain documents and gather more information. They might also interview witnesses by phone or ask for documents by mail.
Investigations can take several months depending on where the complaint was filed and whether the parties involved try to resolve their issues through mediation.
How Mediation Works
Mediation is an alternative and effective way to resolve work discrimination disputes. With the help of a neutral mediator, both parties will try to resolve their differences without determining who is right and who is wrong.
A few things you should know about mediation:
It’s voluntary and can only take place if both parties agree to do it.
Can help speed up a resolution to the case.
Can help avoid long investigations and lawsuits.
It’s free and confidential.
You can check the status of your work discrimination case by calling (800) 669-4000.
If you e-file your taxes and select the direct deposit option, you may receive your refund in as few as 10 days. Generally, the IRS issues most refunds in 21 days or less. If corrections or reviews are required, it may delay the process.
You can check the status of your tax refund on the IRS website 72 hours after e-filing or 4 weeks after submitting a paper return. You’ll need to know your Social Security number, filing status, and exact refund amount.
Participate in the National Consumer Protection Week Live Q&A
We will host a National Consumer Protection Week question and answer session on Tuesday, March 6 at 2pm EST.
Experts from USA.gov and the Federal Trade Commission will be on hand to answer your consumer-related questions and and provide government resources that can help. So whether you have questions about how to file a complaint with a company or how to learn about the latest scams, now is your chance to get answers.
You can submit your questions in advance on our Facebook page or on Twitter using the hashtag #NCPW. You can also submit questions during the live chat from 2 to 3pm EST on Tuesday, when experts will be available to answer them live.
National Consumer Protection Week runs from March 4-10 and encourages you to take full advantage of your consumer rights and make well-informed decisions in the marketplace.
i need my IRS numbers showing info for last year, I have moved, and can furnish correct identifying myself.
You can request a tax return transcript to see most line items on your tax return as you originally filed it. If you made a change to the tax return after it was filed, you’ll need to request a tax account transcript instead.
It’s free to order a transcript and you can request them for the current and past three years. After requesting one, it normally takes ten to thirty business days to receive it. Order a tax transcript.
Tomorrow is February 29 instead of March 1 because this year is a leap year. But why do we have a leap year every four years?
Years and days are measured differently, and they don’t quite add up.
A year is the time for the earth to complete its annual orbit around the sun.
A day is the time required for the earth to make one complete revolution on its axis (24 hours).
Going by those measures, there are almost 365 and a quarter days in a year. That’s an extra quarter of a day a year. And every four years, we have an extra day on our hands.
To make up for those extra four quarters, every year exactly divisible by 4 is a leap year: a year with 366 days instead of the usual 365. That extra day is always February 29, and 2012 is just such a year.
However… We had said there are almost 365 and a quarter days in a year. There are actually 365.2422 days in a solar year, which equates to 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes and 46 seconds.
That’s only 11 minutes and 14 seconds less than 365 and a quarter days, but after 125 years, it would mean we’ve added a whole extra day too many.
Thanks to that gap of 11 minutes, years that end in ‘00’ that are not exactly divisible by 400 are not leap years. Therefore, 2000 was a leap year, but 1900, 1800, and 1700 weren’t. 2100 won’t be a leap year either. So, if you have anything due March 1, 2100, don’t procrastinate thinking that you’ll have February 29th, 2100 to take care of it, because you won’t.
When you order your credit report, you need to provide your name, address, Social Security number, and date of birth. To verify your identity, you may be asked to provide additional information that only you would know.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act requires that each of the three nationwide consumer credit reporting companies, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion, make your credit report available for free, once every year.
When requesting your report on annualcreditreport.com, you may be offered additional products or services, but you are not required to make a purchase in order to receive your credit report. Don’t fall for imposter websites that offer a “free” report when you purchase a membership or only if you buy other products.
Last year, nearly 100 million taxpayers e-filed their federal income taxes with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). It’s the safest, fastest, and easiest way to submit your tax return.
If you e-file, you can expect to get your refund in half the time. If you owe money, you have more payment options.
There are four ways to e-file your federal income taxes:
Free File - if your income was $57,000 or less, you can use Free File for free tax preparation and e-filing.
Free File Fillable Forms - regardless of income, you can use online Fillable Forms. Fillable Forms are an electronic version of the IRS paper forms. This is a good option if you are comfortable preparing your own tax return, but want the advantages of fast, secure, and free e-filing.
Commercial Tax Software - you can buy your own tax preparation software, prepare your own return, and press send to e-file.
Tax Preparer - Find a tax professional you trust to prepare and e-file your return. Nearly all tax preparers use e-file now and many are now required by law to e-file.
Can a person get a list of his / her employers for a life time ?
The Social Security Administration can provide a detailed or certified report of your employment history, including periods of employment or self-employment and the names and addresses of employers, for a fee.
Image description: The Grand Canyon stretches for 277 miles and covers more than 1 million acres of land in Arizona.
Sunday marks the 93rd anniversary of the establishment of the Grand Canyon National Park. On February 26, 1919, Congress officially passed the act establishing the park in Arizona.
Known as one of the world’s greatest natural wonders, the Grand Canyon is 277 miles and is cut down the middle by the Colorado River. The national park covers more than 1 million acres of land in northern Arizona.
Senator Benjamin Harrison was the first to create a bill protecting the Grand Canyon, and pushed for it multiple times. As President, Harrison established the Grand Canyon Forest Reserve in 1893. Senate bills to make it a national park were shot down twice, until finally, in 1919, the Grand Canyon National Park Act was signed by President Woodrow Wilson.
On Facebook, Laura asked, “what is causing the rise in fuel prices in the USA and who benefits from this increase?”
Fuel prices in the United States are rising because of the increasing cost of crude oil. Crude oil is the natural form of oil as it is found in the ground, before it has been refined into gasoline. As of January 2012, the price of crude oil made up 76% of the cost of regular gasoline. In January, the national average retail price of gas was $3.38 per gallon. This means $2.57 per gallon paid for crude oil. Find out what makes up the rest of the price.
There are a few reasons why the price of crude oil is rising. There’s more demand from countries that haven’t used very much oil in the past, such as China. Also, instability in the Middle East means recent output from countries like Libya and Iran has been unpredictable or low. The Middle East produces a lot of the world’s oil and less oil means higher prices.
Currently, the United States’ demand for oil is down and production of oil is up. These factors would normally make prices go down. However, demand for oil in emerging markets like China is so high that it overcomes these market forces.
The countries and corporations that sell crude oil benefit when the price is high. In 2010, about 49% of the oil used by the U.S. was imported from foreign countries. Learn more about dependence on foreign oil.
I can not find a city approved source for recycling old TV's - I know there are hazardous materials in them in the tube types- but what is valuable inside the guts of a television case?
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the best option for recycling old electronics is to donate them. However, since the switch to digital broadcasting, many charitable organizations have stopped accepting analog televisions. Be sure to check with an organization before you drop off an old TV.
If you want to dispose of the TV, try these options:
The EPA has a list of recycling programs offered by some television manufacturers and retailers.
Old televisions contain valuable lead, copper, steel, and aluminum that can be recovered through recycling. Recycling TVs helps to conserve natural resources and energy, reduce landfill use, and reduce pollution resulting from the extraction and processing of raw materials from the earth.