Get Your Copy for the FREE Consumer Action Handbook
At one time or another, even the savviest consumer will have a problem with a product or a service.
Luckily the brand new edition of the Consumer Action Handbook is a free survival guide for your money.
It can help you make smart purchases on big stuff like cars or a home. It explains what credit is, how it works, and how you can protect it. It has great tips so you can be a savvy consumer, and protect your hard-earned money.
Have you used our sample complaint letter and gotten money back? Has the Consumer Action Handbook helped you get out of a tricky situation? Share your stories with us on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ using #ThanksCAH
May is National Physical Fitness and Sports Month, when Americans are encouraged to integrate physical fitness and activities into their daily lives and regular routines.
It is recommended that children and teens get an hour of physical activity each day and adults get at least 30 minutes— a feat that’s not always easy in today’s age of video games and online social networking.
Physical activity is increasingly important since one in every three children in the United States is obese. Obesity has also doubled among adults since the early 1970’s.
Integrating activity into your life doesn’t mean you have to go out and train for a marathon, and it doesn’t require a pricey gym membership, so no need to be intimidated!
It can be as simple as committing to taking a walk each night after dinner, or opting to bike to work instead of driving. You can also integrate fitness into your stationery activities. Try leaving a list of quick exercises (like jumping jacks) next to your remote that you can do during commercial breaks of TV shows. Every little bit counts!
By Katie Gorscak, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Earlier this week, StopBullying.gov launched two new videos and an animated GIF that address the issue of labels and how words can do harm. This project is a result of regular engagement and collaboration with one of the main audiences for StopBullying.gov: teens.
Communication professionals pride themselves on coming up with big ideas and big messages. I am one of those people, but I also recognize when I may need a little help connecting with my audience. It’s been a while since I’ve been in a teen’s shoes, much less the fashionable variety worn by the youth of today.
My work with StopBullying.gov has afforded me a great opportunity to regularly work with teens and to gain a better understanding of what they go through on a day-to-day basis. In the past year, I have had the pleasure to work with teens from 4-H, listen to presentations by youth during bullying prevention workshops, and scour the internet in search for which types of messages resonate with teens.
One theme that has come up, time and time again, is that words can do harm and that labels don’t equal the person. We have previously explored this idea on the StopBullying.gov blog, affirming our position to not label children. But there’s more to this idea than just the research.
Every time that I have spoken with youth about bullying, the idea of labels has come up. Teens have expressed that they don’t want to be defined by the color of their skin, their interests, or by perceived stereotypes. This notion of labels being harmful, and how teens regular fight against stereotyping, is something that affect teens from all walks of life.
By regularly working with teens directly, I believe we can better address the issues that affect them every day. And if we can reach one teen and inspire them to rise above bullying, then we are well on our way to inspiring a new generation of teens.
The three main credit agencies charge you a fee to provide you with your credit score. However, your score is based on the information in your credit report, so monitoring your credit report is important to make sure the information is correct.
If you decide to purchase your score, you should know that it might not be the same one lenders use to decide to give you credit.
Location: On the edge of Lake O ‘the Pines, east of Dallas and near the towns of Jefferson and Marshall.
Features: There’s a magnificent lake surrounded by pine trees and the region’s native flora and fauna. The lake is a result of the construction of a dam, but now it’s considered an oasis of outdoor recreation.
Activities: Families can enjoy camping, swimming, hunting, fishing, boat rides, or hiking along trails and exploring nature.
Find Out How to Participate in National Prevention Week
From the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
National Prevention Week 2014 is just days away! This annual health observance, sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), is dedicated to increasing awareness of substance abuse prevention and mental health promotion.
The National Prevention Week theme this year is Our Lives. Our Health. Our Future. From May 18-24, join others across the country to help spread awareness about substance use and mental health, and strengthen the health of your community.
Here’s how you can get involved:
Get in the spirit: watch the National Prevention Week 2014 promotional video. Share the video link and spread the word!
Commit to a healthy lifestyle by taking the Prevention Pledge, and encourage friends and family to do the same. You can also customize your pledge with a personal message about why prevention is important to you.
Add the power of your voice to SAMHSA’s 2014 “I Choose” photo project. Visit www.samhsa.gov/prevention-week to find out how you can inspire others by participating. People of all ages are already submitting their photos, and their “I Choose” messages will inspire you, too.
Post about National Prevention Week on social media to raise awareness about behavioral health issues and the importance of preventing problems before they start.
It’s hard to explain to your kids when a relative or pet dies. It’s harder to find the words if you’re grieving yourself. But here are some tips to help you through a tough time:
Listen, Ask Questions and Be Honest
You know your kids the best. They may ask a lot of questions and it’s okay that you don’t have all the answers. Try to use clear and simple terms. Avoid using words like “went away” or “went to sleep” or even that your family “lost” the person. Young kids think very literally; it may make them afraid to go to sleep or scared when someone goes away.
Be patient and open. Allow your child to work through his or her grief as much as possible. Reassure your child that he or she did nothing wrong or anything to cause the death. Keeping open lines of communication may help prevent grief from being kept inside.
Be sure to make other important adults in your child’s life aware of the death. Teachers, coaches and religious figures can offer additional support.
It may help your child if you plan something special to remember the person or pet who died. You can try to: Create art projects
Write a poem or story
Look at pictures
Plant a tree
Run a race in their honor
Volunteer in memory of the person
Visit the grave or a special place
This may be a painful time for your family. Remember that there’s no right or wrong way to grieve. There is no amount of time that is right or wrong for the grieving process, but hopefully the more time passes, the less sad you will feel. Remembering the person and the good memories you have will help you and your family feel better.
Nearly 25 million Americans suffer from asthma, a chronic respiratory disease with no known cure. Since May is Asthma Awareness Month, here are some tips to make living with asthma more manageable for you and your family members.
Know what triggers asthma. Common household issues like dust mites, molds, second-hand smoke, and pets are all common triggers for asthma attacks. A doctor can help identify which specifically affect you, so you can take proper steps to try and eliminate that source from your living environment.
With your doctor, develop an asthma action plan. It will help you recognize different levels of suffering, what medicines should be taken to help deal with the disease, and how to recognize when an attack requires professional help.
There are lots of free resources available so that you can learn more about asthma, what triggers it, and how you can best control it. Do your research on how you can asthma-proof your home, and schedule a home visit so a professional can assess your home, and identify trigger sources you may have overlooked.
When was your last eye exam? This is a reminder to schedule an appointment with an eye doctor. Routine exams are crucial to keeping your eyes healthy so after you make your appointment, share this reminder with your friends and family too.
Have you ever thought about opening your home to a foster child? This month you can learn about what it takes to become a foster parent and hear real-life stories from other parents who have decided to foster a child:
No. The federal government offers grants and financial assistance in many areas, but will not give you money to buy a car.
There are very few grants available to individuals, sometimes called “personal grants.” Most grants are awarded to universities, researchers, cities, states, counties and non-profit organizations. If you are searching for a grant, get more information on specific grants and funding opportunities in a particular field, Grants.gov put all the information you need in one place.
The best place to find money to help you and your family is Benefits.gov.
When looking for financial assistance, remember that there are differences between grants and loans. You are required to pay back a loan, often with interest. You are not required to pay back a grant.
Answers to Your Most Frequent Questions about Social Security Benefits
During Financial Literacy Month we asked our Facebook, Twitter and Google+ friends what questions they had related to Social Security benefits and retirement. Below are some of the most frequently asked questions we received and the answers that our partner at the Social Security Administration provided.
What is the minimum age to collect Social Security benefits?
As early as 62 years of age for reduced benefits, or unreduced benefits at your full retirement age. Full retirement depends on your year of birth. Learn about the pros and cons of early retirement or delaying retirement.
How can I collect benefits if I have a child with a disability?
If you are the parent of a child who has a physical or mental impairment that causes severe functional limitations, your child could be eligible for Supplemental Security Income. Visit:http://www.socialsecurity.gov/pgm/ssi.htm to learn more and complete a disability report. You can also call 1-800-772-1213 to schedule an appointment with the SSA.
Is my spouse eligible for benefits?
A spouse could receive an amount equal to 50 percent of the amount the beneficiary receives at full retirement age, if the spouse is of full retirement age as well. If this spouse receives a pension from an employer not covered under Social Security, benefits will be reduced. You can find more information on the Government Pension Offset (PDF).
Survivor benefits, how does this work?
If you are a widow, the child or the parent of a deceased worker, you may be eligible for monthly benefits or a Lump-Sum Death Payment.
What are the benefit implications of delaying retirement?
If retirement is delayed, the worker will be eligible for Delayed Retirement Credits. Delayed Retirement Credits from Social Security are an eight percent increase in the benefits for every year, after worker turns Full Retirement Age, and benefits are delayed.
If a beneficiary currently receives Social Security benefits, and he or she is not of full retirement age, up to $15,480.00 in 2014 could be earn in regular or self – employment. Social Security will deduct $1 from the benefits for each $2 earned above that limit.
If you reach full retirement age this year, the beneficiary can earn $41,400 in the months before the month full retirement age is attained. If he or she earns above the limit, Social Security will deduct $1 from these benefits for every $3 earned above the limit.
How do I apply for Medicare?
A worker is eligible for Medicare at 65 years old. Younger workers would be eligible if receiving disability benefits (there is a 24 months waiting period). More information is available at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/pgm/medicare.htm
Medicare does not pay for all the costs of medical expenses. Some beneficiaries choose to enroll in Medicare supplemental insurance. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services offers more information about Medigap policies (supplemental insurance).
What if I collect other benefits from the federal government?
Social Security benefits are not affected by a Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS) pension. However, a pension from The Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) will reduce Social Security benefits if you apply for benefits on your Spouse’s Social Security record. More information on the Government Pension Offset is available on the Social Security Administration’s website.
My benefits seem to low, how can I have my benefits reviewed?
It is possible to be eligible for additional benefits if the beneficiary does not have any other income and has limited resources. Social Security has a toll free number 1-800-772-1213 where a representative can be requested to review a record.
I currently live outside of the United States, can I still collect benefits?
If a beneficiary has worked in the United States but now lives abroad it may be possible to collect benefits. More information on payments while overseas is on the Social Security Administration’s website. A beneficiary can also contact the U.S. embassy in the country where they reside.
More questions or concerns regarding your benefits?
Contact the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213 and speak to a representative who can review your record or who could further help answer your questions.