Many people like to buy U.S. Savings Bonds as gifts for loved ones. However, you can no longer buy Savings Bonds on paper from your bank. As a cost saving measure, these bonds must now be both purchased and given electronically. During the process, you get the chance to print out a certificate to physically give the recipient.
This video presentation walks you through the details of buying U.S. Savings Bonds as a gift. Below are some of the basics about the process.
You must create an account with the website TreasuryDirect. TreasuryDirect was created by the U.S. Treasury as a place to buy and redeem U.S. securities. To create this account, you will need to have on hand:
Your Tax ID Number (SSN or EIN)
Your e-mail address
Your bank account and routing numbers
You will need some information about the recipient of the gift:
His or her full name
His or her Tax Identification Number (SSN or EIN)
In order to receive your gift, the recipient will need to have their own TreasuryDirect account. If the recipient is under 18, a parent will need to create a Minor account for the child.
Once your recipient has an account, ask for their account number. You will use this number in TreasuryDirect to send the gift to his or her account.
Find Help and Hope for Victims of Intimate Partner Violence
Intimate partner violence or abuse, often referred to as domestic violence, can be any physical, emotional, sexual or psychological action that one person uses to gain power or control over another.
Anyone, anywhere, regardless of age, race or gender, can be affected by intimate partner violence, and it is important to know the resources available to get help if or when you might need it.
That’s why October is recognized as Domestic Violence Awareness Month. One in three women will experience intimate partner or domestic violence in their lifetime. Young people ages 16-24 are most likely to experience intimate partner violence.
Though it can be difficult to come forward when someone you care about is hurting you or a loved one, having the right resources available can help and provide hope.
If you or someone you know needs immediate help, you can call the toll-free hotline anytime at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office on Women’s Health offers additional free resources to anyone facing intimate partner violence. You’ll find help hotlines where you can speak to a counselor 24/7, steps to take to get to safety if you’ve been a victim of assault, information on date rape drugs and much more.
Recognizing the Importance of Mental Health to our Overall Health
By Colleen Labbe, Senior Science Writer/Editor and Press Officer at the National Institutes of Health
Since 1990, the first full week of October has been designated National Mental Illness Awareness Week. This year, National Mental Illness Awareness Week takes place from October 7-13. It reminds us all that our mental health is vitally important to our overall health.
The goal of the National Institute of Mental Health, part of the National Institutes of Health, is to transform the understanding and treatment of mental illnesses through basic and clinical research, paving the way for prevention, recovery, and cure.
Mammograms Help With Breast Cancer Early Detection
October is recognized as Breast Cancer Awareness Month. In honor of the month, the FDA’s Office of Women’s Health developed the Pink Ribbon Sunday program to help educate women across the nation about breast cancer prevention and awareness.
Pink Ribbon Sunday aims to reduce breast cancer health disparities in communities by empowering leaders of local groups and organizations to develop mammography awareness programs that fit the needs of their community. Mammography screening is still the best tool to detect breast cancer early. Lack of screening can lead to later diagnosis, later entry into treatment and increased mortality.
Awareness activities include mobile mammography events, local health fairs or “Pink” luncheons to promote the cause.
The FDA’s Office of Women’s Health has put together information packets for individuals or organizations to distribute in their communities. The packets include a mammography information card, mammography fact sheet and an official Pink Ribbon Sunday flyer.
This booklet outlines the various aspects of the home buying process, but starts by asking some key questions to help you determine if you’re ready to buy a home. You’ll also find a worksheet for calculating how much you can afford.
Ongoing stress can increase your risk of many health problems, including heart disease, obesity, depression, and diabetes.
Everyone experiences stress from time to time, but if you feel constant stress and experience physical symptoms (such as headaches, back or neck pain, difficulty sleeping), it’s probably time to take action.
There are things you can do to reduce or cope with stress. Here are a few resources to help you:
Study in the States is a new website that walks you through the steps you need to take in order to study in the U.S., such as getting accepted to school, paying your I-901 SEVIS fee, and applying for a visa. It has information for current and prospective students and exchange visitors.
If you need help, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development handles complaints about housing discrimination, bad landlords in federal housing, and many other issues. For additional local resources, you can also contact a housing counseling agency.
Get Free In-Person One-on-One Financial Planning Assistance
During the month of October, professional financial planners will provide free advice at special one-off Financial Planning Day events in several cities across the country. Bring whatever financial questions you might have, and invite your friends and family to attend.
This all-volunteer group of planners is partnering with city governments to offer no-strings-attached financial advice without selling their services or handing out business cards. They won’t even be using branded pens and paper from the companies they work for.
You can get personalized advice on a variety of areas – retirement planning, credit and debt, budgeting, investments, taxes, insurance, estate planning and small business finances, among many others. Planners will also present classroom workshops addressing key personal finance topics.
Free packets of financial information will be available, as well. Can’t attend any of the Financial Planning Days events? The publications in those packets are also available online:
Voting is a right and a civic responsibility. And like millions of U.S. citizens, you will have the chance to exercise your right to vote during the Presidential Election of 2012.
Your vote on November 6, 2012 will help elect the next President of the United States, as well as other representatives at local, state and federal levels, including mayors, governors, congressional representatives and senators.
Below you will find five important facts about voting in the United States, including resources to help you register to vote and information on how to vote.
1) Voting Is Voluntary
Voting is the essence of democracy. Unlike other countries, voting in the United States is voluntary. Some people vote in person at the polls, while others vote by mail days or weeks before the actual election date. Regardless of how you do it, it’s important that all U.S. citizens who qualify participate in the democratic process of electing public officials.
2) States Establish Voting Rules
To vote in federal elections you need to be a U.S. citizen and be at least 18 years old, although some states allow 17-year-olds to vote. In fact, the states establish voting rules, including the requirements to register to vote, registration deadlines, and where to send your voting form. You may be able to register at a variety of places, including state and local voter registration offices, the Department of Motor Vehicles, and public assistance agencies. You might also be able to register by mail using the National Mail Voter Registration Form, but not all states accept it. Check with your state election office to learn how to register in your state.
3) Voter ID Laws Vary by State
Voter identification requirements also vary by state. Therefore, it’s important to figure out the documents you might need to show before going to your polling place on November 6, 2012. Some states require voters to show proof of identity before voting, such as driver’s licenses, passports or military papers. Your state election office can tell you what documents are required in your state.
4) You Can Vote If You’re Living Abroad
Federal law allows U.S. citizens to vote if they are living abroad. This includes members of the Armed Forces, federal employees, and other U.S. citizens who reside outside the United States. U.S citizens living abroad can request an absentee ballot by using the Federal Post Card Application (PDF). For more information about voting from abroad, visit the Federal Voting Assistance Program.
5) There Are Several Ways to Participate in the Elections
Voting is not the only way to participate in the electoral process. If you would like to get more involved you can always volunteer at a polling place. Some states have specific requirements such as being a registered voter or meeting certain age requirements. You might have to be affiliated with a political party and reside in the state where you plan to volunteer. Check with your state election office to find out more.
Seven Prevention Resources for You and Your Family
Under the health care law, many insurers are required to cover certain preventive services at no cost to you, including vaccines, mammograms, cancer screenings, and more. Use the resources below to learn more about prevention and spread the word.
The U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) protects, manages, and controls wild horses and burros under the authority of the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971. The Act declares wild horses and burros to be “living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the West.”
BLM protects the health and welfare of the wild horse and burro population and makes sure it is consistent with the land’s capacity to support them. They also offer an adoption program and have other ways for volunteers to get involved.
How your monthly benefit amount can differ based on the age at which you start receiving benefits;
How your decision could affect your family;
How you can retire and continue working; and
How you can get estimates of your benefit amounts online at Social Security’s website, www.socialsecurity.gov.
The Social Security website offers several tools to help you plan for your retirement, including an online Retirement Estimator to get immediate and personalized retirement benefit estimates. The estimator is a convenient and secure financial planning tool, allowing you to create “what if” scenarios. For instance, you can change your “stop work” dates or expected future earnings to create and compare different retirement options. Then when you’re ready, you can apply online for your retirement benefits.
Saturday is National Public Lands Day, Admission is Free to National Parks
Saturday, September 29 is National Public Lands Day. This is the nation’s largest, single-day volunteer event for public lands. Find a volunteer site if you want to help improve our public lands by planting trees and native plants, collecting trash, improving trails, and more.
Find Free Legislative Information on the New Congress.gov
The Library of Congress recently unveiled Congress.gov. It’s a new website that will eventually replace THOMAS.gov as the government’s site for accessing free, fact-based legislative information.
The Congress.gov site includes bill status and summary, bill text, House and Senate member profiles, and a number of new features, including effective display on mobile devices. Learn more about the new site.
Many people realize that life insurance is an important way to provide for their families, but buying life insurance can seem daunting. How do you know if you’re picking the best coverage for you and your family?
The American Council of Life Insurers offers the following tips to help you pick out the best plan:
Decide if you need permanent or term life insurance. Permanent policies will provide money to your family no matter when you die. Term policies will pay only if you die during a specific period of time.
When you’re trying to decide between life insurance companies, ask family and friends for recommendations. You can also meet with an insurance agent to talk through your options.
Ask for the outlines of several plans so you can compare the features of the various options you’re considering.
Always answer the questions on your application truthfully.
Once you select a plan, store the policy with your other important financial documents, but not in a safe deposit box. Upon death, boxes are sometimes sealed temporarily by the bank, which could delay your family’s access to the coverage.
Review and update your policy from time to time, especially after major life events like marriages or children being born.
Kids.gov is the U.S. government’s website for children (grades K-8). Kids, parents, and teachers can use the site to get help with homework, access lesson plans, watch videos, play games, and more.
If you’ve visited Kids.gov previously, you’ll notice that the website has been completely redesigned. The vibrant new site provides areas for three specific audiences: kids (grades K-5), teens (grades 6-8), and grown-ups (teachers and parents).
Enjoy exploring all that Kids.gov has to offer, including the following examples:
September is National Preparedness Month. Have you taken steps to prepare for an emergency?
According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), three elements of good preparation are:
Being Informed — Learn about the potential emergencies that can happen where you live and know the appropriate ways to respond to them.
Making a Plan — Your family may not be together when disaster strikes, so it is important to plan what you would do in different situations. How would you get to a safe place? How would you contact one another and get back together?
Building a Kit — Find a list of suggested items to include in an emergency supply kit.
Taking these steps could help you and your family in the event of an emergency.