Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Free Money from the Government. Is it true?

Free Money from the Government

Many people have heard that the government will give you money for almost any reason. This is not true.You must complete an application and meet specific eligibility requirements in order to receive financial assistance from the government.
Benefits.gov can help you determine which types of government assistance you might qualify for and tell you where to apply.

Benefits.gov can help you identify grants, loans, financial aid, and other benefits from the federal government, determine if you are eligible, and then tell you how and where to apply.
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.


USA.gov logo with tagline
courtesy usa.gov

Monday, December 29, 2014

New York Severe Winter Storm, Snowstorm, and Flooding

December 22, 2014
News Release
Following is a summary of key federal disaster aid programs that can be made available as needed and warranted under President Obama’s major disaster declaration issued for the State of New York.Assistance for the State and Affected Local and Tribal Governments Can Include as Required:
December 22, 2014
News Release
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency announced that federal disaster aid has been made available to the state of New York to supplement state, local and tribal recovery efforts in the area affected by a severe winter storm, snowstorm, and flooding during the period of November 17-26, 2014.
President Declares Disaster for New York State
Main Content
Release date: 
December 22, 2014
 
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency announced that federal disaster aid has been made available to the state of New York to supplement state, local and tribal recovery efforts in the area affected by a severe winter storm, snowstorm, and flooding during the period of November 17-26, 2014.
The President's action makes federal funding available to state and eligible local and tribal governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities damaged by the severe winter storm, snowstorm, and flooding  in the counties of Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Jefferson, Lewis, Orleans, St. Lawrence, and Wyoming.
In addition, federal funding is available to the state and eligible local governments on a cost-sharing basis for snow assistance for a continuous 48 hour period during or proximate to the incident period in Erie, Genesee, and Wyoming counties.
Federal funding is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures statewide.
William L. Vogel has been named as the Federal Coordinating Officer for federal recovery operations in the affected area.  Vogel said additional designations may be made at a later date if requested by the state and warranted by the results of further damage assessments.
Follow FEMA online at www.fema.gov/blog, www.twitter.com/fema, www.facebook.com/fema, and www.youtube.com/fema
http://www.disasterassistance.gov/

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Big Day for Early Childhood Education at the White House


-->

More than $1 billion in new federal and private sector investments in early childhood education announced at White House Summit on Early Childhood Education.
On Dec. 10, President Obama gathered early childhood education leaders, elected officials, business and neighborhood advocates to share best practices and build on the public-private partnerships that support the growth of early education across America. The White House Summit on Early Education also served as a platform for the administration to announce over $1 billion in investments from the federal government, and private and philanthropic groups toward early education and development.
 
 
 

Monday, December 15, 2014

Agency Resumes Mailing Social Security Statements

Carolyn W. Colvin, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, today announced the agency will resume the periodic mailing of Social Security Statements—once every five years for most workers-- while encouraging everyone to create a secure my Social Security account to immediately access their Statement online, anytime. The Statement is a valuable financial planning tool providing workers age 18 and older with important individualized information regarding their earnings, tax contributions, and estimates for future retirement, disability, and survivors benefits.
“We have listened to our customers, advocates, and Congress; and renewing the mailing of the Statement reinforces our commitment to provide the public with an easy, efficient way to obtain an estimate of their future Social Security benefits,” Acting Commissioner Colvin said. “I encourage everyone to create their own secure my Social Security account to obtain immediate access to their Statement online, anytime.” 
Beginning this month, workers attaining ages 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50, 55, and 60 who are not receiving Social Security benefits and who are not registered for a my Social Security account will receive the Statement in the mail about 3 months before their birthday.  After age 60, people will receive a Statement every year.  The agency expects to send nearly 48 million Statements each year.
The Social Security Statement helps people plan for their financial future.  In addition to providing future benefit estimates, the Statement highlights a person’s complete earnings history, allowing workers to verify the accuracy of their earnings. This is important because an individual’s future benefit amount is determined by the amount of their earnings over their lifetime.  To date, more than 14 million people have established a personalized my Social Security account at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.
With a my Social Security account, people may access the Statement from the comfort of their home, office or library whenever they choose. Individuals who currently receive benefits should sign up for a my Social Security account to manage their benefit payments and, when the need arises, get an instant benefit verification letter, change their address and phone number, and start or change direct deposit of their benefit payment.
Acting Commissioner Colvin reinforced that “whether conducting business with Social Security via the Internet, mail, telephone or face-to-face, we will continue to provide convenient, cost-effective, secure and quality customer service to meet the needs of the public we serve.”

Social Security Announces 1.7 Percent Benefit Increase for 2015

Monthly Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for nearly 64 million Americans will increase 1.7 percent in 2015, the Social Security Administration announced today.
The 1.7 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) will begin with benefits that more than 58 million Social Security beneficiaries receive in January 2015.  Increased payments to more than 8 million SSI beneficiaries will begin on December 31, 2014. The Social Security Act ties the annual COLA to the increase in the Consumer Price Index as determined by the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Some other changes that take effect in January of each year are based on the increase in average wages.  Based on that increase, the maximum amount of earnings subject to the Social Security tax (taxable maximum) will increase to $118,500 from $117,000.  Of the estimated 168 million workers who will pay Social Security taxes in 2015, about 10 million will pay higher taxes because of the increase in the taxable maximum.
Information about Medicare changes for 2015 is available at www.Medicare.gov.
The Social Security Act provides for how the COLA is calculated.  To read more, please visit www.socialsecurity.gov/cola

Attached is a fact sheet showing the effect of the various automatic adjustments.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Health Insurance Marketplace

The Health Insurance Marketplace is designed to make buying health coverage easier and more affordable. The Marketplace allows you to:
  • Compare health insurance plans
  • Get answers to questions about your health care
  • Find out if you are eligible for tax credits for private insurance or health programs like the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)
  • Enroll in a health insurance plan that meets your needs
The Open Enrollment period runs November 15, 2014 – February 15, 2015 for coverage that begins as early as January 1, 2015. Learn more at HealthCare.gov.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Report shows more options and savings for consumers who shop in the Health Insurance Marketplace in 2015

-->  Report shows more options and savings for consumers who shop in the Health Insurance Marketplace in 2015


Nearly 8 in 10 current Federal Marketplace customers can get coverage for $100 or less per month after any applicable tax credits in 2015

New choices and more competition in the Health Insurance Marketplace are giving consumers affordable options during Open Enrollment this year, and the majority of returning consumers who shop can save money on premiums, according to a report released by the Department of Health and Human Services.

With 25 percent more issuers participating in the Marketplace in 2015, based on analysis of 35 states, more than 90 percent of consumers will be able to choose from three or more issuers—up from 74 percent in 2014. Consumers can choose from an average of 40 health plans in their county for 2015 coverage—up from 30 in 2014.

Read more about today's announcement.   





 

New federal health IT strategic plan sets stage for better sharing through interoperability



New federal health IT strategic plan sets stage for better sharing through interoperability


Following collaboration with more than 35 federal agencies, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) today issued the Federal Health IT Strategic Plan 2015-2020.

The Strategic Plan represents a coordinated and focused effort to appropriately collect, share, and use interoperable health information to improve health care, individual, community and public health, and advance research across the federal government and in collaboration with private industry.

Friday, May 23, 2014

No longer covered by your parents' plan?


   
No longer covered by your parents' plan? You can get covered at HealthCare.gov when you turn 26! Qualifying life events, such as aging off a parent’s plan, allow you to apply with a special enrollment period. 
 
 

   

Thursday, April 3, 2014

HHS announces important Medicare information for people in same-sex marriages

 
Today, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that the Social Security Administration (SSA) is now able to process requests for Medicare Part A and Part B Special Enrollment Periods, and reductions in Part B and premium Part A late enrollment penalties for certain eligible people in same-sex marriages. This is another step HHS is taking in response to the June 26, 2013 Supreme Court ruling in U.S. v. Windsor, which held section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional. Because of this ruling, Medicare is no longer prevented by DOMA from recognizing same-sex marriages for determining entitlement to, or eligibility, for Medicare.