01-04-2018 Letters and Commentary

New beginnings

 Our first “New Beginnings” was when we first went to school. The first time we mounted those steps into that big yellow bus we were both frightened and excited. Frightened by the unknown and excited for the possibilities. One new first-grader told everyone he was excited because he was going to school to learn to read! When the first day was done he was very disappointed. His expectations were not met. He had not learned to read at school at all! We chuckle at his childishness, but that boy’s impatience sometimes marks our own new beginnings. He would learn to read, but not in one day.

How about our own “new beginnings” this year? Most would like to do better at something or other. January 1 marks an appropriate time to accomplish those goals, right?

The young student knew nothing of phonics, pronunciation, or of nouns, verbs or adjectives. Reading could not happen if the learning process was not followed.

A church’s “New Beginnings” class for those who were new to faith in Jesus Christ went deeper than a mere overview. Details of discipleship were Biblically defined and discussed. That thirteen-week class gave the attendees a foundation on which to build.

That first-grader should have been more patient. Hopefully his persistence finally won out and he was able to personally apply the principles of reading.

Whatever our new beginning looks like this year, we are all learners in new areas of faith. We can apply three timeless principles for a good start:

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and don’t rely on your own understanding.”

“Seek first God’s kingdom.”

“I (Jesus) am with you always.”

Then go forward excited about the possibilities! He will guide your paths, supply your needs, and be with you all the way.

Check out these new my Social Security features in the New Year

 2018 is here! It’s the New Year. There’s no better time to tell you about the new features we have in my Social Security. They not only save you time, but also put you in control of your retirement future.

There are a growing number of states (and the District of Columbia) where, if you’re a resident, you can request a replacement Social Security card online. Our new online version of the Application for a Replacement Social Security Card can make getting a replacement easy and stress free. It allows people to apply for a replacement card through my Social Security without traveling to a field office or card center, as long as you’re not requesting a name change or any other change to your card. We are working to add this capability to every state.

Your personal my Social Security account is secure and gives you ready access to your earnings records, Social Security benefit estimates, and printable statements. Those who already receive benefits can view their payment history, current status, and manage their benefits.

Social Security has also made replacing your annual Benefit Statement even easier. The Benefit Statement (known as the SSA-1099 or the SSA-1042S) shows the amount of benefits you received the previous year and is needed for filing taxes. Now you have the ability to download it using our online services. There’s no need to visit a field office. A replacement SSA-1099 or SSA-1042S is available after February 1 for the previous tax year.

If you don’t have a my Social Security account, creating a secure account is very easy to do and usually takes less than 15 minutes.