04-26-2018 Letters and Commentary

Get wise advice first A week at Saranac Lodge in New York’s Adirondacks should have been an exhilarating experience. The beauty, the history, the quiet were all a welcome break from work. It would have been exhilarating except that work brought us there. The time had been set aside for management training purposes, but I almost missed the whole thing. At the opening meeting they told us about things to do on the property, including canoeing on the adjacent lake. That sounded interesting so later that afternoon I wandered down to the piers and untied a canoe to do a little exploring. I hadn’t taken into account the wind direction or strength… mistake. With the wind at my back I set off across the lake. Later, with sunset approaching, I turned around to paddle back to the lodge. The wind had other ideas. No matter how hard I tried to point in the right direction the wind turned the front of the canoe around. I was in trouble; unfamiliar lake, unknown distance back, and a strong headwind in a canoe. After many unsuccessful attempts I finally decided to go to the front of the canoe and J-stroke from the bow. It worked! It was almost dark when I finally made it back by aiming for the lights. Sometimes we learn a little too late that we should have sought wise advice before embarking on a direction. Sometimes, when times get tough we turn to prayer as a last resort. We would have been wiser to ask for God’s help and wise guidance at the beginning of our adventure, whatever it is. I would have been wiser to talk to someone about my canoeing idea before I picked up the oar. We’re told, “Pray about everything…” (Philippians 4:6) We are wiser to talk with God about our plans – from beginning to end.

Receive Social Security benefits? Keep your address up-to-date with “My Social Security” Keeping your address up to date with a my Social Security account helps us mail your important documents to the correct place. If you receive benefits, you can use my Social Security to update your address. If you’ve moved recently, updating your information sooner rather than later will help us deliver important documents to you, including: Social Security Benefit Statement (SSA-1099); important notices; and your Medicare card when you first enroll or if you need a replacement. Even if you get your benefits by direct deposit, Social Security must have your correct address so we can send letters and other important information to you. Another important reason to make sure your address is up to date is because new Medicare cards are coming. Medicare is mailing new cards starting April 2018. Your new card will have a new Medicare Number that’s unique to you, instead of your Social Security number. This will help protect your identity. For more information about the new Medicare card, visit go.medicare.gov/newcard. If you don’t have a my Social Security account already, you can open one at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount. This is the easiest way for you to keep your information up to date. Within minutes you’ll have access to your personal information as well as control over important documents like your Benefit Statement (SSA-1099), which can be replaced if you lose it. While you’re there, you can also check to see if your earnings record is correct. Social Security keeps a record of how much you’ve made so that you get the benefits you deserve. We can only pay you your correct benefit if your records are correct. Putting you in control of your future is a key part of securing today and tomorrow, and having your correct mailing address helps us get important documents and payments to you. With my Social Security, we help you receive the information you need, when you need it. Open or access your safe and secure account today at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount. Vonda VanTil is the Public Affairs Specialist for West Michigan. You can write her c/o Social Security Administration, 3045 Knapp NE, Grand Rapids MI 49525 or via email at vonda.vantil@ssa.gov.