Question: I need proof that I receive Medicare benefits. Where can I get a letter proving that? Answer: If you need proof that you get Social Security benefits, Supplemental Security Income, or Medicare, get an instant benefit verification letter online by using your personal my Social Security account. If you do not receive benefits, your letter will serve as proof that you do not receive benefits. If you recently applied for benefits, the letter will make that clear as well. The information on your benefit verification letter will include information that applies to your situation. You can set up your secure, personal my Social Security account at socialsecurity.gov/myaccount. Question: Can I refuse to give my Social Security number to a private business? Answer: Yes, you can refuse to disclose your Social Security number, and you should be careful about giving out your number. But, be aware, the person requesting your number can refuse services if you do not give it. Businesses, banks, schools, private agencies, etc., are free to request someone’s number and use it for any purpose that does not violate a federal or state law. To learn more about your Social Security number, visit socialsecurity.gov/ssnumber. Question: I am on Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and live with my two brothers in an apartment. My SSI payment is cut by one-third because the Social Security office says I do not pay enough of the household expenses. How much of the expenses must I pay in order to get the full SSI rate? Answer: Under the rules of the program, you must be paying an equal share of the expenses. Because there are three of you in the household, you must pay one-third of the expenses. If you are not paying an equal share of the rent, utilities, groceries, and other household expenses, your SSI payment must be reduced. To learn more, visit our website at www.socialsecurity.gov.
GOBLIN ALERT… Be careful driving about the next few days, with the Halloween “holiday” Monday, October 31. There will be many celebrations over the weekend as well. No matter your best efforts and caution, children will always be quicker than you are. Children believe there is always enough room and time to squeeze between your car’s bumper and their body; they believe they can see in the dark and that you can see them. They believe they will live forever and never get hurt badly. As you know, all of the above is false. Even if the kid is totally in the wrong, you will never forgive yourself if you hit a child with your car. And, parents do not let your kids trick or treat, alone, after dark, ever. Actually, with all the Halloween daytime events on the weekend, there is little reason to take the kids out after dark on Halloween night, exposing them to danger for another sack full of candy.
ELECTION ISSUE NEXT WEEK… The Tri-City Record will provide thumbnail sketches of issues and candidates on the area ballots for this coming November 8 election in next week’s issue. While all efforts will be made to get letters and commentary of candidates and their supporters printed on these pages, some offerings may be shortened or left unpublished. I would suggest all would-be letter writers get their offerings in to the paper via email (email@example.com) as soon as possible. Those folks wishing to purchase advertising space had better do so soon. Also advertising space reservations for that issue will only be accepted upon payment, because at the primary election some candidates “reserved” space but never provided the ad or payment by the deadline. THE PRICE OF TAKING AN EDITORIAL STAND… sometimes is a friendship. Over the years, I have ruffled a few feathers, have had subscriptions cancelled, lost advertising and have had friendships severed. I have always maintained this column are my thoughts alone, subject to no other influence but my own opinions (many), information I trust to be true, of topics I am willing to write, on issues I believe need to be aired for the good of the community. Opinions of others are printed on this page as letters to the editor, with the same latitude and constraints I give myself. More latitude in all cases, since this column has been shortened for space on many occasions while I have seldom shortened a letter to fit in a space. I have contacted letter writers and told them a letter was too long, confusing, or poorly written to warrant publication or that it may embarrass them if published in the present form. Invariably the letter writer has rewritten the missive for publication; occasionally (on further thought) the author asked that the letter be scrapped. Be that it is as it may, while I regret nothing printed here, I do regret the occasional readers taking such umbrage to sever a subscription or a friendship. In the 40 years of writing a “Kolumn,” most of those few cancelled subscriptions and friendships have been happily renewed.