12-15-2016 Letters and Commentary

The holiday season is upon us, bringing with it family gatherings and familiar traditions. As you bustle about from place to place, sharing turkey dinners and catching up with loved ones, there is one errand you can avoid — a visit to the Social Security office. Why take time out of your busy holiday schedule to visit an office when you can conduct most of your business online?

At www.socialsecurity.gov, we have a variety of services available to you, all from the comfort of your home. You can apply for disability benefits or appeal a disability decision. You can also file for retirement benefits, spousal benefits, or Medicare-only benefits while enjoying leftover pumpkin pie.

Even if you are currently receiving benefits, or are not quite ready to file, Social Security has services to bring you holiday cheer. With a my Social Security account, those receiving benefits may change their address and direct deposit information, get proof of their benefits, and request replacement documents like a Medicare card. In addition, if you are not currently getting benefits, you can still check your earnings record, get estimates of your future benefits, and view your Social Security statement. In some areas, you can even request a replacement Social Security card online. Open your account today at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.

Holidays are fun, and sometimes stressful, times. Let our online offerings reduce the holiday stress so you can focus on what is important — your loved ones. When you need services from Social Security, start a new tradition. Go online at www.socialsecurity.gov.

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.

PALISADES SHOCKER… Many of us are not entirely shocked to hear Palisades is closing. The aging, safety compromised plant has been for sale since the day Entergy bought it from Consumers some seven years ago.

Many times when a manufacturing plant is losing money due to aging equipment, high taxes and payroll, it may be sold to another that will wring out the cash and benefits and then look to peddle it.

Palisades is the white elephant of the nuclear age; it is old, safety compromised, and has a product that is no longer cheap. Wind and solar power are the new poster boys of the power grid, generating power without leaving a pile of coal dust or nuclear waste behind.

As usual it will be the residents, in this case Covert Township and Van Buren County that will be hurt as the giant tax base is converted to a giant tax waste when the plant closes in 2018.