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Important & Useful Links:
SNAP basics and how to apply.
For people who get SNAP benefits, local farmer’s markets are a great place to get healthy foods and support the local economy. Plus, the market near you may even give you a little extra to spend. They are also a great place to meet new people.
Farmers markets, like FRESHFARM Markets in Arlington, VA, feature tons of vendors selling everything from meats, poultry, fruits, and vegetables to bread, handmade pasta, cheese, and more. Nearly everything at farmers markets is available for purchase with your SNAP dollars, except a few things, like fresh flowers or soap. For a complete list of what you can and cannot buy with your EBT card, check out this list of eligible SNAP items. All in all, farmers markets are a great grocery store substitute for SNAP recipients because they offer nothing but fresh, local foods and are a one-stop shop for everything you could need to fill your fridge.
When you arrive at your local farmers market, look for a market information table, and tell the person at the table that you would like to use your SNAP dollars to purchase food. The person will need to swipe your EBT card—so make sure you have it handy—and then they will give you tokens to use—one token for every SNAP dollar you want to spend. The tokens never expire—so don’t worry if you end up taking out too many—but they cannot be exchanged.
Some farmers markets, like FRESHFARM Markets, even have what’s called a Match Incentive Program, which means the farmers market will match every dollar you spend, up to a maximum amount of $10. For example, you could potentially take home $20 worth of food, but only spend $10 of your own SNAP dollars. Not every farmers market participates in the matching program, so contact a farmers market near you first to see if they offer the program. For a complete list of farmers markets, visit the National Farmers Market Directory.
One way to make the most of your grocery budget is to plan your meals before you shop. Start by making a list of everything you need. That will make sure you don’t forget to buy something and will help you get more for your SNAP dollars. You have quite a bit of freedom on how to spend your SNAP benefits at the farmer’s market and at the grocery store. Bread, cereal, fruits, veggies, meat, fish, poultry, and dairy products all can be purchased with SNAP. You can’t use SNAP for things like hot meals or alcoholic beverages, but food items like ice cream can be purchased with SNAP.
For more information and to watch a video, visit click here
On July 30, 2016, Social Security began requiring new and current my Social Security account holders to sign into their account using a one-time code sent via text message.
This second layer of security that requires more than a username and a password is known as “multifactor authentication.” Although we have always provided the “extra security” option to account holders, we implemented this new process to comply with the President’s Executive Order on Improving the Security of Consumer Financial Transactions.
We have a fundamental responsibility to protect the public’s personal information. However, multifactor authentication inconvenienced or restricted access to some of our account holders. We’re listening to the public’s concerns and are responding by temporarily rolling back this mandate.
We strive to balance security and customer service options, and we want to ensure that our online services are both easy to use and secure.
We regret any inconvenience my Social Security account holders may have experienced. We appreciate everything you do to keep the public informed about our programs and services.
Our my Social Security customers now have an extra layer of security. my Social Securityaccount holders must now use their cell phone — in addition to their username and password — as another authentication factor during online registration and every sign in. When our customers register or sign in, we send them a security code that they must enter to finish the process.
We have always offered this extra security feature, but until now it has been an optional step. This new requirement is the result of an executive order for federal agencies to provide more secure authentication for their online services. Any agency that provides online access to a customer’s personal information must use multifactor authentication. We take the security of the public’s information very seriously, and we are committed to employing the best technologies and standards available.
Our research shows that an overwhelming majority of American adults have cell phones and use them for texting. Because of technical and resource constraints, we are not currently able to offer alternative methods of satisfying this security requirement. However, we may consider adding more options in the future. We appreciate your patience as we work continuously to secure your online information.
For more information about the use of a cell phone with my Social Security, visit our Frequently Asked Questions web page.
Please help us spread the word about this important change. Social Security is securing today andwith critical benefits and technology to protect your personal information. We appreciate everything you do to keep the public informed about our programs and services.
Public Affairs Specialist
Today marks the 60th anniversary of the Social Security disability program. For 60 years, Social Security has protected workers and their families in the event of a severe disability.
Here are a few facts you may not have known about this critical social insurance program:
Visit our Faces and Facts of Disability page to learn more. Here you can also watch engaging videos and read personal stories from people who rely on this earned benefit.
To commemorate this milestone, we will be hosting a series of articles about the Social Security disability program on our blog in the coming months. We’ll hear from beneficiaries, historians, stakeholders, and disability experts as they reflect on the program’s history and importance. Social Security’s Acting Commissioner, Carolyn W. Colvin, has written the first article in the series. You can read it here.
Whether in old age, upon the death of a loved one, or in case of disability, Social Security is with you through life’s journey.
Help secure your today and . Open a my Social Security account today atwww.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.
March 17, 2016
Senior Attorney, Bureau of Consumer Protection, FTC
Picture this: It’s dinner time. The kids are screaming. Then the phone rings just as you sit down. It could be important, so you run through the toys to the phone. You answer, but all you hear is silence. After a few seconds, a recorded message reminds you that it may be time to have your carpets cleaned and they offer a great deal this month. Or you’ve won a trip. Or you can lower your credit card interest rate.
Does this sound familiar? Well, you’re not alone. We hear from many people about these robocalls. If the call is a message from someone selling something, and you haven’t given your written permission to get calls from that company, the call is illegal.
In fact, the FTC has stopped many companies from engaging in this illegal conduct. For instance, we just settled a case with USA Vacation Station because it made millions of illegal robocalls to sell vacation packages. Under the settlement, the company and its owner are banned from robocalling anyone ever again.
Do robocalls bug you, too? If so, watch this video to learn more about them, and the steps you can take to help slow them down.
For more information, click here
Social Security Inspector General Patrick P. O’Carroll is warning citizens to be aware of phone calls from unknown people who claim to have information about a citizen’s application for disability benefits and offer assistance with the citizen’s claim. The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) received a report from a Maryland citizen who recently received several of these phone calls, even though the citizen had not applied for disability benefits.
The callers appear to be “phishing” for personal information—such as Social Security numbers or personal financial information—from unknowing citizens, who possibly have applied for disability benefits and thus might be inclined to provide information to the caller in furtherance of his or her claim. One person, who had not applied for disability benefits, reported recently receiving three unsolicited calls from a caller named Scott from a phone number with a 301 area code.
There are several variations of this type of phone phishing scam, which could lead to identity theft and/or government benefit theft. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently warned of similar phone calls from people impersonating IRS agents who request information to process a citizen’s tax return.
Therefore, Inspector General O’Carroll urges you to remain vigilant and protect your personal information. O’Carroll states, “You should never provide your Social Security number, bank account numbers, or other personal information by telephone or over the Internet unless you are extremely confident of the source to which you are providing the information.”
If you have questions about any communication—phone call, email, letter, or text—that claims to be from or have a connection to the Social Security Administration, O’Carroll recommends you contact your local Social Security office, or call Social Security’s toll-free customer service number at 1-800-772-1213, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday, to verify its legitimacy. (Those who are deaf or hard-of-hearing can call Social Security’s TTY number at 1-800-325-0778.)
You may report suspicious activity or communications involving Social Security programs and operations to the Social Security Fraud Hotline athttps://oig.ssa.gov/report, or by phone at 1-800-269-0271, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday. (Those who are deaf or hard-of-hearing can call the OIG TTY number at 1-866-501-2101.)
For more information, please contact Tracy Lynge, Communications Director, at (410) 965-2671.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released the much-anticipated Elder Abuse Surveillance: Uniform Definitions and Recommended Core Data Elements (PDF)
The field of elder justices has long struggled with the challenge of comparing data from different jurisdictions or sources, each of which uses their own definition of “abuse” or “neglect.” By establishing and normalizing consistent definitions and data elements, it should become easier to compare apples to apples in order to better understand, and more effectively combat, elder abuse.
CDC worked with a wide range of stakeholders, including ACL, to develop these recommendations, which are consistent with ACL’s National Adult Maltreatment Reporting System (NAMRS)
Washington, D.C.—U.S. Senators Susan Collins and Ranking Member Claire McCaskill announced the top 10 frauds targeting our nation’s seniors in a comprehensive anti-fraud resource for seniors titled, “Fighting Fraud: U.S. Senate Aging Committee Identifies Top 10 Scams Targeting Our Nation’s Seniors.” The guide is designed to inform and help protect seniors from some of the most pervasive and malicious scams and frauds.
Top 10 Scams Targeting Our Nation’s Seniors
Silver Alert is a program you hope you never need, but if you do, here’s what it is and how it works. The Silver Alert Program allows law enforcement to issue alerts for adults with Alzheimer’s and other cognitive disorders. Silver Alert is similar to what most statesThe Alert will include a description of the person, anything you know about the circumstances of the person’s disappearance, and other information that the State Police may think is important and appropriate. If a loved one with cognitive impairment wanders and becomes lost, call the State Police or local law enforcement to submit a missing person's report and ask them to activate Silver Alert. (If the missing person’s report is filed with local law enforcement, ask them to forward the information to the State Police. Silver Alert must be activated by the State Police.)
In addition to the broadcast media, the State Police will also notify the Department of Transportation, Division of Highways and West Virginia Turnpike Commission. If possible, through the use of their electronic signs, they can let motorists know that a Silver Alert is in progress. They can provide information relating to the missing person and let motorists know how they may report any information they have to the State Police or other appropriate law enforcement agency.For more information about Silver Alert or other tracking systems that help locate individuals with cognitive impairment, contact the Bureau of Senior Services, 1-877-987-3646.