Social Security Beneficiaries Getting 2% Increase
January 3, 2018
By: Dwayne Page
Social Security Beneficiaries will receive a 2 Percent Increase in 2018Social Security recipients are getting their largest cost of living increase in benefits since 2012, but the additional income will likely be largely eaten up by higher Medicare Part B premiums.
Cost of living increases are tied to the consumer price index, and an upturn in inflation rates and gas prices means recipients get a small boost in 2018, amounting to $27 a month for the typical retiree. The 2 percent increase is higher than last year’s .3 percent rise and the lack of any increase at all in 2016. The cost of living change also affects the maximum amount of earnings subject to the Social Security tax, which will grow from $127,200 to $128,700.
The increase in benefits will likely be consumed by higher Medicare premiums, however. Most elderly and disabled people have their Medicare Part B premiums deducted from their monthly Social Security checks. For these individuals, if Social Security benefits don’t rise, Medicare premiums can’t either. This “hold harmless” provision does not apply to about 30 percent of Medicare beneficiaries: those enrolled in Medicare but who are not yet receiving Social Security, new Medicare beneficiaries, seniors earning more than $85,000 a year, and “dual eligibles” who get both Medicare and Medicaid benefits. In the past few years, Medicare beneficiaries not subject to the hold harmless provision have been paying higher Medicare premiums while Medicare premiums for those in the hold harmless group remained more or less the same. Now that seniors will be getting an increase in Social Security payments, Medicare will likely hike premiums for the seniors in the hold harmless group. And that increase may eat up the entire raise, at least for some beneficiaries.
For 2018, the monthly federal Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payment standard will be $750 for an individual and $1,125 for a couple.
UCHRA Commodities Recertification Begins Monday
January 3, 2018
By: Dwayne Page
The Upper Cumberland Human Resource Agency would like to remind those who receive assistance through the Temporary Emergency Food Assistance Program, known as Commodities; it is time for recertification of their commodities card. With 2018 deliveries right around the corner, it is very important for recipients to recertify their commodity card with their local county offices prior to the first pick-up date.
Recertification date starts January 8th. First Distribution is February 8th.
If you think you or someone you know qualifies for this program, please contact the UCHRA office in your county for more information.
The UCHRA County telephone: DeKalb County 615-597-4504
The Upper Cumberland Human Resource Agency does not discriminate on the basis of age, race, sex, color, national origin, religion, or disability in admission to, access to, or operations of its programs, services or activities.
“This project is funded under a Grant Contract with the State of Tennessee.”
Using Hand Held Cell Phones in School Zones Now Illegal
January 3, 2018
By: Dwayne Page
DEKALB COUNTY SCHOOLS TO REMAIN CLOSED THURSDAY AND FRIDAY DUE TO COLD WEATHER
With schools set to re-open on Monday, January 8th, motorists in school zones should be aware that talking on a cell phone with the device in hand is now illegal in an active school zone.
That not only includes talking on a phone, but texting or reading texts
The law states that it’s an offense — Class C misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $50 — for a person to knowingly operate a motor vehicle in any marked school zone in this state, when a warning flasher or flashers are in operation, and talk on a hand-held mobile telephone while the vehicle is in motion.
However, the offense is not committed if the telephone is equipped with a hands-free device, for drivers 18 years of age and older.
A driver under age 18 is breaking the law talking either using a hands-free or handheld while driving through an active school zone.
Also as school starts again, motorists should also remember that the most dangerous part of a school bus ride is getting on and off and if they don’t stop for buses when they’re supposed to the potential for a tragic accident increases.
Jimmy Sprague, Transportation Supervisor for the DeKalb County School System and the Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP) remind motorists of the importance of school bus safety awareness and education.
“Riding the school bus is one of the safest modes of transportation; it’s when children get on or off the bus that causes concern,” said THP Colonel Tracy Trott. “That is why it is critical for parents, teachers, and school administrators to stress the importance of crossing in view of the school bus driver, and to instruct children on other safety tips that will keep them out of harm’s way.”
Each day, some 480,000 school buses transport more than 26 million children to and from school and school related activities, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. An average of 19 school-age children die in school transportation-related traffic crashes each year – five occupants of school buses and 14 pedestrians. Most of those killed are children five to seven years old.
Sprague reminds motorists to make sure to stop when school bus lights and stop signs are deployed as students get off and on buses in school parking lot loading zones and on roads, including four lane highways. ” Highway 70 is considered a driveable median and when that bus accuates its stop sign and red lights, all four lanes east bound and west bound do have to stop. They don’t proceed on until the stop sign is pulled in and the lights are off and the bus is proceeding on. When that happens, vehicles can move along also,” said Sprague
The “danger zone” for a school bus is the area 10 feet around the vehicle; the two most dangerous places are the front and the right rear tire area of the bus. Children must take care when boarding or leaving the school bus by following these simple rules:
•Always remain in direct eyesight of the bus driver;
•Be alert to traffic. Check both ways before stepping off the bus;
•Make eye contact with the bus driver, and wait for the bus driver’s signal before crossing the street;
•Walk in front of the bus; never walk behind the bus to cross the street;
•Never go under the bus to retrieve something you’ve dropped;
•Get to the bus stop in plenty of time.
“Educating children on school bus safety is a top priority, but we also want to remind drivers to slow down in school zones and obey the stop arm,” said THP Colonel Trott. “Our troopers work diligently to enforce traffic laws in the school zone, and will penalize those who blatantly disregard laws designed to protect children.”
In Tennessee and in every state, drivers must stop when the stop arm is extended and red lights are flashing.
All school bus drivers in Tennessee must attend an annual training course in order to receive and maintain the school bus endorsement on their Driver License.
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