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September 1, 2015 / 17 Elul, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Social Security’

Social Security Administration Paid $20 Million to Nazi Suspects

Sunday, May 31st, 2015

The Social Security Administration of the United States paid 130 suspected Nazi war criminals $20.2 million in benefits before this year’s new “No Social Security for Nazis Act” took effect, the Associated Press reported.

The amount of money is far greater than previously estimated and provides further evidence that thousands of former Nazis, including SS guards, lied their way into the United States, denied their past and then collected federal  benefits after retiring.

The Justice Dept. also used a legal loophole to offer Social Security payments to suspected Nazis who agreed to leave the United States until this year’s act ended the practice.

A full report of a federal investigation, prompted by a previous AP story, is to be released later this week.

The news agency said it obtained a copy of the report of payments to Nazi war criminals since 1962. No names are listed in the report, but the Social Security Administration obviously has the names, raising questions of whether it and the Justice Dept. are protecting them from possible prosecution for war crimes.

The American government was inactive when it came to looking for Nazis until it established its own unit in 1979 to hunt them.

After the original AP report last year, New York Democrat Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney asked Social Security to investigate, and she said on Saturday that the report shows the recipients included confirmed Nazis.

She said in a statement:

We must continue working to remember the tragedy of the Holocaust and hold those responsible accountable. One way to do that is by providing as much information to the public as possible. This report hopefully provides some clarity.

The report said 38 formers Nazis received $5.6 million before being deported while 95 suspected Nazis, whose possible war crimes were not confirmed, continued to collect $14.5 million.

Netanyahu Wants to Discriminate against Terrorists

Tuesday, November 25th, 2014

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is backing a bill to be submitted by outgoing Communications Minister Gilad Erdan to cancel social security and other benefits for terrorists and “those who identify” with terrorism.

The Prime Minister already is getting flak from the United States for the “Jewish State bill,” which the U.S. State Dept. did not directly oppose but about which he noted to reporters on Monday, “We expect Israel to stick to its democratic principles.”

Indirectly reacting to the remark, Prime Minister Netanyahu said on Tuesday there is no contradiction between defining Israel as a Jewish state and a democratic state.

Israel is faced with Fifth Column terrorism, and the government recently re-instituted the policy of destroying terrorists’ homes, assuming the Supreme Court dos not get in the way by deciding that doing so would deprive terrorists of their basic rights”

The United States last week condemned the practice in Israel, but said it is perfectly okay for Egypt to destroy hundreds of homes of Arabs in Sinai to create buffer zone between Gaza and Egypt.

That is a matter of “self-defense,” said U.S. State Dept. spokeswoman Jen Psaki, as reported here.

Destroying a home of a terrorist in eastern Jerusalem is different, she explained, because it involves borders that the United States does not agree with.

We are waiting to see if the State Dept. wants to stick its nose deeper into Israel’s domestic polices, but it is worth nothing that a Democratic party Congresswoman from New York last month said he will introduce a bill to stop Social Security payments to former Nazis.

Rep. Carolyn Maloney said, “It’s deeply disturbing and I’m deeply disturbed that these individuals continue to receive Social Security benefits even after the Justice Department identified them as Nazi war criminals,” speaking with Business Insider.

“If you’re a Nazi war criminal, you’re a Nazi war criminal. You should not be receiving Social Security benefits. Period,” she added.

 

And what about terrorists?

“’ll look at cutting off benefits to terrorists that are deported,” she added.

Government Issues Annual Misleading Report on Poverty

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

The National Insurance Institute (NII) (Bituach Leumi) has released its annual report on poverty that once is based on a statistical method that guarantees that the “poor will always be with us.”

By partly basing the “poverty line” on the average family income, the poor would always remain that way even if the government were to give every family in the country an addition sum of money, an action that would raise both the average income and the poverty line.

For the record, the NII stated that less young people but more of the elderly are living below the poverty line.

It concluded that 1.7 million people, more than 20 percent of the population, are poor. Its explanation for the rise in the number of the elderly poor illustrates another statistical fallacy. It explained that the number rose because their pensions are not included in the income of the elderly.

Why I Am The Right Choice For Congress

Wednesday, September 7th, 2011

Living in New York is getting tougher and tougher. No matter how carefully some of us planned, much of our retirement savings and investments have been dwindling away. Additionally, many of my neighbors are scared that the benefits they have paid into for years – Social Security and Medicare – may be taken away.

They are right to be nervous. These concerns cannot go unaddressed.

My name is David Weprin and I am running for United States Congress to represent the people of the Ninth Congressional District in New York.

I was born and raised in Queens. I attended local yeshivas for elementary and high school, as did all my children. I am a member of the Young Israel of Jamaica Estates and the Young Israel of Holliswood. My wife Ronni and I have five children and one grandchild.

I was a member of the New York City Council for eight years and served as chair of the Finance Committee the entire length of my service. Currently, I serve in the New York State Assembly.

Growing up in Queens as a religious teenager and raising a frum family prepared me to uniquely understand the needs many of my constituents and of the broader Jewish community. I am also able to advise my colleagues in government on how to best serve the Jewish community.

There were several periods when Mayor Bloomberg was intent on cutting Priority 7 vouchers. These vouchers subsidize after-school care that is vital for many families in our community. I was front and center in the battle to combat this cut that would have hurt so many of my neighbors.

Part of what makes our Jewish community so special is the sense of responsibility we feel toward each other. Hatzolah is an organization that exemplifies this feeling. I am very proud that I have been able to secure two capital grants to assist Hatzolah in its vital work.

A few years ago I received a frantic phone call from a group of concerned rabbis. They had been notified that the commissioner of the New York City Department of Health was going to ban metzitzah b’peh, an important part of the bris milah ritual for many religious Jews. I immediately contacted the commissioner and, in conjunction with other leaders in the community, got the city to back off.

I mentioned above that times are tough for all of us. As somebody who sent his children to yeshivas, I understand what the added cost of yeshiva tuition can do to a family budget.

In fact, I had the opportunity this year in Albany to help pass TAP, or Tuition Assistance Program, legislation. This historic bill will provide up to $5,000 in tuition assistance for yeshiva students learning in post-high school yeshivas.

I have constantly fought for all members of our community. I have been a strong supporter of various organizations – Met Council on Jewish Poverty, Ohel, Chai Lifeline, Coalition of Jewish Organizations of Flatbush, among many others.

In dealing with social service agencies for over a decade, I understand their importance to many in our communities. My opponent wants to cut 35 percent of all federal agencies. He wants to abolish the Department of Education that helps educate our special-needs children. He wants to end the Department of Agriculture that provides food stamps for the neediest among us and provides funding for the enforcement of kashrus laws.

Yes, there is fat in the federal government that needs to be cut. There are tax loopholes for giant corporations that pay a lower tax rate than teachers and small business owners. But there are ways to lower our unsustainable deficit that don’t involve turning our backs on our seniors and the neediest among us. Our social safety nets, like Medicare and Social Security, need to be preserved.

An issue especially close to my heart is Israel. I have led a number of missions there and also traveled as part of a delegation during the Lebanon War in 2006 to help raise soldiers’ morale and transfer food and clothes to shelters. We actually came under rocket attack ourselves while helping out.

As a Democrat, I was very outspoken against President Obama’s suggestion that Israel use pre-1967 borders to come to an agreement with Palestinian negotiators. One of the missions I’ve led to Israel was to Beitar Illit, a city of over 40,000 people. I have seen first hand the communities that would be displaced if Israel would return to pre-Six-Day War borders.

Senator Joseph Lieberman, when he endorsed my candidacy for Congress a few weeks ago, stated clearly and unequivocally that the best way to send a message to President Obama in disagreement with his Mideast policies is through me, not a new member of the Republican majority whose criticism would be dismissed as partisan politics.

I believe Jerusalem is and will always be the capital of Israel. I believe Israelis want peace and are ready now, as they have been for years, to negotiate with a willing partner – but I am unsure that such a partner exists.

It is in America’s interest to have Israel as a secure ally in the region, and I will be passionate about explaining that to those in Washington who are uninformed or have been fed lies by Israel’s enemies.

I will be a hard working and strong representative for my community in Congress.

Mr. Weprin represents the 24th Assembly District in Queens.

Celebrating Social Security’s 75th Anniversary

Wednesday, August 18th, 2010

This month Social Security, the most successful domestic program in our nation’s history, celebrates its 75th anniversary.

On August 14, 1935, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act. With one pen stroke he laid the foundation of modern American social policy. Today, millions of retirees live in dignity thanks to their monthly Social Security benefit payment.

Over the decades, Social Security expanded to not only protect against the risk of poverty in old age, but also the economic risk of career-ending disability and the premature death of a worker.

In his statement at the signing of the Social Security Act, President Roosevelt said, “If the Senate and the House of Representatives in this long and arduous session had done nothing more than pass this Bill, the session would be regarded as historic for all time.”

I could not agree more.

A little over a quarter century ago, I came to Washington to work on Social Security. Just a few months later, I got a very important lesson on how important Social Security is to families. My own father, who was almost the same age I am today, suffered a massive cerebral hemorrhage. He started to recover, and then we got the bad news that he had a fatal form of brain cancer, so we began the process to apply for Social Security disability benefits.

That was a very anxious time for my family, particularly for my mother. We were all very concerned that the health care costs for my father would bankrupt her; it was a great relief when the decision came. That’s a lesson that has always stuck with me and why I push very hard as commissioner of the Social Security Administration to try to make sure that we get benefit decisions to claimants as quickly as possible.

As we celebrate 75 years, I reflect on how Social Security was there for my family, how proud I am to work for this remarkable program, and how lucky I am to lead such a talented and compassionate workforce.

I have two wonderful children who entered the workforce in the past year. One is being called up for active military duty in October and the other will teach inner-city children. It is imperative that they and millions of other young Americans have confidence that we will continue to honor the great intergenerational contract that is Social Security.

It is in this spirit that President Obama established the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform that in December will make recommendations regarding the future of Social Security.

With the 75th anniversary of the Social Security Act upon us, the agency has been revitalized despite the huge workloads caused by higher unemployment. Compared to four years ago, productivity is up, backlogs are down, and an aging IT infrastructure is being replaced with state-of-the-art systems and the best electronic services in the Federal government.

I am excited about the next 75 years of Social Security, and you should be too.

Michael J. Astrue is commissioner of the Social Security Administration. Among his various government positions he served as general counsel of the Department of Health and Human Services and associate counsel to the president during parts of both the Reagan and Bush administrations.

Some Financial Help From Social Security

Wednesday, July 30th, 2008

I have written several articles, in the past years, about the Well Spouse Foundation. I became a member of this organization decades ago. The book Mainstay, by Maggie Strong, was really the start. When I read this book, written by a young woman when her husband became ill with Multiple Sclerosis, I felt I had found a friend who was dealing with the same emotions that I was coping with. Mainstay was the impetus that led to the Well Spouse Association. It is a wonderful organization that provides support for the spouses of the chronically ill.


 


Through their newsletter, “Mainstay,”(which I have often referred to as a support group in your mailbox) many well spouses get emotional and practical help. Their many programs include respite weekends, forums, listings of local support groups, book reviews, and online discussions that give many well spouses their only contact with others who are dealing with the same problems, situations and emotions.


 


Their Mentor Program is online support for members providing one to one support for a well spouse from a veteran caregiver.  For members without e-mail who want to communicate with other well spouses, their Round Robin Letter Writing Groups consists of communication among five to seven well spouses.


 


Always keeping an eye on what is current or new from the government agencies that can help us, the Well Spouse Association keeps its members informed of programs that might help us financially. Around Mother’s Day, I received this information that I thought I should share with my U.S. readers. I hope it can be of financial help to some of you.

 

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Help Your Mom Save $3,600!
By Everett M. Lo

Social Security Administration in New York



People all over the country are helping their moms save as much as $3,600 per year on the cost of prescription drugs. You can too!
 
We all know the high cost of medicine can be a burden on mothers who have limited income and resources. But there is extra help available through Social Security that could pay part of her monthly premiums, annual deductibles and prescription co-payments.
The extra help could be worth up of $3,600 per year.
 
To figure out whether your mother is eligible, Social Security needs to know her income and the value of her savings, investments and real estate (other than the home she lives in). To qualify for the extra help, she must be receiving Medicare and also have:
 
Income limited to $15,600
for an individual or $21,000 for a married couple living together. Even if her annual income is higher, she still may be able to get some help with monthly premiums, annual deductibles and prescription co-payments. Some examples where income may be higher include if she or her spouse support other family members who live with them; Have earnings from work; or live in Alaska or Hawaii; and (have)
 
Resources limited to $11,990
for an individual or $23,970 for a married couple living together. Resources include such things as bank accounts, stocks and bonds. We do not count her house and car as resources.
 
Social Security has an easy-to-use online application that you can help complete for your mom. You can find it at http://www.socialsecurity.gov. To apply by phone or have an
application mailed to you, call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) and ask for the Application for Help with Medicare Prescription Drug Plan Costs (SSA-1020). Or go to the nearest Social Security office.
 
To learn more about the Medicare prescription drug plans and special enrollment periods visit
http://www.medicare.gov or call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227; TTY 1-877-486-2048).
 
So, this Mother’s Day, help your mom save up to $3,600 a year on her prescription drugs. Long after the candy and flowers are gone, the extra help through Social Security will keep on giving.

 

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I hope this will help some of you ease the financial burden of chronic illness a bit. For more information on the Well Spouse Association, contact Well Spouse Association, 63 West Main Street, Suite H Freehold, NJ 07728 or you can call 800-838-0879, 732-577-8899 or fax 732-577-8644. Their e-mail address is info@wellspouse.org and their website is www.wellspouse.org. It may be one of the most supportive things you do for yourself as a well spouse.


 


You can reach me at annnovick@hotmail.com

A Lighthouse Of Reason In A Dark Shidduch Sea

Wednesday, February 6th, 2008

Dear Readers: I want to share a letter I received this week giving me hope that there are some level heads out there in the shidduch world, and that not everyone is caught up in the hysteria and/or ga’avah (arrogance) that accompanies a suggestion for a date.




The letter was in answer to my previous column, in which I pointed out that the level of “checking” into a prospective shidduch has gotten way out of hand, as has the “criteria” used to assess the boy’s or girl’s “worthiness.” Case in point: A fine young man in his mid-20’s was asked the names of his high school yeshiva rebbes– which he readily supplied.



However, despite a glowing report from the various rebbes and his chavrusah, etc., the girl’s parents decided that they needed further information and wanted the names of his yeshiva ketanah teachers – even though over a dozen years had passed and he was now an adult.



In another shidduch scenario, a young lady’s reference was asked how she would rate the girl’s communication skills (perhaps the boy’s mother wanted to know if she would be able to decipher baby talk so the future eineklach would not cry unnecessarily). In yet another case, a reference was asked how she would assess the sincerity of the girl’s davening. The startled but indignant reference stated that she was too engrossed in her own davening to notice!


I ruefully suggested in my column that if one’s child had successfully passed the intense scrutiny, inquiries and investigations launched by a prospective date’s family, a mazel tov might just be in order.

 



Dear Ms. Kupfer:


I have been following the shidduch crisis in all the Jewish papers in the last year or so. We live about 400 miles from New York City. Needless to say, I see the situation from another perspective. Of course, everything is subjective.


We have three married children who met their spouses in New York. We did not check out future sons- and daughters-in-law and/or their parents. Baruch Hashem, they are all happy. After raising our children in the Torah way by sending them to day school, we allowed them to make their own decisions. We respected their judgment. By the time they are grown, hopefully parents have instilled in their children Jewish values – and they should back off and let their children decide (I am not talking about extreme situations).


Judging people according to rigid and superficial categories, such as whether the “other family” serves on paper plates, linen or plastic tablecloths, the mother’s (or father’s) weight and when that person was toilet-trained (don’t laugh, I heard it!) breaks down communication – ensuring that there is no room for flexibility.


Parents who meddle too much should be told to respect their children and stay out, at least in the initial process. Our son met his wife through a girl whom he dated twice. One never knows how one can meet his or her bashert.


Young people (and their parents, if they are involved) should be looking for a person who demonstrates kindness, commitment, responsibility, honesty, integrity, respect to parents and older people, sense of humor, self-esteem, flexibility and, if possible, the ability to find out how a person handles his or her temper and disappointment.


Our last single son is a graduate student who is looking for a frum and independent girl who will be able to stand on her own two feet. (In fact, we made sure that our daughter had a profession, too.) He is talented and was considering staying in a yeshiva. But who will support him and his future family?


Those who wish to sit and study at the expense of others pay the price, in every sense of the word (and ultimately so do all of us). They mostly stay immature, depending on their parents’ financial support and just don’t grow up in a healthy way.


Since the parents pay for their adult children’s livelihood, some feel entitled to dictate to them where to live, how to space their children, how to dress them and what to name the grandchildren, among other demanding expectations. The adult children’s decision is often under a magnifying glass, and many times they are criticized about minor things. All this stress causes shalom bayis tension.


Now back to your article. Where do those young girls come from, wanting to stay home and have a husband who only learns? Are they realistic? Those who only study will not have earned money to get enough Social Security or any money for retirement, and will not benefit from all that goes along with the satisfaction of working and supporting one’s family. Having said that, I have no objection to parents occasionally helping out financially.


May we soon witness an improvement in this situation.


A Concerned Reader

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/a-lighthouse-of-reason-in-a-dark-shidduch-sea/2008/02/06/

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