Roundup Briefs

1/17/2013

New online Social Security services open

New online Social Security services open

The U.S. Social Security Administration is expanding the services available with My Social Security, a personalized online account people can use during their working years into the time they receive Social Security benefits.

More than 60 million Social Security beneficiaries and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients can access their benefit verification letter, payment history, and earnings record instantly using their online account. Social Security beneficiaries also can change their address and start or change direct deposit information online.

Social Security beneficiaries and SSI recipients with a My Social Security account can go online and get an official benefit verification letter instantly. The benefit verification letter serves as proof of income to secure loans, mortgages and other housing, and state or local benefits.

Additionally, people use the letter to prove current Medicare health insurance coverage, retirement or disability status, and age. People can print or save a customized letter.

Social Security processed nearly 9 million requests for benefit verification letters in the past year. This new online service allows people to conduct business with Social Security without having to visit an office, make a phone call, or wait for a letter to arrive in the mail. It also will reduce the time spent by employees completing these requests and free them to focus on other workloads.

People age 18 and older can sign up for an account at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount. Once there, they must be able to provide information about themselves and answers to questions that only they are likely to know. After completing the secure verification process, people can create a My Social Security account with a unique user name and password to access their information.

Those not yet receiving benefits can sign up for a my Social Security account to get a personalized online Social Security statement. The online statement provides a secure and convenient access to Social Security earnings and benefit information and estimates of future benefits. In addition, the portal also includes links to information about other online services, such as applications for retirement, disability and Medicare.

Humane Society event tickets now available

Finney County Humane Society "Date Dine" give-away tickets are now available at the shelter on Fleming Street and at Davis Designs in downtown Garden City.

The drawing will take place on Feb. 9 (you do not have to be present to win).

Kansas officials support phasing out boat taxes

TOPEKA (AP) — Gov. Sam Brownback's administration is proposing phasing out property taxes on watercraft by 2016.

Watercraft is currently taxed at 30 percent, prompting criticism that boat owners often register their watercraft in other states to avoid the high taxes.

In November, about 53 percent of Kansas voters approved an initiative to allow lawmakers to reduce property taxes on watercraft.

The Wichita Eagle reports the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism announced a plan Monday to tax boats at 20 percent starting in 2014 and 10 percent in 2015. Watercraft would be exempt from property taxes beginning in 2016 and beyond.

The department also proposed stricter laws for boating under the influence and requiring everyone to take boater education courses.

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