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2018-5-24

Five Steps for Social Security Success

By Jacqueline Weisgarber, Social Security Public Affairs Specialist in Richmond, Virginia

No matter how much you’ve planned, there’s no better time than now to think about your future. We’d like to encourage you to take Five Steps toward Your Financial Security. Planning for the future may seem intimidating to many, but we’ve broken the task down into five easy steps:

Step 1: Get to know your Social Security — You and Social Security are on a journey for life, but there is so much you may not know about the benefits and services we provide. Social Security delivers financial security to millions of children and adults before retirement; including the chronically ill, children of deceased parents, and wounded warriors. Learn more at www.socialsecurity.gov/agency.

Step 2: Verify your earnings — Your benefits are calculated using your employment records. You can use your personal my Social Security account to verify that your earnings are recorded accurately. Access your account today at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.

Step 3: Estimate your benefits — With our Retirement Estimator, you can estimate your future retirement or disability benefits based on your actual earnings record. This can be invaluable as you plan for your future. View our calculators at www.socialsecurity.gov/planners/benefitcalculators.html.

Step 4:  Apply for benefits — You can apply for retirement, Medicare, or disability benefits online through our easy-to-use, secure online application that is convenient to navigate. Read more about benefits and apply now at www.socialsecurity.gov/benefits.

Step 5: Manage your benefits — Social Security puts you in control by offering convenient and secure services that fit your needs. Verify your payment information, change your address or phone number, get a benefit verification letter, and even start or change direct deposit of your benefits. See all the things you can do at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.

Share this information with the people you love. Get to know your Social Security and the many ways we help secure today and tomorrow for you and your family at www.socialsecurity.gov/5steps.

MOTORISTS URGED TO PUT TRAFFIC SAFETY ON THEIR TRAVEL AGENDA THIS MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND

RICHMOND – As travelers plan their vacations and pack their bags for the upcoming Memorial Day weekend, Virginia State Police is urging motorists to make sure traffic safety is at the top of their agenda. Already this year, 280 individuals, including drivers, passengers, pedestrians and motorcyclists, have lost their lives in traffic crashes. The startling number comes on the heels of an almost 11 percent increase in traffic deaths during 2017.  

“Last year, 843 people were killed on Virginia’s highways. On average, that’s more than two people a day, 16 people a week and 70 people a month. But no matter how you count these tragic incidents, there are just too many,” said Colonel Gary T. Settle, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “The sad fact is that many traffic crashes are preventable, but in order to prevent them we all have to do our part by buckling up, complying with speed limits, eliminating distractions and never driving impaired.”

To ensure the Memorial Day holiday is as safe as possible, Virginia State Police will increase patrols during the long holiday weekend. Beginning Friday, May 25, 2018, VSP will join law enforcement around the country for Operation C.A.R.E. (Crash Awareness and Reduction Effort), a state-sponsored, national program intended to reduce crashes, fatalities and injuries due to impaired driving, speed and failing to wear a seat belt. The 2018 Memorial Day statistical counting period begins at 12:01 a.m. Friday, May 25, 2018, and continues through midnight Monday, May 28, 2018.

During the 2017 Memorial Day Operation C.A.R.E initiative, Virginia troopers arrested 109 drunk drivers, cited 10,337 speeders and 2,395 reckless drivers, and issued 250 citations for child seat violations. They also cited 820 individuals for failing to wear a seat belt.

The 2018 Memorial Day weekend falls during the “Click It or Ticket” campaign, and state police troopers will be vigilant in their efforts to increase seat belt usage for travelers of all ages. The two-week concentrated education and enforcement initiative began last Monday and runs through Sunday, June 3, 2018.

Of the 843 total traffic deaths last year throughout Virginia, 351 were unrestrained.

With increased patrols, Virginia State Police also reminds drivers of Virginia’s “Move Over” law, which requires motorists to move over when approaching an emergency vehicle stopped alongside the road. If unable to move over, then drivers are required to cautiously pass the emergency vehicle. The law also applies to workers in vehicles equipped with amber lights.

From 2008 to 2017 nationwide, 126 law enforcement officers working along the roadside were struck by a vehicle because a driver failed to heed the “Move Over” law.

To raise awareness of this law and the impact it has on first responders and highway safety workers, Virginia State Police has coordinated the 2nd Annual National “Move Over” Tweet-Along. Over a 24-hour period on Friday, May 25, 2018, public safety agencies, departments of transportation and numerous other local and state agencies from across the country will inundate Twitter with the “Move Over” message using hashtag #MoveOver18. 

ATTORNEY GENERAL MARK HERRING AND HAMPTON ROADS HUMAN TRAFFICKING TASK FORCE LAUNCH NEW REGIONAL AWARENESS CAMPAIGN

~ Billboards going up on major highways across Hampton Roads to bring awareness to the realities of human trafficking and engage victims ~

    

NORFOLK (May 22, 2018) – Attorney General Mark Herring today announced that the Hampton Roads Human Trafficking Task Force will launch a new awareness campaign across the Hampton Roads region. Beginning this week, billboards will be placed on major highways across the region encouraging victims or those with information about possible human trafficking to contact the National Human Trafficking Resource Center’s hotline. The billboards are estimated to make 2.5 million impressions while they are up across the region. Additionally, the campaign will include bilingual digital advertising which will run in the region. In 2017, Virginia has had thefifteenth highest number of human trafficking cases referenced on the hotline, and experts believe human trafficking occurs in Virginia because of its location on the east coast, international air and sea ports, and large number of major interstates.
 
“Human trafficking robs its victims of their dignity, their identity, their freedom, and in a tragic number of cases, their childhood,” said Attorney General Herring. “Virginia has made great strides in combating this crime and my team and I have been proud to be a part of those efforts. By raising awareness about the existence and impact of human trafficking and promoting critical resources, we can help restore victims and seek justice against those who perpetrate this dehumanizing crime. I want to thank our Hampton Roads Human Trafficking partners for their continued efforts to combat this heinous crime.”
 
Human trafficking is a $150 billion dollar enterprise worldwide, and is widely considered one of the fastest growing criminal industries in the world. The United Nations' International Labor Organization estimates that there are 20.9 million victims of human trafficking globally, with hundreds of thousands of victims here in the United States.
 
Hampton Roads billboard locations include:
  • 3210 Bainbridge Boulevard, near the intersection of Rosemont Avenue, Chesapeake, VA
  • US 60, near the intersection of Elmhurst Street East, Newport News, VA
  • 3601 Chestnut Avenue, near the intersection of 36th Street, Newport News, VA
  • 2720 Hampton Boulevard, near the intersection of 35th Street, Norfolk, VA
  • 2019 Granby Street, near the intersection of 21st Street, Norfolk, VA
  • 3001 Lafayette Boulevard, near the intersection of Ballentine Boulevard,Norfolk, VA
  • 2561 Airline Boulevard, near the intersection of Victory Boulevard,Portsmouth, VA
  • 3307 George Washington Highway, Portsmouth, VA
“No one anticipated how prevalent the problem would be, we have opened three new shelters and served over 60 victims since the inception of the program 16 months ago,” said Robin Gautheir, Executive Director, Samaritan House.
“We know that awareness and outreach are two important tools in identifying victims of human trafficking, and we hope this billboard campaign will encourage the public to report suspicious activity to us,” said Dewey Mann, supervisory special agent with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations Norfolk. “One of the task force’s first successful investigations began with a tip to the National Human Trafficking Hotline.”
 
In November 2016, Attorney General Herring announced a $1.45 million grant that would help fund the Hampton Roads Human Trafficking Task Force, which we then launched in January of 2017. The Office of the Attorney General partnered with Homeland Security, Samaritan House, the US Attorney’s Office, Virginia State Police, and law enforcement agencies from Newport News, Hampton, Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Portsmouth and Chesapeake for the task force. Since October 2016, just before the launch of the Hampton Roads Human Trafficking Task Force, there have been a total of 108 new trafficking investigations, 45 arrests, and 76 victims have been identified.

Just in the STROKE of time! Community Out-Reach Education

South Hill – Stroke is a serious, life-threatening medical condition that occurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off.  Every minute the brain is oxygen deprived, brain cells are damaged.  The good news is, if the stroke is treated immediately, brain damage can be minimized. 
 
As a Primary Stroke Center, VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital is dedicated to the prevention and treatment of stroke.  American Stroke Month in May gives us an important opportunity to join together to prevent, treat and beat the number five killer in the United States.
 
How can a stroke be prevented?  What are clot busting drugs with new clot “retrievers”?  What are ways to beat stroke and manage fatigue and depression?
 
If you are seeking answers to questions like these you should attend May’s C.O.R.E. (Community Out-Reach Education) Program at VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital to learn more about stroke.
 
This FREE program will be on Tuesday, May 29th at 4:00 p.m. in the VCU Health CMH Education Center located inside the C.A.R.E. Building, 1755 N. Mecklenburg, Avenue, South Hill, VA.
 
Dr. Nina J. Solenski will be the speaker for the program.  She is an associate professor in neurology, subspecializing in cerebrovascular disease at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, VA.  Dr. Solenski is a graduate of Jefferson Medical College (Philadelphia, PA ’89).  She received her residency training at Dartmouth Mary-Hitchcock in internal medicine and at University of Virginia in neurology.  She completed an ACGME accredited cerebrovascular disease fellowship training program at UVA in clinical and basic research.  She is currently dual APBN boarded in general and vascular neurology.
 
Reservations are not required for this program; however, they are recommended.  For more information or to register to attend, please call (434) 774-2550 or visit www.vcu-cmh.org.
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