Beware of people pretending to be from social security

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

Social Security is committed to protecting your personal information. We urge you to always be cautious and to avoid providing sensitive information such as your Social Security number (SSN) or bank account information to unknown people over the phone or internet. If you receive a call and aren’t expecting one, you must be extra careful. You can always get the caller’s information, hang up, and — if you do need more clarification — contact the official phone number of the business or agency that the caller claims to represent. Never reveal personal data to a stranger who called you.

There’s a scam going around right now. You might receive a call from someone claiming to be from Social Security or another agency. Calls can even display 1-800-772-1213, Social Security’s national customer service number or even a local SSA office number, as the incoming number on your caller ID. In some cases, the caller states that Social Security does not have all of your personal information, such as your SSN, on file. Other callers claim Social Security needs additional information so the agency can increase your benefit payment, or that Social Security will terminate your benefits if they do not confirm your information. This appears to be a widespread issue, as reports have come from people across the country. These calls are not from Social Security.

Callers sometimes state that your SSN is at risk of being deactivated or deleted. The caller then asks you to call a phone number to resolve the issue. People should be aware that the scheme’s details may vary; however, you should avoid engaging with the caller or calling the number provided, as the caller might attempt to acquire personal information.

Social Security employees occasionally contact people by telephone for customer-service purposes. In only a very few special situations, such as when you have business pending with us, will a Social Security employee request that the person confirm personal information over the phone.

Social Security employees will never threaten you or promise a Social Security benefit approval or increase in exchange for information. In those cases, the call is fraudulent, and you should just hang up. If you receive these calls, please report the information to the Office of the Inspector General at 1-800-269-0271 or online at oig.ssa.gov/report.

You can also share our new “SSA Phone Scam Alert” video at http://bit.ly/2VKJ8SG

Protecting your information is an important part of Social Security’s mission. You work hard and make a conscious effort to save and plan for retirement. Scammers try to stay a step ahead of us, but with an informed public and your help, we can stop these criminals before they cause serious financial damage.

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Physical Therapists Can Keep You Moving Forward

Emporia, VA – The majority of Americans who die from opioid overdoses do so after using these medications to treat legitimate pain. Sadly, many of these conditions could be prevented or managed with positive lifestyle changes, and a better understanding of body mechanics learned through physical therapy.

“Rural areas need quality care, especially for rehabilitation.  Our clinic is fully equipped to meet all therapy needs of the people of Emporia and the surrounding areas; we are the only full service clinic in the area,” says Richard M. Alexander, PT, DPT, “We treat everything from heart attacks and strokes to joint replacements, sports medicine, neck and back pain, balance disorders and vertigo.”

Physical therapists are movement specialists. They are licensed professionals with graduate-level degrees, who have advanced clinical knowledge of the human muscular and skeletal systems. Over the past decade, physical therapy has increasingly focused on prevention rather than treatment. Physical therapy techniques can help those with arthritis, sports injuries, environmental or workplace pain, and sleep disturbances, providing a number of benefits.

  • Avoiding Surgery. Meniscal or rotator cuff tears, spinal stenosis and degenerative disk disease often experience significant improvement through physical therapy. Given the cost and recovery time involved with surgical procedures, it’s worth a try.
  • Avoiding Opioids. Chronic joint and nerve pain are the most common reasons people seek over-the-counter and prescription pain medications. Exhausting all possible therapy and body-management tactics for pain reduction should always be a priority before opting for opioids.
  • Managing the Work Environment. A PT can provide you with tools and exercises to prevent pain and loss of mobility, whether you sit for a living, stand in one place, use your hands repetitively, or lift heavy objects all day. Recognizing the risks involved in your daily work life and being proactive about them can save pain, costs, and lost productivity.
  • Preventing Headaches.  Many chronic headache conditions are caused by increased time in front of computers and mobile devices. Pressure on the thoracic and cervical spine can lead to disk degeneration and nerve damage, and result in fierce and frequent headaches. Learning to use and position your body can lead to a significant reduction in pain.

Arthritis is a fact of life for most people, though the extent and nature of its impact on our lives can vary widely. We all know those folks who still look spry and confident at age 82. It’s unlikely that they have no arthritis – the difference is in how they “manage” their bodies. Physical therapists provide benefits for arthritis patients in three different areas:

  1. Prevent and manage chronic pain. A PT will help strengthen the associated muscle groups and teach you to move your body properly, while decreasing impact on the affected joint.
  2. Create and maintain maximum flexibility and mobility. Physical therapy is a holistic practice of medicine, and good therapists factor in your social, emotional and physical factors when creating a treatment plan.
  3. Support good sleep. Much of the physical decline associated with arthritis can be attributed to poor sleep mechanics. A therapist will help with tips and tools for proper sleep health.

Physical therapy benefits those with and without existing physical ailments. When you meet with a physical therapist, give them an accurate picture of your current lifestyle and paint a picture of what you’d like to accomplish. The benefits won’t be realized overnight, but much of what you learn, you can continue yourself at home.

The way we hold, operate and rest our bodies is closely tied to levels of happiness, disease prevention and longevity, and the practice of it is not to be underestimated. If you need assistance locating a qualified physical therapist, ask your primary care doctor for a recommendation or contact SVRMC Rehabilitation Services at 434-348-4871.


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Dr. Dalton Receives Distinguished Alumni Award at Virginia Tech

Dr. Dixie Watts Dalton, Dean of Humanities, Social Sciences, and Business at Southside Virginia Community College(SVCC) is Virginia Tech’s Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics’ recipient of the Distinguished Alumna in Academia Award.  The award is presented by VT’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences during its “Celebration of Ut Prosim,” the college’s alumni organization’s annual recognition program.  Ut Prosim is the university motto meaning “That I May Serve”.

For 17 years at Virginia Tech (VT), Dr. Dixie, as she was known by her students, taught numerous classes, provided leadership to the undergraduate program, and contributed academic and career advising to undergraduate and graduate students in VT’s Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics. In recognition of her teaching and advising contributions, she was selected as VT’s recipient of the outstanding teaching award and the outstanding advising award— both in the same year.  At the national level, she received teaching awards from the North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture Association and the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association. In addition to teaching and advising, she contributed to Virginia’s agricultural industry through her extension work.  In recognition of those contributions, she received Virginia Farm Bureau’s Service to Agriculture Award and the Virginia Cooperative Council’s Cooperative Education Leadership Award. She continues to make a positive impact in her current position at SVCC.

Dixie has played a major role on the VT College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Alumni Organization board of directors. Beginning as a departmental faculty representative in the 1990’s and more recently as a director, she has served as vice president, president, and past president.  During the presentation of her award at the college ceremony, this was said of her contributions: “Always working quietly but effectively and always in the spirit of Ut Prosim, Dixie has provided steady, thoughtful, and consistent leadership throughout her career for the Department, the College, Virginia Tech, and Virginia.” During the ceremony, in addition to receiving the alumna award, she was also recognized by current president, Rachel Kohl, for her two years of service as the alumni organization’s president.

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Virginia Cooperative Extension Continues To Be An Important Resource For The Commonwealth In Severe Weather

Hurricane season runs from Saturday, June 1 through Nov. 30. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), between nine and 15 named storms, including includes tropical storms, are predicted to form in the Atlantic this year.

Being prepared for severe weather before it arrives can keep you and your family safe and healthy. Knowing where to turn for help and information afterwards can play an important role in mitigating further damage and health risks.

For more than a century, Virginia Cooperative Extension (VCE) has helped Virginians manage the devastations bad weather can cause. The program, managed jointly by Virginia State University (VSU) and Virginia Tech, provides online resources ranging from food safety issues during power outages to how to protect livestock and crops, as well as Extension agents who cover every corner of the state to offer additional information when needed.

“One of the chief goals of Virginia’s Cooperative Extension program is to empower farmers, ranchers and communities of all sizes to adequately respond to emergencies,” said Dr. M. Ray McKinnie, VSU College of Agriculture dean and 1890s Extension Program administrator. “In partnerships with the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Extension offers valuable research-based information to communities preparing and recovering from disasters, whether the need is flood clean-up or financial stability.”

Last October Hurricane Michael’s strong winds and high water killed six people, knocked out power to thousands across the state, closed hundreds of roads, and flooded many homes. To protect yourself and your family, pets and livestock from the next severe weather event, take time now to review or create an emergency plan. Visitwww.ext.vsu.edu/severe-weather to get started.

To keep on top of other ways Virginia Cooperative Extension can help you, your family or your business, follow them on Facebook (VsuCollegeOfAgriculture) or Twitter (VSU_AG) or subscribe to their weekly eNewsletter or email updates athttps://bit.ly/2UekOW3 (or from the ext.vsu.edu homepage).

In the event of severe weather predictions, always stay tuned to your radio or television. Meteorologists are trained professionals equipped to analyze natural indicators of weather conditions that may be threatening and to advise when to seek safety when necessary.

Extension is a joint program of Virginia Tech, Virginia State University, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and state and local governments. Virginia Cooperative Extension programs and employment are open to all, regardless of age, color, disability, gender, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, veteran status, or any other basis protected by law. VSU is an equal opportunity/ affirmative action employer. Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Virginia State University, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. Edwin J. Jones, Director, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg; M. Ray McKinnie, Administrator, 1890 Extension Program, Virginia State University, Petersburg.


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