TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Cleaning up Some Odds and Ends

Re: Cleaning up Some Odds and Ends
Thu, 14 Jun 2007 09:55:11 -0700

On Jun 9, 6:05 pm, (TELECOM Digest Editor)

> I apologize for earlier this week when I interuppted the conversations
> in progress for one of my periodic money requests.

Can money be sent to your PO box?

> I also, once each year, get two interesting benefits: food sales tax
> exemption (a flat payback of $72 for the prior year) for whatever I
> paid in food sales tax.

In Penna and NJ, regular food (not junk food [ie candy and soda] or
restaurant food) is exempt for sales tax. Also most clothing. I
don't know why this isn't that way in all places.

> That's another thing: the monthly federal payout on Disability is

Your lucky you can get Social Security Disability. Some years ago
they steeply raised the qualification. Most people were turned down
and had to appeal, which meant they had to get an expensive lawyer.

One day I was at the post office when a frail man asked me for help to
interpret a letter. It was from the Disability determination unit.
It was printed in all caps and completely (at least to me) confusing.
How could a frail or uneducated people make sense of it? I was angry.
Fortunately, at least the letter was signed by a real person with a
real direct telephone (not a answer battery) number. I circled the
name and number and suggested the man call her to discuss what needs
to be done.

Back in the Depression, the New Deal created an alphabet soup of
government programs to help people in trouble. These programs indeed
literally saved thousands of lives (and the country from revolution).
But they created a bureacratic nightmare that exists to this day.

During WW II the government paid a stipend to the dependents of
soldiers. A massive bureacracy was created with an enormous IBM
information processing data center (IBM's biggest set up). One thing
that bothered me was that if a soldier was killed, the checks stopped
immediately, indeed, they would go through the mail trays (envelopes
ready to go out) and search out checks already printed and stuffed, to
pull payment. (This was detailed in their Annual Report). I guess
they had to do it that way to be fair, rather than let one family
slide for 3 months and another family not slide at all depending on
how fast the death notice came through.

[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: To answer your first question; yes,
asolutely on the address: PO Box 50, Independence, KS 67301. If you
use that address, obviously a check is safer than cash.

In Kansas, 'food stamps' (actually an ATM card called 'Vision' with a
credit card number in the Discover Card range, i.e. '6034xxxxxxxxxxxxx'
is used. Those cards are exempt from sales tax and CAN be used for
'junk food', but NOT for 'ready to eat' food, for example microwave
sandwhiches in convenience stores, nor tobacco nor liquor, nor animal
(or any non-human edible) food. I do _not_ receive any variation on
'food stamps', either state or federal. The latter of these are none
the less administerd by state welfare programs, as agents for the
federal government. Although the federal (versus state) requirements
are a bit looser, my 'income' (almost entirely SSD, as paltry as it
is) is still too high.

As a separate thing, state of Kansas chooses to rebate a flat-rate
$72.00 annually to senior citizens or certified disabled persons
against the food sales tax they paid all year long at the cash
register. If I had a Vision Card and swiped it at the cash register,
food sales tax is automatically calculated from the total amount due
(when the grocery purchase is deducted from the allotment given.) If
I tried to claim the $72.00 also, or 'double-dipped' I am sure before
too many years they would catch up with me. As a senior, either I get
the $72 once a year _OR_ I pay no food sales tax at all with the
Vision card; but not both.

One good thing about living in a small town like Independence is
that everyone knows everyone else and many times are friends. It also
helps that we have a full service Social Security office here in our
town. The office has _three_ employees plus the male manager.(Two
clerks and a 'service representative'). The manager is also a member
of the 'Friends of the Independence Public Library' committee, the
same as myself, and perhaps has other pursuasions similar to my own. I
know every person (all three of them!) working in that office. We do
not socialize, but we know each other and are friendly aquaintences.
Maybe I pass one of them in a local restaurant and nod, etc. When I go
in their office, there are never any other clients there, or maybe one
or two. Talking to a woman working there one day I asked her, "Have
you ever been to Chicago, or worked for Social Security there?" She
said, "no, but I have heard the SSA office there is a large place." I
explained to her that customers go in, take a number and wait 30-45
minutes for the number to be called, _then_ go stand in a line behind
other customers approaching one of several booths with service
reps. She clucked her tongue, rolled her eyes and said it sounded
pretty awful. Yeah, I guess so. There are definite advantages to rural
s.e. Kansas culture, not the least of which is lots of personal
aquaintences in 'good' places. Everyone, literally, knows everyone
else in this town.

Now days also, Social does not mail out _nearly_ as many checks as
they used to. They much prefer direct deposit which gives them up to
a matter of a few hours the day before payment to put a stop on the
payment if they wish. And payments are scattered all through the
month. If your payment previously was on the third of each month, then
it stayed that way. But 'newer' clients (like myself) fall into
payment 'groups' based on our social security numbers. Some on the
first of each month, some on the third, and for most of us, the four
payment groups are the first four Wednesdays of each month. I am in
the fourth (Wednesday) pay group. If First Wednesday is also the
first or third day of the month, then checks are issued to first
pay group on the second day of the new month, otherwise if Wednesday X
pay group is a holiday, the checks are delivered on Tuesday. In other words
they space them all out over a month. I always get my direct deposits
between the 22nd of the month and the 28th for the _prior_ month. And
they do not hesitate to pull it back if, in their opinion, you have
lost your entitlement. They do not pay if you go to a nursing home
under a state welfare program; they do not pay if you have been
convicted of a crime and are currently incarcerated. They are getting
quite tough. I never have a single problem with Social ... the deposits
are always in the bank on the day they say they will be.

I did have a hassle with food sales tax/homestead tax rebate once, in
2002. I had put in the form at the county clerk's office early in
January, which means the refunds come in about two weeks via mail, but
in that year, 2002, instead I got back a copy of a warrant from the
accounts recievable offset office of the state treasurer. It seems the
City of Junction City, KS (where I was at when I had the aneurysm) had
filed a tax refund offset for the overdue ambulance bill between
Junction City and Topeka for a few hundred dollars. I got Junction
City to release the warrant, and shortly thereafter the state
treasurer sent my food/homstead tax rebates to me. PAT]

Date: Thu, 14 Jun 2007 23:14:23 -0400
From: mc <>
Newsgroups: comp.dcom.telecom
Subject: Re: When it Rains, it Pours
Message-ID: <>
Organization: BellSouth Internet Group
X-Telecom-Digest: Volume 26, Issue 167, Message 6 of 7
Lines: 22

Pat, remember that with brain injuries, 5 years can make a big difference
even if 1 year seems not to. We all wish you a long life and continuing

[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: I remember getting email from someone
in 2000 commenting on my (then, just recent) aneurysm experience. He
complained that never having taken a drink in his life, several years
earlier he had been driving a car that had been struck by a drunk
driver. It left him in pretty dreadful shape, and even at that time,
then ten years following the accident, he was still walking around
with a limp. He said to me, "go figure', and that things 'happen' in
life. I do not know if I have 'recovered' any in the past five or six
years, or if it is only a case where I have learned to compensate for
my new shortcomings. I do know in a few cases, my heath has gotten
worse. I had gotten to the point I was able to walk around with a
limp; now I cannot go a block on my own without my motorized chair
and oxygen supply. Please remember that since getting back home after
the aneurysm I have since had another heart attack (stent now installed)
and had peumonia. I also have COPD to deal with. But thanks for your
good wishes on my eventual recovery. PAT]

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