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Silver Sands

cancerThe long and hard-fought battle Eileen Hadidian has been waging against bone cancer for more than 10 years seems to be drawing to a close. Doctors earlier this month said she is probably just a few days, or maybe even just a few hours, away from death.

When that happens, the 64-year-old Lebanese American woman will become just another statistic in a health care system that fails to provide frail seniors and people with disabilities like her the long-term care they need – a situation that is sending many families into bankruptcy.

If you’re in your sixties, you probably know that the age to receive full retirement benefits has changed. But it’s important to remember that the age to begin receiving Medicare has not — it is still 65. Even if you have decided to wait until after you are age 65 to apply for retirement benefits, most people should start getting Medicare coverage at age 65.

If you would like to begin your Medicare coverage when you first become eligible, we suggest that you apply within three months of reaching age 65.  You can do it online in as little as 10 minutes at www.socialsecurity.gov/medicareonly.

chaldean 500x279 At 3 a.m., the ring of the phone jolts Sabri Shuker out of bed.

It’s not a typical wake-up call for most, but he’s come to expect them. His gut tells him the news he’s about to receive will keep him up for days. Shuker’s heart beats faster. Short of breath, he answers anxiously.

Effective November 19, 2012, the South Florida Social Security offices will be open to the public Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. – a reduction of 30 minutes each weekday. In addition, beginning January 2, 2013, the offices will close to the public at noon every Wednesday.

While agency employees will continue to work their regular hours, this shorter public window will allow them to complete face-to-face interviews and process claims work without incurring the cost of overtime. The significantly reduced funding provided by Congress under the continuing resolution for the first six months of the fiscal year makes it impossible for the agency to provide the overtime needed to handle service to the public as it has done in the past.

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