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Silver Sands

On October 12, 2011 at 11:00 a.m. EDT, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Donald Berwick, M.D. will kick off the 2012 Medicare Open Enrollment period at Miami-Dade County's Pine Woods Villa Senior Center in Miami, Florida.

Dr. Berwick will discuss the extended enrollment period and the new benefits available as a result of the Affordable Care Act with Medicare beneficiaries and partners. This year, the open enrollment period will begin earlier, starting on Saturday, October 15 and will be extended to seven weeks to allow Medicare beneficiaries more time to review and compare their plan choices.

In spite of the evidence that the existing method of calculating the Social Security cost of living adjustment (COLA) underestimates the rate of inflation for Social Security beneficiaries, there is a strong push to move to an alternative method which will result in an even lower and less accurate measure of inflation.

The Chained Consumer Price Index (C-CPI-U) is under active consideration by key policymakers as a way to cut costs. Any proposal to use the Chained CPI will reduce benefits for all and have the greatest impact on those least able to afford lower benefits including the very old, women, Asian and Hispanic Americans and people with disabilities. Simply put, the proposal to use the Chained CPI is a stealth benefit cut affecting millions of older Americans.

With the 2011 hurricane season underway, Michael J. Astrue, Commissioner of Social Security, has an important message for people receiving checks from Social Security: please sign up for Direct Deposit before the first storm hits.

Direct Deposit is a secure and convenient way to receive Social Security payments, particularly when a natural disaster strikes, Commissioner Astrue said. This is a simple step people can take to eliminate one concern as they prepare for the hurricane season. Having funds available in the event of a storm is critically important.

Suffering from parental abuse as a child increases a persons chances of having poor sleep quality in old age, according to a research article in the current issue of the Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological and Social Sciences (Volume 66B, Number 3).

An analysis of data from 877 adults age 60 years and above found that early parental emotional abuse was associated with a higher number of sleep complaints in old age. It was specifically emotional abuse "rather than physical abuse or emotional neglect that was tied to trouble in getting a good nights sleep.