Tag Archives: benefits

Social Security (SSA) Child Benefits — Allow At Least 4 Months (If NOT Longer).

by Anura Guruge


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I wanted (make that ‘needed’) my Social Security (SSA) retirement as soon as I turned 62 in September 2015.

I had been waiting/planning for that for years. Per the SSA recommendation (of doing so 3 months ahead of time) I applied, in person, for my September 2015 retirement in early June 2015. I made an appointment at the local Concord, NH office and went and met with them. It was very smooth and pleasant (and I sang their praises). There were a couple of small wrinkles and I was very glad that I could deal with these in person rather than online. The two ‘wrinkles’ having to do with a minute monthly pension I get from the U.K. and the fact that I am divorced (and as such have an ex-wife). The Concord office dealt with these real well. They also told us, though we already knew, that the two kids, 9 & 14 at the time, were entitled to MORE benefits. Deanna has been disabled for years and the kids were receiving benefits through her. The Concord office, however, was very clever in not saying ANYTHING as to how much the kids would get when my retirement kicked in. To be fair they were also vague about how much my retirement would be because it had to be offset by that minute pension from the U.K. But it was all good …

I knew I would not get my first payment until November. I had seen that online and I am GLAD that I had because it did not come as a surprise when I was officially told that though I turn 62 in September my first payment would be in November. I think unless your birthday is on the 1st of the month there is always this ‘2 month’ delay BECAUSE you are only entitled AFTER the first FULL month after you turn 62 (65 or whatever age you elect after 62).

So I applied, in person, in June and within 2 weeks we had sorted out the two ‘wrinkles’. Around August I got a letter stating that I would start receiving my benefits as of the 2nd TUESDAY of November 2015. That was cute. Yes, SSA normally pays benefits on Wednesday. But the 2nd Wednesday of 2015 was November 11, Veteran’s Day, and a Federal Holiday. No mention of the child benefits. I also set up my SSA online account BUT neither I nor Deanna can access the kid’s benefits because they have their own SS numbers. Around September 11 I called Concord to see IF they could give me an update on the Child Benefits. They would only talk to me if Deanna was on the call since the kids, at that point, were linked to her account. Not a problem. In September they had NO news. Told us to call back in a month. So we called again in October, November and December. Always mid-month, around the 11th. No news BUT they continued to get the benefits they were getting through Deanna in October & December.

Deanna’s December payment, as always was on the 4th Wednesday — December 23, 2015. NO PAYMENTS FOR THE KIDS! No letter. Nothing. Boom. 2 days before Christmas. No payment. Bit of a blow, but luckily we could weather it. Called Concord again. As ever VERY NICE. Very helpful. But they had no idea. They, like us, were amazed that we had not had a letter.

The only news mid-January was that they were STILL calculating the new kids benefits! No payment January.

Called again mid-February. Ahhh! They had an update. They even had a tentative number! Said that payments would resume in March — 4th week.

Well on the 4th THURSDAY of February two payments arrived — back pay going back to November.

I just thought I should chronicle this in case any of YOU are waiting for Child benefits. The patience of Job helps.

It is crazy. I also came to realize that maybe they don’t get this that often with retirement — as opposed to disability, i.e., folks with kids under 18. Yes, it is not uncommon, of course, but we are definitely not in the majority. Hope this helps.

The Concord, NH SSA office is MAGIC. Very, very, very helpful BUT they can only report on what is taking place in Baltimore or in our case Philadelphia. 

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by Anura Guruge

New Hampshire ObamaCare Website To HELP Us As Of October 1, 2013.

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.

Anura Guruge

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Job Loses In New Hampshire — The Mystery Solved. Hannaford & Best Buy

Anura Guruge, laughing, picture November 16, 2011.

by Anura Guruge

On Saturday, at the Laconia Multicultural Day, I met a guy I had known for a long time from the Gilford Hannaford supermarket. He was the life and soul of the Deli counter. Given that I too can on occasion be a tad sociable and possibly even a bit of a clown, he and I got on like a house on fire — with rapid-fire, banter and lots of joshing around. Since we moved to Alton, in March 2007, we, of course, don’t go to the Gilford Hannaford that much, going instead to the Alton Hannaford (though we, when we can, do our BIG SHOP at ‘Market Basket’, of late in Tilton (which is much, much better than Concord) and also frequent ‘Fiddle Heads’). So, I don’t see him that often anymore.

When I saw him on Saturday I told him that I had visited his Hannaford a few weeks ago but had missed him. He replied, to my amazement, that this was not surprising in that he no longer worked there — he had been let go, laid off, in June! I really was taken aback. He really was a live wire and in my opinion a huge asset to the store because he tried so hard to make all the customers happy and cheerful. My first question to him, however, knowing his inclinations, was: ‘did they catch you messing around with any of the girls?‘. He vehemently denies that.

His explanation, to begin with, was that he had been there for 9 years, was a full-time employee with full benefits and that Hannaford replaced him with two part-timers, 20 hours each — and as such with no benefits. How many times have we heard this? And yes, we do know at least 3 people who work for Hannaford on this ’20-hour’ (with lots of overtime), no benefits scheme. I, as is my wont, grilled him further. He admitted that they found one ‘out-of-code’ product on his shelves. Given that I have never worked in a supermarket I am not sure how that ranks. But, to be fair, they can claim that they found some fault.

He also went onto claim that all of this started when the company changed hands … 5 new investors. Well, as far as I can see, there has been no changes in the ownership aspect of Hannaford — they are still owned by a Belgium conglomerate. But, I do see a trend, something that I have been talking about for the last 9 months.

To me, each time I go to Hannaford (and that is on average 3 times a week), I walk away with the distinct impression they are trying to sway the November 2012 election in Romney’s favor by making folks feel poor! They seem to jack up prices just so that people when asked that 4 year question have to answer in the negative. I don’t go to that many retail outlets, BUT Hannaford is the one that always strikes me as being extremely anti-Obama and trying to do everything they can to force him out of office. Laying off full time people would also fit in with this motive. Make people suffer. Blame poor Obama. Yes, the ‘Keeping Millions Unemployed To Put One Man Out of Work’. I could be wrong, and it is definitely not the folks at the local stores, but Hannaford strikes me (from my limited exposure) as one of the biggest culprits.

Over a year ago a friend of mine from Best Buy (who befriended me when I did a short stint at the Concord store as a weekends only Epson printer merchandiser) had a similar experience. He had been at Best Buy for over 10 years and worked his self up the ladder; that he was a computer whiz, very hard working and personable helped. When I met him he was an Assistant Manager and awfully helpful and kind to ‘guests’ like me. Shortly after I stopped doing the Epson gig he got another ‘promotion’. He was made the Inventory Manager. He had to undergo special training. He was very good at it. He always liked inventory and took great delight in seeing trucks getting unloaded.

They fired him about 9 months into the job citing an inventory violation. It had to do with 3 returned PCs and it was in Best Buys favor! He had included these three returned PCs as part of Concord’s inventory — albeit, with a note stating that they were returns! There was no hanky-panky, no funny business. No inventory had gone missing. If anything Best Buy had more inventory. But they fired him and replaced him with a young guy earning $20K less. This did not warrant a firing. Ironically he is an avowed, devout Republican (because as he claims, he as a Best Buy manager was paying so much tax).

I am willing to believe that this was another ‘get a cheaper’ worker scenario. But, poor Obama gets blamed.

Nothing I can do. I gave up trying to do my freelance professional writing a few years ago. So many unemployed writers willing to write for peanuts that it was just aggravating looking for work.

I feel bad for all of those laid off. I feel bad for those looking for work. I feel bad for all those folks making $20,000 who swear to God that they are going to vote for Romney because Obama is going to increase their taxes! I feel bad for those that don’t have health care but swear to God that they are going to vote for Romney because ‘Obamacare’ is scary and is akin to letting D.C. into bed with them! I feel bad that Hannaford is screwing all of us just to sway the election. Ditto for the Alton Circle Gas Station that raised gas prices 13 cents between Saturday evening and Sunday morning. I hope for better days to come, but I am not that hopeful. All the best. Keep your toes crossed.