How did Social Security do it without computers?

Ray Vigil (Social Security Public Affairs Specialist) | October, 2017 | Columns, Features

More than 85 percent of American homes have some sort of computer. Millions of people rely on computers daily to access, formulate, and store information. People use computers for everything from sharing family pictures to shopping to banking and paying bills. But, we haven’t always been able to count on the convenience of the computer to make ou

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Should I start a 529 education savings plan for my grandchildren?

Michele Ungvarsky (SWS Columnist) | October, 2017 | Columns, Features

Lately, I have frequently been asked about 529 plans, or higher education savings plans. So, I will give the basics and advise you to check with a financial planner before investing to determine whether is a good fit for your goals. The 529 refers to the Internal Revenue Code section 529, which is regulation allowing the higher education plans.

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Bird of the Month: Ladder-back Woodpecker

Mark Pendleton (MV Audubon Society) | October, 2017 | Columns, Features

When I saw my first Ladder-backed Woodpecker, I did a double-take. Oh, I knew it was a woodpecker, alright, but it was on a Red Yucca Stalk. Everyone knows, or so I thought, that woodpeckers forage on trees, not mere plants. Well, guess what? “Ladder backs” will also alight on chaparral bushes, and I’ve even seen them on weed stems. When you

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You can learn the lingo of Social Security using online glossary

Ray Vigil (Social Security Public Affairs Specialist) | September, 2017 | Columns, Features

Is Social Security a topic in your conversations these days? Are you familiar with the lingo used to describe Social Security benefits, or does it sound like a new vocabulary to you? Social Security employees strive to explain benefits using easy-to-understand, plain language. But if a technical term or acronym (an abbreviation of the first let

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Your retirement planning starts with Social Security

Ray Vigil (Social Security Public Affairs Specialist) | August, 2017 | Columns, Features

Right now is the perfect time to start planning for a secure, comfortable retirement. And you can count on Social Security to help you begin the process. First, we encourage you to set up an online my Social Security account so you can verify your lifetime earnings record and make sure you get credit for all of your contributions to the Social S

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Here are 30 estate-planning facts you need to know now

Michele Ungvarsky (SWS Contributor) | August, 2017 | Columns, Features

Estate planning is a big field, with lots to take into consideration with your attorney. There are complexities and confusion; but at the end of it all, there’s no doubt that coming up with a solid plan is one of the best paths for retirement, saving, what you can leave behind, and — of course — making things easier on your loved ones. Wha

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Come out, come out, where ever you are: Seeking hidden assets

Michele Ungvarsky (SWS Columnist) | July, 2017 | Columns, Features

Probate attorneys help their clients take estates through the probate process. Usually, those who have lost loved ones and are now dealing with the courts feel totally out of their element. Whether by choice or necessity, these individuals become the executor of the estate. A probate attorney helps to educate them and make their jobs less complicat

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Grow your Social Security benefits beyond retirement age

Ray Vigil (Social Security Public Affairs Specialist) | July, 2017 | Columns, Features

For more and more Americans, reaching retirement age no longer means the end of an active working life. Many people are choosing to work past the age of 65, according to the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. If you’re willing and able, maintaining gainful employment later in life could go a long way toward ensuring a secure f

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MVAS Bird of the Month is the reclusive Crissal Thrasher

Jay Wilbur (Mesilla Valley Audubon Society) | July, 2017 | Columns, Features

For most people, seeing a Crissal Thrasher is an unlikely event. But for local birders who know the habits and habitat of this reclusive bird, it is spotted regularly, if only fleetingly. The effort necessary to seek out and view this species is well worthwhile, for it is one of the most striking birds in our region. Even before you see one, you

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Social Security commemorates National Cancer Survivor Day

Ray Vigil (Social Security Public Affairs Specialist) | June, 2017 | Columns, Features

In 2017, more than a million people will be diagnosed with cancer around the world. This alarming statistic affects people and families everywhere. Chances are, you know someone who has been affected by this terrible disease. On June 4, we observe National Cancer Survivors Day in the United States. In support of this day, Social Security encoura

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