You are receiving Sharing Neighborhoods as a registered subscriber. Sharing Neighborhoods is a publication of New Jersey SHARES, on the web at www.NJSHARES.org.
NJ SHARES at the Devils, January 2, 2015
New Jersey Devils Are SHARING THE WARMTH on 1/2/15!
Hey NJ SHARES Supporters – The New Jersey Devils are ‘Sharing the Warmth’ as they take the ice against the Montreal Canadiens on Friday, January 2, 2015 with discounted tickets to the game!
We will once again partner with The Devils to host a NJ SHARES night. A portion of the ticket sales go directly to NJ SHARES to help your neighbors in need stay warm and safe in their homes this heating season.
The Devils will also highlight NJ SHARES as the only non-profit at the game and host a 50/50 raffle benefiting NJ SHARES, in addition to usual promotional opportunities like a group welcome on the big screen during the game!
The Devils are offering two different seating opportunities at two affordable price points.
Click here for a flier with detailed information about NJ SHARES Night with the New Jersey Devils. Feel free to share the link, promo code or flier with your friends, family and co-workers!
Deadline to purchase tickets is 12/29/14 – they will be the PERFECT holiday gift, so hurry and get your tickets today!
Michael Swayze, At-Large Member of the NJ SHARES Board of Trustees; Linda Ellis, Coordinator Government Relations, NJ SHARES; and Gregory Seitz, Member of the NJ SHARES Board of Trustees representing New Jersey Natural Gas.
NJ SHARES Statehouse Takeover
On Thursday October 16, it was NJ SHARES Day at the Statehouse in Trenton!
NJ SHARES took over “Goldfinch” Square at the intersection of the hallways between the Statehouse, The Annex and the Café. Board Members and NJ SHARES staff greeted folks with information, “stress houses” and chocolate bars.
President/CEO Jim Jacob, Administrative Supervisor Arlene Grybowski and Director of Government Relations Cheryl Stowell were then invited to the Assembly floor where Assemblyman Benjie E. Wimberly took a right of personal privilege and read a Joint Resolution into the record officially recognizing NJ SHARES for 15 years of service to the people of New Jersey.
APN Annual Summit December 4, 2014
SAVE THE DATE: Anti-Poverty Network's Annual Summit To Be Held December 4th
The Anti-Poverty Network will host its Annual Poverty Summit on December 4, 2014 at the Crown Plaza Monroe (390 Forsgate Dr, Monroe Township) from 8:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. The Summit will feature a keynote address from Dr. Kasturi Dasgupta, Chair of the Sociology Department at Georgian Court College; skill-building workshops for advocates; issue-based workshops; networking opportunities and more. For more information, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or click here.
NJ SHARES' President & CEO Jim Jacob
As we approach the holiday season and prepare for the colder months ahead, I am reminded of the warm support given so freely by NJ SHARES’ many partners, friends and donors throughout our history.
I would like to extend my sincere gratitude and appreciation to each and every one of you. Thanks to your generous support, NJ SHARES is able to make a real difference in the lives of families and individuals throughout the state.
We hope that you will continue to support NJ SHARES. While giving is never limited to a certain day or occasion, we do have a few special events coming up that allow you to support NJ SHARES and the individuals we serve in a very unique way.
As we announced in our newsletter last month, we have set the bar high and hope to exceed our goal of raising $10,000 in donations between now and December 31st, as part of our annual giving campaign.
This period of giving will also coincide with #GivingTuesday – a national movement NJ SHARES participates in each year that encourages community giving around the holiday season. This year, #Giving Tuesday will occur on Tuesday, December 2nd after the rush of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. We are incredibly thankful for the participation of our utilities partners – Atlantic City Electric, Elizabethtown Gas, Jersey Central Power & Light, New Jersey Natural Gas, PSE&G, Rockland Electric and South Jersey Gas – who have already committed to match their customer contributions to our #GivingTuesday campaign. To give, kindly visit our donation page here.
Additionally, we are excited to announce that NJ SHARES supporters will have the opportunity to enjoy discounted tickets to the upcoming New Jersey Devils vs. Montreal Canadiens game on January 2, 2015! A portion of the ticket sales will go directly to NJ SHARES in supporting those in need of assistance with their utility bills throughout the state. More details on this fun night out in support of NJ SHARES is included in a separate article in this newsletter, or can be viewed on the Special Events page on our website here.
As both President of NJ SHARES and Chair of the Executive Committee of the Anti-Poverty Network, I encourage you to save-the-date and attend the APN’s upcoming Annual Poverty Summit on December 4, 2014 at the Crowne Plaza Monroe (390 Forsgate Dr., Monroe Township). The summit will be held from 8:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. and will feature a keynote address from Dr. Kasturi Dasgupta, Chair of the Sociology Department at Georgian Court College. For more information, e-mail email@example.com or click here.
Thanksgiving is an annual reminder of the all blessings life has bestowed upon us. In the spirit of the holiday, I once again extend my heartfelt thanks and gratitude to each of you – our generous donors, agency partners, utility partners, staff, partners in state government and in private industry, families and friends – for your unwavering support of our organization.
We hope that NJ SHARES will continue to be a way you can “share the warmth” with those throughout the state and help a family or individual in need during this season of giving.
|a message from your legislator
Assemblyman Wayne DeAngelo
A Message from Assemblyman Wayne DeAngelo (D) of the 14th Legislative District and new Chairman of the Assembly Utilities and Telecommunications Committee
NOVEMBER NJ SHARES GUEST COLUMN
Assemblyman Wayne DeAngelo
The cooler weather is upon us which means that the heat has started to be turned on in our homes. For many residents, this means more worries about how to keep the heat on all winter long without falling behind on their monthly bills. NJSHARES does a great job in helping to assist residents whose energy has been shut-off. But, our state must get to the root of the problem – finding a way to lower energy costs in New Jersey so that families are not struggling to keep the lights on.
As the new chairman of the Assembly Telecommunications and Utilities Associations Committee, I am focused on ways to make utilities more affordable and reliable for consumers all the while moving toward cleaner energy sources. Two years ago when Sandy hit, we directly saw the need to ensure that our utility service are able to handle disasters and, if we lose service, the need to get our electric, gas and water systems up and running as quickly as possible.
Many residents were left in the cold and dark wondering when the power would come back before medications would expire or food would go bad. It is two years since Sandy. Yet, we have a long way to go to address problems that we saw that slowed powering our homes back up - such as sub-stations in flood plains; overgrowth of trees that brought power lines down; or simple communication from utility companies to customers. All of these factors will play a part in making ensuring that our residents have reliable and affordable utility services.
The affordability factor goes beyond just electricity. Recently, for example, a constituent who leaves home during the winter months came to talk with me regarding his telephone bill. Like many seniors, he lives on a fixed income and paying his phone bill for those months when he is visiting family, is a financial nuisance and the cost racks up year after year. He had one simple suggestion: change the state law to allow for his phone line to be suspended for up to 6 months – as opposed to the current allowable term of 3 months – while being able to maintain his phone number. This way he is not changing his number every year if he is gone for more than three months and he’s not paying for a phone service that he is not using.
While this individual may be out-of-state for family reasons, this bill also would help those who may be convalescing in a rehab facility or helping other family members or friends and gone from home for a while. It’s a simple, common-sense bill that can save hundreds of dollars a year that can be put to other use.
In another instance, a group of residents in a senior citizen community formed a solar energy interest group. Members of the group came to me because they wanted to have the legal ability to put solar panels on their single-family homes and maintain the panels themselves. The group was interested in using solar energy to lower their energy bills in the long-term.
Because of current law, their association believed that it would not be possible for residents to put these panels up even if they were not on connected homes or public areas. But, they believed that they should be able to take some independent steps to lower their energy bills so I am still working to move this measure through the Legislature and hope to gain the support from my colleagues.
I welcome your input as consumers on telecommunications or utility issues that impact you every day. As I mentioned, I am always willing to consider and issue and determine if there is a way for the Legislature to tackle the issues affects consumers daily.
Editor’s Note: Assemblyman Wayne DeAngelo (D-Hamilton) represents the 14th Legislative District which includes parts of Mercer and Middlesex counties. He can be reached at AsmDeAngelo@njleg.org; phone (609) 631-7501; www.WayneDeAngelo.org or Facebook: Assemblyman Wayne DeAngelo.
Featured from left to right - Santa Minaya; Nilsa Rohaidy, Executive Director; Janeen Chiecuto; Diana Nunez; Laura Trent; Erica Rohaidy.
Suits for Success
NJ SHARES is fortunate to partner with more than 240 agencies around the state. Each organization has a different mission and focus but all provide holistic solutions to their community. This month we highlight Suits for Success .
The mission of Suits for Success(SFS) is to promote the economic independence of disadvantaged women and men by providing professional attire, a network of support and the career development tools to help them thrive in work and in life. Founded in 1999 as Dress for Success Jersey City, the organization initially served only low income Jersey City women by providing professional attire and career development tools that would lead them to self-sufficiency. In 2004, in response to similar needs presented by local males, the organization began the legal process to become Suits for Success, under which they now serve both men and women. SFS’ complementary array of services is specifically designed to address issues regarding both pre-employment job attainment and post-employment job retention and growth.
“NJ SHARES has been an invaluable resource to our community by providing the assistance our clients need in becoming self-sufficient!”, said Executive Director, Nilsa Rohaidy.
#GivingTuesday - December 2, 2014
Get Ready for #GivingTuesday – Help Us Raise $10,000!
We know you’ve heard of Black Friday and Cyber Monday… but what about #GivingTuesday?
In the spirit of giving, NJ SHARES is once again participating in #GivingTuesday - a national movement that encourages community giving around the holiday season!
Mark your calendars for Tuesday, December 2nd – right after Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday rush!
To participate, we are asking folks to make a charitable donation to NJ SHARES. All proceeds collected will help your neighbors in need stay warm in their homes this winter. To give, kindly visit: https://secure.qgiv.com/for/nsha/full.
The giving isn’t just reserved for #GivingTuesday either – you can be charitable and generous any day! Between now and December 31, 2014, we have set the bar high and hope to exceed our goal of $10,000 in donations.
Our utility partners – Atlantic City Electric, Elizabethtown Gas, Jersey Central Power & Light, New Jersey Natural Gas, PSE&G, Rockland Electric and South Jersey Gas – have all agreed to match their customer contributions to our #GivingTuesday campaign. NOTE: Be sure to choose your specific utility company when you visit, so that they can match contributions.
Share our link and spread the word about our #GivingTuesday campaign efforts via your social media websites – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.
We will be sure to keep you informed of additional partners who agree to match donations between now and the end of the year. If you or your company/organization are interested in matching, kindly contact Barbara Gomes, Director of Development, at (609) 883-1201 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
NJ SHARES President and CEO Jim Jacob with outgoing Chairperson of the NJ SHARES Board of Trustees Joyce Campbell of Catholic Charities, Diocese of Trenton.
NJ SHARES Board of Trustees – Leadership Changes
Joyce Campbell, associate executive director for Catholic Charities, Diocese of Trenton, recently completed her term as Chairperson of the NJ SHARES Board of Trustees.
“I am honored to have served the NJ SHARES Board as its chair,” said Joyce. “The Board and the staff of NJ SHARES are tireless advocates for all those who need help with energy bills. Despite the challenges the organization has faced over the last few years, NJ SHARES remains resilient and responsive.”
Joyce will continue to represent Catholic Charities on the NJ SHARES Board.
“Joyce’s commitment to NJ SHARES and the households we serve has been unparalleled,” said NJ SHARES President and CEO Jim Jacob said. “She has served on the NJ SHARES Board for several years now, and leading the Board came so naturally. The Board, NJ SHARES staff and I extend a heartfelt Thank You to Joyce for her tirelessly dedication and continued service to our organization.”
We are excited to announce that Alita Corbett, customer and community relationship Manager for Atlantic City Electric has been named the new Chair of the NJ SHARES Board of Trustees.
“As Board Chair, I look forward to working more closely with the Board and NJ SHARES Staff to formulate policies and long-term strategies that will continue to provide assistance to those in need,” said Alita. “This will include programs for those who lost their jobs due to the casino closings in Atlantic City.”
To this point, Alita and Atlantic City Electric recently invited NJ SHARES to participate in the “AC Unites Here” Resource Center in September. There, NJ SHARES and Atlantic City Electric jointly presented information about energy assistance options and provided guidance to former casino employees at the Atlantic City Convention Center and Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, NJ.
Both Catholic Charities and Atlantic City Electric are counted as founding members of the NJ SHARES Board of Trustees, which was originally developed in 1998.
NJ SHARES' Utility Service Restoration Pilot Program
Since its inception, NJ SHARES has been the safety-net energy assistance program that can assist a household with no other recourse and at the time of an emergency to restore their utility service. The NJ SHARES Board of Directors has set a policy to enact a pilot utility service restoration program. The program will commence on November 1, 2014.
This program will enable our agencies to expedite assistance to qualifying clients whose service is terminated at the time of application. These clients will need to meet the income and application requirements however they will not need to obtain a denial letter from the TRUE and PAGE program.
The client's termination status will be confirmed with the utility provider during the verification process before an approval is issued. A shut off notice is not a qualifier for this utility service restoration program.
The pilot program will be evaluated before the end of the 2014 application year. At that time more information will be provided to our agency network.
We appreciate our community and legislative partners who are helping clients meet their critical needs on a daily basis. If there are questions on the pilot program or if training is required, please contact email@example.com.
New Jersey SHARES Client Services Staff: Kneeling left to right: Danielle Cramer, Jessica Arrigo, Ashley Austin Standing left to right: Ana Servellon, Ingrid Ramierz, Robert Burket, Jennifer Schwarz, Kimberly Warrick & Michelle Garzio
News from the NJS-VZ Client Services Call Center
New Jersey SHARES Client Services has been assisting Verizon NJ Customers since October of 2005. This October 6th through the 10th we recognized National Customer Service Week. We spent the week celebrating each other and focusing on our fabulous clients. Making each day special, we worked together to promote team building within the Call Center. Each day had a different theme - Hat Day, Crazy Hair Day and Sports Day were among the favorites! Our partner Verizon NJ and our Board member, Ms. Gina LaPlaca, Esq., recognized all that the staff does with a generous luncheon.
If you need assistance paying your telephone bill, call us to see if you qualify for the VZ-NJ Communications Lifeline Benefits. 1-888-337-3339.
Social Security Administration Update
Many people think of Social Security only as a retirement program. But some of the Social Security taxes you pay go toward providing survivors insurance for workers and their families. In fact, the value of the survivors insurance you have under Social Security is probably more than the value of your individual life insurance.
When you die, certain members of your family may be eligible for survivors benefits. These include widows, widowers (and divorced widows and widowers), children and dependent parents.
Who can get Survivors benefits based on your work?
- Your widow or widower may be able to receive full benefits at full retirement age. The full retirement age for survivors is age 66 for people born in 1945-1956 and will gradually increase to age 67 for people born in 1962 or later. Reduced widow or widower benefits can be received as early as age 60. If your surviving spouse is disabled, benefits can begin as early as age 50. For more information on widows, widowers and other survivors, visit www.socialsecurity.gov/survivorplan.
- Your widow or widower can receive benefits at any age if she or he takes care of your child who is receiving Social Security benefits and younger than age 16 or disabled.
- Your unmarried children who are younger than age 18 (or up to age 19 if they are attending elementary or secondary school full time) also can receive benefits. Your children can get benefits at any age if they were disabled before age 22 and remain disabled. Under certain circumstances, benefits also can be paid to your stepchildren, grandchildren, step grandchildren or adopted children.
- Your dependent parents can receive benefits if they are age 62 or older. (For your parents to qualify as dependents, you would have had to provide at least one-half of their support.)
How Much Would Your Benefit Be?
Your survivor benefit amount would be based on the earnings of the person who died. The more he or she paid into Social Security, the higher your benefits would be.
The monthly amount you would get is a percentage of the deceased's basic Social Security benefit. It depends on your age and the type of benefit you would be eligible to receive.
Note: If the person who died was receiving reduced benefits, we base your survivor's benefit on that amount.
The maximum survivors benefit amount is limited to what he or she would receive if they were still alive.
These are examples of the benefits that survivors may receive:
- Widow or widower, full retirement age or older -- 100 percent of the deceased worker's benefit amount;
- Widow or widower, age 60 -- full retirement age -- 71½ to 99 percent of the deceased worker's basic amount;
- Disabled widow or widower aged 50 through 59 -- 71½ percent;
- Widow or widower, any age, caring for a child under age 16 -- 75 percent.
- A child under age 18 (19 if still in elementary or secondary school) or disabled -- 75 percent.
- Dependent parent(s) of the deceased worker, age 62 or older:
- One surviving parent -- 82½ percent.
- Two surviving parents -- 75 percent to each parent.
Percentages for a surviving divorced widow or widower would be the same as above.
There may also be a special lump-sum death benefit.
Maximum Family Amount
There's a limit to the amount that family members can receive each month. The limit varies, but it is generally equal to about 150 to 180 percent of the basic benefit rate.
If the sum of the benefits payable to family members is greater than this limit, the benefits will be reduced proportionately. (Any benefits paid to a surviving divorced spouse based on disability or age won't count toward this maximum amount.)
Note: Although you can use our benefit calculators to see how much your survivors could receive on your record, you cannot use them to calculate your potential benefits on someone else's record.
You need to contact your local Social Security office or call our toll-free number, 1-800-772-1213, (TTY 1-800-325-0778) to learn how much you could receive on the other record.
Other Things You Need To Know
If you remarry
If you remarry before you reach age 60 (age 50 if disabled), you cannot receive benefits as a surviving spouse while you are married.
If you remarry after you reach age 60 (age 50 if disabled), you will continue to qualify for benefits on your deceased spouse's Social Security record.
However, if your current spouse is a Social Security beneficiary, you may want to apply for spouse's benefits on his or her record. If that amount is more than your widow's or widower's benefit, you will receive a combination of benefits that equals the higher amount.
If you are eligible for retirement benefits on your own record
If you receive benefits as a widow or widower or as a surviving divorced spouse, you can switch to your own retirement benefit as early as age 62. This assumes you are eligible for retirement benefits and your retirement rate is higher than your rate as a widow, widower or surviving divorced spouse.
In many cases, a widow or widower can begin receiving one benefit at a reduced rate and then, at full retirement age, switch to the other benefit at an unreduced rate.
Reminder: Full retirement age for retirement benefits may not match full retirement age for survivors benefits.
If you will receive a pension based on work not covered by Social Security
If you will also receive a pension based on work not covered by Social Security, such as government or foreign work, your Social Security benefits as a survivor may be affected.
Select one of the links below to get additional information about
Online a my Social Security account
Use a my Social Security online account to get your Social Security Statement, to review:
- Estimates of your retirement, disability, and survivors benefits;
- Your earnings record; and
- The estimated Social Security and Medicare taxes you’ve paid.
Please see the How to Create an Online Account, to help you with the registration process.
Each survivor's situation is different. There are disadvantages and advantages to taking survivors benefit before full retirement age. The advantage is that the survivor collects benefits for a longer period of time. The disadvantage is that the survivors benefit may be reduced.
Make sure you talk to a Social Security representative before you decide to retire.