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The RAILYARD TAVERN
Join Us for a Dine to Donate event at The RAILYARD TAVERN on Monday, June 2, 2014
Another Dine-Out-To-Donate is scheduled! This time we invite you to join us on Monday, June 2, 2014 at The RAILYARD TAVERN at 14-26 Plaza Road North in Fair Lawn, NJ. The RAILYARD TAVERN will donate 10% of the proceeds from 4:30pm to 12am on Monday to NJ SHARES! 100% of all funds raised will go to help your neighbor in need - so come out and join us! Please click this link to bring the flyer with you on Monday, June 2nd! Grab a friend and come on out to support a great cause!
INEQUALITY FOR ALL
Poverty Experts Talk Inequality & Action - Presented by APN and NASW-NJ
The Anti-Poverty Network of NJ (APN) together with the New Jersey Chapter, National Association of Social Workers (NASW NJ) were joined by advocates, social workers, clergy and concerned citizens at the State Museum on Thursday, May 29, 2014 for a screening of the acclaimed film, Inequality for All, in which former Clinton cabinet member, Robert Reich demonstrates how the widening income gap has a devastating impact on the American economy.
The viewing was followed by a discussion about the problem of inequality in New Jersey and to consider options the state has to reverse the trend that is destroying opportunity for the middle class and people in poverty alike. APN and NASWNJ convened a panel of state level experts, including Raymond Castro, Senior Policy Analyst at New Jersey Policy Perspective, Joyce Campbell, Associate Executive Director of Catholic Charities, Diocese of Trenton, and Assemblywoman Gabriela Mosquera from New Jersey’s 4th Legislative District. The panelists related the national picture from the documentary to the local problems in New Jersey.
The message of the event, however, was more a call to action than a protest about the current situation. The panelists encouraged participants that rising inequality can be reversed with committed policies and coordinated effort. Walter Kalman, the panel’s moderator and Executive Director of NASWNJ, summarized the motivation for the event and the expectation for its impact. “We offer this film and discussion as a way to increase the awareness of our citizens about the painful reality and increasing crisis cause by income inequality in the nation and in our own State.”
For more information about the APN visit: www.antipovertynetwork.org and for more information about NASW-NJ visit www.naswnj.org
NEUAC National Energy and Affordability Conference Kansas City MO June 18-20, 2014
SAVE THE DATE - NEUAC 2014 NATIONAL CONFERENCE JUNE 18-20, 2014
SAVE THE DATE: The 2014 National Energy and Utility Affordability Conference will be held Wednesday through Friday, June 18-20, 2014, at the Sheraton Kansas City Hotel at Crown Center in Kansas City, Missouri.
NJ SHARES President and CEO Jim Jacob will be a presenter at three of the workshops and a featured speaker at the luncheon on the conference's opening day.
This marks the first year NEUAC will be presented by the National Energy and Utility Affordability Coalition, the new entity which previously was the National Fuel Funds Network and the National Low Income Energy Consortium.
Learn more about the conference here: http://www.energyandutilityconference.org/2014%20Conference.html
Kim Warrick, NJS Client Service Manager, Dena Shipley, Outreach Coordinator and Alita Corbett, Pepco Holdings & NJS Board Member
NJ SHARES Partners with the NJ Social Workers Conference in Atlantic City
The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) held its annual New Jersey Social Workers' Conference from May 7th through 9th. The conference themed 'Social Justice and Social Work: Embracing Our Values’ was held at the Borgata Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City. NJ SHARES had the opportunity to speak with the state network of social workers who can potentially offer the NJ SHARES programs as part of their holistic solutions for clients. The New Jersey Chapter of NASW, with over 7,600 members, is the major professional social work organization in the state.
NASW is committed to advancing professional social work practice and the profession; and to promoting human rights, social and economic justice, and unimpeded access to services for everyone. Its members work in hospitals and other health care settings, community agencies, government, academia, business, nursing homes, schools, and private practice.
Jim Jacob, NJS's President and CEO
Preparation is key in many aspects of life, including when it comes to gearing up for a new season. While we have yet to see the effects of multiple heat waves, severe storms, power outages and water restrictions, we know that these things can very quickly become reality during the summer months.
Having and maintaining working air conditioning or cooling is vitally important when temperatures rise – especially for our elderly, disabled and infirmed neighbors. When a person’s body becomes overheated, it places undue strain on the heart and blood vessels – the most important components of the body’s natural cooling system. When this occurs, heat stress, heart failure or a stroke may follow. As a result, those with heart problems, diabetes, hypertension, obesity, or a history of stroke need to be extra diligent about cooling their homes.
As a statewide community, we need to prepare and work together to help our neighbors in the coming months. We here at NJ SHARES are starting to prepare now. LIHEAP enrollment is still open for those experiencing a need for assistance. For those who do not qualify for LIHEAP or State programs, NJ SHARES is here to help – we are ready for the influx of assistance requests to prevent hyperthermia and other heat-related problems among the state’s vulnerable population. You can continue to help us by making a donation via our website here: http://www.njshares.org/howYouCanHelp/index.asp. I’d like to offer my sincere gratitude to all who continue to donate, even when the situation isn’t dire and the need not yet apparent. It is your generosity that enables NJ SHARES to grow and spread awareness of our services to all those in need.
The core mission of NJ SHARES is promoting advocacy and awareness to ensure the wellbeing of our state’s residents through assistance programs. In this spirit, I would love to highlight a few events – both past and present – that NJ SHARES has supported recently.
The recent special screening of the film “Inequality for All” at the NJ State Museum was a huge success. Co-sponsored by our partner organization Anti-Poverty Network of New Jersey (APN) and the NJ Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW-NJ), the documentary film and post-screening panel discussion shed light on the ever-widening income inequality gap in our nation. NJ SHARES continues to support APN’s dedicated efforts to eliminate poverty throughout our state and improve the lives of all the families and children they serve.
This month, I will be attending and presenting at the 2014 National Energy and Utility Affordability Conference (NEUAC). This marks the first year NEUAC will be presented by the National Energy and Utility Affordability Coalition – the new entity that previously was the National Fuel Funds Network and the National Low Income Energy Consortium.
The three-day conference (June 18-20) will include workshops and general sessions designed to help folks become more effective in their work/initiatives and strengthen the energy safety net. I have been asked to present during three workshop sessions, as well as be a featured speaker during the luncheon on the opening day of the conference. These presentations include:
Wednesday, June 18
Session 1, Track E “Good Communication With Non-Traditional Partners” – exploring how several organizations maximize the benefits of the strong relationships they have built with non-traditional partners, adding value and meeting the needs of mutual clients or customers.
Luncheon/Presentation – Recounting the history of NFFN and NLIEC “Pecha Kucha” style and exploring how the two organizations became what is now NEUAC.
Thursday, June 19
Session 4, Track D “Generating Revenue for Energy Assistance through Proactive Advocacy Efforts” – evaluating how several NEUAC members have generated significant revenue through innovative advocacy efforts, reaping big rewards for the families whom we all strive to serve.
Session 6, Track C “Fueling for the Future” – fuel fund representatives will discuss how to form and grow statewide fuel funds, along with addressing both the challenges they have faced and their accomplishments.
When this conference started more than 25 years ago, it was aimed at building bridges and enhancing communication between the attending organizations. That concept rings true today, as conference attendees and presenters will represent a wide range of organizations such as members of the federal government including the Department of Health and Human Services, non-profit organizations, fuel funds and utilities. Every conference results in increased collaboration, new approaches and projects, and improved practices across the nation.
Each year I attend the NEUAC conference I come back with new knowledge and useful tools that help NJ SHARES better serve New Jersey residents in need of our assistance. I look forward to being a part of the conference this year and am excited to share a recap of my experiences in the next edition of our newsletter. For more information on the conference, visit: http://www.energyandutilityconference.org/.
|a message from your legislator
Assemblyman Benjie Wimberly
A Message for Assemblyman Benjie Wimberly (D) from the 35th Legislative District
I was asked to share with you, my thoughts regarding the Utility Assistance program of NJ SHARES.
While my first thought was “HOPE” for many communities, I asked my Chief of Staff for some specific data on how instrumental NJ SHARES has been in my Legislative District, and the numbers were staggering on how much assistance was needed and provided to many constituents.
These were everyday working people, who have been affected by the harsh winters and needed a helping hand to assist them with their High Energy costs. NJ SHARES has always been willing to look at each constituent individually to try and meet their needs. I have constituents come to my Office in tears, not sure if they’re going to have heat that evening, some who may have 2, 3 or 4 kids and not sure how to tell them there is no electricity for food and/or gas for heat. This is a reality for many people and it’s by God’s grace they are able to survive with the assistance given to them by NJ SHARES. Yes, there have been instances where they were not able to help, but the look on the faces of those constituents, is one of gratitude and thanks, for even taking the time to try to help.
I have heard this saying many times in the office, “people don’t wake up in the morning saying “today, I don’t want heat or electricity.”
It’s important for programs such as NJ SHARES to exist, because you never know the day YOU (meaning me, a family member, a friend, or neighbor) may have to look to them for assistance.
I am sure the harsh winter we have had this year has brought hundreds of families to offices across the state looking for assistance. Somehow, we have to look at ways of reducing the high cost of energy and look to other forms of renewable energy, so this will not be a crisis, not just in my District, but the State of New Jersey, every year for residents. But, until that happens … NJ SHARES is Here!
Additionally, I want to thank NJ SHARES and all the men and women who work there, for their tireless efforts in securing funding every year in order to assist these families. Which leads me to Legislation introduced by Assemblywoman Elease Evans, that I thought important for me to re-introduce - Assembly Bill A1387 and in the Senate S1059 (Senator Bucco), which provides for a voluntary contribution by taxpayers on their gross income tax return to support NJ SHARES. This is important Legislation and I will try to push this Legislation through, so the many residents in the State can see and realize the benefit of helping someone else – we never know when it will be our time of need.
My motto is “Hope over Despair – Let’s be HOPE Pushers!”
Mildres Sifford, Administrative Assistant/Program Director for the Feeding Program.
St. James Social Services Corporation (SJSSC)
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 St. James
Social Service Corporation (SJSSC).
Saint James AME Church through its mission and outreach programs has historically
been sensitive to the needs of the local residents and the community at
large. In 1996, the church formally responded to the need to uplift people,
rebuild neighborhoods, and actively take the lead in the renaissance of the
'New Newark'. St. James Social Services Corporation (SJSSC) was established
to oversee and expand the existing programs of the church and focus on new
programs development. SJSSC stands on a reputation of being one of the
leading social service agencies in the City of Newark, Essex County and the
State of New Jersey.
'We are proud to have been partnering with NJ SHARES for almost ten years, said Vesta Godwin Clark, SJSSC Executive Director. 'Together we have
been able to ease the economic burden of utility bills and advance the
success for countless families in need.'
Jackie Berger, PhD, APPRISE President
NJ SHARES Congratulates Board Member and ACI Woman of the Year Jackie Berger
ACI Women in Home Performance each year presents the Woman of the Year Award to celebrate exceptional women making an impact on the home performance industry. This award recognizes women whose passion, leadership, initiative, and determination have inspired others. (ACI - Affordable Comfort Inc, is an educational resource for the home performance industry)
The 2014 Recipient is Jackie Berger, PhD
Jackie Berger is the president and co-founder of APPRISE. She earned her PhD in Economics from Princeton University and set out to conduct research on programs that helped low-income households. Jackie founded Applied Public Policy Research Institute for Study (APPRISE) in order to research low-income energy bill payment and low-income energy efficiency programs and has worked on projects for the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, the U.S. Department of Education, the National Science Foundation, and state offices, utility companies, and nonprofit organizations.
News from the NJS-VZ Client Services Call Center
New Jersey SHARES Client Services has been assisting Verizon NJ Customers since October of 2005 and Jessica A. has been with NJ SHARES in the Verizon Lifeline Call Center since 2007.
“Working with NJ SHARES has truly been a great experience. For the last 7 years I have been assisting clients all over the state of New Jersey with applying for and renewing their Lifeline benefits. NJ SHARES is a friendly and knowledgeable organization just waiting to help those in need get affordable phone service. I look forward to watching our company grow and continue to reach many more clients in need of assistance.”
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
5 Things Every Woman Should Know About Social Security Benefits
Think www.socialsecurity.gov first!!!
There are many things a woman should know about Social Security. Social Security is neutral with respect to gender – individuals with identical earnings histories are treated the same in terms of benefits. Here are five of the most important Social Security messages every woman should know.
1. Nothing keeps you from getting own Social Security benefit
- If you’ve worked for at least 10 years and earned a minimum of 40 work credits, you are vested in the Social Security system.
- Once you reach age 62, you will be eligible for your own Social Security benefit whether you’re married or not and whether your husband collects Social Security or not.
- Your retirement benefit is figured the same way a man’s retirement benefit is figured. It’s based on a percentage of your average monthly wage using a 35-year base of earnings. If you don’t have 35 years of earnings, we must substitute “zero” years to reach the 35-year base.
- If you become disabled before your full retirement age, you might qualify for Social Security disability benefits if you’ve worked and paid Social Security taxes in five of the preceding ten years.
- If you also get a pension from a job where you didn’t pay Social Security taxes (e.g., a civil service or teacher’s pension), your Social Security benefit might be reduced.
2. There is no marriage penalty or limit to benefits paid a married couple
- If you are married and both you and your husband have worked, you will each be paid your own Social Security benefit.
- A working woman is not limited to one-half of her husband’s Social Security. (That rate applies to women who never worked outside the home.)
- So, for example, if you are due a Social Security benefit of $1,200 per month and your husband is due a Social Security benefit of $1,400 per month, you will be paid $2,600 per month in retirement benefits.
3. If you’re due two benefits, you get the one that pays the higher rate, not both
- Most women are potentially due two benefits: your own retirement benefit and wife’s benefit on your husband’s record.
- But you only get the one that pays the higher rate, not both.
- A wife is due between one-third and one-half of her husband’s Social Security.
- Most working women who reach retirement age get their own Social Security benefit because it’s more than one-third to one-half of the husband’s rate.
- But if your husband dies before you, you can apply for the higher widow’s rate. (See number 5 below).
4. If you’re divorced and were married at least 10 years, you’re eligible for some of your ex’s Social Security
- Divorced women married at least 10 years are eligible for Social Security on the ex-husband’s record if they are unmarried at the time they become eligible for Social Security.
- Some women sign divorce decrees relinquishing their rights to Social Security on their ex-husband’s record. If you were married at least 10 years, those clauses in divorce decrees are worthless and are never enforced.
- Any benefits paid to a divorced spouse DO NOT reduce payments made to the ex or any payments due the ex’s current spouse if he remarried.
- Generally, the same payment rules apply to divorced wives and widows as to current wives and widows. That means most divorced women collect their own Social Security while the ex is alive, but can apply for higher widow’s rates when he dies.
5. When your husband (or ex dies), you’re probably due a widow’s benefit
- Widows are due between 71 percent (at age 60) and 100 percent (at full retirement age) of what the husband was getting before he died.
- But we must pay your own retirement benefit first, then supplement it with whatever extra benefits you are due as a widow, to take your Social Security benefit up to the widow’s rate.
- We also can pay you a $255 one-time death benefit if you were living with your husband when he died.
- If you made more money than your husband, then he might be due a widower’s benefit on your record if you die before he does.
6. my Social Security Account. At each stage of your life, my Social Security is for you. Your personal online my Social Security account is a valuable source of information beginning in your working years and continuing throughout the time you receive Social Security benefits.
For more information specifically geared toward women, visit www.socialsecurity.gov/women.