A San Antonio man’s wife and five children are struggling to find a flight out of Afghanistan after the Taliban swiftly took control of the country amid the U.S. military withdrawal.
Mohammad, 44, said his family flew to the country to visit relatives in June and had a flight booked to return in September. Now, they are unsure when or how they will leave the country. In 2013, he was able to immigrate to the U.S. through a Special Immigrant Visa after working as a translator for the U.S. Army in Afghanistan. He fears that his past services to the Army put his family at risk. The Express-News agreed not to publish his first name to protect their anonymity.
Thousands of Afghans raced to the airport in Kabul after the Taliban took control of the Afghan capital earlier this week. The dramatic scene was caught in photographs and film. According to the Associated Press, at least seven individuals have died as a result of the chaos, including one who clung to a departing plane and dropped.
Mohammad’s wife and children were taking refuge in a relative’s farm home in an area bordering Pakistan on Wednesday afternoon, with no safe way out. He claims they haven’t left the house in days. The United States Embassy in Kabul published a statement on Wednesday notifying American citizens in Afghanistan that evacuation flights are available on a first-come, first-served basis. It further stated that it is unable to guarantee safe transportation to the airport.
Mohammad claims that the travel to his family’s home from the airport takes more than four hours and is perilous now that the Taliban has taken control. He is concerned about the possibility of violence, particularly since four of his children are under the age of eighteen.
As he wiped away his emotions, Mohammad admitted that it was difficult to put into words how he felt at the time. He claimed that his family informed him that food prices have risen dramatically. He went on to say that while they still have food, there’s no assurance they’ll be able to afford it in the future.
He had spent most of his life in Afghanistan before moving to the United States, and he described the Taliban’s leadership from 1996 to 2001 as a challenging period for the country. Mohammad had planned to fly to Afghanistan at the end of the month and return with his family on September 8. Those plans have been scrapped, and all he can do now is wait and pray.
A Simple Tip To Boost Social Security Benefits By $800
Inflation sure did inflict some heavy blows to benefits in Social Security, including the amount of coverage to its beneficiaries in the United States. Prices of commodities have surged significantly by six percent in the past year alone. Putting things into perspective, inflation stagnated to almost zero for the better part of the last ten years, and in less than a year, prices have skyrocketed in nearly each of the major categories. A good example is the grocery prices that went up by 12 percent in several categories.
COLA 2022’s 5.9% may not be enough for some
To ease things up, the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for 2022 will be up by 5.9 percent, which is the largest tweak in the last four decades. Albeit such an increase, some still need additional funds to make ends meet. That said, here are some tips to substantially boost one’s income.
All about timing
An essential factor in determining a person’s Social Security benefit is timing. That said, the timeliest one can get in filing for the program’s benefits is by the time that individual has reached the age of 62, with age 70 being the latest. Americans are well-aware, though, that there’s a catch to this. Early filing of it would only yield lesser benefits. However, waiting for the ripe age of 70 would result in them receiving the maximum benefits, GBR writes.
Further, delayed retirement credits are some sort of reward that Social Security provides its recipients with for putting off claiming an individual’s retirement benefit. These credits start to stack up the month a person reaches their retirement age of 66 years and four months for people born in 1956, as this slowly increases to 67 for folks born in 1960 and above.
Additionally, these credits accumulate through age 69, though this may seem to work in reverse if one decides to get the benefits earlier.
The Social Security Administration stated that if a worker starts getting benefits prior to his/her full retirement age, that worker is said to be getting a reduction in benefits. The program stated that a worker can opt to retire as early as 62, though doing such may ensue a benefit reduction to as much as 30 percent.
Easing Up Inflation Through SNAP, Social Security, And Wage Hikes
Americans are as of late utilizing all the financial help they can get, especially since it is expected that inflation in the United States will continue to surge in 2022. Luckily, some will be getting a much-needed oomph in their income to at least facilitate coping with skyrocketing prices of essential commodities and even health care.
One way of getting more money next year is through food stamps. This program decides the number of benefits of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), according to GBR. Americans who are eligible for it received a hike back in October when the new fiscal year of the federal government kicked off. It was learned that the typical monthly benefit for the 2022 fiscal year surged to $251 for each individual from the usual $240 per person. The said growth can be pinpointed to the permanent update to the Department of Agriculture’s “Thrifty Food Plan.”
Another form is via wage hikes. Albeit the fact that the federal minimum wage may well seem to be wedged at $7.25 an hour for over ten years now, there are places in the U.S. that took it upon themselves and set their hikes in employees’ wages. This year alone, there’s a sum of 74 counties, cities, and states that increased their minimum wages, according to the National Employment Law Project. The project is said to be calculating the statistics for next year, though it is anticipated that the figures will remain the same.
A good example is the state of Arizona. The minimum wage on the part of the U.S. will be upped to $12.80 per hour from the current $12.15. The same thing goes with Colorado, where the minimum wage is set to increase to $12.56 an hour next year from $12.32.
As for the federal contractors, they too will be getting a raise as they will be increased to $15 per hour in 2022 after President Joe Biden signed a related executive order. This will fully affect whether new contracts are signed or specific actions like renewals or extensions.
Also, notable employers have either raised or will raise the minimum wages of their employees. There are even instances that these wage hikes have doubled workers’ pay.
Those who are receiving Social Security are set to receive their biggest cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) in 2022, as this has been deemed the highest in decades. This is when the monthly payments will increase by 5.9 percent to account for inflation. Further, next year’s average monthly Social Security benefit will be increased to $1,657 from the current $1,565 and $3,000 for couples.
$20 Minimum Wage For All Employees Announced By San Antonio Company
In a step that is potentially the first in the industry, a prominent San Antonio firm has announced that it will raise the minimum wage for its employees from $15 to $20.
Security Service Federal Credit Union (SSFCU) announced the hike on Thursday, stating that it will directly affect almost 400 staff, with the majority of them working as member contact centre agents.
“This move is about people, and how we enable our best and brightest talent to be successful at work and in life,” said president and CEO Jim Laffoon. “This action sends a message to our employees that we not only value them but that they are a key success factor in achieving the future we want for our company and for our members.”
SSFCU employs over 1,900 people and has locations in Texas, Colorado, and Utah.
According to SSFCU officials, the pay rise will take effect at the end of September and will apply to all new recruits going forward.
“Staying competitive with wages, a robust benefits package, and 401k plan, allows us to retain the best talent and provide the high level of service our members deserve,” said executive vice president and chief human resources officer Cindy Moran.
Headquartered in San Antonio, SSFCU has more than 803,000 members.
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