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Some South Florida Schools May Relax Mask Mandate  

Paul S Voakes

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Some schools in south Florida would see mask mandate being eased at the end of the month as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue a downward trend, ABC News reported.

The number of students, who needed quarantine in Miami-Dade County public schools has come down sharply since the school started in August, said Alberto Carvalho, school superintendent, on Wednesday.

“The decision would be taken on advice of the task force made up of local doctors advising the district and latest COVID-19 data,” he said.

As mask policy is eased it would give parents opt-out provision for their kids.

In Miami, opt-out was the original back-to-school plan but the delta variant of covid-19 spread and caused a spike in cases across Florida causing deaths and increased hospitalizations.

Children wearing masks in a classroom in the state of Florida. Pic credit: CBS Miami via YouTube

The district, the largest in the state, and a handful of other districts, which represent nearly half of public students in the state of Florida, came together to adopt mask mandate with an opt-out option only to be exercised for medical reasons.

Schools Defy Governor DeSantis

This went against the order of Gov. Ron DeSantis, who had ordered schools to let parents decide whether their children wore masks to school. Last week, less than 1,000 students out of 33,000 in the Miami-Dade school district were required to quarantine, the lowest figure till now, said Carvalho.

“This can be attributed to protocols being strictly followed, which include quarantine policies and mask mandates,” he said.

The issue of mask mandate landed in court as the state started imposing fines on those districts which defied the state, which wanted to junk mask mandate.

Fines included docking salaries of school board members who voted in favour of imposing mask mandates in schools.

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California News

A Simple Tip To Boost Social Security Benefits By $800

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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.  

The Significance to Beneficiaries If the Social Security Benefits Get Slashed Early

Image credits: (FDR Presidential Library & Museum/flickr)

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. 

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COLA 2022 Rollout Schedule Revealed By Social Security Administration, Know Date

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COLA 2022 Rollout Schedule Revealed By Social Security Administration, Know Date

The Social Security Administration has rolled out the schedule of the program’s payments for 2022. It was learned that the payments would be the first to put in the new cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) of 5.9 percent.  

The COLA is computed by checking the Consumer Price Index for both Clerical Workers and Urban Wage Earners for July, August, and September, AS reports 

COLA’s 5.9 percent is the highest in decades  

Next year’s COLA is the highest in over four decades. Most of it results from the unusual inflation brought on by several factors resulting from the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.  

COLA 2022 Rollout Schedule Revealed By Social Security Administration, Know Date

The Senior Citizens League – a collective that supports the elderly sector in the United States has pointed out that the COLAs implemented to the social security benefits are pretty much behind the market’s actual price hikes over the past decades. The yearly increase to monthly payments will facilitate toward keeping both the disabled and the elderly beneficiaries of the program from losing purchasing power. Nonetheless, a lot from this increase will pretty much make up for similar hikes in the prices of certain goods, including Medicare.  

With that in mind, the league has requested the U.S. Congress to roll out stimulus checks amounting to $1,400 to folks who are on Social Security.  

COLA 2022 schedule  

Meanwhile, the Social Security Administration highlighted that approximately eight million beneficiaries would be getting their initial check alongside the new COLA this December 30. In line with this, over 64 million program recipients will notice increased payments come January 2022 based on SSA’s schedule of payments.   

If the beneficiary’s birthdate falls on the first of the month through the 10th of the same month, that individual’s benefits will be paid on the second Wednesday of the month. That said, January 2022’s first payment is scheduled to be paid on the 12th. Further, if the beneficiary’s birthdate falls on the 11th through the 20th of the month, payment will be made on every month’s third Wednesday. This will be paid on January 19, 2022.  

Folks whose birthdate is on the 21st through the 31st of the month will be paid off on the fourth Wednesday of the month. For this group, it will be paid on January 26, 2022.  

The entirety of the payment schedule is also posted on SSA’s website 

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California News

Easing Up Inflation Through SNAP, Social Security, And Wage Hikes

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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.   

SNAP  

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.”  

Here’s What You Can Collect In Social Security Benefits Based On Your Salary $4,194 Being The Maximum

Wage hikes  

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.  

Social Security  

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.

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