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Braley Seeks Input of Iowans on Proposed Social Security Cuts PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Kirsten Hartman   
Friday, 11 July 2014 12:50

Congressman releases survey ahead of impending cuts to Social Security Administration services

Washington, D.C. – Days after sending a letter to administration officials demanding answers on Social Security service cuts, Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01) today is calling on Iowans to share their experiences with Iowa Social Security Administration offices as he continues his push to delay the cuts to the essential services that 11 million Americans—including many Iowa seniors—used just last year. Braley will share the comments he receives with the Social Security Administration (SSA).

“It’s important the Social Security Administration knows that Iowans are paying attention and aren’t going to sit around while these important services disappear without warning or a single penny saved,” Braley said. “Tens of thousands of Iowans use these services and the Social Security Administration needs to hear exactly how those Iowans are going to be affected.”

 

Iowans are encouraged to go to braley.house.gov to share their experiences and take a survey about their experience utilizing services at Social Security Administration field offices.

Beginning August 2014, SSA will no longer issue Social Security number printouts in its field offices.  In addition, beginning October 2014, SSA field offices will stop providing benefit verification letters, except in emergency situations.  Many seniors rely on these verification letters for a variety of services. Those requesting this information would be able to do so only online or over the phone. Last year alone, 11 million Americans used SSA offices to request this information.

Iowa’s 19 SSA field offices are located in Cedar Rapids, Decorah, Dubuque, Marshalltown, Waterloo, Burlington, Coralville, Davenport, Ottumwa, Council Bluffs, Creston, Des Moines, Ames, Carroll, Ft. Dodge, Mason City, Sioux City, Spencer, and Storm Lake.

Over 450,000 Iowa seniors received Social Security benefits in 2013.

Braley’s Seniors’ Access to Social Security Act would prevent those cuts for one year, during which time Braley will seek verification that the proposed service cuts will not adversely affect Iowa’s seniors and will save taxpayers money.

This week, Braley wrote a letter to SSA Commissioner Carolyn Colvin asking her to provide a series of answers about the proposed cuts, including whether an analysis of cost savings has been done and if public input was solicited prior to the proposed cuts. Braley also sought information from Colvin on how Iowans seeking these services would be informed of cuts.

In June, Braley joined a Congressional push to prevent the elimination of the SSA services in a letter to the head of the SSA, noting that it’s vital that seniors be able to receive these services in person especially given that telephone wait times for SSA services have risen drastically in the last year, and that many seniors lack internet access.

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Braley Demands Answers on Social Security Service Cuts PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Kirsten Hartman   
Thursday, 10 July 2014 07:38

Congressman: It’s irresponsible to make these cuts without input from Iowans and an analysis of cost savings

Washington, D.C. – After recently introducing legislation that would delay upcoming cuts to Social Security field office services, Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01) today called on the Social Security Administration (SSA) to provide evidence that they considered public input and that the cuts would save taxpayers money.

“These cuts are being made with no input from Iowa’s seniors and without one shred of evidence they’ll save taxpayers a penny—and that’s irresponsible,” Braley said. “Eleven million Americans—and tens of thousands of Iowans—use these services every year, and it doesn’t appear the Social Security Administration has even made Iowans aware of cuts that are only weeks away.”

Beginning August 2014, SSA will no longer issue Social Security number printouts in its field offices. In addition, beginning October 2014, SSA field offices will stop providing benefit verification letters, except in emergency situations.  Many seniors rely on these verification letters for a variety of services. Those requesting this information would be able to do so only online or over the phone. Last year alone, 11 million Americans used SSA offices to request this information.

Braley’s letter asks Social Security Commissioner Carolyn Colvin to provide a series of answers about the proposed cuts, including whether an analysis of cost savings has been done and if public input was solicited prior to the proposed cuts. Braley also sought information from Colvin on how Iowans seeking these services would be informed of cuts.

“Millions of Americans rely on Social Security, and now is simply not the time to impose misguided and unjustified cuts to services,” the letter to SSA Commissoiner Carolyn Colvin reads.

Braley’s recently introduced Seniors’ Access to Social Security Act would prevent those cuts for one year, during which time Braley will seek verification that the proposed service cuts will not adversely affect Iowa’s seniors and will save taxpayers money.

Earlier this week, Braley visited the Social Security Administration field office in Cedar Rapids to voice his opposition to the impending cuts. Braley also recently joined over 100 lawmakers to express their opposition to cuts to vital services at Social Security Administration (SSA) field offices.

Iowa’s 19 SSA field offices are located in Cedar Rapids, Decorah, Dubuque, Marshalltown, Waterloo, Burlington, Coralville, Davenport, Ottumwa, Council Bluffs, Creston, Des Moines, Ames, Carroll, Ft. Dodge, Mason City, Sioux City, Spencer, and Storm Lake.

Over 450,000 Iowa seniors received Social Security benefits in 2013.

 

A copy of the letter can be found HERE.

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Governor Quinn Signs Law Further Assisting Adoptees’ Access to Birth and Identity Information PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Katie Hickey   
Wednesday, 09 July 2014 09:01

Illinois Leads Nation in Expanding Adoptee Rights

CHICAGO – Governor Pat Quinn today signed legislation that will help adoptees and their birth family members learn more about their family history. Today’s action follows the historic Illinois Birth Certificate Access Law, signed by the Governor in 2010 and recognized as the most expansive adoptee rights legislation enacted in the nation. Today’s ceremony is part of Governor Quinn’s commitment to protecting and improving the health of the people of Illinois.

“People have a right to know the first chapter of their lives and should have what they need to fill in the branches on their family tree,” Governor Quinn said. “This information can also be vital when determining inherited traits and medical history. This new law will help Illinois’ adoptees gain access to what is rightfully theirs.”

House Bill 5949, sponsored by State Representative Sara Feigenholtz (D-Chicago) and State Senator Iris Martinez (D-Chicago), will help people gain information about their biological family history including obtaining original birth records when one of their grandparents was adopted as a child. In 2010, Governor Quinn signed a bill to provide adopted adults greater access to copies of their original birth certificates without having to get a court order. The law has helped adopted adults learn more about their birth families, including medical histories. According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, more than 10,000 adoptees have gained access to these documents since the bill became law.

“Nearly 17,000 children have been adopted in Illinois in the last 10 years alone,” Department of Children and Family Services Acting Director Bobbie Gregg said. “We applaud Governor Quinn and the General Assembly for continuing to expand the rights of these adoptees and their families.”

“Governor Pat Quinn has recognized the importance of this very basic human right and has led the nation on restoring access to original birth certificates for adoptees,” Representative Feigenholtz, an Illinois born adoptee, said. “Governor Quinn has fulfilled the dreams of 10,500 adopted adults who have spent a lifetime trying to fill in the missing pieces of their lives. He will forever be remembered for his unflinching leadership on pushing these measures.”

“This legislation permits biological parents and adoptees the access they need to either learn about family health history or connect with each other if so desired,” Senator Martinez said. “Streamlining the process so information is obtained in a timely, efficient manner when needed through the courts is important.”

State Representative Ann Williams (D-Chicago) is also an adopted adult. However, her birth certificate remains under lock and key in the state of Pennsylvania.

“It is a bittersweet day for me as I anxiously await the opportunity to get a glimpse of my original birth certificate,” Representative Williams said. “Pennsylvania and the rest of the nation should follow the Illinois model and provide adopted adults with this simple piece of paper."

The new law is effective Jan. 1, 2015.

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Braley-Introduced Resolution on Congolese Adoptions Overwhelmingly Passes House PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Kirsten Hartman   
Wednesday, 09 July 2014 08:57

Passage of Congressman’s bipartisan resolution latest step to reuniting families

Washington, D.C. – The United States House of Representatives today passed H.Res 588—a resolution that Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01) introduced with Rep. Collin Peterson (MN-07) and a bipartisan coalition—in an overwhelming and bipartisan fashion. The resolution officially requests that the Congolese government resume processing adoption cases and issuing exit permits which have been stalled, keeping parents like Michael and Erin Peat of Dubuque from bringing home their two children.

“It’s clear that the issue of uniting these families has bipartisan support—and that’s in line with the overwhelming support I’ve seen from Iowans who want to see this issue resolved,” Braley said. “We need to keep up the pressure on the Congolese government until all of the American families currently living in limbo are able to bring their children home.”

 

Less than a week ago, Braley wrote to Speaker Boehner urging him to quickly bring up the legislation for a vote in the House.

 

Hundreds of families have had their adoptions suspended, but the Peats are one of only about 50 families that have had it occur at such a late stage in the process. They were granted their adoption visa by the United States. However, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) suddenly refused to issue exit letters, which is the final step allowing families to bring their children to the United States.

In June, Braley met with Erin Peat and other families from Clear Lake, Bettendorf, and West Des Moines who are facing delays in their adoptions from the DRC.

Braley has written the Congolese Prime Minister, the Congolese Ambassador to the United States, and Secretary of State John Kerry calling for a resolution to this issue.

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BETTENDORF ROTARY ANNOUNCES 2014-15 OFFICERS PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Glenn Kass   
Tuesday, 08 July 2014 12:45

Sharon Sarver is President of club in 57th year of “Service Above Self”

Bettendorf, IA – The Bettendorf Rotary Club announces its officers for 2014-2015. The gavel was passed from Chelsea Powers to Sharon Sarver who will serve as President of the club for the next year.

Sarver is employed by Family Resources, Inc. and has worked in a variety of positions since arriving in 1996. She currently is responsible for grant writing and foundation relations. A member of Bettendorf Rotary since 2009, Sarver has served as co-chair for the club’s Lobsterfest event the last two years.

Here is the complete board roster for 2014-15:

President:  Sharon Sarver

President-Elect:  Kevin Kraft

Secretary:  Johanna Smith

Treasurer: Laurie Dobesh

Club Service:  Chris Glass

Community Service:  Jonna Schuler

Youth Service:  Dr. Jim Spelhaug/Dr. Theron Schutte

Vocational Service:  Tim Lane

International Service:  Dimy Doresca

Rotary Foundation:  S.K. Nanda

District Grant Chair: Jim Slavens

Immediate Past President:  Chelsea Powers

The Bettendorf Rotary Club (www.bettendorfrotary.com), chartered on May 22, 1957, has more than 100 members fulfilling the Rotary motto of “Service Above Self” in a variety of local, regional and national community volunteer projects. The club meets each Wednesday at Noon at Fortune Garden Restaurant, 2211 Kimberly Road, Bettendorf. In addition to the website, you can find the club on Facebook (www.facebook.com/bettendorfrotary).

Bettendorf Rotary Club is part of Rotary International (www.rotary.org), founded in 1905 by Paul Harris, a Chicago businessman and University of Iowa alumnus. The international organization, now based in Evanston, IL, has more than one million members participating in 32,000 clubs located in more than 200 countries.

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