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January 15, 2009     Tri-County News
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January 15, 2009

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Ilil!llllmilllilt ltllUlmlillllllll jilllUNilllllillllmn Pa00e 12 Le00als £.4&apos; Government Thursday, January 15, 2009 al!, MN Sen. Steve Dille returns to St. Paul ital Investment, Environment and Natural Resources, Finance, and Environment and Natural Resources Finance Committees. "There will be many important decisions made during this ses- sion and I welcome and encour- age people to keep in touch with their comments and ideas," said Senator Dille. "E-mail, write or call my Legislative Assistant, Libbie, to make an appointment to speak with me about your concerns at the capitol." Constituents wishing to con- tact Senator Dille or schedule an appointment can do so by calling (6511296-4131, by e-mailing him at <>, or by sending mail to his senate office at 103 State Office Building, 100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., St. Paul MN 55155. State Senator Steve Dille (R-Dassel) will again leave his farm in Dassel to represent Meeker, McLeod, and Wright County res- idents in his 5th term as senator from the 18th District. The states economic crunch and budget constraints are sure to color every decision made in every Committee this year at the State Legislature. "We've lived through bud- get shortfalls before. They're not pleasant, but the Legislature has a way of coming together in the end and eventually reaching a solu- tion," said Senator Dille. Senator Dille is the lead Repub- lican on the Senate Agriculture and Veterans, as well as the Agri- culture and Veterans' Budget and Policy Finance Committees. He is also serving on the Senate Cap- Social Security QEtA Your actual earnings are first adjusted or "indexed" to account for changes in average wages since the year the earnings were received. Then we calculate your average monthly indexed earn- ings during the 35 years in which you earned the most. We apply a formula to these earnings and arrive at your basic benefit. This is the amount you would receive at your full retirement age. For some, that is age 65. However, beginning with people born in 1938 or later, that age gradually increases until it reaches 67 for people born after 1959. You can calculate your esti- mated benefit by using our Retire- ment Estimator which offers esti- mates based on your Social Secu- rity earnings. Also, you can find your estimate on the annual Social Security Statement we send you about three months before your birthday each year. Question: I am receiving Social Security benefits and I recently went back to work. Do I have to pay Social Security (FICA) taxes on my income? Answer: Yes. By law, your employer must withhold FICA taxes from your paycheck. Although you are retired, you do receive credit for those new earnings. Each year Social Secu- rity automatically credits the new earnings and refigures your monthly benefit. If your new earn- ings are higher than in any earlier year used to calculate your cur- rent benefit, your monthly bene- fit could increase. For more infor- mation, visit <www.socialsecurity. gov> or call us at (800) 772-1213. Question: How are my retire- ment benefits calculated? Answer: Your Social Secu- rity benefits are based on earn- ings averaged over your lifetime. Senatoi" Steve Dille to introduce bill Senator Steve Dille (R-Dassel) will introduce a bill to discontinue the Political Contributions Refund (PCR) Program this session, sav- ing Minnesota approximately $12 million during the next biennium. This program reimburses Min- nesota citizens up to $50 per year who donate to political candidates running for governor, lieutenant governor, auditor, attorney gen- eral, secretary of state, state sen- ator or state house of representa- tives. This reimbursement is also available for donations made to the Republican, DFL, Independent or Green Party. This is the way it works: a Min- nesota citizen sends $50 to a party or candidate. A receipt and spe- cial form are sent to the donor who fills out the form and sends both to the Minnesota Department of Revenue. In 4-8 weeks, the donor receives a $50 check from the tax- payers of Minnesota. This program was established in 1990 and also set campaign spending and donation limits. The goal was to decrease the influence of special interests. Some believe campaigns should be funded entirely with public money. So far, no other state has established a similar program. Minnesota is fac- ing at least a $5 billion deficit in the biennium beginning July 1, 2009. Our state constitution requires a balanced budget. To accomplish this, many programs must end or be cut back. This is one that should end. It is one $12 million step on thelong road we will travel this session to balance the state's $35 billion biennial budget. Constituents wishing to con- tact Senator Dille or schedule an appointment can do so by calling (651)-296-4131, by e-mailing him at <>, or by sending mail to his senate office at 103 State Office Building, 100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., St. Paul MN 55155. Getting ready for tax season By Steven Thayer, Soc. Sec. District Manager The holidays have passed us by, the New Year has begun, and tax season is right around the cor- ner. The earlier you prepare for the looming April 15 tax deadline, the easier it will be to file your taxes. Here are some helpful hints as you begin getting ready for tax season. Make sure your information matches ours. Soon you will be receiving your W-2s from your employer(s) and tax information from the IRS. Carefully check your name, Social Security number and all of the data on your W-2s and on your Social Security Statement or card to make sure they match up. If you can't find your card or State- ment but know your Social Secu- rity number, make sure the num- ber and information is correct on your W-2s. A mismatch could delay your tax refund and cause problems with your Social Secu- rity benefits in the future. Such errors are easy to fix now. A name change is the main change. If you've legally changed your name because of marriage, divorce, court order or for any other reason, make sure you change your name with Social Security by applying for a new Social Secu- rity card. Make sure you change your name with your employer as well. If you change with one source but not the other, it could cause your earnings to be improp- erly recorded. A minor detail could cause a major mix-up. You can learn more about Social Secu- rity numbers and cards at <www.>. Don't forget the kids. If you are the parent of a newborn, you want to make sure that the newest fam- ily member has a Social Security number too. Most people apply for their baby's Social Security card while they're still in the hospital at the same time they apply for the birth certificate. But if you didn't, you'll need to apply for your child's Social Security number in order to claim the child as a dependent on your tax return. You'll also need it if you ever apply for government benefits on behalf of the child or your family. Go online if you can't find your 1099. Social Security Bene- fit Statements (Form SSA-1099) for tax year 2008 are automatically mailed to beneficiaries and should be received by ]an. 31, 2009. If you receive Social Security and haven't received your 1099 in the mail by the end of January, but need it to file a tax return, just go online. Beginning in February, you can request a replacement 1099 online at < i1099/main.html>. For more information about Social Security, visit <>. 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