Humorist and author Erma Bombeck once said about Thanksgiving, "What we're really talking about is a wonderful day set aside on the fourth Thursday of November when no one diets. I mean, why else would they call it Thanksgiving?"
Ms. Bombeck was right! But, in addition to the festivities and traditions associated with this truly American holiday, it's also a day to reflect and take stock. As 2012 draws to a close, there are many things to give thanks for, including...
- Social Security Benefits Increasing - In January 2013, more than 56 million Social Security recipients will receive a 1.7 percent increase in their monthly payments. That's equal to about $19 a month or roughly $230 a year.
- New Housing Construction is Up - The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), a Benefits.gov partner, announced that new housing starts were up by 15 percent in September. You can read more about housing assistance benefit programs by clicking here.
- Unemployment Rate Dropped - In September, the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced the uunemployment rate dipped slightly to 7.8 percent, with the number of unemployed persons at 12.1 million-that's a drop of 456,000 people. If you need information about filing for unemployment or help finding job placement assistance, visit Career One Stop Worker Reemployment.
This past year, Americans had their share of hardships too. In August, Hurricane Isaac's slow, rain-soaked trek across the Gulf Coast caused millions in property damage. However, FEMA was up to the challenge, and in our October newsletter
, we reported that over 17,000 survivors used their mobile devices to access the DisasterAssistance.gov
website. This year, the country also experienced one of the longest and most extensive droughts in 25 years, according to the USDA's Economic Research Service
. The drought is impacting 80 percent of the Nation's crop and livestock sectors, which could potentially raise food prices both now and into next year. If you are a farmer and have been affected by the drought, the USDA's Emergency Conservation Program
may be of assistance by sharing the cost of rehabilitating eligible farmlands damaged by natural disasters with agricultural producers. To learn more about this and other types of assistance available to farmers, and for updates on the drought situation- visit the USDA's drought page
Before 2012 heads for the history books, everyone with the Benefits.gov Program, along with our 17 partner agencies
, wishes you and yours a very happy and healthy Thanksgiving.