Quarterly eNewsletter About the Benefits.gov Program
July 2018
In This Issue

Welcome to our July edition of the Benefits.gov Compass eNewsletter. In this edition of Compass, we share benefit resources on topics including, hurricane planning, National Preparedness Month, disability, apprenticeships, and environmental sustainability and conservation.

Last hurricane season was both devastating and catastrophic for many citizens across the U.S. While we are still in the process of rebuilding and restoring what was lost, Benefits.gov wants to be sure you and your loved ones have the information you need to be prepared for the next hurricane season.

September is National Preparedness Month, which encourages individuals, families, and communities to focus on planning for disasters. Benefits.gov encourages you to take actions at home, work, and/or school to be more prepared in the event of an emergency.

As a person with disability, you face a unique experience and may qualify for resources that can help you lead a more independent life, including income assistance, employment accommodations, caregiver programs, and more. Benefits.gov provides information on several programs available to citizens with disabilities.

To promote industry involvement in America’s apprenticeship system, Department of Labor's Secretary Acosta recently announced the launch of Apprenticeship.gov, a one-stop-shop that will connect job seekers with potential employers and apprenticeship programs, and will serve as a valuable resource to students, employers, parents, teachers, high school counselors, higher education institutions, and training providers. 

Summer offers a great opportunity to get outside and enjoy warmer weather. Benefits.gov offers a variety of resources related to environmental sustainability and conservation.

A Message from Al Sloane and Myung...
A Message from Al Sloane and Myung Moon, Program Directors

Welcome to our July edition of the Benefits.gov Compass eNewsletter. Benefits.gov is proudly celebrating 16 years of citizen service this year, helping citizens in need by providing easy, online access to government benefit information. We look forward to continuing our service.

In this edition of Compass, we share benefit resources on topics including, hurricane planning, National Preparedness Month, disability, apprenticeships, and environmental sustainability and conservation. We offer this information from across 17 Federal agency Partners to help you on your path to government benefits. Take our free and confidential Benefit Finder questionnaire to see if you qualify for the benefits mentioned in the following articles. Benefits.gov has information and eligibility requirements on over 1,200 benefit and assistance programs.

As always, we welcome your input – click here to share your feedback with us. We encourage you to "Like" us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to our YouTube channel. You can also follow Benefits.gov on Apple News to receive our latest news to your iOS mobile device.

Tips and Tools to Prepare for...
Tips and Tools to Prepare for Hurricane Season

Last hurricane season was both devastating and catastrophic for many citizens across the U.S. Millions of people were displaced, in need of emergency support, and seeking federal benefits. While we are still in the process of rebuilding and restoring what was lost, Benefits.gov wants to be sure you and your loved ones have the information you need to be prepared for the next hurricane season.

Identify your resources: There are many resources available to help you prepare for hurricane season. Free and easy to use websites, such as Ready.gov and DisasterAssistance.gov, provide tools and information on both preparation and post-storm assistance. DisasterAssiastance.gov provides information on federal and locally administered benefits for people who have been affected by a natural disaster. You can also apply and check the status of your application, directly from the site. Benefits.gov also has resources available, such as the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program and the Casualties Disasters and Thefts Program, that you might be eligible for if you have been impacted by a hurricane.

Know your risks: According to Ready.gov, it’s important to know your level of risk for being affected by a hurricane. Depending on your geographic location, you can determine how significant your impact could be for this upcoming season. Pay attention to your local news and weather outlets providing insight on what’s expected this season. You can also sign up for your community’s warning system, the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio, which provides emergency alerts and updates.

Prepare your home: Another important thing to do when preparing for hurricane season is to prepare your home. According to Ready.gov, families should consider buying surge protectors, lightning rods, or a lightning protection system to protect your home, appliances, and electronic devices. Additional recommendations include cutting down trees at risk of falling and cleaning your gutters to prevent leaks and water damage. For more information, visit the American Red Cross for resources on hurricane safety and protecting your home.

We hope these tips and resources will be helpful for you this hurricane season. For information on emergency aid and disaster benefits, please visit DisasterAssiatance.gov. To determine your eligibility for over 1,200 benefit resources, take our Benefit Finder questionnaire.  

National Preparedness Month
National Preparedness Month

September is National Preparedness Month, which encourages individuals, families, and communities to focus on planning for disasters. A disaster can strike at any moment, but being prepared can make a difference in your safety and recovery. Benefits.gov encourages you to take actions at home, work, and/or school to be more prepared in the event of an emergency.

Ready.gov, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, outlines four steps for creating an emergency plan:

  1. Start by figuring out:
    1. How you will receive emergency alerts
    2. Your shelter plans
    3. Your evacuation routes
    4. How you will communicate with your family/household
  2. Consider the needs of your household, including dietary needs, the various ages of your family members, pets, etc.
  3. Fill out a Family Emergency Plan
  4. Practice your plan with your family

Find out which types of disasters could affect your area by reviewing a list of potential disasters provided by Ready.gov.

Hurricane season is June 1 to November 30. If you live in a hurricane area, take time now to prepare before a hurricane occurs. Ready.gov advises having an emergency kit prepared with enough supplies for at least 10 days. A basic emergency kit should include:

  • Water
  • Non-perishable food and a manual can opener
  • Flashlights and extra batteries
  • First aid kit

To print out a checklist to build your kit, please visit the Federal Emergency Management Agency website. 

If you have been affected by a disaster, visit the Benefits.gov Disaster Relief category for information on disaster assistance programs.

A Guide to Benefits.gov for People...
A Guide to Benefits.gov for People with Disabilities

As a person with disability, you face a unique experience and may qualify for resources that can help you lead a more independent life, including income assistance, employment accommodations, caregiver programs, and more. Benefits.gov provides information on several programs available to citizens with disabilities.

The U.S. Social Security Administration pays disability benefits to people who are unable to work because of a medical condition expected to last at least one year. They provide assistance through two programs: Supplemental Security Income and the Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits program, which pays benefits to certain members of your family. You can find more information about receiving disability benefits on their disability planner.

The Office of Disability Employment Policy, within the Department of Labor, offers the Job Accommodation Network service, which provides free and confidential guidance on workplace accommodations and other disability employment issues. The Workforce Recruitment Program connects employers with college students and recent graduates with disabilities, helping eligible candidates navigate the job search and secure employment.

If you are a disabled veteran, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has resources for individuals who got sick or were injured while serving in the military, or if service worsened a pre-existing condition. The Caregiver Programs and Services provides support in caring for Veterans including travel expense, a monthly stipend, counseling, and access to health care benefits.

We encourage you to take our Benefit Finder questionnaire to see if you or a loved one qualify for benefits from other Federal agencies. We also have a short video providing tips for how to find information on disability assistance on Benefits.gov.

Department of Labor Announces...
Department of Labor Announces Apprenticeship.gov

Since the advent of the National Apprenticeship Act in 1937, apprenticeship programs have served a vital role in creating a skilled workforce that powers the healthcare, IT, and other industries. To promote industry involvement in America’s apprenticeship system, Department of Labor's Secretary Acosta recently announced the launch of Apprenticeship.gov, a one-stop-shop that will connect job seekers with potential employers and apprenticeship programs, and will serve as a valuable resource to students, employers, parents, teachers, high school counselors, higher education institutions, and training providers. 

This new site is the result of a partnership between DOL’s Employment Training Administration (ETA) and the Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO). With input from key DOL stakeholders such as private companies, labor unions, trade associations, educational institutions, and government agencies via the Task Force on Apprenticeship Expansion, Apprenticeship.gov will help Americans access apprenticeship opportunities and provide industry leaders with information about how to establish these specialized job training programs. Now viewable as an initial framework page, ETA and OCIO expect to roll out additional functionality in September 2018. 

For more information about Apprenticeship.gov, please contact the Office of Apprenticeship team

Explore Your Outdoors

Summer offers a great opportunity to get outside and enjoy warmer weather. It also reminds us that it’s important to keep our environment clean and cared for. Benefits.gov offers a variety of resources related to environmental sustainability and conservation listed below.

Are you an agricultural producer or landowner?
Agricultural producers and landowners play a large role in preserving our natural resources and land. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Conservation Stewardship Program provides producers with payments to maintain and improve their existing conservation systems, and adopt new conservation activities. The Environment Quality Incentives Program offers technical and financial assistance to agricultural producers to address soil, water, air and other natural resource concerns on their land. In addition, the Healthy Forests Reserve Program (HFRP) provides financial assistance to landowners to help restore, protect and enhance forestland resources on private lands. HFRP helps in recovering endangered or threatened species while improving our land’s biological diversity.

Interested in environmental education?
The Tribal Colleges Education Equity Program assists eligible academic institutions in developing a formal education curriculum in food, agricultural, and natural resource sciences. Also, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Biological Response to Environmental Health Hazards Program encourages the study of how chemical and physical agents cause internal human changes that lead to disease. The National Institute of Environment Health Sciences funds the educational grants for eligible students with the goal of better understanding how our environment affects our health.

Looking to learn more?
You can find further information on each of the programs above and more in the Environmental Sustainability/ConservationU.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services categories on Benefits.gov. 

In This Issue
A Message from Al Sloane and Myung...
Tips and Tools to Prepare for...
National Preparedness Month
A Guide to Benefits.gov for People...
Department of Labor Announces...
Explore Your Outdoors
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