The FCC produced its annual Mobile Wireless Competition Report last year, graphing various statistics regarding mobile wireless service providers and national usage. Among the mass amounts of data collected, this analysis produces measurement of price level and usage trends, types of mobile devices, operating systems, and applications purchased and used by consumers.
News from the Reference Desk
Because of budgetary constraints, in 2011 the Social Security Administration (SSA) stopped sending estimated Social Security benefit statements on paper. For a number of years these statements had been sent to all workers age 25 and older and not currently receiving Social Security benefits. In addition to listing a worker’s lifetime earnings record (the basis for Social Security benefits), the statements contained estimated benefits for retirement, disability, and surviving family members.
This month (May, 2012), the SSA unveiled a program to provide the same information electronically, on the SSA website. Any individual who wishes to sign up must be at least age 18 and have a valid Social Security number, e-mail address, and United States mailing address. Create an account at www.ssa.gov/mystatement.
The new electronic version of the benefit estimate statement provides the same information as the paper statement, a worker’s lifetime earnings record and estimated benefits for retirement, disability, and surviving family members. At the same time, the government has resumed mailing paper estimated benefit statements to workers age 60 and older who are not currently receiving Social Security benefits.
The Illinois comptroller’s office has launched a data website that gives users a daily snapshot of the state’s finances, employee salaries and contracts.
Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka unveiled what her office calls “The Ledger” on Monday. She says it’s a user-friendly site that sets a new standard for transparency.
Topinka says much of the information on the new site was already available online, but it hasn’t been pulled together in one place or hasn’t been complete
The Illinois Department of Insurance site provides information on the Senior Health Insurance Program (SHIP). SHIP is a free statewide health insurance counseling service for Medicare beneficiaries and their caregivers. A Medicare Supplement Premium Comparison Guide is available, as is Medicaid Related and Long Term Care Information
RentSocial.com is a new website using social networking to search for an apartment. Similar to the consumer-reviewed site Yelp, users can leave remarks of buildings they currently or used to live in. You can also create your own RentSocial profile using your info from Facebook. The site gives an “activity feed,” where building owners, friends and neighbors can post messages. It’s all free of charge to users (the site makes money by charging building owners a monthly fee to be listed).
Interested in where your sales tax goes when you make a retail or food purchase? The Illinois Tax Rate Finder tracks the breakdown of state, county, and municipal taxes for all cities and towns in Illinois. Additional definitions for what specific taxes mean are in their online glossary.
A vast majority of the 440,000 senior citizens who registered to receive free transit rides over the last three years will lose the privilege on Sept. 1. The Chicago Tribune posted this article which discusses the income caps of seniors who will qualify.