Social Security COLA

Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits will increase by 2.8 percent in 2019.

Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden, D-Ore., said that while that is an improvement over past years, it’s still not enough.

“The increase in Social Security will provide some relief for seniors who count on these earned benefits, but it still isn’t enough to help Americans keep up with skyrocketing healthcare costs, prescription drug prices and other basic necessities,” Wyden said. “Working Americans pay into Social Security with every paycheck, and in return they deserve a secure retirement. Congress should be protecting and strengthening Social Security benefits, not pushing radical cuts to Social Security, including the cost of living adjustment, as the president and congressional Republicans have proposed.”

Every year, the Social Security Administration releases a cost of living adjustment (COLA) for Social Security benefits based on an automatic, predetermined formula. Last year, the COLA was 2.0 percent. In 2017, it was 0.3 percent.

All Star break-in

The Del Norte County Sheriff’s Office is looking for information regarding the break-in at All Star Liquors just south of the Lucky 7 Casino in Smith River.

Anyone with information is encouraged to call the sheriff’s office at 707-464-4191, ext.402.

Military tattoo history

The Coos History Museum will host Vet Ink: Tattoos Inspired by Military Service, from Oct. 17 to next summer. An opening reception is 5 p.m. to 7 p.m Oct. 17.

“Historically, tattoos have many meanings — as well as misconceptions,” officials at the Coos Bay museum said. “Traditionally, military-inspired tattoos depict the story of wars and battles and symbolize lost soldiers and achievements in service.”

The exhibit was created to honor the more than 8,000 veterans who live in Coos County. Curry County, too, is home to the largest number of veterans, per capita, than any other county in Oregon.

The museum is located at 1210 N. Front St. in Coos Bay.

New officers

Patrol Officers Bryan Holmes and George Clark started work with the Brookings Police Department this week, city officials announced.

Holmes has been an emergency medical technician with Cal-Ore Life Flight for more than two years and worked with the city’s public works department for the six years prior to that.

Clark is an Army veteran, and has completed California’s equivalent to Oregon’s law enforcement officer training. That will enable him to enroll for two weeks, rather than 16, in Oregon’s law enforcement academy.

Medicare enrollment

Annual open enrollment for Medicare started Monday and runs through Dec. 17, and Oregon’s Senior Health Insurance Benefits Assistance (SHIBA) Program is available to help.

Medicare is health insurance for people 65 years or older or younger than 65 with Social Security Disability Income. Medicare covers doctor visits, prescription medications and preventive care, such as mammograms, colonoscopies, diabetes treatment and blood pressure screenings.

Any Medicare Advantage (MA) or prescription drug plan (Part D) changes must be made between these dates so coverage begins without interruption Jan. 1, 2019. Those who are late to enroll could face a lifetime of premium penalties.

“It is important to compare Medicare Advantage and prescription drug plans every year,” SHIBA Program Manager Lisa Emerson said. “Plans change year to year, as do people’s individual health care needs. People could potentially save money by shopping for a new plan.”

SHIBA provides free health insurance counseling to explain how the Medicare program works, outline options that work with Medicare and help with reducing out-of-pocket costs.

SHIBA advises enrollees to review their plans and notices, think element about healthcare matters most to them, see if they qualify for assistance paying for Medicare or drug costs and contact physicians, hospitals and pharmacies involved before making changes.

Free assistance is available by calling 800-722-4134 or visiting