HELOISE Government Web site benefits citizens

Dear Heloise: There is a government Web site that gathers information all in one place about government benefits for citizens. The site is called www.firstgov.-gov. There are more than 500 federal and state benefits that citizens may apply for on the site, including veterans benefits, Medicare, food stamps, Social Security, unemployment insurance, student loans and housing loans.
Firstgov.gov contains a simple questionnaire that anyone can fill out (even a relative or a caseworker), answering questions according to an individual's situation, and the results point you to areas where you can apply for those relevant benefit programs. The site just launched in Spanish in April and continues to add benefit programs every month. A reader, via e-mail
I visited the Web site and found it to be very helpful. It has fantastic information that almost everyone can use. For those who don't have access to a computer, call the toll-free phone number (800) FED-INFO (800-333-4636) to get answers to government questions in English or Spanish, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (ET). Heloise
Dear Heloise: I am an artist, and sometimes teach arts and crafts to young children. To keep all of our art supplies organized, I used to use old shoe boxes, labeling them "paints," "brushes," "crayons," etc., with a permanent marker.
But, as we all know, young children can sometimes make messes, especially during cleanup time. Wet paintbrushes made quite a mess. Now, we use clear plastic boxes. They are easy to see through -- no more worrying about wet brushes and ruining the boxes.
This saves me quite a bit of trouble. I hope this helps someone, especially art teachers. Drecile, via e-mail
Dear Heloise: Gift wrap on a cardboard tube often unravels and falls off the tube unless you tape the loose end or secure it with a rubber band.
I don't like either of those solutions, because the tape generally won't come off without taking the color off the wrap, and the rubber bands become old and brittle or gummy. I take a scrap piece of the wrap, wind it around the roll and tape it securely. Problem solved. Cindy Johnson, Kingstowne, Va.
Dear Heloise: Recently, in going through a box of adhesive bandages of various sizes, I became frustrated at pulling out the wrong size and trying again a few times to locate the size I needed.
It occurred to me that a see-through package would help. I took all of the bandages out of the box and separated them into sizes, securing each pack with a rubber band, and placed them in a small zippered plastic bag for easy identification and selection. Carol Tierney, Chesapeake City, Md.
Dear Heloise: Every few months, I go through my appointment calendar and put into a computer file important happenings for that period: trips, birthdays, illnesses, new pets, visitors, household repairs, etc. It's useful at tax time to be sure we've remembered extra income, contributions and other deductibles. B.E., New Orleans
XSend a money-saving or timesaving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, Texas 78279-5000, or you can fax it to (210) HELOISE or e-mail it to Heloise@Heloise.com. I can't answer your letter personally but will use the best hints received in my column.
King Features Syndicate

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