Dear Members,

Mitra-Behroozi

Mitra Behroozi

In every issue of For Your Benefit, we update you on changes to your benefits and offer practical strategies you can use to protect your health. In this issue, we provide important information about a health crisis that is affecting the lives of millions of people in the U.S.: opioid abuse. We detail the dangers posed by painkiller addiction, and our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Van H. Dunn, outlines the steps your Benefit Fund is taking to help you reduce the risk of becoming addicted in the first place, as well as to help those who may be struggling.

We also remind you of the resources your Fund provides to keep you healthy. Whether you are having difficulty living with Type 2 diabetes or have learned to manage it, we urge you to think about participating in our Diabetes Peer-to-Peer Mentoring Program. The program pairs members who are having a hard time managing their diabetes with fellow 1199ers whose condition is under control and who have been trained to help others improve their health and avoid complications.

We know how committed you are to helping the people you care for, but too often that means self-care comes second. You will read about how 1199SEIU member Joe Mendolia faced that challenge. As a Clinician and Substance Abuse Counselor at Mount Sinai Beth Israel in East Harlem, Joe saw the toll the opioid epidemic was taking on his patients. To cope with the stress of the pain he witnessed daily, he turned to food and gained an unhealthy amount of weight. But with help from his healthcare provider, Joe changed his eating and fitness habits, and has lost nearly 20 pounds.

If you are a parent, you know how important it is to be able to provide enriching learning experiences for your children—and have peace of mind while you’re working—so we remind you to take advantage of the scholarship benefit and camp programs your Child Care Fund offers. If you are looking to advance your career or stay current in your profession, your Training and Employment Funds can provide help, with information on training classes and other resources.

And with tax season just around the corner, we also remind you of our free Tax Preparation Assistance Program, which can help you file for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), if you are eligible, and help you get the most out of your tax refund.

As always, we hope you enjoy this issue of For Your Benefit and wish you a Happy New Year!

Sincerely,
Mitra Behroozi
Executive Director
1199SEIU Benefit and Pension Funds

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