Friday, May 30, 2014

Before starting Social Security benefits, look at the top 35 years of your earnings

Here’s a good point that just occurred to me.  I did start Social Security benefits at age 62, partly because my pension “social security offset” kicked in (that is, my “social security bridge” expired).
Had I kept working full time even at an hourly wage until age 66 (full retirement age in my case) however, the mathematics would have worked out better for me (SSA explains it here).  Not only is the benefit higher because actuarially it is drawn over fewer years, but the important number that averages the top 35 years of earnings improves.  Social Security explains it here.  I worked as a “salaried professional” for 29 years (there was 19 months as a federal employee in 1971-72, before federal employees contributed to social security).  The rest of the years were dribs and drabs,  A reasonable hourly wage full time (let’s say, as a postal carrier, which I almost got in 2004) would have added to the average of the top 35 a little. 

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Well known cartoonist describes experience with eldercare; is hoarding a possible sign of dementia?

New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast describes the last years of her parents' lives and of her caregiving experience in a book "Can We Talk About Something More Pleasant", published by Bloomsbury, in a Washington Post interview here, May 12, link.
Chast mentions the decline in housekeeping and the beginning of a big of hoarding, as an early sign of dementia.  Her parents had been punctilious housekeepers.   My own mother, on the other hand, tried to keep everything clean even when her memory was failing,  And not keeping everything picked up and orderly can result from just having too much one's plate.  The brain can keep up in detail with only six or seven activities at a time.
Picture: Mine, from 1979, Big Bend in Texas (from a Sierra Club trip);  favorited on Twitter.  No one writes about seniors and outdoor activities much.   

Thursday, May 15, 2014

A federal filial responsibility law had been proposed in 2005; a master index of articles on the issue

I found another link that gives an index to many Internet articles on filial responsibility laws, which remain a somewhat obscure topic.  The list (which includes some of my articles) is here.

A few of the article sources are eye-catching.  The American Catholic has an article relating the concept to the Fourth Commandment. The New York Times has a list (supplied by Jane Gross) of states with the laws. The Wall Street Journal has a list of 29 states from June 2012.  I’ll give the indirect link for Katherine Pearson’s paper here. Brigham Young University (of the LDS church) gives a comparison to the laws and duties between the U.S. and Italy. MSN  Money has an article (based on the Pittas case), “Will you get Dad’s nursing home bill?” Matthew Pakula proposes a federal filial responsibility statute here,  a link that requires registration with MyJSTOR (which Aaron Swartz had “illegally” downloaded from), from the Family Law Quarterly (from the American Bar Association), Fall 2005, Vol 39, #3, “A Federal filial responsibility statute; a uniform tool to help combat the wave of indigent eldery.”  Pakula does discuss the issue in terms of the lack of the ability of the adult child to have chosen to make a voluntary contract.  I could not find this item on Amazon, but it would be desirable for the ABA to make the PDF available for purchase or for download onto Kindle.  

Saturday, May 03, 2014

It's cheaper, but maybe riskier, to hire your own caregiver (for parents) than use an agency

Ann Carnns is pretty much right on the mark in the New York Times article “Tips for choosing care for an aging or ailing family member”, Saturday, May 5, 2014, p. B7, link here
It’s true that it can cost less to hire the help yourself.  But then you have to deal with all the IRS issues, among other things.  During my own experience with this process from 2009-2010, it did not want to be a direct employer of anyone because of my journalism activities, which I perceived as possibly creating a conflict.

The issue of overtime for caregivers (other than live-ins) is still controversial.  They should get it.  And there is at least the possibility of liability if you know a home health agency is not paying it.  Knowing less is legally safer, but not morally.