Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, May 11, 2013

MVNews this week:  Page 12



 Mountain Views News Saturday, May 11, 2013 




Dear Savvy Senior:

I’ve heard that there are strategies available that can 
help married couples increase their Social Security benefits 
when they retire. My wife and I are approaching 
retirement age and would like to understand these options. 
What can you tell us?

Getting Prepared

Dear Getting:

If you’re willing to wait to full retirement age and beyond, married couples have several unique claiming 
options that could actually add tens of thousands of dollars to your Social Security checks over 
your retirement. Here’s what you should know.

Waiting Strategy

Before we go over the different benefit boosting options for married couples, it’s important to know 
that the most commonly used strategy for increasing retirement benefits is to delay taking them. 

While workers can start collecting their Social Security retirement benefits as early as age 62, postponing 
them to full retirement age (which is 66 if you were born between 1943 and 1954), or better 
yet to age 70, can make a big difference. 

Let’s say, for example, that you’re eligible for a $1,200 monthly benefit at age 62. By waiting to 66 your 
monthly benefit would increase to $1,600. And by delaying to age 70, you would boost your benefit a 
whopping 76 percent to $2,112. Delaying will also increase your wife’s survivor benefit if you die first. 
Waiting, however, beyond age 70 will not increase your benefits.

Claim and Suspend

In addition to waiting, Social Security also offers two other little known strategies for married couples, 
but you must be at least full retirement age (currently 66) to use them. 

The first one is called “claim and suspend” (see that allows a worker at 
full retirement age to file for Social Security so their spouse can begin collecting a spousal benefit, but 
asks to receive their own benefit later. 

This is best suited for one-earner couples where one spouse worked full-time and the other spouse 
did not work outside the home or did not work long enough to qualify for Social Security retirement 

Here’s an example of how it works: Let’s say that you are age 66, but want to keep working until 70 
to collect a higher benefit. Let’s also say your wife is a nonworking spouse who just turned 62 and 
would like to start receiving spousal benefits on your work record. The problem is she can’t get them 
until you sign up. So you file for your Social Security benefits but request an immediate suspension 
which allows your wife to claim spousal benefits, without locking you into a lower payment for life. 
Then when you do decide to start collecting, at age 70, you end the suspension and receive a higher 
benefit for delaying. 

This strategy can also be used if you have children under 18, or 19 if they are still attending high 
school, or are disabled. Each dependent child is eligible for up to 50 percent of the retiree’s full benefit. 
And, if any child is younger than 16, your spouse can also qualify for additional benefits as a caregiver, 
even if she’s under age 62. 

Claim Twice

For two-career couples, the second strategy known as “claim twice,” lets you collect Social Security (at 
full retirement age) first as a spouse and later using your own work record. 

Here’s how it works: Let’s say that you are 66 and would like to continue working until age 70. But, 
your wife started collecting her benefits on her own work record at age 64. You could file a “restricted” 
application with Social Security and collect a spousal benefit which is half of what your wife gets. 
Then, once you reach 70, you stop receiving the spousal benefit and switch to your own benefit, which 
will be 32 percent higher than the benefit you would have collected at your full retirement age. 

Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit SavvySenior.
org. Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today show and author of “The Savvy Senior” book.

By Pat Birdsall

FYI - Part I- In the April 27th issue I used this space to thank the wonderful people who came 
to my aid during the various health issues I was experiencing…except for two very good friends, 
inexcusable! Kim Wilhelm and MaeBelle Wunderlin, thanks so much for your calls of concern and 
your standing offer to shop for me. I love you both!

 Part II- Home Improvement Fraud- We all get a slew of telemarketing calls every day, both 
legitimate and fraudulent. For a while the majority of calls focused on home improvement; handymen 
who could make you a deal on various services because they just happened to be working in your 
neighborhood. Unfortunately, seniors often fall prey to this scam. Whether it be gutter repair or 
wooden railings that are rotting…the senior is trusting and vulnerable and usually writes a check 
for either shoddy work or no work at all. By the time someone physically able to check on the work 
and determine the homeowner had been “had,” the scam artists are off to another neighborhood and 
other unsuspecting and trusting folks. Telemarketing fraud costs victims $40 billion a year. My 
source: the FBI.

HELPFUL HINT: * Heat a nail for 5 seconds before driving it into the wall. It will make 
the plaster flexible-no cracks. 

* Use a bread tab to hold your spot on a roll of tape.



 We went to breakfast at a restaurant where “Seniors’ Special” was two eggs, bacon, hash browns and 
toast for $1.99. “Sounds good,” my wife said. “But, I don’t want the eggs.” “Then I’ll have to charge 
you $2.49 because you’re ordering a la carte,” the waitress warned her. “You mean I’d have to pay for 
not taking the eggs?” my wife asked incredulously. “Yes!” the waitress replied tersely. My wife said, 
“I’ll take the special.” “How do you want your eggs?” “Raw and in the shell,” my wife replied…She 
took the eggs home!

 Don’t mess with seniors; we’ve been around a long time!

 ~ ~ ~

HAPPY BIRTHDAY! … May Birthdays


JoAnn Serrato-Chi, Harriett Lyle, Jean Coleman, Birgitta Gerlinger, Donna Mathisen, 
Dorothy Murphy, Linda Wochnik, Marian Woodford, Debbie Sheridan, Joanne Anthony, 
Carole Axline, Kika Downey, Shirley Hall, Annie Scalzo, Janet Ten Eyck and Jayne Thomas. 

* To add your name to this distinguished list, please call the paper at 626.355.2737. 

 YEAR of birth not required.


Quote of the Week: 

 Do not resent growing old. Many are denied the privilege. ~An Irish Blessing~


ACTIVITIES: Unless listed differently, all activities are at the Hart Park 
House (Senior Center) 222 W. Sierra Madre Blvd., Sierra Madre


 YMCA San Gabriel Valley Intervale Senior Café: Monday-Friday at 12:00 Noon 

(Participants are urged to arrive no later than 11:45 A.M.) 

 All seniors 60 and up can take part in the lunch program. There is a suggested donation of $2.00 
for those 60 and over and $3.75 for non-senior guests. Daily reservations are necessary as space is 
limited. Please call 24 hours in advance...626.355.0256

Free Blood Pressure Testing: On the 2nd Tuesday of the month 11:00 am-12:00 pm: A nurse from 
Methodist Hospital, Arcadia volunteers to do the readings. No appointment necessary.


Bingo: Every Tuesday afternoon from 1:00 pm- 3:00 pm Cards are only .25c each! 

Free Chair Yoga: After four years and approximately 200 classes, Teryl Willis said in an e-mail to 
me… “It’s time.” She wanted me to tell you this… “What a great group of people came to the classes-so 
interesting and good at living! I do miss them already…Good luck to you, Teryl! 

Free Legal Consultation: Pasadena attorney Geoffrey Chin volunteers on the 2nd Wednesday of 
the month. He focuses on estate planning, trusts, wills, probate, conservatorships and business law. 
*Appointments are a must! Please call: 626.355.7394 to make yours* Conflicting court schedules 
can occasionally cause cancellations.

Birthday Celebrations: The 2nd Thursday of the month the Senior Center celebrates the birthdays 
of our patrons at 12:30 pm. Please join us for free cake and ice cream and “celebration.” (The cakes 
are provided due to a generous donation from the Sierra Madre Civic Club.)

Game Day: Every Thursday at 1:00pm. Poker is usually the game of choice, or should I say chance? 
Board games and other card games are also available. Outside, on the patio, a beautiful, one-of-a-
kind chess table is anxious for players.

Free Strength Training Class: Every Friday from 1:00 pm -1:45 pm Conducted by long-time 
volunteer, Lisa Brandley. The class utilizes light weights for low-impact resistance training. Weights 
are provided by the Sierra Madre Senior Center. It’s a great way to stay in shape and to

 socialize with your peers. (Gossip included)

Senior Citizens Club: Every Saturday at the Hart Park House (Senior Center). Brown bag lunch at 
11:30am; Club meeting at Noon; Bingo 12:30- 3:30 pm. Only .25c per card… For more information 
call Pat Birdsall at 626.355.7290.

Lunch & Learn: Wednesday, May 27, 12:15 to 1:00 PM

“Brain Building Activities are Fun!”- This seminar takes a brief look at the causes of memory loss 
and then explores the array of activities that bolster mental acuity. The discussion will include why 
crosswords, dancing, learning languages and playing board games (among other fun activities) 
are so good for individuals. Facilitated by Jackie Stahl, Community liaison for Comforcare Senior 
Services in Pasadena. For lunch reservations please call the Intervale Senior Café at (626) 355-0256 
at least 24hours in advance, or bring your own lunch to enjoy.


California Science Center Los Angeles, Ca. 

Date: Friday, May 17, 2013 Time: 9:30 am- 3:30 pm

Meeting Location: Hart Park House Senior Center

Cost: $16.00 (Does not include lunch)

Join us on a visit to the California Science Center, the west coast’s largest hands-on science center! 
The trip will include a tour of the Space Shuttle Endeavor exhibit, which showcases images and 
artifacts that relate to the shuttle program in California where the orbiters were built. After the 
tour enjoy the IMAX presentation “The Blue Planet,” which features footage taken by crews during 
five space shuttle missions. In between the tour and IMAX presentation participants will have the 
chance to lunch as well as an opportunity to visit the rest of the Science Center. Participants may 
bring their own lunch or purchase lunch at the Science Center Café. 

Save the Dates!

Friday, June 28, 2013- Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA)

Friday, July 12, 2013- Pageant of the Masters (evening excursion)

*Registering for Excursions can be done in person at the Hart Park House Senior Center and the 
Community Recreation Center or online at Cash, checks, and credit 
cards are accepted. Make checks payable “City of Sierra Madre”. Payment must be made at the time 
of reservation.


Senior Movie Program: FREE movies are chosen by the seniors themselves and shown on the 
1st and 3rd Wednesdays of the month in Sierra Madre’s City Council Chambers, 232 W. Sierra Madre 
Blvd., Sierra Madre. ~ Start time is 1:00pm ~

May 15- Life of Pi (2012) 

Based on the novel by Yann Martel and directed by Ang Lee.A young man survives a disaster at 
sea and is hurtled into an epic journey of adventure and discovery. While a castaway, he forms an 
unexpected connection with another survivor: a fearsome Bengel Tiger, portrayed by a Bengal Tiger 
(typecasting), named Richard Parker. Rated PG (run time is 123 minutes)

May 29- Secretariat (2009)

A biological sport’s drama produced and distributed by Walt Disney Pictures. 

It chronicles the life of thoroughbred race horse Secretariat, winner of the Triple Crown in 1973. 
Starring Diane Lane and John Malkovich Rated PG, (run time is 123 minutes)

We’d like to hear from you! 

What’s on YOUR Mind?

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