By AMAC Certified Social Security Advisor Russell Gloor
Association of Mature American Citizens
Dear Rusty: I will be turning 62 in 2018; birth date 9/24/1955. My husband is 77 and receiving Social Security. Longevity runs in my family. I have been self-employed all my life. I am still working and my husband collects a pension, Social Security and RMD from a traditional IRA, so there is no need for additional monies under my current circumstances. When should I start taking Social Security? Signed: Thinking about Retirement
Dear Thinking: The question of when to take Social Security normally gets an answer of “It depends on your health, your family history of longevity, and your need for the money”. You’ve already addressed those items so I’ll focus on your main question – when should you start taking Social Security?
Even though you’ll be eligible to collect Social Security when you turn 62, if you do so you will only get 74.17% of the retirement benefit you would be entitled to at your full retirement age (FRA). Whenever you apply, you will be deemed to be filing not only for your own retirement benefit but also any spousal benefit you may be entitled to from your husband’s work record. Similar to your SS retirement benefit, your spousal benefit would also be reduced because you took it early; instead of being 50% of your husband’s benefit at your FRA, you would only get 35% at age 62 (if that is larger than your own retirement benefit). The point I’m making is that by claiming SS early, any benefit you’re entitled to will be reduced from what you would get at your full retirement age.
Just as you are penalized for claiming before your full retirement age, you are rewarded for waiting beyond it to claim Social Security retirement benefits. In fact, for each year you wait beyond your full retirement age, your retirement benefit will be 8% higher than it would be at your FRA. That will continue up until you are 70 years old when your retirement benefit will be 30.67% higher than it would have been at your FRA. You stop earning additional credit at age 70, so there’s no reason to wait beyond that to apply. Let’s use an easy example to illustrate: If your FRA retirement benefit is $1000, by applying at age 62 you would only get $741 per month instead of $1000. But if you wait until you are 70 to claim benefits, you would get $1306 per month, nearly twice what you would get by applying at age 62.
There are two other factors you should incorporate into your thinking:
1) At your FRA, you will be entitled to ½ of your husband’s benefit at his FRA. If your spousal benefit at your FRA is substantially more than your own retirement benefit, then applying at your FRA may be a good strategy, as opposed to waiting and earning delayed retirement credits.
2) Once you have reached your FRA you will be entitled to 100% of your husband’s benefit amount if he should predecease you. If your eventual survivor’s benefit would be more than your own FRA benefit amount, you might be better served by claiming your retirement benefit earlier than age 70.
As you can see, most of the answer to your question depends upon whether your benefits as a spouse or a survivor will be more than your benefit based upon your own work record. If not, then waiting beyond your FRA up to age 70 will yield you the maximum retirement benefit. But if your spouse and/or survivor’s benefit will be more than your own retirement benefits, then applying at your full retirement age may be the best strategy. If you haven’t already done so, I suggest you go to www.ssa.gov and set up your personal “My Social Security” account which will give you access to your currently estimated retirement benefit. Comparing that to your potential spousal and survivor benefits should give you the answer you’re seeking.
The information presented in this article is intended for general information purposes only. The opinions and interpretations expressed are the viewpoints of the AMAC Foundation’s Social Security Advisory staff, trained and accredited under the National Social Security Advisors program of the National Social Security Association, LLC (NSSA). NSSA, the AMAC Foundation, and the Foundation’s Social Security Advisors are not affiliated with or endorsed by the United States Government, the Social Security Administration, or any other state government. Furthermore, the AMAC Foundation and its staff do not provide legal or accounting services. The Foundation welcomes questions from readers regarding Social Security issues. To submit a request, contact the Foundation at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Artist Silvia Lopez stands in front of part of her mural under the Bowker Overpass on the Charles River Esplanade.
What was once a dark, graffiti-ridden, sore patch along the beautiful Esplanade is in the midst of being rejuvenated through a colorful, dynamic mural that is currently in the works.
The brightly colored mural will reflect the daily cacophony of fast paced bicyclists, skaters, joggers, boat traffic, and the rhythm of vehicles that pass daily along the Charles River Esplanade.
The mural titled, “Patterned Behavior,” by Boston artist Silvia Lopez Chavez is the Esplanade’s newest contemporary artwork and is expected to take about three weeks to complete. It is expected to be done by mid-September if not earlier depending on weather. The mural will remain up for one year and has a chance to be renewed to remain for the second year.
In 2013, Silvia received a Massachusetts Cultural Council grant for her ‘Fresh Air: Portraits’ of Chelsea project; which explored the environmental and political aspects within air quality issues in Chelsea, MA and was also a finalist for the Brother Thomas Fellowship Award.
“It’s been very cool,” said Chavez taking a break from sketching the mural along the Esplanade, “We have had a lot of good, positive responses from people using the space. People who use it daily are just screaming “thank you!”
The Esplanade Association, an independent non-profit that works to revitalize and enhance the state park, commissioned the non-profit Now + There to curate and produce a mural for the Esplanade in the area located west of the Massachusetts Avenue, bridge.
The project is privately funded through money raised by the Esplanade Association.
Jessica Crimmins, the interim executive director of the Esplanade Association said that they have been interested in doing a public art project for quite a while.
“There are a lot of reasons why people come to the Esplanade – running, biking, walking or touring, and now, they have another reason to come into the park, for culture and art,” said Crimmins.
The association created an “Arts in the Park” fund to back this project and hopefully other future works to correspond with their other programs such as “Healthy, Fit & Fun.”
Currently, the space serves as a blank canvas for graffiti artists, and Crimmins said she hopes the mural will deter people from continuing that in the area. Depending on how it goes, Crimmins said, the Esplanade Association will look into extending the murals stay.
Over 100,000 commuters on Storrow Drive and thousands of bicyclists, hundreds of boaters and rowers, as well as many people on the Cambridge side of the river, will be able to see this mural everyday.
The concept for “Patterned Behavior” takes inspiration from the everyday activity and how humans utilize the space. When Chavez first began doing sketches and research in the area, she noticed that people tended to follow the same paths.
“Designing this piece, it was clear it wasn’t going to be faces or words, which can be present in my work, but more about the reflection of the space and movement and how to convey that with a ton of color – which is so me,” said Chavez.
She continued, “The color to me in an abstract way represents the variety of us here in the city, how we are from so many places. Boston has people from everywhere. That is my way of reflecting that. The beautiful colors are representative of the beautiful people here.”
For example, Chavez pointed to two yellow circles near the side of Storrow Drive and said in an abstract way that represents the cars going down. Other patterns such as arrows and lines represent the flow coming in from either side, intersecting and interacting with each other.
“It is a different experience depending on what direction you are coming from overall,” said Chavez.
This mural is the second commission by Now + There’s Year of the Woman programming and is the first initiative in the Esplanade Association’s newly expanded arts program.
Chavez said that she wanted to follow the Year of the Woman and hired an all-female mural crew. Chavez said that in the world of street art, graffiti art or murals, it is a very male-dominated community– kind of like a boys club of sorts.
She hopes to bring attention to female artists who continue to not get opportunities to build their portfolio.
“It’s something that’s a catch-22 – you have to think in reverse,” said Chavez. “I know a lot of strong artists that are female but not given the opportunity to do these projects…I hope this project opens more doors not just for me but for these amazing strong woman who are helping me.”
The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT), community organizations and neighbors approved this project.
The area the mural is on is very tricky to get permits for. The pillars and the wall belong to MassDOT, DCR owns the land and is charge of taking care of the park, and the main wall facing the river is a historic landmark, needing permission from the Boston Landmarks Commission.
“We had to go into getting all of the permitting, and that process was long,” said Chavez. “I was so grateful to have Now + there and the Esplanade Association to do that along the way.”
Chavez said it was difficult as an individual artist to go through this process and for most artists they don’t have the time or the capacity to do all of the work.
In addition, she had to get insurance that went into the millions of dollars to cover her assistants, herself and every object that she has at the site.
“Now, we’re here and that makes me very happy and it makes people very happy, which we have been seeing again and again which is fantastic,” said Chavez.
Kate Gilbert the executive director of Now + There, hopes that this mural will help reclaim the area that has slowly been taken over by cars.
“The art is sort of supporting the pleasant walk through here, but it is about cars versus people and what that is going to mean in the future,” said Gilbert. “[The mural] is going to make it more pleasant and useable space.”
In terms of the short stay the mural will have, Gilbert said she believes that it is important to keep changing the face of public art in Boston.
“There are some icons that are always going to stay, like the CITGO sign, but I always use the analogy you really don’t wear the same clothes that you wore 10 years ago,” said Gilbert. “I think temporary art reflects the changes that are happening now…there is a moment in time we are reflecting in artwork and hopefully in five years there will be something new.”
Cambridge College, long considered a pioneer in adult learning, opens their new campus in Boston’s historic Hood Park (Charlestown), having moved from its former location on Massachusetts Avenue in Cambridge.
The new, state-of-the-art campus consolidates the four schools into a single campus in Boston.
“We are delighted to welcome new, returning, and future students to Cambridge College’s beautiful new unified Boston campus,” said Deborah Jackson, President of Cambridge College. “The majority of our students live and work in the Boston area, and our new centrally-located campus will more effectively meet the needs of our busy students while attracting a broader population of new students.”
Located in the heart of Boston’s vibrant Charlestown neighborhood the new campus sits in the original home of the quintessential New England dairy company H.P. Hood and Sons. The bright and expansive campus offers a wide array of student centric amenities including multiple gathering spaces for small group work, flexible classrooms, ample free parking, a bus shuttle service, the CC Store, and the CC Bistro. As they head into their new modern classrooms, students will be inspired by wall quotes from luminary authors and thought leaders, and creative signage paying homage to Boston’s most notable thoroughfares, such as Washington Street and Commonwealth Avenue, will further enhance the Cambridge College student experience.
Located a mere five-minute walk from the Sullivan Square Orange line T stop, Hood Park is easily accessible to communities throughout the Greater Boston and surrounding areas. In addition, the campus is in close proximity to landmark development projects such as Assembly Row and the Schrafft Center. An array of anticipated new projects will provide a vast offering of housing and retail opportunities, green space, restaurants, and other exciting resources to the neighborhood.
Cambridge College’s new unified campus joins a community that has become a mecca for companies leading the charge in healthcare and biotechnology such as MGH Partners, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, Visiting Nurse Association of Boston & Associates, Tierpoint, ERT, and Indigo Agriculture, to name a few.
“We’re excited to become a part of this exciting and vibrant Boston neighborhood. We believe that the new Hood Park community affords us the unique and exciting opportunity to build relationships with some of Boston’s most innovative companies,” said Jackson. “We look forward to becoming a contributing neighbor to the community and hope to forge meaningful relationships with our new neighbors, employers and businesses to both support the neighborhood and Cambridge College.”
Cambridge College will host a Grand Opening reception on October 19. For more details and information, please call 617.873.0621 or email email@example.com.
The Chelsea Public Library announced Tuesday that it has been awarded a grant from NASA and the American Library Association called NASA@ My Library.
Chelsea Public Library is one of 75 libraries that have been chosen from a total of 513 applicants to receive the NASA@ My Library grant, and is the only library in Massachusetts selected to participate in the initiative.
The NASA@ My Library project is led by the National Center for Interactive Learning at the Space Science Institute. Partners include the American Library Association (ALA) Public Programs Office, Pacific Science Center, Cornerstones of Science, and Education Development Center. NASA@ My Library is made possible through the support of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Science Mission Directorate as part of its STEM Activation program.
The Children’s Librarian Martha Boksenbaum said, “We are very excited to have won this grant, it will enable the library to bring more STEM programming to Chelsea, and build an environment of exploration, play and learning.”
The library will receive the following from this grant:
Two NASA STEM Facilitation Kits including STEM tools and programming materials including a green screen and solar eclipse viewing glasses
A $500 programming stipend
Travel reimbursement for the Children’s Librarian to travel to Denver, CO for training
In implementing this grant, the Chelsea Public Library will run at least three programs between May 2017 and October 2018.
A Solar Eclipse Viewing Party on August 21.
A series of workshops in which children and adults can explore the NASA Facilitation kits
materials and activities
An Earth Day Celebration in Spring 2018
Guest visits from Subject Matter Experts to engage with children and families
The Chelsea Public Library provides programming free of charge, and strives to create an environment of learning and exploration to the Chelsea community.
The 48th Annual South End House Tour has been set for Saturday, Oct. 15, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Lauren Prescott of the South End Historical Society told the Eight Streets Neighborhood Association on Tuesday, Sept. 13.
The tour this year will feature six homes in the Pembroke Street area that will showcase a variety of styles in the South End, from three-story condos to majestic Brownstones to historic notables.
The South End Historical Society is located at 532 Mass Ave. and is interested in getting volunteers to help as “sitters” during the home tour.
A parking lot on Shawmut and Washington Streets has asked the New York Streets Neighborhood Association (NYSA) for a support letter to present to the Zoning Board of Appeals for a three-year extension of their parking facility – perhaps signaling that property owner Ron Druker may continue to put on hold his proposed 11-story office building slated for the empty lot.
Attorney David Gottlieb appeared before NYSA Tuesday night to ask for the letter on behalf of Stanhope, which leases the property from Druker. Gottlieb explained that the letter is a formality that Stanhope has to complete every three years to get an extension for the parking use on the the property. Gottlieb didn’t say whether or not his request meant the office building had been postponed. It was first proposed in 2013 and has yet to break ground.
“It is approved for an office building with about 300,000 sq. ft.,” said Ted Tye of National Development, who sits on the Board of Ink Block. “He does own the adjacent parcel up Washington Street, so he could do a larger project. Druker has been around 100 years and it’s because they aren’t conservative…They don’t take the risks some of those here do. They won’t break ground unless they have a tenant in place.”
Stanhope has operated the lot since 1971 on the site and offers 89 parking spots, also doing monthly rentals, and that will not change.
John J. Gerace of Acton passed away peacefully on Thursday, July 28 at UMass Medical Center surrounded by his loving family after a brief illness. He was 56 years old.
John was born on April 30, 1960 in a military hospital at Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, North Carolina. He attended Chelsea High School and was a delivery truck driver for Office Source in Burlington for 18 years. He loved movies, especially military movies, and was very interested and well read on anything military. In his spare time, John enjoyed fishing and collecting comic books. John was a devoted husband and father and will be greatly missed.
John is survived by his beloved wife of 28 years, Rita M. (McAleavey) Gerace; his daughter, Jillian A. Gerace of Acton; his father, Harry L. Gerace, Sr. of Bedford and his mother, Ruth M. (McCarthy) Gerace of Jacksonville, NC. He is also survived by his siblings: Francis X. Gerace and his wife, Martina of Winchendon, Harry L. Gerace, Jr. and his wife, Mercy of East Boston, Brian K. Gerace and his wife, Donna of Attleboro, Helen A. Gerace of Acton, Joseph A. Gerace and his wife, Ute of Jacksonville, NC, and Marion R. Jones and her husband, Anthony of Wakefield; and his godmother, Jane Benduzek of Weymouth. He is also survived by several aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews.
Funeral services are private. A celebration of John’s life will be held at a later date. Mercadante Funeral Home & Chapel, 370 Plantation St., Worcester was honored to have assisted the family with arrangements. In lieu of flowers, contributions in his memory may be made to the American Heart Association, 300 5th Avenue, Waltham, MA 01701 (www.heart.org).
Thomas R. Cromwell of Virginia Beach, Virginia, formerly of Chelsea, died early on Saturday morning, July 30. He was 58 years old.
Born in Chelsea and a resident here until moving to Virginia in 1992, Thomas worked as a chef in local restaurants including Bennigans and Houlihans.
He was the beloved husband of Maureen K. Lee of Lynn; devoted father of Thomas Richard Henry Cromwell of Lynn and Keturah Joan Jackson of Washington, DC; loving brother of Doreen Hornbeak and her husband, Steven of Virginia Beach, Virginia, Beverly Martin-Ross and her husband, Larry of Chelsea, Charlie Martin of Lynn, Maurice Cromwell of Chelsea, John Cromwell of Hubbardston, Paula Cromwell of Chelsea, John Martin and his wife, Delia of Chelsea, Richelle Cromwell and her husband, Larry of Chelsea, Joan Cromwell and her husband, Kenneth Umemba of Chelsea, Darren Cromwell and his wife, Sue of Lincoln, Gregory Carter of Medford and the late Andrea Martin. He is also lovingly survived by a host of aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews.
Funeral arrangements were by the Smith Funeral Home, 125 Washington Avenue, Chelsea.
To send a message of condolence to his family, please visit www.smithfuneralhomes.com
The Powers family has done much to make Chelsea a better city. Steve Powers and his younger brother, Matty Powers, are now spreading their kindness to other communities, notably the city of Lynn.
The Mass. Department of Health (DPH) presented an award to the Powers brothers July 8, certifying the sober house facility that the Powers family had built in Lynn. DPH Commissioner Dr. Monica Bharel presented the certificate, making it one of the first certified sober houses in the history of Massachusetts.
Sober houses allow residents to transition from a residential recovery setting to living independently in a supportive group setting.
“It’s nice to receive the certification,” said Matty Powers, himself a recovering addict who is now drug free. “For a long time you felt like you were going unnoticed doing the right thing and now the state has recognized our efforts.”
Bharel praised the brothers’ work, saying their facility meets the state’s highest standards for sober houses and is an example for others to follow.
Steve Powers opened the first Chelsea’s House recovery program (sober house) in Lynn in 2010. He said Chelsea’s House is named after former Chelsea High football player, the late Robert Hinckley Jr.
“We named it Chelsea’s House in honor of Chelsea’s Bob Hinckley, because he helped my brother get clean,” said Steve Powers.
“Bob was a part of a lot of younger guys in Chelsea getting clean,” said Matty.
Matty, president of the Chelsea’s House facilities, said they currently have 65 men living in their five sober houses in Lynn and Chelsea.
The two brothers started their venture with assistance from their well-known father, former Alderman Steve Powers and their brother, Dennis Powers, who help with the construction and renovation of the facilities.
“We’re totally self-sufficient with Chelsea’s House,” said Steve. “We started this with our own money and the money [clients pay $170 per week for rent] that is raised in those houses pay to keep them going.”
Steve Powers said after visiting some of the sober houses [in which his brother stayed] and seeing that they were in poor condition, he decided to open his own sober house. The Powers are meeting the demands of their clients.
“We give them a healthy, clean, sober, drug-free environment to recover,” said Steve. “A professional drug testing company comes in twice a week. We go the extra mile to make these houses like the houses our clients grew up in when they were kids living with their parents.”
Matty Powers travels daily to the sober houses to meet with the house managers and to oversee the recovery processes. Matty also arranges group meetings for clients so they can work together in their recovery.
“I visit the houses every day,” said Matty. “Our goal is to help our clients stay clean.”
Steve said there is a tremendous need for sober houses as the state battles an opioid crisis. Steve said he feels “blessed” that his brother overcame adversity to become clean and he’s proud that his brother is now helping others in their recoveries.
Dr. Monica Bharel (far left), Commissioner of the Mass. Department of Health, and Richard Winant, President of Massachusetts Association for Sober Housing, present an award to Matt Powers and Steve Powers, granting certification to the sober house that the Powers brothers own and operate in the city of Lynn.
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed. — The Second Amendment of the United States Constitution
The issue of what, if any, gun control laws are appropriate in a civilized society once again is in the forefront of the news after the tragic shooting in Orlando two weeks ago.
There is no question that among all of the first 10 Amendments to the Constitution, known collectively as the Bill of Rights, the Second Amendment is the most archaic, both in terms of its language and its intent.
The amendment appears contradictory on its face. It contains the phrase “well-regulated,” implying that the government has the right to make rules and regulations, but then concludes with the verb phrase, “shall not be infringed,” which suggests that there should not be any governmental rules or regulations.
In terms of the substance of the Second Amendment, the notion of a militia has no practical meaning today relative to what that term meant in the late 18th century. We are long past the days when farmers left the fields to become de facto soldiers, or when posses were rounded up to chase outlaws, or when settlers were on their own in a hostile environment.
But some pretend that a lifestyle that no longer exists still has meaning in the America of the 21st century.
However, it was only a few years ago that a majority of the U.S. Supreme Court resolved some of the ambiguity in the Second Amendment when the court declared that the right to bear arms applied to individual citizens, not merely to a government-organized militia.
But tellingly, the same majority acknowledged that the local, state, and federal governments have the authority to make regulations pertaining to that right. As is the case with all of our rights as Americans, none of them, including freedom of speech, is absolute, and the right to bear arms is no exception.
Some, led chiefly by the National Rifle Association, are opposed to gun regulation and registration laws of any kind because of their belief that even the mildest regulations will lead us down the proverbial slippery slope and ultimately will result in confiscatory gun laws.
However, that position of absolutism, while convenient for the NRA, simply is not the way our country works.
Henry Clay said it best, “Politics is the art of compromise.” Compromise is what our American system of government is all about. The Founders created a system of checks and balances among the three branches of government to ensure that compromise must take place.
No gun law will be a silver bullet (no pun intended) that forever will prevent every shooting, of which there are tens of thousands every year in this country that murder and maim us in numbers of epidemic proportions. Although ISIS-inspired terrorism has grabbed the focus of our attention, more Americans are killed and wounded every few days by our own citizenry in incidents of gun-related violence than have been killed by terrorists in all of the past 15 years combined.
To sum it up succinctly, we have met the enemy — and it is us.
Senator Ed Markey and others have proposed sensible gun regulations that will not deprive or unduly burden any law-abiding citizen of his or her Second Amendment rights, but which will greatly reduce the carnage that occurs in our nation on a daily basis.
We urge all of our lawmakers to undertake the work necessary to enact the laws we need to make America as safe as possible from those whose hearts and minds are filled with hate and criminal intent.
A four-alarm fire tore through a Cottage Street home on Friday evening, April 22.
Chelsea 911 started receiving multiple calls for smoke coming from a building at 61 Cottage Street about 5:30 p.m. When firefighters arrived heavy fire and smoke was coming from the third floor of the building and Act. Deputy Massucci ordered the working fire. The fire was also extending into the second and third floor apartments as well as the cockloft and roof.
As first arriving firefighters started attacking the fire, many other residents were still being removed from the building by police and firefighters. One police officer, David Delaney, is being credited with saving two young boys who were playing video game inside the home and had no idea there was a fire raging.
Due to the deteriorating fire conditions and exposure to adjacent buildings, as well as the inability to efficiently utilize ladder company ariels due to overhead power lines, Deputy Massucci quickly struck a Second, Third and Fourth Alarm bringing help from Boston, Everett, Lynn, Malden, Medford, Saugus, Somerville and Winthrop.
Several firefighters were injured fighting the fire and were transported to the hospital. Assistant Emergency Management Director Robert Verdone arrived on scene and located shelter for 16 residents that were displaced by the fire.
The fire cause was determined to be accidental due to improper disposal of smoking materials on the 3rd floor porch. This fire also highlights a common fire hazard in the City. Fires on porches spread quickly due to the open wood frame construction and heavy fire loads. This combined with outside air and wind cause rapid auto-exposure from floor to floor and structure to structure.
“Building owners and tenants are reminded to keep their porches free from debris,” said Chief Lou Albanese. “There should be no storage, and no furniture that is meant for the interior of dwellings used on porches. Also, the fire department has restricted the use of gas grills on porches. Grills should only be used at ground level away from the structure.”
Cataldo EMS and President Paul Boudreau of Boston Sparks Association, along with several club members, were also on scene providing refreshments and ReHab for firefighters.
Captain Richard Perisie and the State Fire Marshalls office are investigating the cause of the fire.
“This once again was strong work by Chelsea Fire,” said Chief Lou Albanese. “They made an aggressive attack with limited manpower upon arrival, and made a great stop, keeping this fire contained to the structure without spreading to nearby exposures.”
Flames burst from the third floor of a home at 61 Cottage St. on Friday evening, April 22. The four-alarm fire was complicated to fight.