Monthly Archives: November 2015

Don’t Mess with Miss Watkins

Funny turkeys

First, Happy Thanksgiving from the Elder Law Update!

Having trouble focusing at work on this pre-holiday workday, as you dream of turkey and pumpkin pie? A former employer of mine used to send us home early with “Turkey Brain” 🙂

To help distract you from the work you really should be doing, check out this video of Beverly Watkins – born c. 1939 – performing at Northside Tavern in Atlanta, Georgia  in April (here, celebrating her 76th birthday):

I had the pleasure of seeing Miss Watkins perform last weekend, and she was AWESOME. I encourage you to check her out!

And, as we celebrate and give thanks this week with family and friends, young and old, may we all remember that dreams and passion have no age limit!

Image © adrenalinapura –


Have you heard of the Grandparent Scam?

Aged woman talk on phone

Several years ago, a friend of mine’s grandmother received a tearful call from her grandson, a young adult. He told her he was in Canada, had run into trouble, and needed her to send money immediately. She wired the money and subsequently informed other family members. Only then did she find out that her grandson was not in Canada and had not gotten into trouble. She’d been scammed.

Many seniors are targeted in this and very similar scams, and it is not difficult to imagine why. They are particularly susceptible to loneliness and often eager to hear from family, their hearing may be failing making it hard to recognize voices, and the call triggers a strong emotional reaction that may overcome reason. Moreover, the scammers are sophisticated, able to trick the intelligent and educated as well as the vulnerable.

Through the years, we’ve come to realize that although an email from the Prince of Nigeria promising to send us large sums of money sounds pretty nice, this is a scam and few fall for it. Hopefully, spreading the word about the Grandparent Scam will have the same effect.

If you or a loved one has been the victim of the scam, you can file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission online or by calling 877-382-4357, and sign up for scam alerts at Scams can also be reported to AARP’s Fraud Watch Network, where you can also sign up for fraud alerts.


Image © Alan Lucas –


The End of the “File and Suspend” Social Security Strategy

Social security

The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 – signed into law on November 2, 2015 – will eliminate the “file and suspend” option for receiving Social Security Retirement Benefits.

Generally, delaying the receipt of benefits past “full retirement age” results in increased benefits once they start paying. The file and suspend strategy allows one spouse (Husband, or “H”, for example) to file for benefits upon reaching full retirement age, but suspend his actual receipt of benefits. By filing, this allows the other spouse (Wife, or “W”, for example) to take one-half of H’s benefit, while delaying filing on W’s own record. That way, both spouses can enjoy the increased benefit down the road – because both have delayed receipt of their own benefits – while one spouse still receives Social Security Retirement on the other’s record until that time.

The budget deal will eliminate this strategy to the detriment of potential recipients, but according to some, to the benefit of the Social Security Retirement system overall:

New Budget Deal is Cutting Your Social Security Benefits and It’s a Good Thing (

Also, check out this article about where the new law leaves seniors:

The State of File and Suspend (

Image © chuck –