Social Security benefits

The Tax Attic — June 10, 2010

June 10, 2010 // 0 Comments

Social Security benefits to dwindle Since The Rockford Squire doesn’t have a writer covering Major League Baseball—and I love baseball—I’m obligated to comment on the Detroit Tigers’ Armando Galarraga’s brush with fame. Galarraga could have had a permanent piece of fame had Umpire Jim Joyce gone to that last eye doctor appointment. But alas and alack, Joyce missed the appointment and he also missed the obvious out call at first base that relegated Galarraga to a one-hitter instead of the 21st perfect game in all of major league baseball history. Oh, by the way, no Detroit pitcher in the 100-plus years of Tigers baseball has ever pitched a perfect game. Talk about a rare occurrence. All Galarraga got was his 21st regular career victory, and it’s doubtful he will get anywhere close to that perfect game for the rest of his career. Maybe in his next life, he won’t have Joyce umpiring first base when he gets to two out in the ninth and that umpire makes the right call. Current baseball rules just do not allow anyone, even Commissioner Selig, to change a call once the umpire says “play ball” and throws the next ball into play. The only one who could have made a difference in this whole sad state of affairs was Tigers Manager Jim Leyland. He knew or should have known that once he left the field and the home plate umpire directed Galarraga to “play ball,” the perfect game was dead. Forever. Leyland could have not left the field of play until he demanded that Joyce ask the other umpires if one of them, particularly the second base umpire, had a good look at the play. Joyce then either had the choice of throwing Leyland out of the game or asking the other umpires for help. I’m thinking that at some point with 18,000 fans booing him, with the Tigers’ normally quiet Miguel Cabrera chewing on him, and Galarraga smiling at him, Joyce would have gotten the message that something was wrong and he would have consulted with the other umpires and ultimately the call would have been reversed. Then Galarraga’s 21st victory would have been the 21st perfect game thrown in baseball history thus assuring him of his rightful […]

The Tax Attic – July 2, 2009

July 2, 2009 // 0 Comments

Who qualifies to receive Social Security benefits? My wife, Deb, looked around our yard the other day and noted that our yard was an example of nature gone wild. The peonies have never had more flowers and those flowers were large and magnificent. All of the varieties of hostas are huge. There were flowers on lilac bushes that haven’t had flowers on them in years. The decorative crab apples had lots of blooms and it seems like the branches have grown a foot a day. The shrubs have more fresh growth on them than I have ever seen. Deb is hoping the cosmos, begonias and impatiens she just planted will grow as well as the rest of the plants in our yard.  Even the lawn looks great. It’s funny, but I buy the same amount and type of fertilizer from Pete’s Ace Hardware every year, apply it in the same manner every year, and apply it at the same time every year. Some years it just seems to work better than others. Being a tax professional and not a trained green thumb type person, I have no idea of how that is possible. If I put the same figures into a tax return using the same forms, I am going to get the same answer every time. However, my lawn seems to look different every year. Of course, the one variable that I don’t have to contend with on my tax returns is something called the weather. It’s been a cool spring with lots of rain lately. It must be perfect growing conditions, at least in my yard. I want to finish up my articles on Social Security by making a few general points and then going over the survivor’s benefits rules. Today, there are approximately 50 million people who receive a monthly Social Security benefit. According to the Social Security Administration, that monthly benefit on the average replaces approximately 40 percent of their retirement income. Obviously it’s going to be a tough go if the taxpayer’s only retirement income is his/her Social Security benefit. Most people do begin drawing at the age of 62. However, there are some rare individuals who continue working past the age of 62-past the age of full retirement of […]

Tax Attic — June 25, 2009

June 25, 2009 // 0 Comments

How are Social Security benefits calculated? The catching of fish in Canada was not quite as good this year as other years. The black flies and mosquitoes were not a problem, though. I guess they don’t like 50 degree and rainy weather either. However, the fishing was as good as ever. As those of us who fish know, catching fish is only a small part of the whole story. I go to Canada fishing for walleye almost every year. I go with fellows whom I have been friends with for more than 30 years now. Around the campfire, along with a beer or two, we get to laugh about the stories of the trips we took over those 30-plus years. Some of those stories are actually true and not embellished too much, like the time we almost ran over a moose between White River and Wawa. Scary, but I swerved right around him and we kept on going. Another time, we hit a rock in the river and I flew out of the boat so fast I didn’t have time to even say “Ro……” before I hit the water. I lost my sunglasses but held onto my coffee cup and hat. They were good sunglasses too. I saw that rock quite clearly. Yet another time, we were driving down the two-track to the boat launch and looked over to see a big black bear nonchalantly walking back toward our camp on the two-track going in the opposite direction. I don’t know, but I think he knew we weren’t going to be there to defend our property. One time we bet one of the guys that he couldn’t leave the campfire, jump into the boat, go out into the lake, catch a fish and get back to his seat at the campfire within five minutes. He won the bet, too, with a nice pike. It’s just as impressive to me today as I write this as it was seeing him do it. Another time, a mink figured out how to open the latch on our minnow buckets and eat all of our minnows. Smart-aleck little fellow, but it was probably quite a feast for him. He ate probably $20 worth of minnows before we got smart enough […]