Social Security – WEP?

Ask Rusty: Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) Affects State Retiree

Ask Rusty: Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) Affects State Retiree

Dear Rusty: I have a question in regard to the “windfall act.” I am receiving a pension from the State of Nevada. I retired from the State, and did not pay into Social Security, but I worked in the private sector before and am currently working in the private sector. My question is: How much “penalty” will I be subject to when I decide to finally hang it up? 
Signed: State Retiree

Dear State Retiree: The State of Nevada is one of 27 states which, for all or some employee categories, do not participate in the Federal Social Security (SS) program; rather their State pensions are designed to provide a retirement benefit in lieu of Social Security. Because you receive a Nevada state pension and have also worked in the private sector long enough to be entitled to a Social Security (SS) benefit, your SS retirement benefit, when you claim it, may be reduced by the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP), with the amount of reduction based upon how many years of substantial SS-covered earnings you have.

If you have 20 or fewer years of SS-covered employment, here’s how WEP will affect your Social Security benefit:
Your actual benefit amount is based upon your “primary insurance amount” (PIA), which is computed using the average monthly earnings from the 35 highest earning years over your lifetime, known as your Average Indexed Monthly Earnings or “AIME” (only earnings up to the maximum payroll tax cap for each year are counted). Your PIA is the Social Security benefit you are entitled to at your full retirement age.

Normally, when WEP doesn’t apply, your Social Security benefit amount is computed by taking the monthly average of those 35 inflation-adjusted years of earnings (your AIME) and using a standard formula to arrive at your PIA. That formula includes using 90% of the first part (called a “bend point”) of your AIME to be the first portion of three used to arrive at your PIA amount.

For those first becoming eligible for benefits in 2019 (usually at age 62) that first bend point is $926, which means that $833 (90%) would normally be the first contribution to your PIA. But when WEP applies, the formula is different; instead of using 90% of that first bend point, if you had 20 or less years of covered-SS substantial earnings they use 40%, which would mean that the first bend point would add $370 to your PIA amount instead of $833, a reduction of $463.

Remember that the bend points used are those for your year of Social Security eligibility, not for the year you claim benefits.The percentage used to compute that first “bend point” goes up by 5% for each year over 20 years of substantial SS-covered earnings you have – for example, if you have 22 years of SS-covered substantial earnings, the formula would use a 50% multiplier instead of 40%. And at 30 years of SS-covered earnings you’re no longer affected by WEP.

WEP can’t reduce your PIA by more than half of your NV pension amount, and there is also a maximum WEP reduction which might apply. And finally, please note that any benefit estimates you might get from Social Security now will not include the WEP reduction, which will be applied only when you actually claim your Social Security benefits.

This article is intended for information purposes only and does not represent legal or financial guidance. It presents the opinions and interpretations of the AMAC Foundation’s staff, trained and accredited by the National Social Security Association (NSSA). NSSA and the AMAC Foundation and its staff are not affiliated with or endorsed by the Social Security Administration or any other governmental entity.

To submit a question, visit our website or email us.

WCCOA Names Wii Bowling Tournament Winners

NB Senior Center represented….

Walbridge, Oh (April 19, 2019) – Wood County Committee on Aging, Inc. (WCCOA) held the annual Wii Bowling Tournament on Friday, April 12, 2019 at the Walbridge Public Library. The event, which has taken place each June for the past ten years, draws in participants from all over the county. They Wii Bowl for 4 hours and enjoy lunch together. The lunch was sponsored by Kingston of Perrysburg and Right at Home.

Ten teams participated in the tournament, including six teams from the Northeast Area Senior Center and Walbridge Area, one from the Perrysburg Area Senior Center, two from the Pemberville Area Senior Center and one from the North Baltimore Area Senior Center.

The annual event tests participants’ bowling skills in a high tech environment using the Wii system. The event encourages participants to work together and ensures that they are supporting and cheering on other senior center sites as well. 

The double elimination event ended with the Perrysburg Team being undefeated. Their final score was 23 after battling it out against the Walbridge team called “The Fireballs.” The Fireballs consisted of Hank Benavides, Kathy Wagner, Cheri Baldwin, Paula Seltzer, and Jim Fuleky. Their score was 226.   


Front, left to right:Sheila Biagioni, Sharon Filipovich, Darlene Doxie, & Cathy Wyss. Back: Joe Filipovich.

The winning team from Perrysburg consisted of five individuals: Cathy Wyss, Sharon Filipovich, Joe Filipovich, Shelia Biagioni and Darlene Doxie.

Congratulations!

Social Security Financial Status Update – 2019

Disability Fund Shows Strong Improvement—Twenty Years


Social Security Combined Trust Funds Gain One Year Says Board of Trustees

Disability Fund Shows Strong Improvement—Twenty Years

The Social Security Board of Trustees today released its annual report on the long-term financial status of the Social Security Trust Funds.  The combined asset reserves of the Old-Age and Survivors Insurance and Disability Insurance (OASI and DI) Trust Funds are projected to become depleted in 2035, one year later than projected last year, with 80 percent of benefits payable at that time.

The OASI Trust Fund is projected to become depleted in 2034, the same as last year’s estimate, with 77 percent of benefits payable at that time.  The DI Trust Fund is estimated to become depleted in 2052, extended 20 years from last year’s estimate of 2032, with 91 percent of benefits still payable.

In the 2019 Annual Report to Congress, the Trustees announced:

  • The asset reserves of the combined OASI and DI Trust Funds increased by $3 billion in 2018 to a total of $2.895 trillion.
  • The total annual cost of the program is projected to exceed total annual income, for the first time since 1982, in 2020 and remain higher throughout the 75-year projection period.  As a result, asset reserves are expected to decline during 2020.  Social Security’s cost has exceeded its non-interest income since 2010.
  • The year when the combined trust fund reserves are projected to become depleted, if Congress does not act before then, is 2035 – gaining one year from last year’s projection.  At that time, there would be sufficient income coming in to pay 80 percent of scheduled benefits.

“The Trustees recommend that lawmakers address the projected trust fund shortfalls in a timely way in order to phase in necessary changes gradually and give workers and beneficiaries time to adjust to them,” said Nancy A. Berryhill, Acting Commissioner of Social Security.  “The large change in the reserve depletion date for the DI Fund is mainly due to continuing favorable trends in the disability program.  Disability applications have been declining since 2010, and the number of disabled-worker beneficiaries receiving payments has been falling since 2014.”

 

Other highlights of the Trustees Report include:

  • Total income, including interest, to the combined OASI and DI Trust Funds amounted to just over $1 trillion in 2018.  ($885 billion from net payroll tax contributions, $35 billion from taxation of benefits, and $83 billion in interest)
  • Total expenditures from the combined OASI and DI Trust Funds amounted to $1 trillion in 2018.
  • Social Security paid benefits of nearly $989 billion in calendar year 2018.  There were about 63 million beneficiaries at the end of the calendar year.
  • The projected actuarial deficit over the 75-year long-range period is 2.78 percent of taxable payroll – lower than the 2.84 percent projected in last year’s report.
  • During 2018, an estimated 176 million people had earnings covered by Social Security and paid payroll taxes.
  • The cost of $6.7 billion to administer the Social Security program in 2018 was a very low 0.7 percent of total expenditures.
  • The combined Trust Fund asset reserves earned interest at an effective annual rate of 2.9 percent in 2018.

The Board of Trustees usually comprises six members.  Four serve by virtue of their positions with the federal government: Steven T. Mnuchin, Secretary of the Treasury and Managing Trustee; Nancy A. Berryhill, Acting Commissioner of Social Security; Alex M. Azar II, Secretary of Health and Human Services; and R. Alexander Acosta, Secretary of Labor.  The two public trustee positions are currently vacant.

View the 2019 Trustees Report at www.socialsecurity.gov/OACT/TR/2019/.

Nursing home abuse is on the rise, says AMAC

Federal, state and local authorities must act;family members, too, need to get involved


WASHINGTON, DC, Apr 12 — Elder abuse in nursing homes is on the rise again and senior advocate Dan Weber is calling for government intervention at the state, local and federal levels.
Between four and five million Americans are in nursing homes, the great majority of whom are seniors over the age of 65. “And too many of them have been and continue to be victims of nursing home abuse,” according to Weber.
Who is president of the Association of Mature American Citizens [AMAC]. “If it is determined that a family member needs care in a nursing home, the facility needs deep vetting, not just a cursory background check”
Weber says that it was recently revealed during hearings held by Sen. Chuck Grassley’s Committee on Finance that it may not be enough to rely on a nursing home’s good grades from the authorities when choosing a nursing home for a loved one. He cites the testimony of a woman whose mother died as a result of neglect in a home that had what Grassley described as “the highest possible ranking from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for quality of resident care.”
That revelation hit home for Senator Grassley who described the testimony at his hearing as “troubling.” He promised additional investigations into nursing home abuse by the Department of Health and Human Services and the Government Accountability Office. He said that as soon as those investigations are completed new hearings would take place.
Meanwhile, CMS announced that it was already in the process of updating the way it rates nursing homes. CMS also issued new guidelines for “identifying and ultimately preventing” abuse or neglect cases.
Nursing home attorneys at Blasingame, Burch, Garrard & Ashley in Athens, GA say that in addition to physical abuse a majority of residents experience depression. And, they say that many patients too often are given the wrong medications.
AMAC’s Weber warns that the decision to admit a relative to a nursing home is made more difficult because the patient may object and because the need may a lot of time to act. And, notes the National Council for Aging Care, “If your loved one can still make choices or discuss their wishes clearly, it is very important that you acknowledge their opinion and act accordingly.”
Weber says that the decision to should not be determined by an individual family member. It’s a time when all family members close to the individual who is ill to be consulted, although it is always wise to consult his or her physician.
“But, in most cases it is family members who must make the ultimate decision to move the patient into a nursing home. And, beyond that, it is up to family members to ensure that the facility they choose is the right one. They need to do their homework to pick a facility that has a history of caring for its patients. And, once a loved one takes up residency in a home, family members should make regular, unscheduled visits to make sure their loved ones are not being mistreated.”
To facilitate the process of choosing and vetting a nursing home, there are a variety of sources on the Internet that can help you make the right decisions. Medicare, for example, has put together The Nursing Home Checklist that provides a list of the questions you need to ask.

Social Security Matters

Ask Rusty – Social Security’s “First Year” Rule


Social Security Matters
by AMAC Certified Social Security Advisor Russell Gloor

Good Ol’ Rusty…

Association of Mature American Citizens
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Ask Rusty – Social Security’s “First Year” Rule
Dear Rusty: I’ve been trying to determine the best way to proceed with retirement and could use some help. I’d like to retire on or about my 62nd birthday this September. Waiting for “full retirement” does not motivate as I have income replacement through my real estate investments. I’ll have way over any earnings limits for 2019, but I don’t want to have my benefits reduced. Can I apply as SSA suggests three months before my 62nd birthday without running afoul of SSA’s arcane benefit reduction rules? Or should I quit first then apply? Please don’t refer me to my Financial Advisor or local SSA office, they just confuse. Signed: Anxious to Retire
Dear Anxious: Well I’m afraid I can’t offer you any obscure methods to avoid Social Security’s rules & regulations, but perhaps I can clarify some things which will help you manage the timing of your application for Social Security benefits. From what you’ve said, I assume you mean you plan to retire from your working career in September, but by that time you will have greatly exceeded Social Security’s annual earnings limit (which is $17,640 for 2019). Again, from what you’ve said, you wish to claim SS as soon as possible but you don’t want to lose any benefits because of exceeding the earnings limit. So, if you wish to claim SS as soon as you turn 62, you’ll be happy to know that there is a special rule which applies for your first year of collecting benefits before your full retirement age (66 ½ in your case).
That “first year rule” essentially says that if you start benefits in mid-year, earnings prior to the month your benefits start don’t count; instead you’ll be subject to a monthly earnings test for the remainder of that year, once your benefits have started. So in your case, your first month of eligibility for SS would be the month of October (you must be 62 for the entire month to be eligible for benefits), and your benefit payment for October would be paid the following month (the payment date will be either the 2nd, 3rd, or 4th Wednesday of the month, depending on the day of the month you were born). Then, starting with the month of October, if you do not have earnings from working which exceed $1,470 in any of the remaining months of 2019, your benefits will not be cut; but if you have earnings from working which exceed that monthly amount in any month for the rest of 2019, then you will not be entitled to SS benefits for that month. Exceeding the monthly limit by any amount (even by $1) will cause Social Security to take back the full benefit for that month. So, if your plan is to retire from your working career in September and depend upon your savings and investments for income, and if you claim Social Security as soon as you’re eligible in October and you have no further earnings from working, you’ll not suffer any loss of benefits in 2019.
But just as a caution, after 2019 you’ll still be subject to the annual “earnings test” because you’re claiming Social Security before you reach your full retirement age, and the annual earnings test will apply until the month that you reach your full retirement age (after that, there is no longer a limit to what you can earn). As for when you should apply for benefits, Social Security recommends that you apply 3 months before you wish your benefits to begin. When applying, you can specify the month you want your benefits to start, so if you wish that to be at age 62 simply specify October 2019 as your benefit start month. Applying prior to September and specifying October as your benefit start month will not expose you to any extra earnings limitations over those explained above.
This article is intended for information purposes only and does not represent legal or financial guidance. It presents the opinions and interpretations of the AMAC Foundation’s staff, trained and accredited by the National Social Security Association (NSSA). NSSA and the AMAC Foundation and its staff are not affiliated with or endorsed by the Social Security Administration or any other governmental entity. To submit a question, visit our website or email us.

Bridge Home Health & Hospice Presentation on Advance Directives

National Healthcare Decisions Day event on April 18…..

Social workers and care navigators from Blanchard Valley Health System (BVHS) will offer a brief presentation regarding advance care planning and advance directive forms at a National Healthcare Decisions Day event on April 18 from 9 to 11 a.m. This event will take place at 50 North, located at 339 East Melrose Avenue, Findlay. The presentation will also provide individuals with assistance in the completion of advance directives.

In an effort to highlight the importance of advance health care decision-making, BVHS and 50 North, along with other organizations across the nation, will provide information and tools for the public to discuss their wishes with family, friends and health care providers. Additionally, individuals will learn to execute written advance directives (health care power of attorney and living will) in accordance with Ohio state laws.

“With this event, more people in our community will be equipped to have thoughtful conversations about their health care decisions and complete reliable advance directives to make their wishes known,” said Niki Sidle, LISW-S at Bridge Home Health & Hospice, a division of BVHS. “Fewer families and providers will have to struggle with making difficult health care decisions in the absence of guidance from the patient. Providers and facilities will be better prepared to address advance health care planning issues before a crisis and better honor patient wishes when the time comes.”

For more information, call Bridge Home Health & Hospice at 419.423.5351.

Ask Rusty – Increasing your Social Security Benefit Amount

Social Security Matters


by AMAC Certified Social Security Advisor Russell Gloor
Association of Mature American Citizens

Rusty…

Dear Rusty: I turned 67 in September 2018. My benefit estimate is $1478 a month if I claim benefits now. I work and will continue working as long as I can. My 35-year earnings period includes about ten years of zeros when I was married (twice for about 5 years each). If I claim benefits now will my monthly amount go up if I continue to work? I read that the SSA recalculates each year and uses your high years. I make about $57k a year now and hopefully will continue to do so. Does the SSA replace one of the zero years with the years I work after claiming benefits and raise my monthly benefit accordingly and how much? I truly appreciate your help with this as I would like to decide this month. I have read on SSA that if I don’t claim it will go up 8% but I also have read I could be drawing benefits and working too, and this would be a better financial situation. Signed: Working Senior
Dear Working Senior: Yes, if you have 10 years of zeros in your 35-year earnings history, your more recent earnings each year will replace one of those zero years, if the earnings are what Social Security considers “substantial” (which your $57,000 income would be). Social Security gets your earnings information from the IRS as soon as your W-2 is available each year and makes any benefit adjustment necessary at that time (if you’re self-employed the adjustment is made after you file your income taxes). When Social Security receives your income information each year, they will recompute your “average indexed monthly earnings” (AIME) with your revised 35-year earnings history (including one less zero year), adjust your “primary insurance amount” (or “PIA”), and increase your benefit accordingly. I can’t tell you how much of an increase it would be because I don’t have access to your lifetime earnings records, but you shouldn’t expect it to be a major increase each year. After all, your new earnings will only represent 1/35th of your AIME, so the increase to your benefit won’t be big. But if you continue to work with significant earnings your benefit will continue to increase over time and each increase you get will last for the rest of your life.
You are correct that for each year you delay claiming benefits beyond your full retirement age of 66, you’ll earn delayed retirement credits (DRCs) of 8%, up until you are 70 when your benefit would be 32% higher than at your full retirement age. You’re earning those DRCs now at a rate of 2/3rds of 1% each month after your FRA and will continue to earn them until you claim (but not after age 70). However, if you are trying to compare the increase you will get by claiming benefits and continuing to work, versus the 8% per year increase you will get by delaying claim of your SS, please be aware that the 8% annual increase will be much more than any increase you’ll get from working and replacing a zero year. And the fact is, if you continue to delay and also continue to work, you’ll still be improving your eventual benefit from your earnings and you’ll still earn those delayed retirement credits until you are 70. In other words, you can do both.
This article is intended for information purposes only and does not represent legal or financial guidance. It presents the opinions and interpretations of the AMAC Foundation’s staff, trained and accredited by the National Social Security Association (NSSA). NSSA and the AMAC Foundation and its staff are not affiliated with or endorsed by the Social Security Administration or any other governmental entity. To submit a question, visit our website or email us.
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The 1.7 million member Association of Mature American Citizens [AMAC] [https://www.amac.us] is a vibrant, vital senior advocacy organization that takes its marching orders from its members. We act and speak on their behalf, protecting their interests and offering a practical insight on how to best solve the problems they face today. Live long and make a difference by joining us today athttps://amac.us/join-amac.

WCCOA to hold “Matter of Balance” Classes

classes targeted toward preventing falls….

Bowling Green, OH (March 21, 2019) – The Wood County Committee on Aging, Inc. (WCCOA) will be holding a “Matter of Balance” course at the Wood County Senior Center (at 305 N. Main Street, Bowling Green) every Tuesday from March 26 to May 14, from 1 to 3 p.m. This course lasts for six (8) weeks, and costs $15 to participate.

Are you experiencing a fear of falling? Are you limiting your activities due to this fear? Are you becoming physically weak? If you answered “yes” to any of these three questions, A Matter of Balance is for you! During this class participants will learn to view falls as controllable, set goals for increasing activity, make changes to reduce fall risk at home, and exercise to increase strength and balance. Participants will receive a manual for training purposes and a certificate upon completion of the course.

This course is sponsored by Aetna Better Health of Ohio.

Please contact the Programs Department of WCCOA to register by calling 419-353-5661 or 1-800-367-4935, or by e-mailing programs@wccoa.net

The mission of the Wood County Committee on Aging, Inc., shall be to provide older adults with services and programs which empower them to remain independent and improve the quality of their lives.

For information on programs and services, please contact the Wood County Committee on Aging, Inc., at (419) 353-5661, (800) 367-4935 or www.wccoa.net.

NB Cemetery Clean-Up

It’s that time of year…


Cemetery Clean-Up

A general clean-up shall be conducted twice a year, depending on weather, normally in April and October.  All unsightly pots, flowers, and/or wreaths will be removed. (This is a quote from the Village Cemetery booklet)

HELP!!! NBHS 50 YEAR CLUB BANQUET

NBHS 50 YEAR ALUMNI BANQUET in peril… HELP is NEEDED!!!

NBHS 50 YEAR CLUB BANQUET in peril

The first Saturday in June has been the traditional day for the North Baltimore High School 50 Year Club. Usually 150 to 200 alumni, out of school for 50 years+, return to NB for this annual event at the Legion.

Larry Slaughterbeck reports that “This year we have a serious problem – we have only 2 volunteers to help on this event! It appears that this may be the last (final) 50 – Year Club Dinner unless several alumni step forward to help. It actually doesn’t involve many hours.”

Larry adds, “Kathy Eninger has taken it on her shoulders to make sure that we will have a banquet this year. She is in need of several volunteers to help her.

If you are interested in this very nice event continuing PLEASE—call Kathy at (419)257-2159 or email her at: kathretird@outlook.com…We need your help/thanks!”

The North Baltimore High School Alumni Association is a separate entity from what became known as the “50-year Club”, that has been organized for the past many years by Jan Dukes and a small group of volunteers.

The Alumni Assn. organizes the Annual Alumni Dinner the Friday evening prior to GOST at the end of July, also held at the legion. The alumni assn. honors classes every 5 years (this year 2019, 2014, ’09, ’04, 1999…1969… etc.) and they raise funds for and award the annual NBHS Alumni Scholarship (currently two (2) @ $750 each year). This group holds the Annual GOST Golf Tourney, a 2-person OPEN – Shotgun Scramble. This fun event is currently played on GOST Day at 8 am.

The Alumni Assn. Committee Co-Chairs:
Jeff (’73) & Sue (Benedict ’75) Miklovic and Don (‘75) and Tami (Bibler ’79) Thomas. Jill (Shaffer ’72) Guy is the Treasurer.

E-mail: nbhsalumni@gmail.com for information or with questions!

Alzheimer’s Update – “Most Feared”

Senior advocacy association, AMAC, provides an Alzheimer’s update


Senior advocacy association, AMAC, provides an Alzheimer’s update
WASHINGTON, DC, Mar 1 — Alzheimer’s Disease [AD] has an insidiously disproportionate effect on senior citizens and their families. Surveys conducted over the past several years show that a diagnosis of AD sparks terror in the hearts of patients, families and friends, more so than just about any other fatal or chronic illness, according to the Association of Mature American Citizens.
In fact, a Marist Poll conducted in 2012 concluded that Alzheimer’s was America’s most feared illness. And, says AMAC, it still is.
The association’s president, Dan Weber, says that for patients, perhaps it is “the idea of losing their identity and the notion that they will almost certainly lose the ability to recall the most important moments of their lives. For family and friends, it can cause confusion and disbelief that loved ones are slowly, but surely, forgetting who they are. And, for all those whose lives are touched by this seemingly hopeless affliction, the slow progress in developing treatments, let alone a cure, exacerbates their frustration.”
So pervasive is Alzheimer’s Disease that it has created a new class of scammers who target the desperation, particularly among seniors, with “snake oil” concoctions that claim to “cure” the disease and even “reverse” it. It’s gotten so bad that the FDA recently took onthe fraudsters who peddle unapproved and misbranded drugs that claim to prevent, treat or cure Alzheimer’s.
Weber notes that it is older Americans who express the most concern about AD since itafflicts mainly senior citizens, more than 5.7 million of them to date, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.
But the news about AD is not all that discouraging says, Weber. “Credible reports of progress in the quest for treatments and, ultimately, cures are coming with greater frequency these days. And, they provide hope that in the not too distant future the medical community will have more ways to deal with the disease.”
For example, it’s long been known that patients with Alzheimer’s have significantly reduced blood flow to the brain. It causes them to feel dizzy and there’s clear evidence that it impacts cognitive function, according to Cornell University professor of biomedical engineering Chris Schaffer. He says that white blood cells get stuck inside capillaries, the smallest blood vessels in the brain and cause the reduced blood flow.
“We’ve shown that when we block the cellular mechanism [that causes the stalls], we get an improved blood flow, and associated with that improved blood flow is immediate restoration of cognitive performance of spatial- and working-memory tasks,” Schaffer explains.
Meanwhile, at Brown University, professor of medical science, John Sedivy, has been experimenting with mice, using a generic HIV/AIDS medication, and he says it “holds promise for treating age-associated disorders including Alzheimer’s.”
And, Penn State researchers reported recently that they may have discovered a way to turn damaged neurons in the brain into new, functioning neurons using “a simple drug cocktail.” The research team leader, Professor Gong Chen, reports in Science Daily that the biggest problem for brain repair is that neurons don’t regenerate after brain damage, because they don’t divide. In contrast, glial cells, which gather around damaged brain tissue, can proliferate after brain injury.
Chen says he believes that turning glial cells that are the neighbors of dead neurons into new neurons “is the best way to restore lost neuronal functions.” He says after experimenting with numerous combinations of drugs, he and his researchers have found one that appears to work. “My ultimate dream is to develop a simple drug delivery system, like a pill, that can help stroke and Alzheimer’s patients around the world to regenerate new neurons and restore their lost learning and memory capabilities.”
AMAC’s Weber describes recent progress in researching treatments and cures for AD as slow, but promising. “But, as the Alzheimer’s Association suggests, we need to emphasize the urgency of the quest for new medical modalities and accelerate the research.”