Your AARP ;
By Emily Sachar
; Ask the Experts
; The issue: Should sidewalks be safe and usable for everyone?
Dmitri Belser, 52, of Berkeley, Calif., has
poor vision and uses a cane. Sometimes,
just walking to work puts his life in peril.
The reason: Many of the sidewalks around
his neighborhood are not safe or usable
for people who have impaired vision or
need wheelchairs, canes or walkers.
Belser, AARP lawyers, Disability Rights
Advocates (a nonprofit law firm) and other
civil rights activists have persuaded Cali-
fornia to change that. In a lawsuit settled
in April and finalized last month, the Cali-
fornia Department of Transportation, or
“Safe sidewalks are essen-
tial for the social interaction
and economic engagement
essential for successful ag-
ing,” said Julie Nepveu,
senior attorney for AARP
Foundation, which helped
he is generally pleased with the settle-
ment. “I’m impatient, and I’d like to see
the improvements happen faster,” he said.
“But I get that California is a big state.”
California is also a state facing substan-
tial financial challenges, and the settle-
ment represented an attempt to keep the
improvements affordable for the state.
represent the people with disabilities
and those with visual impairments who
filed the class action suit against Caltrans.
“Think about it: Every trip begins and
ends with a sidewalk,” Nepveu said.
Belser, who works as the director of a
nonprofit organization and was diagnosed
with macular degeneration at age 23, said
; What it means to
you: Legal action may
be an option for upgrading unsafe or inaccessible sidewalks in your
check this do-it-yourself
. createthegood.org/diy-toolkits. It provides a strategy and guidelines for surveying the walkways in your neighborhood
and outlines a series of steps for improving them. ;
QI spent 20 years in the U. S. Army and 14 years in corporate jobs. How do I pack 34 years
of experience into a two-page résumé and make
AFirst, tailor your résumé to the specific position for which you’re applying. Include your most relevant achievements, preferably within the last 10 to 15
years, and emphasize your skills and areas of expertise
rather than just job duties.
Quantify your accomplishments by saying, for example, “managed 100 people” or “increased sales by
40 percent.” If you have training or certifications or did
volunteer work that relates to the job you’re seeking,
include those as well. You don’t need to list your education or previous jobs that have little to do with the position you’re currently seeking.
QWhat’s the maximum monthly Social Security retirement benefit a person can receive?
AThe maximum benefit depends on the age at which a worker retires. For a worker retiring
this year at age 66, the full retirement age, the highest
monthly amount is $2,346. This figure is based on
earnings at the maximum taxable amount for every
year after age 21. In 2009, the average monthly Social
Security benefit for a retired worker was about $1,153.
For more information on this and other topics, go to
www.ssa.gov. —Carole Fleck
Emily Sachar is a journalist and author
based in Brooklyn, N. Y.
Experts: AARP.org on résumés; Social Security Administration on benefits. Send
your questions to: Ask the Experts, AARP Bulletin, 601 E St. N W, Washington, DC
20049, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out www.aarp.org/bulletin for
previously asked questions and answers.
LEFT: ALAMY; RIGHT: MARK ZINGARELLI