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Seniors Want to "Have Their Say"

March 19, 2012

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. - Discussions in Congress that tied Medicare and Social Security to balancing the budget and reducing the deficit have made many Americans nervous, including many of the 800,000 members of AARP in Massachusetts.

Jim O'Brien, an AARP volunteer, is helping today to kick off an effort called "You've Earned A Say."

"And we're calling it 'You've Earned A Say' because all of us Americans have paid into these benefits for all our entire working lives, so we have earned a say in the future of these programs."

In a survey of 1200 adults 18 and over conducted for AARP and released today, more than 95 percent of respondents said Medicare and Social Security are important to their health and financial security in retirement, but only about half of them are confident these programs will be there for them throughout their retirement.

O'Brien says Congressional debates over the past year have been unsettling.

"During that whole debate, AARP members across the country said they felt left out, and that they wanted to have some say in the futures of Social Security and Medicare, how they are run."

O'Brien says AARP itself does not have a position on the best course of action, but wants to call on the collective wisdom of its 38 million members across America.

According to AARP, one in four Americans relies on Social Security for most or all of their family income, and half of the people working today have no employer-sponsored retirement plan.

All year, AARP will be providing information on its website and sponsoring town hall meetings, community conversations, debates, bus tours, webcasts and other events to give Americans a chance to speak up on how Medicare and Social Security can be strengthened.

The first event in Massachusetts is today at The Cedars at Saint Anthony's Church in Springfield.

AARP will help individuals share their ideas with their members of Congress and the presidential candidates on wwwearnedasay.org.



Melinda Tuhus, Public News Service - MA