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Retiree Advocate Says Candidates Aren't Talking About What's Important

PHOTO: An advocate for senior citizens says voters need to quiz candidates this fall, ahead of the November election, on their position regarding strengthening Social Security for today's retirees and tomorrow's generation. Photo courtesy of HeadCount.org.
PHOTO: An advocate for senior citizens says voters need to quiz candidates this fall, ahead of the November election, on their position regarding strengthening Social Security for today's retirees and tomorrow's generation. Photo courtesy of HeadCount.org.
September 29, 2014

CHICAGO - The president-elect of the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) National Board, Eric Schneidewind, says candidates are not talking about the main issues voters 50 and older have identified as being of primary importance to them.

"We go out and poll our members, and we ask them what they really want to hear about from candidates," says Schneidewind. "There are three issues that always appear: Medicare, Social Security, and 'what's going to happen to pay for my long-term retirement and health care benefits.' The candidates have not been talking about these important issues."

Too often, Schneidewind says, candidates talk about Social Security only when they're discussing balancing the budget or reducing the deficit.

"People have contributed into Social Security for most of their working lives, and they've been promised a fixed benefit," he says "Their monies have been deposited into the trust fund. So they've paid their own way. Social Security did not contribute to the national deficit, or any debt of the United States."

According to the AARP, the average Social Security benefit in Illinois is slightly over $14,000 a year, or about $1,200 a month, and Social Security keeps hundreds of thousands of Illinois residents out of poverty. Schneidewind says the public does not hear enough from candidates about what they'll do to strengthen Social Security and Medicare.

Schneidewind says voters have a responsibility to get involved and cast an informed ballot.

"We'd like to ask voters to go to AARP.org/yourvote and get the information they need to decide which candidates will make a stronger Social Security program, strengthen the solvency of Medicare, and help implement programs that will let the average American save for retirement," he says.

Schneidewind adds when voters see candidates at forums, debates, or town hall meetings, they should ask them directly about what they'll do to strengthen Social Security and financial security for today's senior citizens and for future generations.

Tim Morrissey, Public News Service - IL