AARP is fighting for older Americans and their families in states across the country, focused on the key issues they are facing, front-and-center, in their daily lives. Our state advocacy work is driven by AARP’s state offices – located in every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and U.S. Virgin Islands – where we work with governors, state legislators, other policymakers and in collaboration with numerous community partners. In 2014 AARP is focusing on:
Supporting Family Caregivers
- AARP is fighting to help seniors live independently and the family caregivers who help them stay at home.
- More than 42 million family caregivers provide an estimated $450 billion in unpaid care for their loved ones each year.
- Simple, yet profound, supports can enhance caregivers’ quality of life and allow individuals needing care to continue to live independently in their homes, as opposed to costly institutions.
- AARP is embarking on a multi-state effort to advance a legislative “caregiving resolution” in support of family caregivers, and to pass The Caregiver Advise, Record and Enable (CARE) Act, which will help family caregivers when their loved ones are hospitalized.
Helping People Stay in Their Own Homes and Communities
- The vast majority of Americans want to live independently, in their homes, as they age.
- AARP believes no one should be forced out of their homes in order to receive the care or assistance they need.
- That’s why we are calling on state lawmakers to improve the balance of funding for services provided in the home and community by redirecting spending away from costly nursing home care.
Designing Communities for All Ages
- In order to meet the demands and to tackle the future challenges of our aging society, we know that we will need to make adjustments to services and infrastructure. In short, we need more “livable communities.”
- Citizens of all ages benefit from barrier-free buildings and streets as well as from having more convenient access to services, local businesses, and green spaces. AARP’s advocacy includes efforts to adopt “Complete Streets,” also known as “Safe Streets,” legislation at the state and local levels.
Enhancing Retirement Security
- Americans continue to struggle to save for a secure retirement. AARP is fighting to put a secure retirement within reach for people who work hard and plan for their future by advocating for commonsense state solutions that would enable more workers to save for retirement at work.
- In the public sector, AARP is fighting to protect retirees from cuts to the benefits and cost of living adjustments they were promised, and to preserve defined benefit plans.
Fighting for Consumer Savings and Protections
- Expenditures on utilities are becoming a larger portion of the household budget for those aged 50 and older.
- AARP is fighting for fair and reasonable utility rates, and safe and reliable services – especially when it comes to energy and telecommunications. Over the past few years, our advocacy has resulted in an estimated $3 billion in savings for consumers.
Preventing Financial Exploitation and Elder Abuse To help safeguard older Americans from financial abuse, AARP is focusing on:
- Enacting laws that help prevent, detect, report and address financial exploitation;
- Supporting increased criminal and civil penalties against financial exploitation;
- Enacting laws that preserves funding for adult protective services; and,
- Strengthening guardianship and power of attorney laws by adopting the Uniform Adult Guardianship and Protective Proceedings Jurisdiction Act, the Uniform Power of Attorney Act, and other comprehensive reforms like improved funding for public guardianship.
Accessing Affordable Health Coverage and Improving Quality
- AARP supports measures to help consumers access affordable and quality health coverage.
- In 2014, many of these older workers age 50-64, who continue to struggle to find new employment opportunities, will be eligible for health insurance coverage under the new Medicaid option to cover individuals and families with incomes up to $15,000 a year.
- To date, more than half of the states have adopted this new option, and AARP urges state lawmakers in the remaining states to extend this critical health coverage to their citizens.
Fighting for Budget and Tax Fairness
- AARP is committed to ensuring that reforms made to state tax structures are fair and safeguard the financial security of the 50+ population. As states address both the revenue and spending sides of the budget, a balanced approach is essential.
- Furthermore, states should not formally tie essential spending programs to unstable revenue sources. AARP opposes arbitrary and inflexible state and local tax and expenditure limits, such as the Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR) initiatives.
Follow me on Twitter @RoamTheDomes for more news on advocacy across the country. And, to stay up to date on our AARP advocacy in the states, sign up for the AARP Advocates e-newsletter or visit your state Web page.