Debra Whitman

Debra Whitman is an authority on aging issues with extensive experience in policymaking, research and the political process. As AARP's executive vice president for Policy, Strategy and International Affairs, she leads policy development in retirement security, health care, consumer protections and other issues.
Innovative idea in businessman hand.
Policymakers have been talking on and off for decades about ways to make Social Security solvent and adequate. However, the conversation often seems stuck in the 1980s, the last time Social Security was addressed, with a small set of policy tools to raise revenue or cut benefits being recommended by each politician or group.
When I tell people I work for AARP, one of the first things they do is talk to me about their retirement plans, and often in terms of when they retire. More and more, however, I’m hearing about the kinds of plans they have if they retire .
livable community
This post originally appeared in the IAGG 2017 Bridge blog.
Tax day for 2016 returns is April 18, 2017
By midnight on April 18, millions of Americans will have hit the File button in their tax preparation apps or dropped their tax returns in the mail. With 2017 tax season almost behind us, it’s a good time to take a look at taxes as they relate to Americans over 50 — specifically, older Americans’ impact on the federal coffers as well as the impact taxes have on their own wallets. And there’s another reason to look at this issue now: In the coming months, tax reform promises to be a hot topic of discussion in Washington, D.C.
kind care for senior woman
If you have protection against future catastrophic out-of-pocket costs for basic life functions, consider yourself lucky. The vast majority of people in the United States don’t.
Power of Attorney Document
Many of us understand that saving for retirement and for the long term is one of the most important actions you can take to ensure a secure future. So is protecting that savings.
The key to social security benefits
Social Security surfaces in the news regularly — in all kinds of ways. As summer 2016 wound down, news broke concerning an 80-year-old homeless woman named Wanda Witter who, after two decades of battle and with the support of AARP’s Legal Counsel for the Elderly, proved that the government owed her $100,000 in Social Security funds. A $100,000 check for an 80-year-old woman living on the streets — that makes for a good media story, doesn’t it?
Mark box
Every day, thousands of AARP staff and volunteers bring AARP public policies to life when they fight on behalf of older Americans and their families in all state capitals and Washington, D.C.
Paper person under an umbrella with Long Term Care Coverage text -- elder care insurance concept
There is little dispute that the cost of long-term services and supports (LTSS) is daunting. The typical cost for care in a nursing home is about $91,250 a year, and the average annual base price for assisted living is $43,200. Few people can accumulate sufficient savings, even over a lifetime , to cover the costs. Most people rely on their families and friends for the bulk of their LTSS needs. Yet, family caregivers cannot do it all, and in the future, there will be fewer potential family members on whom an aging population can rely for everyday help.
DW Blog Pic
I grew up next to the Colville Indian Reservation in Washington state and I remember how native elders were revered throughout the community.  At the annual powwow the elders shared their history through song and dance, and all generations sat together, joining in the chanting and drumming.
Search AARP Blogs