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Primary elections in Texas, Ohio, Indiana and several other states have already come and gone. But voters in several other states can — or will soon be able to — cast a ballot early and in person to beat the lines on Election Day

Early voting rules vary by state, with some, like Arkansas and Maryland, allowing any registered voter to cast a ballot at an early voting site. South Carolina will offer early voting for the first time this year thanks to a new election law.

Other states require voters to fill out absentee or mail ballots in person at clerks’ offices, while several states don’t allow early, in-person voting at all. Depending on your state, you may need to bring a driver’s license or other form of ID. Check our guide to voting in your state or territory to see if and how you can vote before Election Day. 

Upcoming early, in-person voting deadlines: 
  • Arkansas: Monday, May 23, is the last day to vote early before the May 24 primary.
  • New Mexico: Saturday, June 4, is the last day to vote early before the June 7 primary.
  • Mississippi: Saturday, June 4, is the last day to vote early before the June 7 primary.
Senior man lying in hospital bed because of coronavirus infection
We sent a letter Wednesday to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), urging federal officials to extend the federal COVID-19 public health emergency “until cases have declined significantly and there is an orderly transition in place to ensure all Americans can get the care they need.” 

The current emergency was declared on Jan. 31, 2020, and was most recently extended in April. Among other things, the extensions have allowed Americans to get free COVID-19 tests, vaccines and treatments. And millions who may have lacked health coverage have been able to enroll in Medicaid.

But the latest health emergency extension is set to expire in July, unless President Joe Biden’s administration extends it again. “While thousands of mostly older people continue to die of this virus every week, there continues to be a very real and ongoing public health emergency,” Nancy LeaMond, executive vice president and chief advocacy and engagement officer, wrote in our letter to HHS. 

We’ve demanded that federal officials take action to protect older adults and their loved ones throughout the pandemic, as Americans age 50-plus have accounted for 93 percent of the country’s 1 million COVID-related deaths. We’ve pushed for nursing home funding in COVID-19 relief packages, the prioritization of older adults during the initial vaccine rollout and immunization requirements in nursing homes, among other efforts.

Read our letter to the Department of Health and Human Services.
Caring for a loved one can be a full-time job. But only about 1 in 7 U.S. caregivers has taken advantage of short-term respite care resources to take a break, Bob Stephen, our vice president for caregiving and health programs, said Wednesday at an AARP-sponsored conference on veteran and military caregiving.

Most veterans are eligible to receive respite care from trained nurses or aides through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), allowing their caregivers flexibility to run errands, schedule appointments or simply take a break. But Stephen said veteran caregivers often choose not to seek out respite care because of their desire to prioritize their loved one. “If I take a break, that’s admitting that I can’t do this, or I feel selfish,” Stephen said.

Stephen spoke on a panel at the seventh annual National Caregiver Convening, an event organized by the Elizabeth Dole Foundation and the VA aimed at laying out priorities, policy proposals and expectations for the future of caregiving, with a focus on veterans. He was joined by VA officials and others to discuss challenges faced by military and veteran caregivers, how to support caregivers after losing those for whom they cared, and how to better enable veterans to age in place.

The conference also featured a video from AARP CEO Jo Ann Jenkins, who highlighted our veteran-specific resources, including the recent launch of the AARP Veterans Fraud Center to protect veterans and their families from fraud. We also maintain a Veterans Resources hub featuring a guide to navigating military health benefits, a veterans-specific job board, a caregiving guide and free career and résumé-writing guidance, among other resources.

Watch a recording of the event, and learn more about how we’re fighting for veterans and their loved ones.
We’re launching a series of free courses and tools to help stores like Walgreens and Best Buy keep their customers’ money safe, training retail workers to spot and stop fraud and scams that often target older adults. 

The courses, part of AARP’s BankSafe program, include interactive videos, games and other resources to educate and empower retail employees to serve as an extra line of defense in protecting consumers from gift card and wire fraud scams. Victims of wire fraud last year reported collectively losing nearly $483 million, according to the Federal Trade Commission. Gift card scams accounted for another $233 million in losses, with the average victim losing $1,000.

“AARP’s BankSafe program gives frontline employees information and tools they need to stop scams and protect consumers — especially seniors — from losing their hard-earned money due to financial exploitation,” Debra Whitman, executive vice president and chief public policy officer at AARP, said in a statement.

BankSafe launched in 2019 to help banks, credit unions and investment firms to protect consumers from fraud. More than 1,000 financial institutions now participate in the training, including Chase Bank and SunCoast Credit Union. And nearly 300 organizations have earned a BankSafe Training Seal by developing a financial exploitation reporting policy and putting at least 80 percent of frontline staff through BankSafe’s courses. The platform is estimated to have stopped $113 million from being stolen from older adults to date.

BankSafe’s expansion into retail is expected to provide even more safeguards for older adults. A recent AARP survey found that nearly 1 in 5 adults 50-plus knows a family member or loved one who has lost money to a scam. More than half of those who lost money lost more than $1,000, and about 1 in 6 victims lost more than $5,000.

Read our press release, and learn more about how BankSafe is protecting consumers from exploitation.
Prescription drugs on a hundred dollar bill
Kitty Ruderman does without the medicines she needs for high cholesterol and osteoporosis because she can’t afford them on her ­fixed income. And U.S. Navy veteran Keith Coe and his wife ration the insulin she needs to treat her diabetes because they can’t afford the $650 to pay for the doses her doctor has prescribed.

These are just two stories that will be told Wednesday at AARP’s “People’s Hearing.” The event, which will be livestreamed on aarp.org, will highlight for members of Congress why lawmakers must do something to lower the cost of prescription drugs. Anyone interested in attending the virtual hearing can register here.

Read more about the People's Hearing.
We wrote to lawmakers in the House and Senate this week urging them to help a Social Security Administration (SSA) struggling with “chronic underfunding” and an “inability to remedy its customer service problems.”

“The agency’s funding challenges have very real consequences for older Americans and people with disabilities,” Nancy LeaMond, AARP executive vice president and chief advocacy and engagement officer, wrote in a pair of letters to House and Senate officials, noting that the SSA’s operating budget shrank 13 percent between 2010 and 2021 “even as the number of beneficiaries grew by 22 percent to more than 70 million Americans.”

We’re asking lawmakers to meet SSA Acting Commissioner Kilolo Kijakazi’s 2023 budgetary request for roughly $15 billion to improve Social Security’s consumer experience. The average time it took the administration to process claims from disabled Americans seeking federal assistance last month soared to an all-time high of 187 days. The average person claiming disabilities now waits nearly two years before a final hearing on their benefits status. “Outrageously, more than 10,000 people die every year while waiting for a decision,” LeaMond noted.

Read our letters to House and Senate lawmakers, and visit our Social Security Resource Center for more information about the program.
Primary elections across the country will ramp up in May and June, but people who have not yet registered to vote are running out of time to do so in several states. In fact, registration deadlines for primaries in more than a dozen states, including Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky and West Virginia, have already closed.

Upcoming voter registration deadlines:
  • New Jersey: Tuesday, May 17, for the June 7 primary.
  • California: Monday, May 23, for the June 7 primary.
  • South Dakota: Monday, May 23, for the June 7 primary.
  • Maine: Tuesday, May 24, to register by mail for the June 14 primary.

Several states have passed recent election laws that may change how you vote this year, and ongoing redistricting efforts may impact who appears on your ballot. Check our guide to voting in your state to check upcoming deadlines and see if there are any changes you should know about.
Taking time off of work to care for a loved one is about to get easier for Delaware’s more than 129,000 unpaid family caregivers. Gov. John Carney last week signed a bill that will ensure residents have up to 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave to care for a loved one, welcome a new child or address their own health issues, among other qualifying events.

AARP Delaware had been urging lawmakers to pass the legislation, encouraging residents to contact their local elected officials to voice their support for paid family and medical leave. Across the state, family caregivers collectively provide more than 108 million hours of unpaid care for their loved ones each year.

“Taking Mom to the doctor shouldn’t cost you your job,” George Meldrum, president of AARP Delaware, said in a statement. “It’s time Delaware stepped up to the plate and delivered this commonsense support for those caregivers who also work full- or part-time jobs.”

We’ve previously urged federal lawmakers to offer more national access to paid family leave. Similar paid family leave programs are active in seven states and the District of Columbia. Oregon, Colorado and Maryland have also passed paid leave legislation, but the programs are not yet up and running.

Read more about the bill’s passage, and learn about how we’re fighting for all family caregivers.
Woman Mailing Her Absentee Voter Ballot
Voters in several states are running out of time to request an absentee or mail-in ballot for their upcoming primary elections. In some states, like New Jersey and Virginia, any registered voter can cast an absentee ballot without providing a reason. And in states like Utah and Oregon, the vast majority of voters cast their ballots through the mail.

But in other states, like Kentucky and New Hampshire, mail ballots are available only to certain people, including those who have a disability. Check our guide to voting in your state to see if you’re eligible to cast an absentee or mail-in ballot.

Upcoming absentee or mail-in ballot request deadlines:
  • Alabama: Thursday, May 19, is the last day to request a ballot in person to vote in the May 24 primary.
  • Iowa: Monday, May 23, to vote in the June 7 primary.
  • New Jersey: Tuesday, May 31, to vote in the June 7 primary.
  • California: Tuesday, May 31, to vote in the June 7 primary.
  • Nevada: Tuesday, May 31, to vote in the June 14 primary.
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