YEAS_AARP_notagAARP is inviting Black Hawk County area and Des Moines area Iowans interested having a say about the future of Social Security and Medicare to join us next week for listening posts at the Supervisor’s Club in Waterloo on July 30 and at the Sheraton West Des Moines on Wednesday, July 31.  The events are part of AARP Iowa’s second-year of outreach for AARP’s national “You’ve Earned a Say” Listening tour.

AARP Iowa State Director Kent Sovern will lead interactive discussions on the value of Social Security and Medicare for current and future beneficiaries at both events.  “Iowa’s seniors are counting on the Social Security and Medicare benefits they’ve earned from a lifetime of hard work,” said Sovern.  “With proposals on the table in Washington like the chained CPI that would take thousands of dollars out of Social Security benefits for Iowans, and ideas like additional co-pays for Medicare without controlling costs throughout the health care system, Iowans need to know what’s at stake and make their voices heard about their future.”

In Iowa, 95 percent, or 435,929 of older (65+) Iowa residents, receive Social Security, with an average annual benefit of $14,000.  The program provides for 64 percent of the typical older Iowan’s income, and makes up more than 80 percent of Iowa’s low-and middle-income seniors’ income.  Without Social Security, an additional 40 percent of older Iowans, or 146,578 people, would fall into poverty. Nearly 99 percent of older Iowans, or 445,644 are enrolled in Medicare.  On average, Iowa’s Medicare beneficiaries spend an estimated $4,600 annually on out-of-pocket health care costs.

AARP initiated national “You’ve Earned a Say” conversations in 2012 to take the debate about the future of Social Security and Medicare out of Washington and into communities across Iowa and across the country.  More than 43,630 Iowans attended listening sessions, completed surveys and shared their opinions last year.

Programs in both communities will begin with lunch followed by a discussion of how Iowans would like to see Social Security and Medicare secured for current and future beneficiaries. To make a reservation, call the AARP events line toll-free at 1-877-926-8300, or register here for Waterloo or register here for Des Moines. The programs are free and open to AARP members and the public, but advance reservations are requested.

Iowans unable to attend events can visit www.earnedasay.org<http://www.earnedasay.org and find up-to-date information on Social Security and Medicare proposals on the table.  AARP will be sharing the comments and voices of Iowans on these issues throughout the year at www.aarp.org/ia and on Facebook at aarpiowa and Twitter @aarpia.