— Individuals ages 50 and older make tremendous contributions to improve our communities. Their life and professional experiences shape and inform their ability to disrupt, innovate, and create. They truly are champions and trailblazers, and their efforts and groundbreaking contributions need to be recognized. That’s why AARP Illinois and Crain’s Chicago Business have joined together to launch 50@50+ Illinois – a recognition of Illinoisans over the age of 50 who are making a positive impact in their communities. They don’t adhere …

— By Ryan Gruenenfelder   For too long Illinois has been without a comprehensive, balanced budget that helps make life better for residents of all ages. Since 2002, the Governor and the General Assembly have failed to pass a truly balanced budget. And for almost two years, the State has operated without anything beyond a ‘stop-gap’ budget.  This budgetary inaction has led to a current fiscal year 2017 budget deficit of somewhere between $5.4 billion to $7.8 billion, depending on whose …

— Millions of family caregivers in Illinois will have many reasons to celebrate during National Caregiving Month in November, as new laws will provide much and urgently needed help for them as they take care of their loved ones. Thanks to the tireless advocacy of AARP, the Hospital Association and other groups, the Illinois CARE Act will help to significantly increase coordination between caregivers and hospitals. The law requires hospitals to: Provide your loved one the opportunity to designate a family …

— By Lisa Bertagnoli Two years ago, Carolyn Hicks worked to ensure passage of the Illinois Secure Choice Savings Act. It proposed a plan for about 2.5 million Illinois workers who don’t have access to a job-based retirement savings plan. In January 2015, then-Gov. Pat Quinn (D) signed the bill into law. Secure Choice should be up and running early in 2018. “I am elated,” said Hicks, owner of Renaissance Adult Day & Homemaker Services, based on Chicago’s South Side. She …

— With key U.S. Senate and congressional races heating up for the November elections, AARP will be at the state fair in Springfield, Aug. 11-21, engaging thousands of people in urging candidates to explain their plans to keep Social Security strong for current and future generations. “People who have worked hard and paid into Social Security deserve to know how candidates will ensure the benefits they’ve earned will keep up with inflation and continue to provide a secure source of income …

— The refund that flows from a properly prepared tax return can be a windfall for someone living on a fixed income and facing rising health care costs. AARP Illinois encourages members to take advantage of AARP Foundation Tax-Aide, which last year helped more than 82,000 Illinoisans file more than 55,000 tax returns at 201 sites across the state. The program—which has assisted more than 50 million U.S. taxpayers since 1968—is open to everyone, although priority is given to taxpayers age …

— By Lisa Bertagnoli For 28 years, Mary Anne Stewart, of Rock Island, has spent a big chunk of her spring doing tax returns. What could easily be a circle of hell for some people is satisfying for Stewart, a retired librarian with an MBA. Her work, as a volunteer and district coordinator for the AARP Foundation Tax-Aide program in Illinois, “always reminds me that the world is made up of all different types of people, with different problems,” said Stewart, …

— With over 2.5 million workers in Illinois without access to employer-based retirement savings plans, Illinois was facing a retirement security crisis, and workers across the state were facing the growing risk of retiring into poverty. Illinois’ Secure Choice Savings Program gives small businesses in Illinois a competitive edge in the hiring marketplace by providing many the ability to offer employees a retirement savings plan. It is a win-win for small business employers and employees.   Secure Choice offers a much-needed …

— In efforts to provide consumers with the information they need to make smart investments and better manage personal finances, National Futures Association and the Chicago Department of Family and Support Services is giving a seminar during Chicago’s Money Smart Week. The seminar, “Avoiding Fraud is Your Best Money Strategy,” will include a presentation by AARP providing attendees with tips to recognize warning signs and ways to fight against identity theft and investment fraud. With someone’s identity being stolen every two seconds in the United …

— By Deborah Banda Being labeled as overqualified when you’re a job seeker can be a tough obstacle to overcome. Although it doesn’t happen just to older workers, it is an added burden when you’re 50-plus. It’s true — you may be overqualified for a job. But there are ways to turn that into a positive. So, don’t be discouraged. AARP can help you turn your career goals into real possibilities with our resources for finding a job or starting a …