Volunteers and staff from Hawaii were in Washington this week to advocate on behalf of AARP members and all older Americans on the crucial issues of family caregiving and Social Security. While meeting with members of Congress, they had crucial asks:
- AARP Hawaii advocates asked members of Congress to support two pieces of bipartisan legislation to help family caregivers, the Recognize, Assist, Include, Support, and Engage (RAISE) Family Caregivers Act, and the Credit for Caring Act. They also enlisted members of the House and Senate to join the bipartisan Assisting Caregivers Today (ACT) Caucus.
- On the important issue of Social Security AARP continued to promote a dialogue about what we can do to bring about legislative action to keep it strong for future generations.
The bipartisan RAISE Family Caregivers Act would require the development of a national strategy to support family caregivers. The bill, introduced by Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), has already passed in the Senate. The House bill, introduced by Representatives Gregg Harper (R-MS) and Kathy Castor (D-FL), has over 80 cosponsors, including Hawaii Representative Mark Takai. AARP is urging the House to pass the legislation.
“Most of us have been or will be a family caregiver, or will need help to live independently,” said AARP Hawaii State Director Barbara Kim Stanton. “Since family caregivers make up the backbone of services for most people, we need more private and public sector solutions to help support those who give care and the people they care for.”
In Hawaii, 154,000 family caregivers provide unpaid care valued at $2.1 billion annually. Family caregivers also help delay or prevent more costly institutional care and unnecessary hospitalizations, saving taxpayer dollars. They help with daily activities including bathing, dressing, meal preparation, managing medications, and transportation.
In Hawaii, AARP has been a long-time champion of Social Security. We have always stood for Social Security because it is so important to our members, older Americans, their families and future generations.
We want to promote a dialogue about what we can do together to bring about legislative action in the near future to ensure Social Security is financially sound and provides adequate benefits for future generations. To help spur that dialogue going forward, we have shared our principles for Social Security adequacy and solvency with members of Congress.
And, separate from advocating in Congress, as the election unfolds AARP Hawaii volunteers will seek to engage all candidates running for federal office, including those running for President and Congress, on the issue of ensuring Social Security solvency and adequacy for current and future generations.
“Social Security remains a key issue for AARP members and older Americans,” said Stanton. “Anyone running for office this year owes it to voters to tell them if they plan to work toward solving the issues that impact Social Security’s future.”