At AARP Connecticut, our focus remains on helping state residents age 50+ be the very best they can be! Through our legislative advocacy, we focus on critical issues such as Social Security, financial security (retirement), protection against utility rate increases, and caregiving services and supports. In the community, we offer a variety of programs and events that help people age 50+ discover the real possibilities available to them. Some of these programs include:
- Life Reimagined Checkups
- ID theft and scam protection through our Fraud Watch Network
- Tax assistance through our Tax-Aide program
Read on to see the full impact that AARP Connecticut has in helping those 50+ live their best lives.
ENHANCING RETIREMENT SECURITY
AARP is advocating for passage of a new and easier way for residents to build and diversify their own private retirement savings when a workplace retirement opportunity doesn’t exist for them. House Bill #5591, An Act Creating the Connecticut Retirement Security Program, is based on the work of the Connecticut Retirement Security Board., which was established by the legislature in 2014 and charged with formulating a plan for a voluntary payroll deduction retirement savings option for employees whose employers do not offer a retirement plan. Employees would choose retirement savings accounts facilitated by the state, but operated by a third party. These plans can travel with workers who switch jobs so that workers can continue to accumulate savings. The plans would be no cost to the state and low cost to employees, and em¬ployers would not be required to contribute to them.
A survey of more than 450 small business owners in Connecticut shows that nearly 80 percent think more should be done to help the 600,000 workers statewide who have no retirement savings plan offered at work. Additionally, a survey of 1,000 Connecticut voters age 35-64 shows that more than 60 percent support a state retirement savings plan that would help residents build their own private retirement savings.
FIGHTING FOR CONSUMER SAVINGS
Many third-party electric suppliers are imposing costly and deceptive enrollment fees on contracts as a tool to get around many recently passed reforms approved by the Legislature, which were supported by AARP. These fees can be as high as $250 and are not reflected in the Energize CT estimated savings calculation that consumers rely on to make informed decisions. AARP is working to enact a ban on enrollment fees. Additionally, we are working to ban cancellation fees on default renewal supply contracts. These are contracts that take effect automatically without affirmative consent of the customer. There is no limit on the rate a supplier can charge for these contracts, and AARP firmly believes that customers should not be subjected to a cancellation fee if they switch to a lower cost supplier or the standard offer through United Illuminating and Eversource. AARP will work to ensure that the standard offer remains a viable and stable option for customers choosing not to enter the third-party electric supply market.
SUPPORTING FAMILY CAREGIVERS
Today, more than 42 million family caregivers nation-wide provide unpaid care valued at approximately $450 billion a year. This care involves helping older loved ones remain at home and out of costly institutional care often paid for by Medicaid. This amount is more than the cost of the entire Medicaid program. Connecticut caregivers provide 427 million hours of unpaid family care valued at $5.9 billion annually.
Simple, yet profound changes can be made to sup-port family caregivers so they can safely care for their loved ones at home, keep them out of nursing homes, and prevent unnecessary hospitalizations.
That’s why AARP advocated for the C.A.R.E. Act (Public Act 15-32) (pdf), which received unanimous support in the General Assembly and was signed by Governor Malloy. The new law (effective October 1, 2015) supports unpaid family caregivers when their loved ones transition back home from the hospital by ensuring that family caregivers are trained to handle medical tasks in the discharge plan and are appropriately designated in the patient’s medical record. Successful implementation of the C.A.R.E. Act continues in 2016.
AARP is calling on state leaders to help family caregivers by enacting laws and program changes that will protect the statewide Alzheimer’s Respite Care Program, and support workplace flexibility and protections like Senate Bill # 221, An Act Concerning Paid Family and Medical Leave. This bill would ensure that family caregivers are not asked to choose between keeping their jobs or caring for their loved ones.
Additionally, AARP will continue to call on state leaders to help family caregivers by enacting laws and program changes that will:
- Protect and increase the availability of respite care, especially the statewide Alzheimer’s Respite Care Program, so that family caregivers have the opportunity to take much-needed breaks to avoid burn out;
- Provide workplace flexibility and protections like paid family medical leave so that family caregivers are not asked to choose between keeping their jobs or caring for their loved one.
HELPING PEOPLE LIVE INDEPENDENTLY IN THEIR OWN HOMES AND COMMUNITIES
Surveys show the vast majority of individuals want to stay in their homes for as long as possible as they age. That’s why AARP believes no one should be forced into costly institutions when they can receive care in their homes. In fact, providing care to an older person at home is one-third of the cost of nursing home care. AARP is calling on state lawmakers to accelerate the pace of change and take action to transform the system of care so that older individuals can receive services in their homes and communities and live independently. To accomplish this, AARP is advocating for:
- Full-funding of the Connecticut Home Care Program for Elders, which allows thousands of frail seniors to access affordable, high quality services at home and maintain their independence.
- Strategic initiatives that increase the number of older people who receive home- and community-based services by streamlining eligibility, expanding Connecticut’s long-term services infrastructure, and securing additional federal reimbursements for home-care services.
HERE’S HOW YOU CAN STAY CONNECTED TO THE ISSUES
CONNECTICUT GENERAL ASSEMBLY
Find your legislators, track the issues and follow the 2016 state legislative session at the Connecticut General Assembly website.
AARP Connecticut is fighting for reliable, affordable utility service for you. Join our fight for affordable, reliable utility services that protect your hard earned money. Consumer stories are critical to our effort. Please click to take our brief survey and share your utility story with us.
FIGHT FRAUD AND IDENTITY THEFT
AARP CAREGIVING RESOURCES
Find the latest news, information, tools, and resources for family caregivers at our Caregiving resource website.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
- Become a volunteer
- Find volunteer opportunities near you at CreateTheGood.org
- Become an advocate
- Sign up to become an AARP Activist, and you’ll receive e-newsletters, email action alerts on the issues you care about, and the latest news from the General Assembly, Congress and the White House.
MAKE A DIFFERENCE
- Donate to AARP today and help us strengthen and protect Social Security and more
- Stay informed
- Get the latest local news and information at our AARPCT website.
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