Today , volunteers and staff from AARP Arkansas are in Washington, D.C., 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, these volunteers and staff carried crucial asks.
AARP Arkansas advocates will ask 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 and will/have also enlist/ed members of the House and Senate to join the bipartisan Assisting Caregivers Today (ACT) Caucus.
On the important issue of Social Security, AARP promoted a dialogue about what we can do together to bring about legislative action keep it strong for future generations.
“Most of us have been or will be a family caregiver, or will need help to live independently. And, since family caregivers make up the backbone of services for most people, we need more private and public sector solutions that help support those who give care and the people they care for” said Herb Sanderson, AARP Arkansas State Director. “We expect this ageless, nonpartisan issue to continue to grow in importance."
In Arkansas, 452,000 family caregivers provide unpaid care valued at $4.7 billion annually. In recent years, about 40 million family caregivers in the nation have provided unpaid care valued at $470 billion annually, more than total Medicaid spending. 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.
There are several efforts on Capitol Hill to help give family caregivers the support they need.
The bipartisan RAISE Family Caregivers Act would require the development of a national strategy to support family caregivers. The bill has already passed the Senate. The House bill has over 60 cosponsors. AARP is urging the House to pass the legislation.
The bipartisan Credit for Caring Act would provide a federal tax credit for eligible working family caregivers caring for loved ones of all ages.
Additionally, the congressional ACT Caucus serves as a forum to engage members of the House and Senate on family caregiving and living independently, exchange ideas, and build bipartisan relationships that can lead to solutions. AARP staff and volunteers will seek to expand this important group during their visits on Capitol Hill. Thanks to Sen. John Boozman, Arkansas' Senior U.S. Senator, for announcing today that he will join the ACT Caucus!
In Arkansas, 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. Our proactive work to ensure Social Security’s Trust Fund solvency and adequate benefits continues on this day of issue advocacy.
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 if 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.
Separate from advocating in Congress, as the election unfolds AARP Arkansas 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,” Sanderson said. “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.”