— An expert witness testified in support of AARP’s concerns about Montana-Dakota Utilities’ proposal to raise natural gas rates during a North Dakota Public Service Commission technical hearing May 30-June 1. MDU is asking for a $3.6 million increase applied to residential customers and general service (large commercial users) customers. AARP formally intervened in this rate case allowing us to testify against the rate proposal during the hearing. AARP raised the following issues with MDU’s proposal: The collection of the increase …

— Starting in April, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will begin mailing new Medicare cards to all people with Medicare, including 126,000 in North Dakota. Instead of a Social Security number, the new card will have a Medicare number that’s unique to each person with Medicare. The new card will help protect your identity and keep your personal information more secure. Medicare coverage and benefits will stay the same. Medicare will automatically mail new cards at no cost …

— As bitter cold temperatures settle in, most families are turning up their thermostats to stay warm. For some low- and fixed-income households, cranking up the heat is not always an option. The North Dakota Department of Human Services reminds people that help is available through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). The federally-funded program pays a portion of home heating costs for qualifying low-income households. Older adults, people with disabilities, and families with children age five and younger …

— Montana-Dakota Utilities has another natural gas rate request proposal that includes a 5.9 percent increase for residential users. The North Dakota Public Service Commission is holding public hearings on the rate increase at 5 p.m. CDT on Tuesday, Oct. 24, and Wednesday, Oct. 25. Prior to the hearing, AARP is providing a briefing for those interested in learning more and how you can voice your opinion to the Public Service Commission. At the conclusion of the briefing we will proceed …

— The recent cold temperatures may have left some low-income North Dakotans with home heating costs that are higher than their budget can handle. The North Dakota Department of Human Services reminds low-income individuals and families and seniors on limited fixed incomes that help is available through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). The federally-funded program helps qualifying households pay a portion of their home heating costs, whether its natural gas, electricity, propane, coal, fuel oil, wood or kerosene. …

— As the days and nights get colder, some low-income North Dakotans may find the increase in home heating costs beyond what their budget can handle. The North Dakota Department of Human Services is reminding low-income individuals, families, and seniors that help is available through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). Applications are now being accepted at county social service offices in North Dakota. The federally-funded program helps qualifying households in need of assistance pay a portion of their …

— The AARP Foundation Tax-Aide program is looking for new volunteers across North Dakota. Volunteers do not need tax preparation experience because they receive comprehensive IRS training on tax forms and software at no cost. Instead, potential volunteers should have computer skills, enjoy meeting people and working with other volunteers, and be able to commit at least four hours a week from February 1-April 15. Schedules are flexible to accommodate winter vacations and other needs. Watch this short video to see …

— In November, the North Dakota Public Service Commission finalized its ruling on a natural gas rate increase requested by Montana-Dakota Utilities. The good news is that consumers will see approximately $1.7 million in savings from what MDU originally proposed because of AARP’s intervention in the rate case. That’s why it’s important to have a consumer voice when utilities propose rate increases. We are also pleased the final ruling includes MDU dropping its proposal for a five-year automatic rate increase. Any …

— AARP North Dakota presented a wrap-up report on the 2015 North Dakota Legislature in Fargo, Grand Forks, Minot, Bismarck, Dickinson and Williston in mid-May. If you were unable to attend, you can review the Final Status Report on Bills of Interest. Our priorities in the 2015 legislative session focused on family caregivers, retirement security, property tax relief, elder abuse, and more options for North Dakotans to live independently at home as they age. Monthly Legislative Updates begin in June Between …

— Gary from North Dakota was featured on AARP Live on RFD-TV last week. He talked about his experience with income tax scams. Listen to what he had to say: Tax time means it’s also prime time for fraudsters and con artists trying to catch you off guard and steal your refund, or worse, your good name. According to the Federal Trade Commission tax identity theft is one of the fastest growing forms of theft in the United States.  It can …