North Dakota State Capitol

— THE HEADLINE  12/5/2018 Governor Doug Burgum presented his budget for the next biennium to North Dakota legislators on Wednesday, Dec. 5 at 10 a.m. Here are some of the highlights, prioritizing issues AARP North Dakota will be working on during this session: Burgum proposes changes in how social services are delivered in the state. He would like to see the current structure of 47 administrative areas changed to 19. He was quick to emphasize that ‘touch points’ would not change, …

— AARP is here to help you take on today – and every day. From sharing practical resources, to holding fun activities and events, AARP is providing opportunities to connect and help build an even stronger North Dakota for all ages to live, work and play. We hope you’ll join us!

— AARP Foundation Tax-Aide is looking to expand its team of volunteers for the upcoming tax season. Approaching its 50th year, Tax-Aide offers free tax filing help to anyone, especially those 50 and older, who can’t afford a tax preparation service. Tax-Aide volunteers make a difference in their communities by assisting many older, lower-income taxpayers who might otherwise miss out on the credits and deductions they’ve earned. Tax-Aide volunteers receive training and support in a welcoming environment. There is need for …

— AARP has a group of volunteers from across the state who are trained to be “Fraud Fighters,” and are willing to provide valuable presentations to help protect North Dakotans from fraud and scams. The Fraud Fighters are equipped with resources and up-to-date information to help safeguard against identity theft and other scams. Presentations include information on watchdog alerts, how to spot and avoid scams, and how to protect yourself and your family. If you know of an organization or service …

— Life Reimagined is all about possibilities – envisioning them, evaluating them and making them reality. Life Reimagined is a first-of-its-kind series of online and offline experiences to help people reflect, evaluate priorities and take action to live their best life. The purpose of Life Reimagined is to provide a personal guidance system to help people navigate transitions and live life to the fullest. Receive expert guidance and resources for your “what’s next,” along with support from your peers pursuing similar …

— 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 …

— 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 …

— 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 …

— North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem this week said the state’s residents are being inundated with scam telephone calls. He warned that scam artists are specifically targeting the state’s senior population, finding new victims with scams that have been circulating for many years. “Unfortunately, despite repeated warnings about these scams, we receive reports every week from victims, many of whom have lost hundreds of dollars. Almost without exception, the recent victims have been older North Dakotans,” said Parrell Grossman, director …

Jean Setzfand, Vice President, Financial Security, AARP Education & Outreach

— By Jean C. Setzfand, Vice President of the Financial Security team in the Education and Outreach group at AARP I don’t know about you, but I plan to live a very long (and hopefully healthy) life. My father lived to 82 – even with three separate bouts of cancer – and my mom is still going strong at 76. So I’d rather bet on living to 100, and plan accordingly, than run the risk of outliving my money. Frankly, I’d …

— A new study from the AARP Public Policy Institute calculates that each dollar paid to Social Security beneficiaries in North Dakota generates nearly two dollars in spending by individuals and businesses, adding about $2.5 billion in total economic output to the North Dakota economy – and about $1.4 trillion to the national economy – in 2012. The report also finds the $1.6 billion paid in Social Security benefits in 2012 helped North Dakotans keep or find more than 16,000 jobs. …

— AARP’s volunteer operated Tax-Aide program is looking for new volunteers across North Dakota. “A common response from people is, ‘I can’t do taxes; I don’t even do my own!’” says Muriel Peterson, the state volunteer coordinator for the Tax-Aide program. Peterson says volunteers do not need tax preparation experience because they receive comprehensive IRS training on tax forms and software at no cost. Instead, she says, potential volunteers should have proficient computer skills, enjoy meeting people and working with other …