— by Ken Helander, AARP Alaska Federal Advocacy AARP has been working hard through the constant stream of Congressional issues that would affect our members.  Of current concern are potential cuts to Medicare services, including placing caps on therapy services (physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy) which could be quickly exceeded by a person with chronic needs or extensive post-surgery rehab.  AARP opposes these caps that could significantly increase a Medicare beneficiary’s out of pocket expenses. State Advocacy AARP Alaska supports SB …

— Americans gave over $390 billion to charity in 2016. While government regulators say that most charities are legitimate, there are fundraisers that keep most of the money they raise. As you consider year-end giving, do your research. Check out charities at www.give.org or www.charitynavigator.org to make sure your money is going where it should and not into the pockets of scammers! Report scams to local law enforcement. Contact the AARP Fraud Watch Network at www.aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork for more information on fraud …

— As you head out for last-minute holiday shopping, leave the debit card at home. Consumer protection experts recommend using credit cards to protect against fraud and theft. With credit cards, you are liable for only up to $50 of fraudulent use, and most credit card companies will waive this fee. In the case of a lost or stolen debit card, financial losses to the consumer can be much more significant. Call your bank for details. Be a fraud fighter! If …

— Are you buying gift cards this holiday season? Consider this. Thieves hit store gift card racks, secretly write down or scan the numbers off the cards, then check online or call the toll-free number to see if someone has bought the cards and activated them. As soon as a card is active, the scammers drain the funds. By the time your gift recipient tries to use the card, the money is long gone. Be a fraud fighter! If you can …

— Scam artists set up fake websites offering anything you could want to buy as gifts around the holidays, at prices that are too-good-to-be-true. And guess what? They are! You’ll never receive the gift you thought you bought, and the scammers could turn around and use your credit card information for their own purchases. Stick to well-known shopping sites, and always type in the web address, rather than clicking from a link to the retailer. Be a fraud fighter! If you …

— Thousands of older Alaskans stand to lose crucial assistance from a program that is due to expire in 2018. When the legislature convenes Jan. 16, AARP Alaska will be backing a bill to extend the state’s Senior Benefits Program, which provides cash assistance to more than 11,000 low-income Alaskans 65 and older. Monthly benefits range from $76 to $250 for individuals with annual income up to $26,355 and couples up to $35,508. The benefits help cover expenses such as food, …

— Millions of Older Americans Would See Tax Hikes or No Tax Relief, Millions More May See Their Health Care Premiums Rise November 30, 2017 WASHINGTON, DC—AARP today sent a letter to the U.S. Senate expressing concerns about tens of billions of dollars in potential cuts to Medicare next year alone, as well as potential tax increases or little or no tax relief for older Americans. The full text of the letter to the Senate is below:   Dear Senator: On behalf of …

— November 16, 2017 WASHINGTON, DC—Today AARP Executive Vice President and Chief Advocacy & Engagement Officer Nancy LeaMond released the following statement in response to the U.S. House passage of the tax bill: “AARP is disappointed by the tax bill that the House passed earlier today because it is harmful to millions of Americans age 65-plus. The Congressional Budget Office has stated that the large deficits created by H.R. 1 will result in a $25 billion cut to Medicare (absent additional …

Operation Protect Veterans AARP Nevada Fraud scams

— New Research Finds Military Veterans Victimized by Scams Twice as Often as Non-veterans    WASHINGTON, DC—The AARP Fraud Watch Network and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service today jointly announced the launch of Operation Protect Veterans — a national campaign to warn those who have served in the military about scams and fraud schemes that target veterans. With a new AARP survey showing that veterans are frequently targeted by scam artists and victimized twice as often as the rest of the …

— AARP Alaska will spend a day with municipal planners this month, sharing ideas on how to make communities across the state more age-friendly. The discussions will take place at the annual meeting of the American Planning Association’s Alaska chapter. Participants will consider ways to improve quality of life for older Alaskans through changes in transportation, housing, outdoor spaces and other factors. “These planners work directly with elected officials to help shape the future health and safety of the cities and …