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Ask Lee

AARP President W. Lee Hammond answers your questions.

Q:  Does AARP offer help for unemployed Americans 50 and up who are looking for jobs?

 A:  AARP supports workers who are 50 and older with programs, tools, and guidance from résumé tips to interview advice. AARP also connects members directly to job opportunities. We fight workplace age discrimination through the courts and in Congress. We help lower-income people find training and search for work through the AARP Foundation's Senior Community Service Employment Program and through the WorkSearch program, which helps job seekers assess their skills, access training, and link to job openings. AARP also plays a key role in creating a positive work environment by promoting the value of 50-plus workers to employers, and giving recognition to the best employers for older workers.

Q: Is it true Social Security has contributed to the huge federal budget deficit?

A:  No. Social Security operates at a surplus and has not contributed one dime to our nation's budget deficit. Even in the current recession, the Social Security Trust Funds have continued to grow. In addition, Social Security benefits already are modest. The average retirement benefit is only about $14,000 a year and, for women, the average comes to less than $12,000 a year. What is there to cut? And despite the scaremongering, Social Security isn't "going broke."  Even without any changes at all, Social Security could pay out full benefits until 2037. It will take only modest changes to ensure that Social Security remains strong for us, our children, and grandchildren.

Q:  What do AARP chapters do? And how can I join one?

A:   AARP's more than 1,700 chapters offer members a variety of community-service, education, advocacy, and fellowship opportunities. Chapter service activities range from support of association programs — like AARP Driver Safety and the annual Day of Service — to local mentoring and tutoring, food and clothing drives, and friendly visits to folks who can't get out. Chapter members often work on joint projects with groups that build housing for low-income Americans, provide places for relatives to stay when a loved one is in the hospital, and take meals to older people who need them. Find a chapter in your area, or for more information contact chapters@aarp.org or call 1-888-OUR-AARP (1-888-687-2277).

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