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Ask Lee

AARP President W. Lee Hammond answers your questions

Social Security Update

Q: Changes to Social Security are needed not only to protect our benefits but our children's and grandchildren's benefits, right?

AARP President W. Lee Hammond

W. Lee Hammond

A: Although the program doesn't require a major overhaul, some changes are necessary and the sooner the better to ensure that Social Security remains strong for generations to come. What will those be? That's still very much up in the air. AARP believes you have earned a voice in any discussion about the future of Social Security. That's why we're inviting you to share your thoughts, concerns, and ideas for improving the program.

Q: Are family caregivers eligible for financial support? Care-giving often feels like a full-time job and it would be great if it came with some pay.

A: Some government resources are available for lower-income families. In about one-third of states, people who are eligible to receive in-home services under Medicaid can direct their own care and may have the option to hire family members to provide assistance. The remaining states may have programs of their own. In some communities across the United States, veterans who are at risk of nursing-home placement can enroll in the Veteran-Directed Home and Community Based Services program, which allows veterans to manage their own care, including hiring and paying their own caregivers.

To find out if these programs are available in your community, contact the Eldercare Locator (800-677-1116). For more ideas, take a look at "How to Get Paid for Being a Family Caregiver", and visit AARP's Caregiving Resource Center. If you're thinking about hiring a full-time or part-time provider, try our free search tool.

Q: Can a Canadian "snowbird" join AARP?

A: Traveling south to escape winter? By all means, join AARP! For our Canadian and Mexican neighbors, a membership is $17 for one year; if you're from another country, membership costs $28. All members can take advantage of AARP benefits while in the United States. Join or renew now.

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