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Some Indiana residents worry about the programs

Sessions this fall will also include an analysis by the conservative-leaning Heritage Foundation and the liberal-leaning Brookings Institution of some of the leading proposals for changing the programs.

With the fate of the programs resting with the president and Congress, Everett hopes "political candidates will be forced to … talk about what they're doing to strengthen these systems."

A You've Earned a Say event in Fort Wayne revealed state residents are "definitely concerned" about possible program cuts, said Sarah Waddle, AARP Indiana associate state director for advocacy. Participants also expressed "frustration with Washington … [and with] decisions being made behind closed doors." She added: "People don't feel like they're part of the conversation."

Van tour planned

Through October, You've Earned a Say activities will also include a van tour around the state. The van will stop at community and senior citizens' centers, fairs and festivals, providing information about the retirement programs and encouraging people to have their say by completing the You've Earned a Say survey.

The results will be shared with the public, with candidates and members of Congress.

"Our goal," said Waddle, "is to touch as many people as we possibly can."

Jacqueline Thomas is an Indianapolis-based freelance writer.

You may also like: Barry Rand says you've earned a say.

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