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South Dakota State Fact Sheet

AARP is proud to represent and serve 101,482 AARP members age 50+ in the state.

For 50 years, AARP has had one mission:  making life better for older Americans. AARP was created after its founder discovered a retired teacher in poor health living in a chicken coop, unable to afford medical care and with barely enough money to live on. Since then, AARP has been fighting for health and financial security for all Americans.

In 2010, AARP South Dakota will be working with legislators from both parties to protect lifeline programs that provide seniors with food, health care and other necessities from deep budget cuts.  We will also be working to strengthen state laws to prevent banks and credit card companies from taking advantage of older Americans and to protect consumers from unfair utility hikes.

Age 50+ voters: 79 percent of South Dakotans age 50+ voted in the 2008 election, sending a clear message that it’s time for elected officials from both sides of the aisle to come together to solve our nation’s problems.

AARP:  Working To Improve the Lives of All

Strengthening Social Security:  We are fighting to strengthen Social Security for current and future generations by:

  • Providing relief for 137,189 who won’t receive a cost of living increase (COLA) this year.

Protecting Medicare:  We are fighting to protect guaranteed benefits for the 131,368 who receive their health care through Medicare.

Improving Health Care:  We are fighting to stop insurance abuses and protect the Medicare benefits seniors have earned by:

  • Lowering drug costs for 64,833 seniors by closing the Medicare Part D coverage gap or “doughnut hole.”
  • Preventing insurance companies from denying affordable coverage to up to 14,000 age 50-64 based on age or pre-existing condition.
  • Expanding access to home and community-based services through Medicaid – the largest payer of long-term services and supports – which, in 2007, spent only 7 percent of long-term care dollars in on home and community based-services for older adults and adults with physical disabilities and 93 percent on institutional care for the same population.

Supporting Caregivers:  AARP is fighting to ensure more Americans can receive the services they need to live independently in their homes and communities by:

  • Valuing and supporting the 130,000 family caregivers in – individuals who provide help to their loved ones to enable them to live at home and whose unpaid contributions are valued at $920,000,000.   

Promoting Retirement Savings:  We are fighting to help Americans save for retirement by:

  • Enacting Automatic IRA legislation, which would help many of the estimated 229,700 who don’t currently have a retirement plan at work to have simple access to a retirement savings account. 

AARP: Fighting for South Dakota

The United States is currently being battered by a severe recession affecting AARP members and threatening the critical health and long-term care services on which they depend.  The number of uninsured has increased to the highest level in recent years – 45.7 million Americans are uninsured, 7.2 million of the uninsured adults are ages 50-64.  State revenue shortfalls, when coupled with increasing unemployment rates, have created a huge demand for more state programs and services at a time when states can least afford it. And, state lawmakers are facing incredible challenges to keep states functioning until the economy turns around.  

AARP is especially concerned about possible cuts to programs like Medicaid and other health and long-term care services to those with low incomes, seniors, and person with disabilities— our most vulnerable citizens. Since Medicaid is a significant portion of state budgets, it is, unfortunately, a likely target for cuts.  Protecting services to these populations is a high priority for AARP members in every state, especially since Medicaid is the backbone of our long-term care system and those relying on home and community-based services. 

AARP South Dakota is educating its members about state budget issues, conducting research on member opinions about policy options, and working with other stakeholders in coalitions to help lawmakers prioritize their decisions.

AARP continues to fight for its members and preserve critical services.

AARP Contact Information

South Daokta:  Sarah Jennings, Sr. State Director,; (605) 362-3042
Washington, DC:  Kristin Keckeisen, Sr. Legislative Representative,; (202) 434-3767


Strengthening Social Security: Social Security Administration, 2007. OASDI Beneficiaries by State and County. Protecting Medicare: The Kaiser Family Foundation, 2008. State Health Facts.

Improving Health Care: Doughnut hole: AARP (PPI) Fact Sheet, 2009. “Closing the ‘Doughnut Hole’ Will Help Protect Over One-Third of Medicare Beneficiaries from High Drug Costs”

Improving Health Care: Uninsured 50-64: Census Bureau. Current Population Survey, Annual Social and Economic Supplement, 2007 through 2009

Improving Health Care: Home and Community-Based Services: AARP PPI, 2009. Across the States: Profiles of Long-term Care and Independent Living.

Supporting Caregivers: AARP PPI, 2008. Valuing the Invaluable: The Economic Value of Caregiving, 2008 Update.

Promoting Retirement Savings: Based on data from the US Census, State and Patterns & Current Populations Survey statistics on Pension Coverage. 2004.

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