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Social Security and Medicare are Vital Safety Net Programs for Arizonans

According the AARP’s Public Policy Institute (PPI), a majority of older adults in the state rely on Social Security and Medicare. In 2010, 85 percent of Arizona seniors received Social Security. The average annual benefit was $14,000. Without this income, PPI estimates that an additional 30.5 percent of older Arizonans would fall into poverty.

See also: Strengthening Social Security

As of 2009, 98.8 percent of seniors in the state were enrolled in Medicare. On average, PPI estimates seniors spent $5600 in out of pocket health care costs. For the typical Arizona senior on Medicare, this spending for out of pocket costs consumes nearly 20 percent of their income.

“Today’s difficult economy presents a challenge for seniors on fixed income,” said David Mitchell, AARP Arizona State Director. “Many have suffered widespread loss of retirement savings and home equity because of the recession. This circumstance, coupled with rising health care costs, makes Social Security and Medicare more vital than ever.”

Arizona seniors count on Social Security and Medicare benefits that are earned through a lifetime of work. Social Security alone accounts for 59 percent of a typical older Arizonan’s own income. Medicare provides guaranteed health coverage for seniors while playing an important role in Arizona’s economy. “Medicare spent nearly $8.5 billion on health care services in the state in 2010,” added Mitchell. “The program is a staple of our state’s economy.”

And so does Social Security. AARP’s PPI estimates that the program provided over $13.5 billion in benefits to Arizonans in 2009.

“There’s no question the value of Social Security and Medicare for older adults,” said Mitchell. “These important safety net programs give seniors peace of mind in their retirement while supporting our economy.”

Find more information about AARP in Arizona and check out AARP Arizona on Facebook.

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