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2020 Archives: Financial Security and Consumer Affairs

AARP correspondence to lawmakers and regulators

The following documents related to consumer affairs and the financial security of people 50-plus are presented in reverse chronological order.

August

C: On August 6, 2020, AARP submitted comments to Department of Labor (DoL) on their proposed fiduciary rule titled “Improving Investment Advice for Workers & Retirees”. AARP stressed their continued concerns with the proposal, including that, as currently written, it would authorize a harmful level of conflicted advice by fiduciaries, that it sanctions un-allowed compensation models, and it does not provide the necessary protections for participants and beneficiaries. AARP urged the Department to substantially modify or rescind its Proposal. (PDF)

C: On August 6, 2020, AARP submitted a request to Department of Labor (DoL) for the ability to testify at a public hearing on the Class Exemption for Improving Investment Advice for Workers & Retirees. AARP also requested at least 10 business days after the close of the hearing to respond to any testimony. (PDF)

C: On August 4, 2020, AARP submitted comments to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) on their proposed rule regarding debt collection practices.  AARP urged the CFPB to protect consumers against unfair debt collection practices and prevent them from suffering greater financial harm as a result of incomplete, inconsistent, or misleading information about prior debts they may have incurred. (PDF)

July

L: On July 30, 2020 AARP sent a letter to Secretary Ben Carson of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development urging the Secretary to act to protect the millions of renters who are at risk of eviction with the expiration of the moratorium in the CARES Act, as well as homeowners at risk of foreclosure and eviction due to the expiration next month of the current HUD moratorium. The COVID-19 pandemic has not only exposed serious health vulnerabilities among older adults but has created economic instability for millions of older households. (PDF)

L: On July 27, 2020 AARP sent a letter to IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig thanking him for recently articulating a preference that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) distribute the remaining $500 dependent payments to Social Security Administration (SSA) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) beneficiaries as quickly as possible. These payments are a lifeline to many older Americans who are struggling to care for younger dependents during the current financial crisis and AARP appreciates the Commissioner’s desire to disburse these funds as soon as possible.  (PDF)

L: On July 20, 2020 AARP sent a letter of support to U.S. Representative Robert Menendez for the Emergency Housing Assistance for Older Adults Act of 2020, which would provide needed relief for seniors in low-income housing.  The coronavirus pandemic has proven to be especially dangerous for older Americans with underlying health conditions. Tragically, tens of thousands of older Americans have lost their battles with this disease in just a few short months, so action is urgently needed. (PDF)

C: On July 20, 2020 AARP sent a letter to Acting Assistant Secretary Jeanne Wilson of the Employee Benefits Security Administration of the U.S. Department of Labor submitting comments in response to the Department’s Request for Information on Pooled Employer Plans and other Multiple Employer Plans.  AARP is looking forward to working with the Department to assist in the development of a viable pooled plan retirement savings system to increase coverage and improve retirement security. (PDF)

S: On July 16, 2020 AARP submitted a statement for the record to the U.S. House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee, Subcommittee on Social Security for a hearing entitled “The Impact of COVID-19 on Social Security and Its Beneficiaries.”  AARP expressed its appreciation to the committee for its attention to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on the economic security of the hundreds of millions of Americans who depend, or will depend, on the modest Social Security benefits they have earned throughout their working lives. (PDF)

C: On July 7, 2020 AARP sent a letter to Employee Benefits Security Administration Acting Assistant Secretary Jeanne Klinefelter Wilson requesting that an extension be made to the comment period for the U.S. Department of Labor’s Notice of Proposed Prohibited Transaction Class Exemption and the accompanying package of amendments concerning the Department’s vacated Conflict of Interest Rule. Given the Proposal’s structure, complexity, and importance to the retirement security of AARP members and all older Americans, the 30-day comment deadline is simply inadequate. (PDF)

May

L: On May 14, 2020 AARP along with 19 other organizations sent a letter to congressional leadership urging them all to provide the immediate assistance needed to prevent the default of the Postal Service (USPS), which is projected by the Board of Governors to occur by as early as this fall.  The 20 organizations also urged Congress to provide the urgently needed financial support to prevent the default from happening. More than ever before, people are relying on the USPS to deliver their lifesaving prescription medications and other necessities, allowing them to remain safely at home during the COVID-19 pandemic. (PDF)

L: On May 12, 2020 AARP sent a letter to Social Security Administration Commissioner Andrew Saul urging him to assist Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands to ensure Social Security beneficiaries living in the territories are also able to receive their relief payments quickly and automatically.  (PDF)

L: On May 7, 2020 AARP sent a letter to the U.S. Department of the Treasury concerning issues with economic impact payments during the coronavirus crisis. Given the urgent need for financial help, and the risk of fraud and scams, AARP urged the Treasury Department and the IRS to provide clearer and more detailed communications to the public about economic impact payments, especially being clear with a timeline about when and how exactly remaining payments will be delivered. AARP also urged that a phone line be established for people who have specific questions about their payments or who do not have access to a computer, and shared some frequently asked questions AARP has received about the payments. (PDF)

April

L: On April 21, 2020 AARP sent a letter to U.S. Department of the Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin concerning economic impact payments to Social Security, Veterans Affairs, and Supplemental Security Income recipients.  These payments are lifelines to many individuals and families hit hard by the economic effects of the coronavirus, therefore AARP is urging the Secretary of the Treasury to protect these funds from garnishment.  (PDF)

C: On April 20, 2020 AARP submitted comments to the Federal Communications Commission in the matter of Restoring Internet Freedom, Bridging the Digital Divide for Low-Income, and Lifeline and Link Up Reform and Modernization.  The COVID-19 crisis has subjected this nation’s universal service policies to a “stress test.” The results of this stress test illustrate a gaping digital divide—it is now painfully obvious that all Americans do not have access to affordable and high quality broadband services.  (PDF)

L: On April 17, 2020 AARP sent a letter to Chairman Ajit V. Pai, and Commissioners Michael O’Rielly, Brendan Carr, Jessica Rosenworcel, and Geoffrey Starks urging the Commission to take sustained action to expand the affordability and availability of communication services to address the unprecedented COVID-19 crisis. The pandemic has highlighted the pressing need for high quality fixed and mobile voice and broadband services that are affordable, reliable, and robust. (PDF)

L: On April 16, 2020 AARP sent a letter to April Tabor,  Acting Secretary of the Federal Trade Commission offering comments in support of updating the Funeral Industry Practice Rule (Funeral Rule) to require funeral homes to post price lists online.  (PDF)

L: On April 8, 2020 AARP sent a letter to the entire Congress on behalf of all older Americans and their families who are being hit hard by both the health and financial impacts of the COVID-19  pandemic.  In the letter, AARP urged Congress to act on needed policies to support residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities, individuals who need assistance to live in their homes and communities, and family caregivers.  AARP also urged Congress to expand access to food assistance, paid leave, and unemployment insurance benefits, as well as access to affordable health coverage, and to be mindful that the coronavirus can be spread by anyone, and the health impacts – while potentially more severe for older Americans – can occur across ages. (PDF)

C: On April 7, 2020 AARP sent a letter to Joseph Otting, Comptroller of the Currency providing comments on the joint Notice of Proposed Rulemaking regarding the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.  AARP urged that any revised CRA regulations preserve and promote several objectives of particular concern to older Americans with regard to housing. (PDF)

L: On April 3, 2020 AARP sent a letter to U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin urging the Secretary to ensure that America’s retired veterans and Americans who rely on Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are similarly able to receive their payments automatically. The economic stimulus payments provided by the CARES Act will provide much needed lifelines to those who struggle to make ends meet, so AARP is urging the Secretary to ensure VA and SSI beneficiaries receive their payments as quickly as possible and without unnecessary filing requirements. (PDF)

March

L: On March 27, 2020 AARP sent a letter to Deputy Commissioner David Black of the Social Security Administration (SSA) concerning a recent decision to suspend face-to-face services at SSA field offices that will help encourage social distancing and prevent the spread of COVID-19.  To be able to give AARP members the information they need, AARP has posed a number of questions about how SSA services are being impacted and what contingency measures are being planned. The SSA’s answers will significantly advance AARP’s understanding and that of its members about the resources SSA can offer individuals now and the services SSA intends to prioritize. (PDF)

L: On March 19, 2020 AARP submitted a letter to Senators Thune, Daines, and King, expressing their support for S.3535 a bill to extend the filing deadline for federal income tax returns until July 15. The extension will help prevent further spread of the coronavirus by ensuring that individuals who need in person assistance can have additional time to file their taxes. (PDF)

C: On March 13, 2020 AARP submitted a letter to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) providing comments on a proposed rule for Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing.  AARP believes HUD’s proposed Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) Rule is inadequate to meet HUD’s statutory obligations.  (PDF)

February

L: On February 28, 2020 AARP sent a letter to U.S. Representatives David Scott (D-GA) and Steve Stivers (R-OH) endorsing the Consumer Financial Education and Empowerment Act.  This bipartisan legislation will expand education and financial literacy programs at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and would provide much-needed financial education and training to American consumers and better equip them to take on the challenges of managing their economic well-being. (PDF)

January

L: On January 13, 2020 AARP sent a letter to members of the U.S. House of Representatives urging them to vote yes on H.R. 1230, the Protecting Older Workers Against Age Discrimination Act (POWADA).  This bipartisan bill would restore fairness for older workers by reinstating well-established legal standards on workplace discrimination that were undermined by past court cases.  Also in this communication AARP informed members of Congress that the January issue of the AARP Bulletin is dedicated to age discrimination and the negative impact it has on older workers. (PDF