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2021 Archives: Financial Security and Livable Communities

AARP correspondence to lawmakers and regulators

The following documents related to consumer affairs, financial security, and livable communities issues that benefit people 50-plus are presented in reverse chronological order.

November

L: On November 19, 2021 AARP sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in response to the Department presenting information pertaining to its notice of allocation of more than $2 billion in CDBG-DR and CDBG-MIT to ten states, covering 15 recent major disasters. HUD presented information on its intention to create a “universal notice” that would serve to expedite future CDBG-DR and CDBG-MIT allocations, including but not limited to the additional $3 billion already appropriated in 2021 for disaster recovery and mitigation efforts. AARP urged HUD to more explicitly consider the needs of older adults in its current and future implementation of disaster recovery and mitigation funds. (PDF)

L: On November 16, 2021 AARP sent a letter to Chairwoman Maxine Waters and Ranking Member Patrick McHenry of the U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Financial Services expressing support for the Empowering States to Protect Seniors from Bad Actors Act (H.R. 5914). AARP has been working with policymakers and regulators to combat financial fraud aimed at older Americans since its founding in 1958. The Act would provide older Americans with a new defense against financial exploitation and investment scams tailored to exploit them. Specifically, the bill would implement and modernize the Senior Investor Protection Grant Program, established by law in 2010. (PDF)

L: On November 10, 2021 AARP sent a letter to U.S. Representatives Robert Scott (D-VA) and Virginia Foxx (R-NC) in support of the Retirement Improvement and Savings Enhancement Act of 2021. Under this bill, more people who work part-time will be able to enroll in their employers’ retirement savings plans by allowing them to save after only two (rather than three) years of employment. More than 27 million workers work less than full-time, and this change will be especially helpful to the many older workers who can only find part-time work or need to work part-time due to caregiving responsibilities. (PDF)

C: On November 1, 2021 AARP submitted comments to the U.S. Employee Benefits Security Administration on the U.S. Department of Labor’s proposed revision of the annual information return/report (Form 5500) and corollary changes to the reporting and disclosure regulation. AARP views the Form 5500 as reporting and disclosure that promotes transparency and financial accountability for all retirement plans, including multiple employer plans (MEPs) and pooled employer plans (PEPs). (PDF)

October

L: On October 28, 2021 AARP submitted a letter for the record to the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging in response to the Committee’s annual report on improving financial literacy and decision-making for older adults and people with disabilities. AARP has a long history of working to ensure Americans have the financial knowledge, skills, and tools they need to more effectively manage their financial lives as they age. As such, AARP was pleased to support the Committee’s efforts to increase the dialogue around financial literacy and decision-making for older Americans. (PDF)

L: On October 26, 2021 AARP along with 19 other organizations sent a joint letter to U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra urging the Administration to continue its steadfast support for an inclusive, universal paid family and medical leave program that includes individuals with serious illnesses and health conditions and their caregivers. The undersigned organizations represent millions of patients, caregivers, medical professionals, people with disabilities and their families, and other individuals harmed by a lack of paid leave. (PDF)

C: On October 21, 2021 AARP sent a letter to the Federal Communications Commission in response to its Proposed Rule titled “Improving Competitive Broadband Access to Multiple Tenant Environments”. In its comments, AARP stresses that that all Americans, including those who reside in multiple tenant environments (MTEs), should benefit from broadband competition. AARP encourages the Commission to accelerate broadband deployment by improving market competition in MTEs, while prohibiting anti-competitive exclusionary arrangements. It also encourages the FCC to require MTE owners to allow all broadband Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to offer service in their buildings, require MTE owners that request payments from broadband providers to make their terms public, and ban exclusive agreements between MTE owners and broadband providers. (PDF)

C: On October 19, 2021 AARP sent a letter to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency in response to the notice of proposed rulemaking regarding its intention to rescind a 2020 rule on the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA). AARP had opposed that rule in which none of the other relevant financial oversight agencies joined. The OCC intends to cooperate with the Federal Reserve and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation in their CRA update process. In our comments, we support the joint rulemaking approach. We also reiterated our earlier comments on the CRA to both the OCC and the Federal Reserve that the revised rule. (PDF)

L: On October 6, 2021 AARP CEO Jo Ann Jenkins sent a letter to Congressional leadership urging that they take the necessary steps to avoid default on our national debt in order to protect Social Security and Medicare beneficiaries as well as the economic health of the nation. In the letter, AARP pushed for a quick resolution to the debt ceiling issue without putting at risk these benefits that older Americans have earned and need. (PDF)

September

S: On September 23, 2021 AARP sent a statement in the form of a letter to Chair Robert P. Casey, Jr. and Ranking Member Tim Scott of the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging expressing praise for holding a hearing entitled “Fraud, Scams and COVID-19: How Con Artists Have Targeted Older Americans During the Pandemic.” The letter points out that while the pandemic has allowed scammers with ample opportunities to pray on consumers, it is not only pandemic-related scams that have flourished. And when older adults experience a scam, their financial losses tend to be far more significant than younger victims. (PDF)

L: On September 29, 2021 AARP along with 55 other organizations sent a group letter to Congressional Leaders in support of the Paid Family and Medical Leave provisions included in the FY 2022 Budget Reconciliation Proposal that was recently approved by Ways and Means Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives. Urging Congress to advance this needed program that provides paid leave benefits, the groups outlined specific features to be included in the program. (PDF)

L: On September 27, 2021 AARP sent a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy expressing support for H.R. 3992, the Protect Older Job Applicants Act (POJA). This bill extends Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) protections to job applicants so everyone will have an equal opportunity when applying for a job. (PDF)

L: On September 20, 2021 AARP submitted a written statement in the form of a letter to Chair Sherrod Brown and Ranking Member Todd Young of the Senate Committee on Finance, Subcommittee on Social Security, Pensions and Family Policy ahead of a hearing entitled “Policy Options for Improving SSI.” In the letter, AARP expressed appreciation for the Subcommittee’s efforts to examine areas in which Congress can make much-needed improvements to the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program, which is a critical lifeline for millions of Americans who are most in need. (PDF)

L: On September 10, 2021 AARP sent a letter to Chair Frank Pallone and Ranking Member Cathy McMorris Rodgers of the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce in support of several provisions before the committee as it begins to mark up the Build Back Better Act. Specifically, AARP has expressed support in the areas of Prescription Drug Affordability, Home and Community-Based Services, Affordable Health Coverage, Medicare Benefit Improvements, and High-Speed Internet (Broadband). (PDF)

L: On September 10, 2021 AARP sent a letter to Chair Maxine Waters and Ranking Member Patrick McHenry of the U.S. House Committee on Financial Services in support of provisions before the committee as it begins to mark up the Build Back Better Act. Specifically, AARP expressed support for safe, affordable, and stable housing. Of particular importance to AARP members are the bill’s provisions that will support the needs of older adults and their families. AARP urged the Committee to include measures that optimize this rare opportunity to significantly improve the living conditions of millions of Americans. (PDF)

L: On September 10, 2021 AARP sent a letter to Chair Peter DeFazio and Ranking Member Sam Graves of the U.S. House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure in support of several provisions before the committee as it begins to mark up the Build Back Better Act. Specifically, AARP expressed support for issues related to Public Transportation, Specialized Transportation, Safe Streets, and Equity. (PDF)

C: On September 9, 2021 AARP submitted written comments to the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System in response to the Board’s proposed rulemaking concerning its FedNow instant payments platform. In the letter, AARP commented that faster payments, as anticipated by the FedNow platform and other initiatives, have the potential to ensure consumers’ account balances and funds availability are always up to date, and to make these stressful and challenging personal financial timing scenarios truly rare occurrences. At the same time, AARP urges the Federal Reserve Board to more fully consider the potential for fraud risk—particularly to older adults—and the need to ensure that consumers’ pre-existing rights and expectations are protected when moving forward with its FedNow platform. (PDF)

L: On September 8, 2021 AARP sent a letter to Chairman Richard Neal and Ranking Member Kevin Brady of the U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means in support of the many provisions before the committee as it begins to mark up the Build Back Better Act. Specifically, AARP has expressed support in the areas of Prescription Drug Affordability, Medicare Benefit Improvements, Family Caregiving, Paid Leave, Nursing Homes, Affordable Health Coverage and Retirement. (PDF)

August

L: On August 24, 2021 AARP submitted a letter to U.S. House of Representatives Terri Sewell (D-AL) in support of H.R.4 the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. This bill will update the Voting Rights Act preclearance formula and strengthens the bill after recent Supreme Court cases watered down some of its provisions. (PDF)

C: On August 19, 2021 AARP submitted comments to the U.S. Department of House and Urban Development in response to a docketed notice concerning the Department’s reinstatement of its 2013 Discriminatory Effects Standard (2013 Rule). The rule reinstates the Discriminatory Effects Standard (previously referred to as the Disparate Impact rule), which ensures that housing practices that appear neutral in their design do not create or perpetuate discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion and other groups protected under the Fair Housing Act. AARP had also submitted comments in October 2019 opposing the proposed rule under the previous Administration that would have jeopardized the ability to enforce fair housing violations that had discriminatory effects. (PDF)

L: On August 2, 2021 AARP sent a letter to U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) expressing support for S. 2452, the Encouraging Americans to Save Act. This bill expands the current Savers’ Tax Credit to provide an enhanced matching contribution to millions of additional low and moderate-income families who are struggling to save for retirement. The expanded tax credit will be especially helpful to employees of small businesses and independent workers who do not have a matching contribution through their employer. (PDF)

July

L: On July 14, 2021 AARP sent a letter to U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and U.S. Representative Marie Newman (D-IL) thanking both for their leadership in supporting the All Stations Accessibility Program (ASAP) Act of 2021, S.1680 and H.R. 3317.  The ASAP Act will support efforts to increase the number of accessible transit stations or facilities that meet or exceed accessibility design standards under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) for rapid rail and commuter rail systems. (Senate: PDF) (House: PDF)

C: On July 12, 2021 AARP submitted comments in response to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Interim Final Rule for Restoring Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) Definitions and Certifications. AARP supports HUD’s decision to take steps to restore meaningful implementation of the Fair Housing Act’s AFFH requirement by reinstating certain definitions and certifications from the 2015 Rule, helping to ensure that HUD grantees will again regularly certify compliance to a standard that requires meaningful action to combat residential segregation and eliminate unequal access to housing-related opportunities. (PDF)

June

L: On June 23, 2021 AARP sent a letter to U.S. House Subcommittee on Social Security Chairman John Larson and House Ways and Means Committee Member Vern Buchanan (R-FL) endorsing the Know Your Social Security Act. This bipartisan bill would once again place vital, paper Social Security statements in the hands of millions of Americans to help them more effectively plan for retirement, identify fraud, correct earnings records, and better understand their stake in Social Security. (PDF)

L: On June 23, 2021 AARP sent a letter to U.S. House of Representatives Brad Wenstrup (R-OH) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) endorsing the Social Security Child Protection Act of 2021. The legislation would provide important protections to younger Americans and their families whose Social Security number has been compromised due to the theft of their documentation. (PDF)

L: On June 14, 2021 AARP sent a letter to the entire U.S. House of Representatives encouraging all to vote in support of H.R. 2062 the Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act (POWADA), important bipartisan legislation sponsored by House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby Scott and Rep. Rodney Davis (R-IL) to restore protections against age discrimination. The bill reinstates well-established legal standards on workplace discrimination that were undermined by the 2009 Supreme Court decision in Gross v. FBL Financial Services, Inc. and subsequent discrimination cases. POWADA would help level the playing field for older workers and restore their legal rights. (PDF)

L: On June 8, 2021 AARP sent a letter to U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley lending support for S. 393 the Equality Act. The Equality Act provides equal treatment under the law for individuals by prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, housing, public accommodations, public education, federal funding, credit, and the jury system. (PDF)

L: On June 3, 2021, AARP sent a letter to U.S. Senators John Cornyn and Alejandro Padilla in support of S. 1432, the POWER ON Act. In the letter, AARP expressed appreciation for this bipartisan effort on the important issue of energy resilience, particularly given that older adults are often disproportionately impacted by disasters. AARP supports efforts to improve the resilience of our energy infrastructure to avoid future power blackouts like those which recently occurred in Texas, California, and other states. (PDF)

May

L: On May 20, 2021 AARP sent a letter to U.S. Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Rob Portman (R-OH) expressing appreciation for their bipartisan efforts to improve retirement savings opportunities through introduction of the Retirement Security and Savings Act of 2021. Under this bill, more people who work part-time will be able to enroll in their employers’ retirement savings plans, by allowing them to save after only two (rather than three) years of employment. (PDF)

L: On May 20, 2021 AARP sent a letter to Federal Communications Commission Secretary Marlene H. Dortch urging her to ensure that obtaining the many benefits of high-speed internet access is a top priority for unserved consumers in both rural and urban communities. In order to get full value and benefit from the available funds, AARP urges the Commission to ensure real accountability when providers are given taxpayer dollars for the expansion of broadband deployment. (PDF)

S: On May 12, 2021 AARP submitted a statement for the record to U.S. Senate Committee on Finance Chair Ron Wyden and Ranking Member Mike Crapo for a hearing that took place on April 29, 2021 entitled “Social Security During COVID: How the Pandemic Hampered Access to Benefits and Strategies for Improving Service Delivery.” The statement included commentary on the importance of social security administered benefits and services, the impact of COVID-19 on the Social Security Administration’s service to the public, the importance of personal interactions and other recommendations, and the importance of administrative funding for SSA. (PDF)

L: On May 3, 2021 AARP sent a letter to the U.S. House Committee on Ways & Means Chair Richard Neal and Ranking Member Kevin Brady expressing an appreciation for their bipartisan efforts to improve the retirement savings opportunities included in the introduction of the Securing a Strong Retirement Act of 2021. While Social Security continues to be the bedrock of retirement income for most American workers and their families, individuals want and need additional retirement income sources. (PDF)

April

L: On April 29, 2021 AARP sent a letter to U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging Chair Robert Casey and Ranking Member Tim Scott for the record for a hearing on “A Changing Workforce: Supporting Older Workers amid the COVID-19 Pandemic and Beyond.”  In the statement, AARP noted that as was the case with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) — where Congress took bipartisan action to restore the statute's protections by enacting the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008 — AARP believes that it is well past time to restore basic fairness for older workers and to enact the Protect Older Workers Against Discrimination Act (POWADA) immediately. (PDF)

L: On April 28, 2021 AARP sent a letter to U.S. Senate Committee on Banking Chair Sherrod Brown and Ranking Member Patrick J. Toomey providing a statement for a hearing on predatory rent-a-bank lending practices. AARP has been active on both the federal and state levels, including through AARP State offices, to adopt and ensure adequate consumer protections against abusive loan practices. AARP has long expressed concern about predatory lending practices that harm older adults and all economically vulnerable consumers. (PDF)

March

L: On March 25, 2021 AARP sent a letter to Internal Revenue Service Commissioner Charles P. Rettig concerning the delay in distribution of individual recovery rebates to Social Security, Supplemental Security Income, Veterans Affairs and Railroad Retirement beneficiaries. Many older Americans who have been hard hit by the health and economic impact of the pandemic have yet to receive either their payments or clear communications from the government on when this will occur. (PDF)

L: On March 25, 2021 AARP sent a letter to Social Security Administration Commissioner Andrew Saul concerning the delay in distribution of individual recovery rebates to Social Security and Supplemental Security Income beneficiaries. Many older Americans who have been hard hit by the health and economic impact of the pandemic have yet to receive either their payments or clear communications from the government on when this will occur. (PDF)

S: On March 18, 2021 AARP Foundation Senior Attorney Laurie McCann provided testimony before the U.S. House Education and Labor Committee joint hearing of the Civil Rights and Human Services Subcommittee and the Workforce Protections Subcommittee entitled “Fighting for Fairness: Examining Legislation to Confront Workplace Discrimination.” As was the case with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) — where Congress took bipartisan action to restore the statute's protections by enacting the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008 — AARP believes that it is well past time to restore basic fairness for older workers and to enact the Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act (POWADA) immediately. (PDF)

L: On March 12, 2021, AARP sent a letter to Acting Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar of the U.S. Department of Justice to request that the Justice Department withdraw its appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court in the matter of U.S. v. Vaello-Madero, pertaining to Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for Puerto Rico residents. AARP believes the lower court ruling should remain in place and that Puerto Rico residents should be eligible to receive much-needed SSI benefits. (PDF)

L: On March 3, 2021 AARP along with 79 other organizations sent a letter to the Acting Director for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Acting Chair of the Federal Trade Commission urging that both government agencies take immediate action to prevent or limit imminent rental evictions and home foreclosures in the private mortgage market pursuant to their existing authorities under section 5 of the FTC Act, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank), and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). These statutes give these agencies the authority to address unfair, deceptive or abusive evictions or foreclosures in the midst of a health and economic crisis. (PDF)

February

L: On February 25, 2021 AARP sent a letter to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy, Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer and Republican Leader Mitch McConnell outlining AARP’s priorities with regard to the COVID relief package currently making its way through Congress. In the letter, AARP notes the following priority issues for Congressional leadership:  Vaccine Distribution; Direct Payment Relief from Economic Shocks; Nursing Homes, Other Long-Term Care Facilities, and Home and Community-Based Services; Further Investments in Federal Nutrition Programs; Health Care Access and Affordability; Emergency Paid Family and Sick Leave; Age Discrimination; Financial Support for Unemployed Older Workers; Housing and Transportation; and Pension Relief. (PDF)

On February 24, 2021, AARP sent a letter to U.S. Representatives Blunt Rochester (D-DE), Walberg (R-MI), Deutch (D-FL), Buchanan (R-FL), and Welch (D-VT) in support of the bipartisan Fraud and Scam Reduction Act. (PDF) The U.S. House legislation includes the text from two bipartisan U.S. Senate bills also endorsed by AARP: The Stop Senior Scams Act (PDF), sponsored by Senators. Casey (D-PA) & Moran (R-KS), and The Senior Fraud Prevention Act (PDF), sponsored by Senators Klobuchar (D-MN) & Collins (R-ME).

L: On February 22, 2021 AARP sent a letter to Chair Richard Neal and Ranking Member Kevin Brady of the U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means, and to Chair Bill Pascrell, Jr. and Ranking Member Mike Kelly of the Subcommittee on Oversight to express support for extending the 2021 federal tax filing season. Many older Americans, who are most at risk from COVID-19, require assistance in preparing their tax returns and may not have access to or familiarity with online platforms to fill out their forms over the internet. To protect public health and ensure all tax filers, including older Americans, receive the time and assistance they need to file their taxes, Congress should extend the tax filing deadline and waive all interest and penalties resulting from any such extension. (PDF)

C: On February 16, 2021 AARP filed comments with the Federal Reserve in response to the Community Reinvestment Act Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.  AARP urged that any revised CRA regulations preserve and promote several objectives of particular concern to older Americans, such as offering affordable financing for older individuals to make necessary alternations to their homes to cope with the cost of home maintenance, to offering protections to residents of low- and moderate-income (LMI) communities who face displacement as older neighborhoods are redeveloped. (PDF)

C: On February 16th, 2021, AARP submitted reply comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on the $3.2 billion Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) program that Congress allocated as part of the Federal year end bill. AARPs comments focus on how the Commission should structure the EBB regarding program promotion, eligibility, and transparency. The EBB program will be administered by the FCC and will provide a discount for eligible, low-income households for monthly internet service expenses.  At this time, the FCC is gathering advice on how to best administer this new benefit. The program does not have an official start date, and it could take several months for the program to go into effect. (PDF)

L: On February 4, 2021 AARP submitted comments to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in response to their Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on implementation of Section 1033 of the Dodd-Frank Act pertaining to consumer access to financial records. AARP urged that any future rulemaking by the CFPB ensure the benefits of consumer data access are available to older adults and that CFPB address the potential risks of financial harm, including via fraud or scams. (PDF)