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2022 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.

May

L: On May 18, 2022 AARP sent a letter to Chairman John Larson and Ranking Member Kevin Hern of the House Ways & Means Committee, Subcommittee on Social Security thanking them and the members of the Social Security Subcommittee for holding an important hearing on “Strengthening Social Security’s Customer Service.” AARP is calling on Congress and the President to provide no less than the full $15.156 billion appropriations amount requested by Acting Commissioner Kijakazi for FY 2023, in order to make necessary service improvements at the agency. (PDF)

L: On May 17, 2022 AARP sent a letter to Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi and House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy in support of H.R. 7309, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2022 (WIOA). This reauthorization bill will strengthen the federal workforce development system and address misperceptions of age and assist older job seekers with training and job placement. (PDF)

L: On May 16, 2022 AARP sent letters to Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro and Ranking Member Kay Granger of the U.S. House Committee on Appropriations, and to Chairman Patrick Leahy and Ranking Member Richard Shelby of the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations. The purpose of the communications was to urge both Committees to fully fund the Social Security Administration in fiscal year 2023. For years, the agency has been plagued with serious customer service deficiencies as a result of chronic underfunding. (House – PDF)(Senate – PDF)

C: On May 9, AARP submitted comments re: FINRA Regulatory Notice 22-08 relating to complex products. AARP encouraged FINRA to update their regulatory framework to account for the proliferation of individual consumers accessing complex investments directly via self-directed investment platforms, without the assistance of a financial professional. AARP reiterated that regulatory agencies need to meet consumers where they are, disclosures need to be accessible and understandable, and consumer protections must be robust and appropriate to the type of investments made by consumers. (PDF)

L: On May 3, 2022 AARP sent a letter to U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Rob Portman (R-OH) endorsing the SSI Savings Penalty Elimination Act. This legislation would make long-overdue updates to the asset limits under the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program, encourage personal savings among SSI beneficiaries, and increase access to financial assistance to those who are most in need, including older Americans. (PDF)

L: On May 2, 2022 AARP sent a letter to U.S. Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Rob Portman (R-OH) in support of the Evictions Crisis Act (S. 2182), which would help promote stable housing for millions of low-income renters and their families across the country. This bipartisan legislation addresses a serious and growing problem affecting millions of Americans, and increasingly impacting older adults. (PDF)

April

C: On April 29, 2022 AARP submitted comments to the Federal Highway Administration in response to a request for information concerning the implementation of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). The significant levels of investment provided by the IIJA offers a historic opportunity to provide a safer and more accessible transportation system to help meet the diverse needs of our members and all Americans. In the comments, AARP noted five goals for transportation that the FWHA should focus on:  enhancing mobility, ensuring affordability, securing equity, prioritizing accessibility, and supporting sustainability and healthy living. (PDF)

C: On April 13, 2022 AARP submitted a letter to the Employee Benefits Security Administration with comments on the U.S. Department of Labor’s proposal to amend its procedures governing the filing and processing of prohibited transaction exemption applications. AARP supports the changes to the Prohibited Transaction process because it focuses on the interests and protection of participants and beneficiaries. In particular, AARP supports the requirement that an independent appraiser, auditor or accountant would need to include a signed and dated declaration under penalty of perjury that, to the best of its knowledge and belief, all of the representations made in any statement supporting the exemption are true and correct. (PDF)

C: On April 11, 2022 AARP submitted a letter to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in response to the Bureau’s request for comments regarding fees imposed by providers of consumer financial products or services. Referred to as “junk fees,” such as overdraft fees or account inactivity fees, AARP provided a variety of comments about these types of fees, as the CFPB looks to act decisively to reign in such anti-consumer practices. (PDF)

March

S: On March 31, 2022 Shannon Guzman, MCP, Senior Strategic Policy Advisor in the AARP Public Policy Institute provided testimony on behalf of AARP before the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs for a hearing entitled “Affordability and Accessibility:  Addressing the Housing Needs of America’s Seniors.” The current state of housing is precarious for too many older adults and their families, threatening their quality of life. As the older adult population grows in the years ahead, concrete steps are needed at all levels and throughout society to prepare to meet the housing needs of older adults. (PDF)

L: On March 28, 2022 AARP sent a letter to Chairman Richard Neal and Ranking Member Kevin Brady of the U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means, and Chairman Robert Scott and Ranking Member Virginia Foxx of the U.S. House Committee on Education and Labor in support of the Securing a Strong Retirement Act of 2022. 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. This bipartisan legislation would make several significant enhancements to current law. (PDF)

C: On March 24, 2022 AARP submitted Reply Comments to the Federal Communications Commission in the matter of Empowering Broadband Consumers Through Transparency.  AARP’s review of the opening comments reveals widespread support among consumer advocacy groups, as well as individual consumers, for broadband labels in the spirit of those contained in the 2016 Public Notice. Major service providers concede that the Commission must adopt labels, and smaller Internet Service Providers (ISPs) voice support the use of labels. As noted by Consumer Reports, et al., the essential nature of broadband services require clear labels to cut through the confusing practices employed by some ISPs. (PDF)

L: On March 9, 2022 AARP sent a letter to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs concerning the launch of the Hiring Initiative to Reimagine Equity (HIRE) to help address key hiring and recruiting challenges that prevent or impede underrepresented communities from accessing good jobs. Given AARP’s long history of fighting to remove hiring barriers based on discrimination particularly for older jobseekers, AARP officially requested the opportunity to be included in this initiative on behalf of older workers. (PDF)

C: On Wednesday, March 9, AARP filed comments in response to the FCC’s recent Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), which sought comment on a requirement that broadband providers display simple-to-understand labels that disclose, at the point of sale, accurate information about prices, introductory rates, data allowances, broadband speeds, and management practices, among other things. As a result, these “broadband nutrition labels”, included in last year’s bipartisan infrastructure law will promote competition among broadband providers now that this information is readily available, including help lower prices for consumers and help decrease levels of fraud by providers (hidden fees, introductory vs. long term monthly fees etc.). IIJA requires the FCC to adopt broadband consumer label rules by November 2022. (PDF)

February

L: On February 17, 2022 AARP sent a letter to U.S. Senators Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Mike Crapo (R-IN) endorsing the Improving Social Security’s Service to Victims of Identity Theft Act. The Act would streamline and improve the assistance provided by the Social Security Administration to individuals whose Social Security number has been stolen or misused. This would be welcomed assistance for victims of these crimes who are caught in an often overwhelming situation. (PDF)

C: On February 4, 2022 AARP summited formal comments to the U.S. Department of Commerce, National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) in the matter of Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act Implementation. Under this Act, the NTIA is being entrusted with the oversight of a significant and potentially transformational investment to achieve the goal of universal broadband access and adoption. The NTIA will be administering some of the largest grant programs for broadband deployment ($42.45 billion) and Digital Equity ($2.75 billion), which will determine how funds are awarded and monitored. AARP’s comments urges the NTIA to mine existing federal and state broadband grant frameworks to identify a set of best practices and also to be willing to adapt its rules as it (and states) gains additional experience. (PDF)

January

L: On January 19, 2022 AARP sent a letter to U.S. Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Tim Scott (R-SC), Raphael Warnock (D-GA), and Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) expressing support for the Empowering States to Protect Seniors from Bad Actors Act. 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)