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Social Security Advocates Make a Difference

Phone calls, emails, and petitions help protect the benefits people earned over a lifetime

AARP member Jane Bernard rides bus to DC-Seniors protest cuts to Social Security benefits

Photo by Miranda Harple

Jane Bernard of Lemoyne, Pa., was on Capitol Hill in July 2011, urging Congress to protect Social Security for her children and grandchildren.

En español | A groundswell of opposition from AARP members helped persuade Congress not to cut Social Security or Medicare benefits in 2011 as part of federal debt reduction efforts. Having lost faith in politicians’ ability to solve their problems, 50+ Americans took matters into their own hands – sending 7 million emails, phone calls, letters and petitions to Congress through AARP’s Protect Seniors initiative. We will keep up the fight this year.

Fierce advocacy for these programs stems from the growing financial insecurity of middle-class individuals and families.

To protect Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid in 2011, AARP also:

  • Fostered open conversations about ways to strengthen Social Security during town-hall meetings conducted in person and by telephone. Those dialogues were backed up by educational articles about Social Security in AARP the Magazine, AARP Bulletin and the bilingual AARP VIVA.
  • Published an eight page "Medicare Starter Kit" in the AARP Bulletin to help boomers turning 65 to navigate this complex program.
  • Helped people avoid costly institutional care by fighting to maintain state funding for home- and community-based services, such as Meals on Wheels.