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Protect Seniors Campaign Highlighted on St. John

Seniors in the Virgin Islands appreciate just how important Medicare and Social Security are in their lives. That’s why 20 AARP Volunteers decided that the AARP “Protect Seniors Campaign” was urgent enough to promote during the territory’s July 4th Festival.

See Also: AARP Protect Seniors Campaign to Keep Medicare Strong

As Congress debates how to get the nation’s debt under control, seniors across America and the Virgin Islands are extremely concerned that Medicare and Social Security benefits may end up getting cut as a result of Congress’ effort to balance the nation’s budget.

“Virgin Islands seniors can always be counted on to help AARP when they see the need,” says State Director Denyce Singleton, “Some of the volunteers got up at dawn to travel to the island of St. John specifically to participate in the parade. They did this because they recognize that there is something that individuals can do to make an impact. They are concerned about the welfare of future Virgin Islands beneficiaries who will be significantly harmed if these programs get cut. So these dedicated volunteers got up and joined the parade hoping to spread the word about stopping the cuts. That’s what I call true dedication and caring!”

The VI seniors, adorned in AARP Protect Seniors Campaign T-shirts, joined the AARP VI State Office’s staff to kick-off the VI Protect Seniors Campaign on the island of St. John. As part of the annual July 4th parade the seniors traversed the parade route handing out red and white fans that carried a brief explanation of the campaign’s purpose. On the reverse side of the fan, AARP provided a phone number for residents and tourists to call Congress so that concerned citizens receiving the fans could raise their voice and urge their representatives not to include Medicare and Social Security in the debt ceiling talks.

“Cuts to Medicare and Social Security will be extremely harmful for future beneficiaries, especially in the Virgin Islands where the cost of living has skyrocket over the past few years,” stated Beverly Biziewski, St. John resident and chapter president. “I can’t imagine how those who will follow me will be able to retire if cuts are instituted to either program. That’s why I am concerned enough to get out and share information with the younger parade spectators. They are the ones who are most at risk and I can’t help but wonder if they know it.”

AARP has fought for years to protect and defend the programs that seniors depend upon. American seniors fear that the debt discussions are including programs, like Medicare and Social Security which never contributed to the nation’s rising debt. Instead, seniors feel that these programs are ones that participants paid into over the course of their careers. They are not government hand outs that could be cut. They are benefits that individuals deserve because they have earned them over the course of a lifetime.

Instead of cutting the programs, AARP has urged that lawmakers find ways to strengthen these two programs so they will be there for future generations. And, AARP is urging all seniors and those close to retirement to let their voice be heard in Washington.