With Election Day rapidly approaching, New Yorkers across the state want to know more about where the candidates for President and Congress stand on a wide range of issues. Many areas of the state have faced redistricting as a result of population changes from the 2012 Census. Under redistricting earlier this year, the number of Congressional districts in New York fell from 29 to 27, meaning many New Yorkers have races with no incumbent candidate and need to get acquainted with two new candidates.
See Also: AARP Releases Voters’ Guides for Presidential, Senate, Congressional Candidates
AARP’s 2012 Voters’ Guides were recently released for the Presidential, Senatorial and Congressional races and can be found at www.earnedasay.org. The guides feature information from candidates running for President, the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives – in their own words. The Voters’ Guides feature unbiased insight as to where the candidates stand on Social Security, Medicare, and financial security, and these positions can be found by entering a local zip code into the online tool. Candidates responded to several questions in the Voters’ Guide, including:
- How would you protect Social Security for today’s seniors and strengthen it for future generations?
- How would you put Medicare on stronger financial ground and protect today’s seniors and future retirees from the burden of rising health costs?
- How would you help Americans build a financial nest egg for their retirement?
Social Security will be able to pay all benefits until 2033 and Medicare can pay full benefits for about the next 10 years. New Yorkers are concerned about these programs and the impact changes could have on their lives. There are currently more than 3.2 million Social Security beneficiaries in New York State and more than 3 million New Yorkers are on Medicare.
Earlier this month, AARP released a series of surveys revealing that voters over 50 overwhelmingly think that candidates have not done a good job of explaining their plans on Social Security (67%) and Medicare (63%). These two issues have always been central issues for AARP members and anyone over 65. Those not yet 65 also have reason to be concerned too as the vast majority will need to tap into these programs and it is not clear what the programs will look like when they get there.
Eighty-eight percent of New York residents over the age of 65 received Social Security in 2011. The average annual benefit was only $14,600. Without Social Security income, 32 percent of older New Yorkers would fall into poverty.
Medicare plays an equally important role. Medicare provides guaranteed health coverage, but out-of-pocket costs are high. The average New York Medicare beneficiary spent an estimated $3,500 on out-of-pocket health care costs in 2011. Nearly 96 percent of older New Yorkers were enrolled in Medicare in 2011.
AARP provides nonpartisan information, does not support or oppose any political candidates and does not contribute money to political action committees, campaigns or super PACs. In addition to the Voters’ Guides, the website, www.earnedasay.org, offers analysis of the different proposals being considered on Medicare and Social Security. It also allows visitors to share how they feel about the proposals and directs them to an interactive tool they can use to create different scenarios about what their future will look like by combining different changes that could be made.
AARP’s national conversation is aimed at getting people and politicians to share their thoughts on changes these programs. Being informed on where the candidates stand will help voters decide who best represents them when they head to the polls.