En español | Through advocacy, education and innovative programs, AARP extends its footprint to states and communities across the country. Volunteers and staff in every state, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands help drive the association’s social mission on behalf of Americans 50-plus and their families. Some of the advocacy work fits the individualized needs of states, such as advocating for unpaid family caregivers, promoting innovative ways to help workers save for retirement and helping utility customers save on their monthly bills.
Here’s a closer look at some of AARP’s multistate campaigns:
Work and Save: Enhancing Retirement Security
Today, a secure retirement is out of reach for millions of Americans, especially those who work for themselves or for small businesses. Nearly half of all workers have no access to a retirement savings plan through their employer. While Social Security is a critical piece of the puzzle, it is not enough to depend on. The average Social Security benefit for a 65-plus family is only about $18,000 per year, while older American families spend an average of $20,000 a year on food, utilities and health care alone. Many future retirees won’t be able to handle the rising costs of basic needs and health care.
Here are some of the advantages of the Work and Save programs:
- Workers are in control as they save a portion of their paychecks, which they will be able to draw on in later years for a more secure future.
- The accounts are voluntary for the employee, and it’s up to each worker to decide whether to participate and how much they want to put away.
- The program is easy for employers to set up, with no ongoing costs or risk to the employers or the state.
- These are public-private partnerships between the state and a professional financial institution.
- The program is similar to a 529 college savings plan and is an easy, stress-free way for Americans to grow retirement savings.
Utilities: Saving You Money
Families depend on consistent energy services to warm and cool their homes, keep their lights on and power the medical equipment and other devices that they need to survive. In addition, access to high-speed Internet — or broadband — delivers new technologies that improve the quality of life for people of all ages and can help older people live independently in their homes and communities. It also combats social isolation and improves well-being by supporting services like distance learning and telehealth.
Older Americans on fixed or low incomes depend upon these services, which must be affordable and reliable. That’s why AARP works in many states to protect consumers by challenging and organizing opposition to rate hikes and unfair charges on residential customers:
- Home energy. As the energy industry continues to evolve, more changes are anticipated related to how energy is delivered and priced. AARP is working in some states to combat increased costs to residential consumers.
- Phone service. Affordable and reliable telephone service is a basic necessity, allowing older people to maintain social contact, preserve health and safety, and call for assistance in an emergency. The United States is undergoing a telecommunications technology transition that has, in some places, deregulated telephone service. AARP works to ensure that telecommunications providers, including wireless and broadband, offer services that consumers can depend on.
- Internet. AARP is working in some states to ensure that access to high-speed Internet service, or broadband, is available to everyone regardless of where they live.