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Earning a Say on the Future of Medicare and Social Security

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Monday, August 13, 2012   

YANKTON, S.D. - Throughout the summer the "You've Earned a Say" AARP van is stopping for listening sessions in all 66 counties in South Dakota. Attendees will have an opportunity to fill out questionnaires about Medicare and Social Security and join a discussion about the future of these programs.

The van made stops last week in Lincoln, Union, Clay, Turner, Bon Homme, Douglas and Yankton Counties. Pat Gross with AARP-South Dakota says those at the meetings seem to understand where things stand.

"Well, they're saying basically that they do now understand we've got a problem with both Medicare and Social Security funding and the longevity of either program is now starting to come under question, because of projected shortfalls in funding. While everybody is concerned about it, nobody really knows exactly how to fix it."

Gross says the latest estimates show both programs eventually running short of money.

"In the case of Medicare the brick wall out there, the funding dilemma, happens 12 years out, and in the case of Social Security the pinch time, where we're going to run out of money to pay full benefits, is about 25 years out."

The van will make more stops this month, with the final session at the South Dakota State Fair on August 30. Gross says they will then tabulate their results from the state and nation.

"We've got a reporting system in a way for people to formally fill out surveys and give their opinions, both at our meetings, at home, with some information we share with them and then on line. And it's all going to be gathered, sent to our national office, and our advocacy people will crunch all of it and be able to report back to members."

In South Dakota, over 137,000 people rely on Medicare for their health coverage, and over 153,000 people receive Social Security benefits. The average monthly Social Security benefit for individuals in South Dakota is a little more than $1,000.








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