Category Archives: News

Press Conference – Social Security’s Impact in Minnesota

Early this week, Lee Graczyk, director of Mature Voices, was invited to speak at a press conference held by Representative Keith Ellison regarding Social Security’s impact on Minnesotans. Read the report about how Social Security works for Minnesotans.

October 20th, 2013

Press Contacts
Mike Casca (202) 225-4755

Rep. Ellison to Hold Press Conference on Social Security’s Impact in Minnesota

MINNEAPOLIS – Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) will hold a press conference on Monday, October 21 to release a study from Social Security Works on Social Security’s impact on the lives of working families in Minnesota. The study, which found that Social Security lifted 327,000 Minnesotans out of poverty in 2012, was created as part of a yearly national survey conducted by Social Security Works.

As the budget conferees meet in Washington to decide the nation’s spending priorities, 1 in 6 Minnesotans put food on the table, pay their bills and take care of their loved ones with the help of the Social Security benefits they’ve earned. Without Social Security, the elderly poverty rate in the state would increase from 6.9% to 45.2. If Congress were to move to the so-called “chained-CPI” to calculate inflation for Social Security checks, a 65 year-old woman in Minnesota would see an immediate cut of $522 a year, adding up to $22,245 by the time she’s 95.

WHAT:          Press Conference on Social Security’s Impact in Minnesota

WHO:             Representative Keith Ellison (D-MN)

                        Lee Graczyk, CEO, Mature Voices MN

Minnesota Seniors

WHEN:          Monday, October 21st, 2013, 2-3pm Central Standard Time

 

WHERE:       Calvary Center, 7600 Golden Valley Road, Golden Valley, MN

Past Time to Reauthorize Older Americans Act

During the recent congressional break Senator Al Franken attended a community event jointly sponsored by Lutheran Social Sevices, the Minnesota Board on Aging and the Metropolitan Area Agency on Aging to a discuss community-based older adult services and the impact of federal sequestration. One of the strongest takeaways from this event was the need to reauthorize the Older Americans Act (OAA).

In 2011, Congress began consideration of its reauthorization and amendments to the OAA as required for FY 2012. Now as we near 2014, this work still has not been completed—even as our nation senior population swells at an unparalleled rate.

The OAA was originally established in 1965 in response Congressional concerns about the lack of community social services for senior citizens—with the broad goal of maintaining the dignity and welfare of our nation’s elderly.

Reauthorization is required to provide Congress an opportunity to evaluate and ensure the nation’s Aging Services Network is meeting—and will continue to meet the needs of an expanding population of older Americans and their caregivers.

Reauthorization is necessary because we need to continue to:

  1. Meet the challenges of the Age Wave. Every eight seconds in America someone turns 65. Reauthorizing the Older Americans Act will demonstrate a continued national commitment to addressing the needs of our aging population. Minnesota’s senior population is expected to grow nearly 55 percent between 2015 and 2030. In 2020, Minnesotan’s older than 65 years will constitute a bigger share of our state’s population than those between 5 and 17 years of age.
  2. Reach older Minnesotans before they end up on Medicaid. Area Agency on Aging programs are pre-Medicaid programs that help older Minnesotans avoid the spenddown to Medicaid. These services can be provided to older Minnesotan at a fraction of the cost of a nursing home.
  3. Ensure access to community-based programs. The OAA created and funds the National Aging Network, comprised of the Administration on Aging on the federal level, State Units on Aging, and Area Agencies on Aging at the local level. The network provides funding—based primarily on the percentage of an area’s population 60 and older. Here the Metropolitan Area Agency on Aging (MAAA), uses these funds to design, subsidize, and coordinate programs that enhance community support systems aimed to maintain older adults in their homes, postponing the need for more costly health care services. The MAAA is now beginning to experience the full impact of the cuts forced by sequester just as the need for the programs they support grows at an unprecedented rate.
  4. Assure Minnesotans will be able to live independently long into old age. Our Area Agencies on Aging serve the needs (nutritious meals, caregiver support, transportation, in-home personal care services, health insurance counseling) of older adults who want to live independently in the least restrictive setting.
  5. Support families and caregivers. The value of the services that family caregivers provide to help older adults live independently is estimated at $450 billion a year nationally, according to AARP’s Public Policy Institute.

Contact your U.S. Senators and Congressional Representative let them know you think it’s well past time they reauthorize the Older Americans Act.
http://www.house.gov/ and http://www.senate.gov

Beware of New Medicare and Social Security Scams

From the Office of Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson

Minnesota senior citizens report being targeted by a new scam: fraudulent operators who pretend to be calling about Medicare, Social Security, or supplemental insurance, but whose actual purpose is to trick seniors into disclosing their private financial information. Disclosure of such information can lead to identity theft or unauthorized withdrawals from a person’s bank account. Prevent this scam from happening to you, or someone you care about.

How the Scam Works. Medicare and Social Security beneficiaries across the country report receiving calls from scam operators (frequently with foreign accents), who claim to represent Medicare, Social Security, or an insurance company. These callers claim that new Medicare, Social Security, supplemental insurance benefits cards are being issued or that the beneficiary’s file must be updated. The scam artist asks the citizen to verify or provide their personal banking information, which is then used to commit theft.

Callers involved in this crime ring may be extremely aggressive, calling over and over, and at all times of the day, in an attempt to wear down the potential victim. These criminals will say anything to try to gain a person’s trust. In some cases, the criminals may have already obtained some limited personal information about the citizen, such as his or her name, address, or even Social Security number, which the criminal then uses to try to make the call seem legitimate. In other cases, the callers may claim that they can improve the benefits. Do not believe these claims, and do not carry on a conversation with the caller. Instead, if you receive a call asking you to disclose your bank account or other financial information, hang up immediately. These are criminals, and by speaking with the callers, even to ask them to stop calling, they may be encouraged to continue calling your telephone number.

If you are a Medicare or Social Security beneficiary, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Social Security Administration do not call you to ask you to disclose financial information in order to get a new card. If you receive such a call, you should report it to these two agencies as follows:

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
7500 Security Boulevard
Baltimore, MD 21244
800-633-4227

Social Security Administration
Office of Public Inquiries
Windsor Park Building
6401 Security Blvd.
Baltimore, MD 21235
800-772-1213

The operators of this scam are engaged in criminal activity. Citizens who receive such calls are also encouraged to report them to the FBI as follows:

Federal Bureau of Investigation
Minneapolis Office
111 Washington Avenue South, Suite 1100
Minneapolis, MN 55401
763-569-8000
www.fbi.gov

These three tips should help you avoid falling victim to this scam:

  1. Remember, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Social Security Administration will not call you to update your information or give you a new card.
  2. If someone who calls you asks for your personal information, do not provide it.
  3. If calls persist, you may wish to speak to your phone company about calling features that would enable you to be selective in the calls that you accept or receive.