The Main Stream

Jun 18, 2012 1:39 PM

New online tools for Social Security and Medicare questions

PEORIA - Two new interactive online tools that allow users to make their own choices about how to address the long-term financial challenges facing Social Security and Medicare are now available.

The AARP 'You've Earned a Say' online tools provide a menu of possible changes that are on the table in Washington, and lets people see how those options will impact the Social Security and Medicare funding gaps.

"It's a great way for people to make up their own minds about what they think is the best avenue for strengthening the programs," said Cynthia Fagyas, AARP Arizona Communications Director. "We encourage people to check them out on our AARP 'You've Earned a Say' website."

Independent analyses of the pros and cons of the major Medicare and Social Security options on the table, along with fact sheets, infographics and questionnaires about how best to strengthen the programs are available at: www.earnedasay.org <http://www.earnedasay.org>. AARP's 'You've Earned a Say' is a national conversation about the future of Medicare and Social Security.

"When people complete the Social Security and Medicare online tools they're given the opportunity to send a message to their members of Congress and the presidential candidates," said Fagyas. "The tools give people an opportunity to get the facts and make their voices heard."

Social Security faces long-term financial challenges as the overall U.S. population ages, and contributions aren't keeping up with longer life expectancies. According to the most recent Trustees report, Social Security can pay full benefits for the next 20 years, but only 75 percent of promised benefits after that. Some of the lead policy options that have been proposed to address the shortfall are highlighted in the Strengthen Social Security Tool.

Medicare faces a number of challenges in the coming years, including rising health costs and a growing number of people entering the program. The most recent Medicare trustees report projected that within twelve years there will be a shortfall in the money needed to pay full benefits in the Medicare Trust Fund that covers hospital costs. Some of the lead policy options that have been proposed to address the shortfall are highlighted in the Strengthen Medicare Tool.

The Strengthen Social Security and Medicare Tools are free and do not require site registration. They can be accessed at:
www.aarp.org/strengthensocialsecuritytool <http://www.aarp.org/strengthensocialsecuritytool> and <http://www.aarp.org/strengthenmedicaretool>.

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