AARP Encourages Retirees to Speak Out in Favor of Medicare, Social Security

In an effort to garner support for Social Security and Medicare benefits, the American Association of Retired Persons — or AARP — is holding town-hall style meetings around the country. The organization drew a crowd of about 100 Springfield residents Monday who spoke on a range of topics, from co-pays and deductibles to their reliance on Social Security income.

Irene Euchler is 77 and lives with her daughter in Springfield. She says the $12,000 a year she receives from Social Security is a “life saver” because she never earned enough to save for retirement.

“I have been keeping track of what’s been going on with Social Security and it scares me and I think we need to do all we can to save Social Security and Medicare. It is not an entitlement and we don’t add one penny to the deficit. And that is another thing I think the American people need to know.”

Euchler joined a large group of her peers to discuss the status of their benefits and fill out surveys that AARP plans to forward to state representatives, senators and congressmen. Linda Fitzgerald is president of AARP’s Massachusetts branch.

“We want Washington to take the conversations out of the back rooms and start the conversations here in the communities. The conversations are the same no matter where you go. There are always going to be people who depend on Social Security and Medicare for the majority of their income and health care needs.”

AARP reports for those Massachusetts residents receiving Social Security, it represents on average 56% of their income. For more than a year, President Obama and Congress have been talking about changes to Medicare and Social Security as part of a budget deal. House Budget Chairman Republican Congressman Paul Ryan plans to unveil a budget this week that will renew his proposal to create a voucher-like system for Medicare. The proposal is opposed by the president and most Democrats.