Social Security And Medicare Provide Vital Safety Net For Senior Citizens

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Having contributed to Social Security and Medicare for years while working, Arizona seniors depend on these programs to provide a foundation of income and health care in their retirement. 

According the AARP’s Public Policy Institute (PPI), a majority of older adults in the state rely on Social Security and Medicare.

In 2010, 85 percent of Arizona seniors received Social Security. The average annual benefit was $14,000. Without this income, PPI estimates that an additional 30.5 percent of older Arizonans would fall into poverty.

As of 2009, 98.8 percent of seniors in the state were also enrolled in Medicare. On average, PPI estimates seniors spent $5,600 in out of pocket health care costs. For the typical Arizona senior on Medicare, this spending for out of pocket costs consumes nearly 20 percent of their income.

“Today’s difficult economy presents a challenge for seniors on a fixed income,” said David Mitchell, AARP Arizona state director.

“Many have suffered widespread loss of retirement savings and home equity because of the recession. This circumstance, coupled with rising health care costs, makes Social Security and Medicare more vital than ever.”

Arizona seniors count on Social Security and Medicare benefits that are earned through a lifetime of work. Social Security alone accounts for 59 percent of a typical older Arizonan’s own income. Medicare provides guaranteed health coverage for seniors while playing an important role in Arizona’s economy.

“Medicare spent nearly $8.5 billion on health care services for Arizonans in 2010. The program is a staple of our state’s economy.” Mitchell said.

Social Security is also critical to the economy. AARP’s PPI estimates that the program provided more than $13.5 billion in benefits to Arizonans in 2009.

“There’s no question of the value of Social Security and Medicare for older adults. These important safety net programs give seniors peace of mind in their retirement while supporting our economy.” said Mitchell.

AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization with a membership that helps people 50 and older have independence, choice and control in ways that are beneficial and affordable to them and society as a whole.

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