One of AARP’s experts, Laurie McCann, testified this week before an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) forum on age discrimination, and, as usual, Laurie deftly told it like it is. And how it should be.
The AARP Foundation senior attorney was speaking before the EEOC’s important forum on the 50th anniversary of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) — a forum titled “The ADEA @50 — More Relevant Than Ever.” Four other workforce experts — one speaking remotely from a vacation in Tokyo — were also panelists.
McCann, who continues to build a following, including among national media outlets, as a leader in the fight against age discrimination, praised the EEOC in her testimony for, among other things, its work on two recent cases (Texas Roadhouse and Darden) and for filing an age discrimination case against a third employer (Ruby Tuesday).
But in her forum comments and her more extensive written testimony, she said that “AARP urges the EEOC to take bolder action to ensure older workers are treated fairly at work.”
Among other things, McCann said the EEOC should “strengthen regulations” aimed at preventing age-related inquiries on job postings. She noted that “practices like maximum experience requirements and requirements for applicants to be affiliated with a university are age-related,” for example.
The AARP Foundation attorney also called for “more robust enforcement of the ADEA,” noting that though 23 percent of all charges filed by the public with the EEOC last year involved age discrimination, ADEA-related cases constituted only 2 percent of the cases that actually wound up on the EEOC docket.
McCann also pointed out that AARP’s CEO, Jo Ann Jenkins, “has made it AARP’s mission to disrupt aging and change what it means to age in America.”
EEOC Commissioner Jenny Yang, in her closing remarks at the forum, noted that hundreds of employers have signed an AARP pledge to not discriminate against older workers, and said she applauds the employers for taking that step.
As temperatures rise, so do certain scams. Here’s how to avoid getting burned in summer’s most common cons:
Conning contractors typically come to your home unexpectedly, offering steep discounts on driveway resurfacing, roof work, tree trimming or other “necessary” repairs they happen to see while driving by or soliciting business door-to-door. Most seek an upfront payment to “go buy materials” and then disappear. Others do fast and faulty repairs (like spreading used motor oil to coat driveways) or may stop mid-job to extort more money … or find subsequent chores to continue the wallet-draining. What to know:
- Good contractors are usually too busy to make unsolicited house calls; out-of-state license plates suggest fly-by-day “gypsy travelers” who spend summers going state to state to con elderly homeowners.
- Despite scare tactics urging immediate repairs, most home repairs can wait until you get several bids from contractors. Get recommendations (and check results) from neighbors, building officials and lumberyards/plumbing/electrical supply shops where pros shop.
- Don’t pay until the job is complete. Reputable contractors have credit lines to buy materials, although a deposit may be required for major projects like replacing a roof, windows, etc.
Angling for upfront payment (usually by wire transfer or prepaid debit card), scammers steal photos and descriptions of properties from Realtor, hotel or vacation rental websites, and then clone the ads, offering supposed hot-spot “rentals” at discounted prices. What to know:
- Before answering ads, Google the address, as well as names, emails and phone numbers of the supposed landlord or agent. Also cut and paste into a search engine large chunks of the descriptive text. Red flags include the property is actively up for sale (not for rent), a nonexistent address, an address listed for a business or other nonresidential property, and/or postings by people who fell victim to this particular scammer.
- Don’t rely solely on email correspondence. Many rental scams are carried out by Nigeria-based scammers (so beware of poorly written ads). You’ll want to talk by phone; beware of foreign accents and area codes that don’t correspond with that of the property’s location.
- Travel reservations and deposits should be made with a credit card or PayPal — never with a wire transfer or prepaid debit card.
Summer and fall are prime time for all types of salesmen to come knocking — literally. Some may be legit but others are not. Magazine sales, often touted as a fundraiser, are especially popular bait preying on older Americans; other popular pitches are for bogus charities, home security systems, even overpriced household devices such as vacuum cleaners. What to know:
- Just say no to strangers. Prices of magazine subscriptions sold door to door, for instance, are often marked up about 300 percent. Legitimate salespeople and fundraisers will have “leave-behind” material to review before opening your wallet.
- If you do make a purchase and have regrets, act quickly. The FTC’s “Cooling-Off Rule” dictates a three-day cancellation allowance for a full refund on purchases over $25. Legitimate salesmen must reveal this rule during their pitch; if they don’t, assume it’s a scam.
- Don’t allow sales reps into your home. Asking for a drink of water or to use your bathroom is a popular way to steal medications, purses and other grab-and-go items.
Two of three moves occur in the summer, and thousands each year end this way: After a moving company quotes a reasonable (if not lowball) offer, after the truck is loaded, the quoted price jumps sky-high, and belongings may be held hostage until customers pay the extra money. What to know:
- Stick with known companies. Most rip-off rogues are movers who advertise on Craigslist or crude roadside signs. Visit protectyourmove.gov and verify a company’s licenses and complaint history.
- Pass on any mover who won’t do an on-site inspection of your goods (instead giving a sight-unseen estimate), won’t provide a written estimate or says workers will determine the price after loading, demands a large deposit before the move, or asks you to sign blank or incomplete documents. Those red flags indicate a scammer.
- Moving boosts your risk of identity theft. Know how to protect yourself before, during and after a move.
For information about other scams, sign up for the Fraud Watch Network. You’ll receive free email alerts with tips and resources to help you spot and avoid identity theft and fraud, and keep tabs of scams and law enforcement alerts in your area at our Scam-Tracking Map.
Last week, U.S. Senators Joni Ernst (R-IA), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and U.S. Representatives Tom Reed (R-NY) and Linda Sánchez (D-CA) introduced the bipartisan Credit for Caring Act (S. 1151/H.R. 2505) and AARP endorsed the legislation. The bill would help support America’s family caregivers by offering a federal tax credit for those who qualify.
“One of the biggest stresses of being a family caregiver is the financial strain from taking care of a loved one. As a result, this puts many of us into financial peril,” said Amy Goyer, AARP’s Family and Caregiving Expert and a family caregiver, herself.
Like many family caregivers, Amy takes on huge responsibilities that can be overwhelming, exhausting — and frequently financially challenging.
Much of Amy’s salary goes to caring for her 93-year-old dad with lives with Alzheimer’s. She takes care of everything from mortgage payments to medications. In addition to their basic needs, Amy is also responsible for keeping her father’s service dog Jackson healthy, sometimes she pays a person to keep their home clean and she even hires in-home care to help her father when she travels.
Last year, family caregivers spent roughly $7,000 on average – or nearly 20 percent of their income — on out-of-pocket costs providing care for their loved ones. And on average, long-distance family caregivers spend nearly $12,000 last year to care for their loved ones.
On top of the out-of-pocket costs associated with caregiving, some family caregivers work part-time or quit their jobs altogether to care for their loved ones. Family caregivers are also dipping into their personal savings, cutting back on their personal spending, and saving less for their own retirement to care for others.
Amy thinks, “the Credit for Caring Act could help provide some financial relief to reduce the caregiving costs for millions of eligible family caregivers across the country who work.”
To qualify for the Credit for Caring Act, taxpayers must be: an eligible family caregiver who pays or incurs qualified expenses for providing care to a spouse, child, parent or other qualified individual with long-term care needs and also earn an annual income of more than $7,500.
For more information on AARP’s advocacy to support family caregivers, visit www.aarp.org/supportcaregivers.
It’s never too late to make an impact on someone’s life and with the AARP Purpose Prize millions of people, over 50, are doing just that. To date, more than 100 Purpose Prize winners have been recognized for their outstanding contributions and the positive, social impact of their work.
The Purpose Prize was created by Encore.org in 2005 as a vehicle to celebrate exceptional individuals over 50, who have utilized their wealth of life experience to encourage continued and innovative social good in their communities.
“The AARP Purpose Prize is all about a new story of aging — focusing on experience and innovation and the idea that our aging population is an untapped resource full of possibilities,” said AARP CEO Jo Ann Jenkins.
We’ve been receiving nominations and applications from great people, doing excellent work, across a broad from all over the country. Reviewing their work has been inspiring and a little humbling, as well.
The people nominated don’t merely muse about making a positive change – they’re actually doing it. All of the prize contenders are helping to redefine what it means to be in their “second act” by using their experiences – up until this point – to bring positive change to their community.
Over the next couple of months, the AARP Purpose Prize jurors will winnow down the field to just five winners, each of whom will be awarded $50,000 by AARP and one winner will also receive the Andrus Prize for Intergenerational Excellence named for AARP’s founder Dr. Ethel Percy Andrus.
Follow along on the Purpose Prize website to learn more about the program and how you can get involved, next year!
In a statement today following the release of the White House proposed budget, AARP Chief Advocacy and Engagement Officer Nancy LeaMond opposed cuts that would harm American families:
“AARP opposes the budget proposed today because it explicitly harms the very people we are counting on the President to protect. Today’s budget proposes to cut Social Security benefits, as well as funding for critical health, hunger, housing, and transportation assistance to low and middle income seniors. This budget sends a powerful message to older Americans and their families that their health and financial security is at risk.”
“We do want to acknowledge the Administration’s paid leave proposal. Although it must be improved so that it addresses the workplace needs of all family caregivers, we hope that it leads to a national conversation about ways to support family caregivers in the workplace.”
AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering Americans 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. To learn more, visit AARP online.
This week, the U.S. Senate began its consideration of the RAISE (Recognize, Assist, Include, Support and Engage) Family Caregivers Act – an important piece of legislation that would start a national conversation about ways to aid American’s greatest support system – family caregivers. Thanks to the leadership and support of Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), and Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) the bill was quickly approved by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committee (which goes by the very appropriate acronym . . .HELP).
Every day, more than 40 million Americans across the country are caring for parents, spouses, children and adults with disabilities and other loved ones so they can live independently in their homes and communities for as long as possible. They manage medications, help a loved one with bathing and dressing, prepare and feed meals, arrange transportation to medical appointments (or do the driving themselves), handle financial and legal matters and much, much more. Many do all of this while working full-time and raising families.
The unpaid care family caregivers provide — a staggering 37 billion hours valued at about $470 billion annually — helps delay or prevent more costly care and unnecessary hospitalizations, saving taxpayer dollars.
I know from firsthand experience that caring for a loved one is a tremendous responsibility. As my two millennial sons and I care for my husband, their father, who has ALS, I know that, while my experience may be in some ways unique, I have much in common with my fellow caregivers. Every family caregiver I encounter – including the thousands who have shared their stories on AARP’s I Heart Caregivers – expresses a need for support, whether that means help at home, training, workplace flexibility, or the opportunity to get some relief from their caregiving responsibilities.
The RAISE Act Family Caregivers Act recognizes this tremendous need and calls for the development of a national strategy to support family caregivers, bringing together stakeholders from the private and public sectors to identify specific actions communities, providers, government, employers and others can take to make it easier to coordinate care for a loved one, get information, referrals and resources, and improve respite options so family caregivers can reset and recharge.
AARP commends the sponsors of the RAISE Family Caregivers Act — as well as the co-chairs of the bicameral, bipartisan Assisting Caregivers Today (ACT) Caucus — for their leadership on this important issue. They understand that family caregiving is not a Democratic or a Republican issue, or even an older or younger person’s issue. Recent research shows that a surprising one-quarter of Millennials are family caregivers. And, according to a poll we conducted, four-in-ten Millennials say that they are already worried about taking care of their parents on a day-to-day basis.
In fact, this is a family issue that touches us all. We are either family caregivers now, were in the past, will be in the future — or will need care ourselves one day.
Last year, we made tremendous progress on this important piece of legislation. This year, we look forward to working with the bill’s Senate and House champions – as well as other organizations that advocate for and support family caregivers as well as family caregivers themselves – to push this bill over the finish line.
Nancy LeaMond, chief advocacy and engagement officer and executive vice president of AARP for community, state and national affairs, leads government relations, advocacy and public education for AARP’s social change agenda. LeaMond also has responsibility for AARP’s state operation, which includes offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
You can follow her on Twitter @NancyLeaMond.
Photos: iStock/BraunS, iStock/ktaylorg, AARP