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Social Insurance during the Pandemic: Successes, Shortcomings, and Policy Options for the Future

June 1, 2023

In June, 2023, the National Academy of Social Insurance (the Academy) published the report, Social Insurance during the Pandemic: Successes, Failures, and Policy Options for the Future. The report describes and evaluates the ways in which our nation's social insurance system performed during the pandemic, highlights the successes and shortcomings, and provides lessons that can be applied in anticipation of future crises.The good news is that the study found that the U.S. social insurance system, including programs like Social Security and Medicare, performed well during the pandemic. The significant drop in economic activity during the crisis did not undercut the Social Security and Medicare Trust Funds as had been feared. However, the pandemic did result in reductions in the number of people who received important benefits such as Supplemental Security Income and Disability Insurance due to the closing of Social Security field offices and employees' transition to remote work. The pandemic also exacerbated inequalities across race and ethnicity and took a disproportionate toll on the lives of older people, particularly those residing in nursing homes. This comprehensive report provides 44 policy options that fall into three categories: options that would make permanent or automatically trigger new programs established during the pandemic such as automatic increases in the federal share of Medicaid spending and lowering administrative burdens for programs like Supplemental Security Income and SNAP during economic downturns; new policies where the pandemic uncovered a need for improvements such as closing the digital divide; and recommended improvements in data collection and research to understand the consequences and shortcomings of the pandemic.The Academy launched the report first with its members this summer at a webinar in which RRF made opening remarks. The Academy will follow up this fall with webinars for advocates and policymakers to roll out a series of fact sheets and a toolkit for their use in seeking policy reforms. The Academy's members include 1,200 elected social insurance experts, affiliated with universities, think tanks, business, labor, legislative and executive branches of federal or state government, and advocacy and interest groups. Its work is widely regarded as unbiased and authoritative, and its members are often called upon by journalists and citizen groups to explain issues that come up in policy debates.RRF is proud to be a funding partner with the Academy on this seminal work. Click "Download" to access this resource.

No One Is Spared: Abuses Against Older People in Armed Conflict

February 1, 2022

This report describes patterns of abuses against older people affected by armed conflict in Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Ethiopia, Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, South Sudan, Syria, and Ukraine. It also draws on the situation of serious protracted violence in two English-speaking regions of Cameroon, Myanmar security force atrocities against older ethnic Rohingya in Rakhine State, and the experiences of older refugees in Lebanon displaced by conflict in Syria. It also includes abuses against older people in the 2020 armed conflict in the ethnic-Armenian-majority enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Dividing Retirement Benefits at Divorce: Tips for Self-Represented Individuals

June 5, 2020

There is now a helpful new guide for individuals who are going through a divorce and have questions about dividing retirement benefits.The guide -- created by the Pension Rights Center, the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges' Resource Center on Domestic Violence: Child Protection and Custody, and the National Clearinghouse on Abuse in Later Life -- highlights tips for individuals going through a divorce. Many people do not know that they can ask for a share of a spouse's retirement benefit at divorce, but retirement benefits are often the largest asset in a marriage. It is important to take the right steps during the divorce proceedings and after, or a divorced person may not receive the benefits he or she is entitled to.The guide explains different types of retirement benefits, discusses special considerations for individuals in controlling or abusive relationships, and describes how to get a special court order called a QDRO and what to do with it. Family courts, organizations that assist survivors of domestic violence, and other groups that work with people going through divorce can use this guide to help individuals understand their retirement rights at divorce.This guide is among PRC's many activities designed to make the process of dividing retirement benefits at divorce more accessible and easier to understand. We've launched an Initiative on Women and Retirement at Divorce to ensure that women and other vulnerable people going through a divorce know that they need a QDRO, and to make the process of getting a QDRO more efficient and less costly. We have brought together stakeholders from all sides -- retiree organizations, women's groups, pension plans, employers, financial institutions, family attorneys and judges -- to develop recommendations for making the QDRO process easier for consumers and less burdensome for retirement plans.Click "Download" to access this resource.

Caregiving in the U.S. 2020

May 1, 2020

The National Alliance for Caregiving (NAC) and AARP present Caregiving in the U.S. 2020!This report is the most recent update to our trended research series, Caregiving in the U.S., conducted roughly every five years. The 2020 update reveals an increase in the number of family caregivers in the United States of 9.5 million from 2015 to 2020. Family caregivers now encompass more than one in five Americans. The study also reveals that family caregivers are in worse health compared to five years ago. As the demand for caregiving rises with an aging population, there is an opportunity for the public and private sectors to work together to develop solutions to support family caregivers and those under their care.Click "Download" to access this resource.

Foundations for the Future: Empowerment Economics in the Native Hawaiian Context

October 9, 2017

The Foundations for the Future Report is a case study focused on Hawaiian Community Assets (HCA), and demonstrates how the organization worked closely with its members and partners to build wealth in Native Hawaiian communities through financial capability programming. The authors introduce the term Empowerment Economics to categorize this process and expand upon current approaches to financial capability. On the surface, what HCA offers to families is a classic financial capability program. But digging deeper into their approach, we found the seeds of empowerment economics in how these services and educational opportunities are designed, implemented in the community, and spread across generations.

Gaining Momentum: A FrameWorks Communications Toolkit

March 1, 2017

The way Americans currently think about aging creates obstacles to productive practices and policies. How can the field of aging help build a better understanding of aging, ageism, and what it will take to create a more age-integrated society?Click "Download" to access this resource.

Aging, Agency and the Attribution of Responsibility: Shifting Public Discourse About Older Adults

April 15, 2016

This report analyzes and compares media and advocacy organizations' narratives about aging and older adults. The goal of the report is to suggest communications strategies that advocates can use to push media discourse in more productive directions, and ultimately increase public support for the policies and programs necessary to promote the well-being of older adults, and ensure their full participation in American society

Guaging Aging: Mapping the Gaps Between Expert and Public Understandings of Aging in America

April 30, 2015

This report lays the groundwork for a larger effort to develop a new, evidence-based narrative around the process of aging in our country and the needs and contributions of older adults. By comparing experts' views to those of the general public, the report details a set of communications challenges to elevating public support for policies and programs that promote the well-being of older adults. Key among these issues is the public's view of aging as a decidedly negative and deterministic process, as well as its overall fatalism about our collective ability to find solutions to the challenges of an aging population.

Activities to Promote Quality In Florida’s Medicaid Managed Long-Term Care Program

December 6, 2013

Florida's new Medicaid Managed Long-Term Care (LTC) Program has two broad goals – improvingservice quality and cutting costs – that some observers think may not always be compatible. Strongoversight and the availability of timely information about program performance and beneficiaryexperience can help ensure that quality services are delivered even as savings are achieved. Information about how beneficiaries, providers and plans are faring is essential to efforts to refine and improve program operations. Data on plan performance also can be used to help beneficiaries make informed choices among competing managed care organizations.This publication provides general guidance related to planning, sponsoring and conductingLong-Term Care program monitoring activities. It also describes methods and measures that can be used to answer specific questions that stakeholders have raised about Florida's Medicaid Long-TermCare program.

Launch of Medicaid Managed Long-Term Care In Florida Yields Many Lessons for Consideration

December 5, 2013

In August 2013, Florida began the first phase of mandatory enrollment in Medicaid's new Managed Care Long-Term Care program.While some Medicaid beneficiaries already had been receiving long-term care services through managed care plans, the mandatory transition of large numbers of consumers who use long-term care services – the elderly and young adults with disabilities – from fee-for-service to managed care is unprecedented.This brief describes the first phases of implementation and provides recommendations that could help community organizations, health advocacy groups and the State of Florida, ensure optimal outcomes. These recommendations can guide the continued phase-in of the new Long-TermCare program, as well as be useful as Florida prepares to implement the Medicaid Managed Medical Assistance Program for acute care services in 2014.The brief draws on interviews with a variety of stakeholders across the state. In addition to lifting up common concerns, the brief highlights issues to consider and offers suggestions for continuing operations in three program areas: plan choice and enrollment, the availability of services and quality assurance.