While the White House and Congressional leaders play a game of political chicken, seeing who will recede the furthest on deficit talks, AARP, Idaho's largest membership organization (180,000 members) wants officials to remember what's at stake if Social Security or Medicare cuts are considered.
"Cutting Social Security and shifting more costs onto Medicare beneficiaries will hurt hundreds of thousands of hardworking Idahoans who've paid into the programs and rely on the benefits in retirement," said Jim Wordelman, state director for AARP in Idaho.
According to AARP, 260,000 (17 percent of the state population) receive Social Security in Idaho, and more than half of those count on Social Security for 50 percent or more of their income. One in four of Idahoans 65 or older say Social Security accounts for 90 percent of their income. The average monthly benefit for a Social Security recipient in Idaho is $1,054. Nearly a third of the state's Social Security recipients reside in Ada or Canyon counties.
AARP reported that 225,7635 Idahoans (15 percent of the population) count on Medicare for access to health care, and that $22,000 is the average income for half of all Medicare beneficiaries.