AARP forum educates students on benefits

College students and social security usually don’t go together unless someone notices FICA on their pay stub.

The American Association for Retired Persons (AARP) hosted a forum highlighting the “You’ve Earned a Say”  campaign Friday  in the School of Journalism and Graphic Communication to explain the system of social security and how the 2012 elections will affect students.

The age that Americans, born after 1960, can receive full benefits goes up by two months every year and has been increasing since 1983.

Florida A&M University students weren’t shy about asking questions and saying how they felt.

“Kinda mind boggling to me,” said Vladimir Florent, a third-year business administration student from Ft. Lauderdale.

When this topic came up, students wondered why the eligible age of social security was going up.

AARP representative Janay Austin explained conservatives argue that life expectancy is going up and so should the age that people receive their Social Security benefits. The opposing view argues that people who make less money statistically don’t live longer.

One surprising fact outlined by the meeting was that by 2033, the trust fund for Social Security will be empty. The changes to social security will eventually impact students, according to Leslie Spencer, associate state director for advocacy for AARP.

“We’re just trying to talk to as many students as we can because we found they’re really engaged, and they really want this information and they’re really hungry for it,” Spencer said. “I think that misnomer that students don’t care about this or not engaged is inaccurate because we’re finding just the opposite.”

AARP has also traveled to Florida State University and Tallahassee Community College to speak with students about Medicare and Social Security proposals that voters have to choose from.

Florent said he came to the meeting after speaking with an AARP representative at FAMU about the connection between older and younger generations.

“For the older people in my family, I’m kinda concerned because they’re in a position where they have to work longer,” Florent said. 

Medicare will be discussed at AARP’s next forum on Sept. 21 in the same location. Posters will be put around campus with more information.