Free Social Security seminar planned for June 16Written by Sarah Ottney | Managing Editor | firstname.lastname@example.org
Three keynote speakers from Washington, D.C., will address the myths and misconceptions of Social Security at a free seminar June 16.
“Social Security: Facts vs. Fiction” will run from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the WPOS Center, 7112 Angola Road in Holland, presented by the Ohio Alliance for Retired Americans and The Alliance of Informed Citizens of Northwest Ohio. Lunch will be provided. Registration and refreshments start at 8:30 a.m.
The seminar is for all ages and will cover the history and structure of the Social Security program, how it impacts people’s lives and what citizens can do to protect and preserve it for the future, said Sam Burnett, co-chair of the seminar.
“We really have an elite group to share with us,” said Burnett, a retired teacher, principal and Washington Local Schools board member who now lobbies for seniors in Washington, D.C., on Social Security, Medicare, fraud and other issues. “There’s an awful lot of misinformation out there.”
Barbara Easterling, president of the national group Alliance for Retired Americans, will speak first.
“She’s a dynamic speaker,” Burnett said.
Next will be Maria Freese, policy developer and attorney for the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, followed by Virginia Reno, vice president for income security at the National Academy of Social Insurance.
“She knows a lot about Social Security,” Burnett said. “She has probably the best handle on Social Security as far as its cause, its need and how it functions.”
All three speakers are experienced and knowledgeable in their fields, said Rod Farnsworth, a retired Local 50 worker and member of The Alliance of Informed Citizens of Northwest Ohio.
“You can hear all kinds of things, but what’s the truth?” Farnsworth said. “These three people are from Washington. They are interested in preserving Social Security.”
The Alliance of Informed Citizens of Northwest Ohio mainly organizes events for seniors and retirees, but the group wanted to open this seminar to everyone paying into Social Security, Farnsworth said.
“Some people are already on it, some are looking forward to it and some young people think it won’t be there for them,” Farnsworth said. “Well it’s been there for 76 years. If we handle it right, it will be there for them.”
After the speakers and a box lunch, there will be a panel discussion including testimonials followed by age-specific group discussion.
Burnett hopes participants will take away a new understanding of Social Security.
“We’d like to make them feel secure and comfortable, knowing Social Security is going to be there for them,” Burnett said. “And having a contact for when they have a question about it. They can call us to get the real answer rather than someone tell them something.”
The event is meant to be an information seminar, not a debate, Farnsworth said.
“We want to get the facts to the attendees and let them decide how best to deal with Social Security,” Farnsworth said. “Part of what I would hope comes out of this is people would say ‘This is what I think could be done’ — not the politicians or the people on TV — but if we can get some real ideas from the people who are going to be affected by it, we can get some good change. Your future depends on what you do today.”
The Alliance of Informed Citizens of Northwest Ohio also hosts monthly roundtable discussions on topics of concern to older adults and retirees, including health care, utility costs and Social Security, and to encourage elected officials to listen to those concerns.
Meetings take place on the third Thursday of each month, usually at the Local 50 Plumbers and Steamfitters Hall, 7570 Caple Blvd., in Northwood. O
For more information or to register for the seminar, call (419) 536-2536 or email email@example.com by June 10 to ensure a lunch.