IA2 Receives NASI Grant to Improve Lives of Indian Elders through Social Security Education

March 15, 2011
Contact: Dave Baldridge

The National Academy for Social Insurance (NASI) has awarded a grant to the International Association for Indigenous Aging (IA2) for a project titled “Leverage Model for Indian Elder Advocacy: Giving Elders a Voice on the National Stage.”

Project tasks include:

* Creating culturally sensitive, low literacy educational tools about Social Security appropriate for an Indian elder audience;

* Providing Social Security benefits education to Indian elders at 14 sites in New Mexico;
obtaining grassroots input from New Mexico Indian elders in familiar settings using receptive dialogue and listening sessions;

* Developing a report that includes formal resolutions reflecting the spirit of the comments received;

* Obtaining endorsement of the report from various Indian stakeholder organizations; and

* Creating a “Leverage Model for Indian Elder Advocacy” for replication of the grassroots-to-national-level outreach and consensus-building effort among other tribes.

The completed Leverage Model will include an electronic kit of culturally sensitive materials, guidelines and processes for applying the Leverage Model for grassroots outreach and advocacy to Indian elders nationwide.

Formal partners working with IA2 include the State of New Mexico Office of Indian Elder Affairs and the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare’s New Mexico State Representative.

Social Security programs can play a critical role in the economic stability of American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/ANs), who comprise 1% of the U.S. population. Yet this 2-million-member group exhibits — both historically and currently — some of the nation’s lowest participation rates in Social Security programs and, in many cases, its members are unaware of the availability or importance of Social Security benefits. AI/AN elders rely on Social Security for the bulk of their retirement income, yet are among the most underserved recipient groups for Social Security retirement and disability benefits.

Contact: Dave Baldridge, Executive Director, IA2, 505-239-4793, dave@IAsquared.org