MARSP celebrates Older Americans Month: Resources

The following websites offer information and tools to help you blaze trails as you age. In addition to these resources, check out the Eldercare Locator, a public service of the Administration on Aging. It connects older adults, their families, and caregivers to information on local services and support. Topics range from volunteerism and healthy aging to legal assistance and transportation. Visit Eldercare.gov or call 800-677-1116 to learn what is available in your community.

Wellness

Brain Health
Source: Administration for Community Living

Falls Prevention
Source: National Council on Aging

Go4Life Exercise & Physical Activity Campaign
Source: National Institute on Aging

Healthy Eating As We Age
Source: USDA

Health and Wellness Videos
Source: NIHSeniorHealth.gov

Long-term Care Planning
Source: Department of Health and Human Services

NIHSeniorHealth
Source: National Institutes of Health

Older Adults and Oral Health
Source: National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research

Sleep and Aging
Source: National Institutes of Health

Securing Your Finances

Advanced Care Planning Fact Sheets
Source: AoA’s Eldercare Locator

Elder Abuse (including Financial Exploitation)
Source: Administration on Aging

Elder Fraud and Financial Exploitation
Source: Federal Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force

Financial Protection for Older Americans
Source: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

OnGuard Online
Source: Office of Justice Programs

Protect Your Pocketbook: Tips to Avoid Financial Exploitation (PDF)
Source: AoA’s Eldercare Locator

Scammed? Now what … (PDF)
Source: National Council on Elder Abuse

Reinvention

Arts and Aging Toolkit for Organizations
Source: National Guild of Community Schools of the Arts, National Center for Creative Aging, and New Jersey Performing Arts Center

Directory of Creative Aging Programs
Source: National Center for Creative Aging

Participating in Activities You Enjoy—More Than Just Fun and Games
Source: National Institute on Aging

Ready for Your Second Career?
Source: AARP Bulletin

Second Acts for the Greater Good
Source: Encore.org

Senior Community Service Employment Program
Source: Department of Labor

Civic Engagement

Health Benefits of Volunteering (PDF)
Source: Corporation for National and Community Service

Project Toolkits
Source: Corporation for National and Community Service

SeniorCorps
Source: Corporation for National and Community Service

Tips for Boomers Who Want to Volunteer (PDF)
Source: Corporation for National and Community Service

United We Serve
Source: Corporation for National and Community Service

Volunteering and Civic Engagement among Older Adults
Source: Corporation for National and Community Service

 

 

 

MARSP supports Senate’s solution for Detroit Public Schools

The Michigan Association of Retired School Personnel (MARSP) has been carefully watching the progress of the legislature in regard to resolving the serious financial condition of Detroit Public Schools faced by the State of Michigan. After evaluating the process of formulating a responsible solution in both the House and Senate and deliberating over the two proposed sets of bills, it has become quite obvious the Senate rose above the partisan bickering, dismissive commentary and finger-pointing to craft a true solution to the financial challenges faced by the State in resolving the DPS issues.

MARSP sincerely appreciates the many months of work in the Senate and the tireless efforts of Senators Goeff Hansen (R-Hart) and David Knezek (D-Dearborn Heights), in particular, in crafting a comprehensive, bipartisan plan to address the challenges facing Detroit Public Schools.

We believe the reforms in the Senate-passed package (SB 710, 711, 820, 822) ensure financial stability, academic opportunity, and a fresh start for children in Detroit.   We applaud the, courageous, positive, bipartisan approach to DPS reform passed by the Senate, and encourage strong support of the Senate package by legislators as the process moves forward.

For a summary of how the two packages of bills differ, please see the plan comparisons below (Source: Livengood, C., and Oosting, J. “Future of DPS hinges on GOP Capitol showdown.” The Detroit News, May 6, 2016.):

House plan (HB 5383, 5387, 5384)

  • $500 million for DPS over 10 years. $33 million of it would be for start-up costs and cash flow aid.
  • School board elections in August 2017. Existing Detroit Financial Review Commission would also oversee schools, have final say in hiring of new superintendent.
  • Existing labor contracts would not transfer to the new school district, but teachers would retain their jobs. Administrators and principals would have to reapply.
  • Teacher pay would be based on merit, not seniority. Non-certified teachers could temporarily work in the district.
  • Would make it easier to begin strike hearings leading to penalties in a bid to prevent sickouts.

Senate plan (SB 710, 711, 820, 822)

  • $715 million over 10 years. $515 million for paying off past debts. $200 million for new school district’s start-up costs, including $75 million for building improvements.
  • School board elections in November 2016. Detroit Financial Review Commission would also oversee schools, review contracts.
  • Creation of a Detroit Education Commission to regulate the opening of new traditional public or charter schools in the city. Only high-performing charters could “replicate” without approval of the mayor-appointed commission.
  • A-F letter system to grade all traditional and charter schools in Detroit. Consistently failing schools could face intervention or closure.

Federal court permanently enjoins Secretary of State from enforcing gag order law

LANSING, Mich. — U.S. District Judge John Corbett O’Meara has accepted an agreement between the Secretary of State’s office and local governments and school groups, permanently enjoining Secretary of State Ruth Johnson from enforcing a law passed in December that prevented local officials from providing factual information on local ballot proposals.

O’Meara’s order, entered today, references his previous temporary injunction against enforcement of the law, saying that the local governments had “demonstrated a strong likelihood of success on the merits of their claim that (the law) is unconstitutionally vague and thus void.”

The gag order was part of a larger campaign finance bill that passed the Legislature with little debate in the final days of last year’s legislative session and was signed by Gov. Rick Snyder, becoming Public Act 269 of 2015.

Following O’Meara’s initial preliminary injunction, lawyers for the local governments, school districts, and the state negotiated an agreement that the Secretary of State’s office, charged with enforcing state election laws, would not enforce the gag law. O’Meara accepted that agreement in his order issued today.

“We thank Judge O’Meara for moving quickly on this important issue, and allowing our local government officials to provide vital facts for voters on ballot issues that come before them,” said Dan Gilmartin, Michigan Municipal League CEO and Executive Director. “Voters rely on local governments to let them know why a measure has been put on a ballot, what it does, and what, if any financial ramifications it may have to them as taxpayers. The Secretary of State’s office will still enforce existing laws that prevent electioneering by local officials, a practice that it has found is rare given the hundreds of local proposals voters decide on every year.”

“County commissioners and other local leaders will be pleased to know they can continue to inform their constituents about ballot issues in the same fashion that they have done for years,” said Matthew Bierlein, a plaintiff in the lawsuit and a Tuscola County commissioner. “Now that this dispute is behind us, everyone can turn their attention back to cooperatively addressing Michigan’s challenges.”

Michigan Townships Association Executive Director Larry Merrill said, “This consent judgment will allow townships and all local governments to do their proper duty—without fear of prosecution—of ensuring voters have the necessary knowledge to make informed decisions regarding local ballot measures.  A well-informed citizenry is at the heart of democracy and voters deserve clear, factual information about the issues that impact their community. Any legislative attempts to muzzle local officials’ ability to provide impartial information to their voters does not serve the public interest.”

Don Wotruba, Executive Director for the Michigan Association of School Boards added, “Judge O’Meara’s ruling that the gag order provisions created in PA 269 are unenforceable, comes as a relief for our members. Voters deserved better than this law allowed and we are pleased to see that acknowledged by the Attorney General and the Courts. This will allow our members and school districts to share factual information on upcoming ballot initiatives with parents and the community without worrying about penalties from the state.”

Groups leading the fight to provide citizens with factual information on ballot issues included the Michigan Municipal League, Michigan Association of Counties, Michigan Townships Association, Michigan Association of School Boards, Michigan Association of School Administrators, Michigan Association of Intermediate School Administrators and Michigan Library Association.

The public officials listed as plaintiffs were: Roseville Mayor Robert Taylor; Algonac City Manager Douglas R. Alexander; Dowagiac Mayor Donald Lyons; Tuscola County Commissioner Matthew Bierlein; New Haven Community Schools Superintendent Todd R. Robinson; Riverview Community Schools School Board President Gary O’Brien and Superintendent Russell Pickell; Tecumseh School Board President Kimberly Amstutz-Wild and Superintendent Kelly M. Coffin; Waterford School District School Board President Robert Seeterlin and Superintendent Keith Wunderlich; Goodrich Area Schools Superintendent Michelle Imbrunone; Clinton Community Schools Superintendent David P. Pray; Byron Area Schools School Board President Amy Lawrence and Superintendent Patricia Murphy-Alderman; Warren Consolidated School District Superintendent Robert D. Livernois; Lansing School District Superintendent Yvonne Caamal Canul; and Stephen Purchase, a private citizen.

Secretary of State Ruth Johnson and the State of Michigan were listed as defendants.

Robert Taylor et al v. Ruth Johnson and the State of Michigan was filed Jan. 26 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, based in Detroit.

Article provided courtesy of MASB.

 

Attention Blue Cross Blue Shield PPO members: Avoid coverage interruption by returning your VOC form by the deadline

If you participate with either the Blue Cross Blue Shield Blue Preferred PPO Plan or the Medicare Plus Blue Group PPO plan, you will want to watch this video concerning the importance of returning the MPSERS Verification of Coverage form by the deadline to avoid interruption of your health coverage. Blue Cross began mailing the forms the week of May 16th. Members who are on HMO plans will not receive this form.

MPSERS’ members on the Blue Cross PPO plan must respond by July 15, 2016. There are several ways to respond, however, you must have the VOC reference number from the form in order to access these options:

  • Complete it online at www.mpsers.coverageupdatecenter.com
  • Mail your completed survey using the pre‑paid envelope that was included with it.
  • Fax the completed survey to 1‑402‑384‑6310.
  • Call 1‑888‑231‑0382, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Eastern time.
  • TTY users call 1‑800‑735‑2929.

MPSERS Verification of Coverage Survey from Blue Cross Blue Shield of MI on Vimeo.

Medicare and MPSERS: What to do when you turn 65

If you are already getting Social Security retirement or disability benefits or railroad retirement checks, you will be contacted a few months before you become eligible for Medicare and given the information you need. If you live in one of the 50 states or Washington, D.C., you will be enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B automatically.

If you are not already getting retirement benefits, you should contact the Social Security Administration about three months before your 65th birthday to sign up for Medicare.  Their number is 800-772-1213.

Once you are enrolled in Medicare, you will receive a red, white and blue Medicare card showing whether you have Part A, Part B or both. In order to receive coverage through MPSERS (Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System), you must have Part B. Keep your card in a safe place so you will have it when you need it.

You will also need to return the “MEDICARE QUESTIONNAIRE FOR BENEFICIARIES 65 OR OVER” that you will receive from the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). This form allows Medicare and MPSERS to coordinate your benefits. When you turn 65, your coverage will be Medicare Plus Blue Group PPO. This a Medicare Advantage plan. You will also continue to receive your prescription drug benefit from MPSERS.
Although your enrollment in the Medicare Advantage plan should be seamless and automatic, MARSP suggests that just before you turn age 65, you contact MPSERS and BCBSM to ensure that your enrollment in Medicare is complete.

MARSP Summ’re Hungry campaign to fight childhood hunger

Summre_Hungry_logoTo help feed Michigan school children during the summer months, MARSP members will be showing up at their former school districts in late April and early May to collect food donations in a campaign called “Summ’re Hungry”.

Summ’re Hungry is a collaboration between MARSP and the Food Bank Council of Michigan (FBCM) along with the Michigan Association of Secondary School Principals and Michigan Association of School Administrators.

“People are generous with donations to food banks during fall and into the holiday season, but not necessarily at other times of the year,” says Mark Guastella, MARSP executive director. “Our goal is to help stock the food banks of Michigan this spring so that children don’t have to miss meals when school is out for summer.”

One in four Michigan children lives in poverty and in the summer months many children are “food insecure.”

MARSP’s efforts will keep children fed during the summer,” says Phil Knight, executive director of Food Bank Council of Michigan. “Hunger doesn’t take a summer vacation. This campaign aims to remind people that children and families need support year round.”

MARSP members in the following school districts will conduct Summ’re Hungry food drives during April and May.

– Ann Arbor

– Comstock Park

-Grand Haven

– Lansing

– Saginaw

-Traverse City

Nonperishable food items will be collected and delivered to local pantries to help feed children who don’t have access to school meals all summer. Click here to learn more on about the Summ’re Hungry program.

 

 

 

MARSP, founded in 1951, has approximately 40,000 members in Michigan and other states. The statewide organization and member chapters advocate for protecting pensions and health care benefits of current and future retirees of Michigan public schools.

Before you file for your social security benefits consider attending this informative workshop

MARSP is hosting a Social Security 567 seminar at the MARSP Center in Lansing on April 21, 2016, from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Please consider joining us.

Attend this workshop and learn the little known strategies that will help you:

  • Avoid some of the most common mistakes when filing for your Social Security
  • Calculate which one of the 567 ways to file may be best for you
  • Collect benefits and still grow your own benefit 8% per year
  • Collect off of an ex-spouse’s benefit
  • Collect off of a deceased ex-spouse’s benefit
  • Find potential benefits you never knew you were eligible for
  • Increase your lifetime benefits by tens of thousands of dollars

This class is strictly educational. No investments will be promoted at the class. Click here to learn more.

Best of Health: Blue Cross Verification of Coverage Surveys being mailed in May

The Blue Cross Blue Shield Best of Health publications for Spring 2016 contain important information regarding the Blue Cross Verification of Coverage (VOC) form which is being mailed in May.  Please click below to read the Spring 2016 issue. Members will also receive the publication via regular mail.

Best of Health for Medicare members – Spring 2016

Best of Health for Non-Medicare members – Spring 2016

MARSP Former Treasurer and MARSP Foundation Scholarship Committee Chairman, Thomas Nyquist, dies

ThomasNyquistTempPhotoThomas Nyquist, former MARSP Treasurer and Finance Committee Chairman, as well as former MARSP Foundation Treasurer and Scholarship Committee Chairman, passed away on Sunday, April 3, 2016. Tom was a vital part of MARSP for many years and volunteered countless hours for both MARSP and the MARSP Foundation.

Tom’s career, beginning in 1958, included business teacher, football coach, computer science teacher, Assistant Director of Business Occupations, Dean of Occupational Studies, Dean of Instruction, Business Manager, and Vice-president of Administrative Services. He retired from Mid-Michigan Community College in 1987. He also served as a Clare County Commissioner and as the Mayor of Clare, for two years each.

Tom began his service to MARSP as a member of his chapter’s board of directors and as insurance chairman. He served as MARSP Treasurer from 1997-2003 and then as MARSP Finance Committee Chairman from 2003-2015. He also served on the MARSP Foundation Board of Directors as Treasurer from 1996-2015 and as the chairman of the Foundation Scholarship Committee for many years.

Tom was instrumental in bringing about and maintaining MARSP’s strong financial position and his service and contributions to MARSP were invaluable. He will be greatly missed.