Feds increase prices for Senior Passes

Feds increase prices for Senior Passes

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Feds increase prices for Senior Passes

The Federal government increased the cost of the Lifetime Senior Pass on August 28, 2017 from $10 to $80 to help cover the costs of rising administration of Federal Parks and properties. The Lifetime Pass allows a senior and his or her family to enter a Federal Park free of charge for their life. Passes purchased at the lower $10 rate prior to August 28, 2017 will continue to be honored, Federal Officials said.

By Ray Hanania

One of the hazards of being a Senior Citizen is that we are bombarded by promises of discounts from meals we purchase at restaurants to entrance costs at events and government centers.

Since I crossed the threshold as a Baby Boomer, I’ve notice some irregularities about how that “promise” is abused by many businesses.

And, of course, costs do rise which means the discounts we get end up increasing, too.

One of the best benefits I received was the purchase of the Lifetime Senior Pass offered by the Federal Government for entrance to America’s many great public landmarks.

National Parks Senior Pass

National Parks Senior Pass

The pass only cost $10 when I purchased in in early August. And then two weeks later, the cost rose to $80. I was lucky, although even with the increase, the jump to $80 is still worth it.

I used the pass at the Hoover Dam, the Grand Canyon and also at Dinosaur Monument Park, saving me a lot of money. The pass not only allows you to enter, but it as a per-vehicle pass meaning everyone in your car gets to enter, too, free of additional charges.

So my son and I got to see some great things during a recent road trip we took. I’ve published some of the information about the Lifetime Senior Pass at the bottom of this column that you might find interesting.

I have also noticed though that everything is not Kosher when it comes to promotions for discounts for Senior Citizens. I’d rather pay the public price than be lied to by a business.

View of the Grand Canyon. Photo courtesy of Ray Hanania

View of the Grand Canyon. Photo courtesy of Ray Hanania

One of the worst practices is from restaurants that claim they offer a senior citizen discount.

I’m going to start naming these restaurants because I think seniors and Baby Boomers should know who they are and boycott them — oh, don’t worry, boycotting anything except Israel is considered an American right.

English: Charles Schumer, United States Senato...

Charles Schumer (Photo: Wikipedia)


(US Senator Charles Schumer has co-sponsored a law that would jail any American citizen for up to 20 years and fine them between $250,000 and $1 million if they support a “boycott of Israel,” a foreign country by the way. Thanks Chuck! You said you opposed racism and discrimination, but it turns out you are a liar! Stop pretending to be our friend!)


Many restaurants that offer a “Senior Discount” are actually pulling a “Schumer” — a lie. They are lying.

Here’s what the restaurants do:

They often tell you that you get “Special Pricing” and give you a “Senior Menu.” But the truth is that you are not getting better pricing at all. What they are doing is giving you smaller portions and then charging you the same price for the food.

It’s not a discount to give me half the number of scrambled eggs, and then claim you cut myst costs 25 percent. Do the math Baby Boomers. They are actually charging you 25 percent more for the senior discount.

I’ll explain. It’s simple.

Let’s say the cost of a regular breakfast meal of scrambled eggs, toast and bacon costs $8.

But as a senior, you only pay $6.

What is happening if they are giving you half of the meal, which technically should only cost you $4.

That isn’t New Math. That is “half.” Half the food, but not half the price.

So if you did that twice, you would be paying $8 for a full meal. But the restaurant is charging you $6 for half the meal. Buy that twice and you are actually paying $12, instead of $8 for the same meal.

What? Are we seniors stupid? They think we are all suffering from dementia? Is that the stereotype of Baby Boomers?

This claiming that they are reducing prices doesn’t explain that they are also reducing the services or reducing the food quantity which doesn’t pair up.

It’s called a scam.

Sometimes, the con artist stealing you identity isn’t as bad as the guy who claims to be your friend stealing your hard earned Social Security or retirement earnings.

If you come across a business that claims to give Senior Citizens a discount but when you analyze it realize they are actually charging you more, send me the information so I can share it with the rest of the exploited senior citizen masses.

By the way, if you come across a GREAT Senior benefit, let me know also and I will share that so we can thank and credit those who are being honest and truly honoring the hard work and sacrifices of our senior citizen community.

One place that deserves enormous credit is the Town of Cicero (one of my clients). Cicero under Town President Larry Dominick, has given seniors 55 and older discounts and services that no other community offers. It’s amazing. Something often ignored by the biased, racist mainstream news media. The Town cows your lawn, shovels your snow, has an all-year-round program of Senior Activities, a Senior Club, provides funds to repair your home, has a handyman service to assist with repairs, and waives many of the fees including for vehicle stickers, for example, and pet licenses.

What Senior doesn’t love a pet?

Click here to get more information on the
Town of Cicero and all they offer for Senior Citizens.

And if you live in a community that does as much, please send me the information and I will share that, too.

Seniors enjoy unprecedented services in the Town of Cicero. Check it out at http://www.CiceroGoldenYears.com

Seniors enjoy unprecedented services in the Town of Cicero. Check it out at http://www.CiceroGoldenYears.com

Lifetime Senior Pass Information

Click Here to go to the National Park Service website. On August 28, 2017, the price of the America the Beautiful – The National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Senior Pass increased for the first time since 1994. The additional revenue will be used to enhance the visitor experience in parks. Learn more about the changes, what they mean for you, and how the additional funds will be used.

Why did the price of the Senior Pass increase?
The price of the America the Beautiful – The National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Senior Pass increased as result of the Centennial Legislation P.L. 114-289 passed by the US Congress on December 16, 2016.

When was the last time the price increased for the Senior Pass? 
The Senior Pass has been $10 since 1994.

How much did it increase?
The lifetime Senior Pass increased from $10 to $80.

Why $80?
The legislation states that the cost of the lifetime Senior Pass be equal to the cost of the annual America the Beautiful – The National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass, which is currently $80.

What if a senior citizen is on a fixed budget?
The legislation also establishes an annual Senior Pass for $20. That pass is valid for one year from the date of issuance. Four annual Senior Passes purchased in prior years can be traded in for a lifetime pass. Additionally, access to the majority of National Park Service sites remains free—only 118 of 417 National Park Service sites have an entrance fee.

What if I have a current Senior Pass?
The current passes are lifetime passes and will remain valid.

Will the benefits of my Senior Pass change?
No. All benefits of the current Senior Pass stay the same.

What if my current Senior Pass is lost or stolen?
Passes are non-refundable and non-transferable and cannot be replaced if lost or stolen.
If lost or stolen, a new pass will need to be purchased.

Who is eligible for a Senior Pass?
US citizens or permanent residents 62 years or older are eligible for the Senior Pass.

What does the Senior Pass provide?
Annual and lifetime Senior Passes provide access to more than 2,000 recreation sites managed by six federal agencies:

  • National Park Service
  • US Fish & Wildlife Service
  • Bureau of Land Management
  • Bureau of Reclamation
  • US Forest Service
  • US Army Corps of Engineers

The passes cover entrance and standard amenity (day-use) recreation fees and provide discounts on some expanded amenity recreation fees.

Are there any other benefits from a Senior Pass?
Yes, traveling companions can also enter for free. The Senior Passes admit pass owner/s and passengers in a noncommercial vehicle at per-vehicle fee areas and pass owner plus three adults, not to exceed four adults, where per-person fees are charged. (Children under 16 are always admitted free.) Also, at many sites, the Senior Passes provide the pass owner (only) a discount on Expanded Amenity Fees (such as camping, swimming, boat launching, and guided tours).

How can I purchase a Senior Pass?
Senior Passes can be purchased at any federal recreation site, including national parks, that charges an entrance or standard amenity (day-use) fee. Proof of age and residency is required. See the complete list of sites where the pass is available (PDF).

Passes can also be purchased online or through the mail from USGS; an additional $10 processing fee will be added to the price. Visit the USGS store to buy the pass online or find instructions for purchasing by mail.

Will the money from the sales of Senior Passes sold in national parks benefit the National Park Service?
Yes, the funds from all Senior Passes purchased in a national park will go to a National Park Foundation Endowment and a National Park Centennial Challenge Fund, both authorized by the Centennial Legislation.

What is the National Park Foundation Endowment?
The first $10 million collected by the National Park Service in each fiscal year from Senior Pass sales will be deposited in the Second Century Endowment for the National Park Service managed by the National Park Foundation. The foundation is the congressionally authorized philanthropic partner, or official charity, of the National Park Service. Funds within the Second Century Endowment will be expended on projects and activities approved by the Secretary of Interior to further the mission and purpose of the National Park Service.

What is the National Park Centennial Challenge Fund?
All revenues collected from sales by the National Park Service of National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Senior Passes, that are in excess of $10 million will be deposited in the National Park Centennial Challenge Fund. The funds will be used for projects and programs approved by the Secretary of the Interior to the mission of the National Park Service and to enhance the visitor experience in National Park System units. Projects and programs will require at least a one-to-one match by non-federal donations.

Where will the money go if I purchase a Senior Pass from another agency?
Eighty to one hundred percent of funds from Senior Passes sold by the other five agencies will be retained by the site where they are sold and spent on visitor-related projects and programs.

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Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania is an award winning political and humor columnist who analyzes American and Middle East politics, and life in general. He is an author of several books.

"I write about three topics, the Middle East, politics and life in general. I often take my life experiences and offer them in an entertaining way to readers, and I take on the toughest topics like the Israel-Palestine conflict and don't pull any punches about what I feel is fair. But, my priority is always about writing the good story."

Hanania covered Chicago Politics and Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992. Hanania began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He later published “The National Arab American Times” newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East food stores in 48 American States (2004-2007).

Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com, and at www.TheArabDailyNews.com, www.TheDailyHookah.com and at SuburbanChicagoland.com. He has also published weekly columns in the Jerusalem Post newspaper, YNetNews.com, Newsday Newspaper in New York, the Orlando Sentinel Newspapers, and the Arlington Heights Daily Herald.

Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.

Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media. In 2009, Hanania received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. He was honored for his writing skills with two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild. In 1990, Hanania was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times editors for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.

His writings have also been honored by two national Awards from ADC for his writing, and from the National Arab American Journalists Association.

The managing editor of Suburban Chicagoland Online News website www.SuburbanChicagoland.com, Hanania's columns also appear in the Southwest News Newspaper Group of 8 newspapers.

Click here to send Ray Hanania and email.

His Facebook Page is Facebook.com/rghanania

Visit this link to read Ray's column archive at the ArabNews,com ArabNews.com/taxonomy/term/10906
Ray Hanania