Seniors Are Facing Highest Poverty Rates in Decades; Urge Your Senators to Cosponsor S. 1028, the Older Americans Act Reauthorization

Dollar and changeSixty-nine years to the day after the D-Day invasion during World War II, seniors who landed on those beaches are facing a new threat: the highest rates of poverty and economic hardship since the Great Depression.  The Great Recession stripped many seniors of their most valuable retirement nest eggs—their home values and their retirement accounts.  Even though both the stock market and home values have rebounded in the last several months, it is too late for many seniors who were on the cusp of retirement when the Great Recession hit to recoup the staggering loses they endured.  This is especially true for low-income seniors whose financial foundation was already precarious.

A recent Kaiser Family Foundation report found that nearly half of all seniors (48%) live with incomes below 200 percent of the poverty threshold (roughly $22,000 for a household of one); and that approximately one in six seniors (15%) live below the poverty threshold.

At Goodwill we know what is behind these numbers because we see the faces of those seniors and the struggles they face every day.

In Congress Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) has introduced S. 1028, the Older Americans Act Amendments, that provides key job training and placement services (SCSEP), nutrition assistance (Meals on Wheels), and community living assistance.  In addition the bill strengthens rights protection and outreach efforts to traditionally under-served senior populations.  The story of Julie Stewart of New Mexico shows the importance of this legislation and the Senior Community Service Employment Program.  Learn more about Julie and her success at Goodwill.

Then take just a few minutes to contact your U.S. Senators and to urge them to cosponsor this critical legislation for America’s seniors.