Skip to main content

How the Economic Recovery Act would help seniors

House

1. COBRA - The House Ways and Means Committee approved COBRA health care continuation provisions included in its economic stimulus bill last week. In addition to a provision requiring the government to essentially pay 65% of the premium for up to 12 months for individuals laid off from September 1, 2008 – December 31, 2009, this bill would directly affect older Americans by allowing employees age 55 and older to retain COBRA coverage, without the subsidy, until they are eligible for Medicare.

2. Jobs for Older Americans - $120 million for the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) in order to create 24,000 jobs. The unemployment rate of seniors has increased 60% since last year and is at a 31-year high. The program’s unique community service component provides an additional benefit by helping to address pressing needs in communities across the nation.

3. Senior Nutrition - $200 million for the Senior Nutrition programs (congregate and home-delivered meals). A recent survey found that over 80 percent of states now have waiting lists for the senior meal programs.

4. Medicaid Temporary Increase - $87 billion to increase the Federal Medicaid match rate (FMAP) to provide much-needed relief to states. This is important so that states receiving funds do not cut back on critical services and eligibility, and an increased match for home and community-based services – cost effective, optional services that are in particular jeopardy of being cut and keep seniors out of expensive nursing homes.

5. Additional SSI Payment: $4.2 billion for a one-time additional SSI payment (an average of $450 for an individual and $630 for a couple). This investment for the most vulnerable seniors and disabled will have a significant stimulus effect by being quickly returned into the economy.

6. Prevention and Wellness Fund - $3 billion to fight preventable chronic diseases, including $50 million for injury prevention.

Senate

1. COBRA - Unlike the House, the Senate version of the stimulus package does not include the COBRA extension provision for employees 55 and older. Like the House, the Senate bill contains the 65% premium subsidy for recently laid off workers, but it is for 9 months (as opposed to 12 months in the House).

2. Social Security - Citizens receiving Social Security, SSI, Railroad Retirement and Veterans benefits would get a bonus payment of $300 under the Senate version of the economic recovery plan.

3. Senior Meals: $100 million to help senior meals programs cope with steep increases in food and fuel costs. Many programs are reducing meal deliveries to seniors or closing meal sites. The funding in the bill will result in an additional 30 million meals served.

4. Health Information Technology: $5 billion to jumpstart efforts to computerize health records to cut costs and reduce medical errors.

5. Research - $3.5 billion to conduct biomedical research in areas such as cancer, Alzheimer’s, heart disease and stem cells, and to improve NIH facilities.

Source: Alliance for Retired Americans

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Steelworkers Organization of Active Retirees (SOAR)

Trump To Cut Social Security

Trump’s Promise Not to Cut Social Security has been Broken by Robert Roach, Jr. President Trump’s fiscal 2018 budget is a non-starter. He has betrayed America’s seniors. In fact, $2 trillion in deficit reduction turns out to be just a math error. The budget cuts $72 billion over ten years from disability programs, including Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Trump promised repeatedly to protect – not cut – Social Security. Yet his first budget does just that, harming millions of disabled Americans.  The Trump budget also slashes $1.4 trillion from Medicaid over 10 years. According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), total Medicaid spending was $368 billion in 2016. Almost two-thirds of that was for seniors and people with disabilities, who rely on Medicaid for health care and long-term care. This cut is drastic and dangerous by any measurement. This budget also decimates the Community Development Block Grant, which pro…

Thanks from Bill Gibbons

Thank YouWhile there have been a lot of serious developments that can adversely affect retirees and the working class that I could write about, I would like to extend my appreciation and thanks to two SOAR activists and leaders of SOAR that I have had the privilege and opportunity to work with in pursuing the mission and activities of SOAR. Charlie Averill, who was the Secretary-Treasurer of SOAR, decided not to run for re-election during our recent SOAR conference. He has since been appointed an Emeritus member by International President Leo W. Gerard. Charlie has devoted many years to SOAR in the performance of his duties as Secretary-Treasurer. Those of us who have had the opportunity to work with him have firsthand knowledge of his dedication and leadership. His work on the “SOAR Chapter-Connection” is just one example. I am pleased that he is still working on it. Jim Centner, SOAR Director, is retiring June 1. I have found Jim’s dedication, leadership and work for SOAR untiring, su…