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poverty Archives - JUSTICE IN AGING

The Truth About Older Consumers: Household Budgets

By | IN THE NEWS

Stria: The Truth About Older Consumers: Household Budgets (November 26, 2018)

This piece challenges some of the “successful aging” narratives about older adults that are common in U.S. media. The author explores some of the different expenses older adults encounter (such as higher health care costs) that make them vulnerable. The author also acknowledges that many older adults start out as poor, and aging makes them poorer, and that some older adults, such as LGBT older adults, are more likely to age into poverty. The author interviewed Justice in Aging Executive Director, Kevin Prindiville, for insight into senior poverty, who said, “The cost of housing and health care keeps rising. Pensions are smaller than had been promised and some have disappeared altogether. Social Security is a bedrock, keeping 15 million older people out of poverty—but just barely. We have not strengthened or expanded Social Security and it’s not keeping up.” Read the full article.

Justice in Aging’s Letter to California’s Governor Elect Gavin Newsom

By | Statements

Gavin Newsom, California’s new governor, will begin his term among a growing crisis of senior poverty in the state. It will be critical that the Governor Elect create a master plan for aging that includes an aggressive, progressive approach to solve the root causes of senior poverty including high housing costs and high out-of-pocket medical costs, while increasing access to critical benefits that help California’s seniors get the help they need to make ends meet. Justice in Aging sent the new governor a letter congratulating him on being elected and outlining some of the critical investments in older adults we hope to see and work together with the administration to achieve.

California’s Senior Population is Growing Faster than any other Age Group. How the Next Governor Responds is Crucial

By | IN THE NEWS, Newsroom, SENIOR POVERTY

Los Angeles Times: California’s Senior Population is Growing Faster than any other Age Group. How the Next Governor Responds is Crucial ( October 7, 2018)
The next governor will be confronted with a demographic shift of epic proportions: Seniors will be California’s fastest-growing population. Between now and 2026, the number of Californians 65 and older is expected to climb by 2.1 million, according to projections by the state Department of Finance. By contrast, the number of 25- to 64-year-olds is projected to grow by just more than half a million; the number of Californians younger than 25 will grow by a mere 2,500. The reporter interviewed Justice in Aging Executive Director, Kevin Prindiville, at length for the article. The Justice in Aging perspective on senior poverty was well reflected in the fact that the journalist noted that the state is going to have to grapple with poverty in a different way, due to the unique needs of seniors aging in poverty. Kevin notes, “We get a lot of pressure to come with ideas that don’t have a dollar ask, but we’re going to have to spend some money to solve these bigger problems.” Read the full article.

Justice in Aging Statement on Proposed 2019 Budget

By | Statements

President Trump’s proposed FY 2019 Budget is yet another attack on the health and economic security of older adults and people with disabilities. After using the latest tax bill to give away trillions of dollars in tax cuts to America’s wealthiest, the Administration is attempting to pay for those tax cuts by slashing critical programs that keep older adults in their homes, allow them to visit their doctors, and ensure they can meet their basic needs.

This budget would take us backwards by increasing poverty and making it harder for people to get the health care they need. It goes against what Congress wants and what the public wants. In its 2018 budget, Congress recently increased spending for important and popular programs. Those gains would disappear in 2019 under this budget.

The American people do not want cuts to Medicaid or the repeal of the ACA, yet this budget renews calls for slashing Medicaid by more than $1.4 trillion over the next decade through block grants and per capita caps, as well as repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act (ACA). As we have explained, such cuts would be devastating to low-income older adults who rely on Medicaid to support their health care needs and ability to stay in their homes, leave millions without coverage, and weaken consumer protections.

The President promised the American people he wouldn’t touch Medicare, yet his proposed budget for the next ten years calls for over $490 billion in cuts to a program that every American will need.

The budget also would make it harder for older adults to pay rent, put food on the table, and meet their basic needs. The budget proposes significant cuts of over $83 billion to Social Security, primarily through cuts to Social Disability Insurance (SSDI) and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs. These programs are there for people who have no or little income and are the difference between home and a life on the streets for many.

Additionally, the budget proposes dramatic cuts to nutrition assistance, eliminates funding for home heating and cooling assistance for about 6 million low-income households, and calls for the complete elimination of the Legal Services Corporation, which provides vital legal help for low-income older adults and their families.

This budget is a true window into the misplaced priorities of this President and his Administration. On the heels of a massive tax cut that will increase income inequality, this budget proposes to make life even more difficult for America’s poor older adults and people with disabilities.

By joining together we have fought back successfully against previous attempts to cut the programs older adults and their families rely on, and we will continue to fight for justice for us all as we age.

Read our joint statement with Medicare Rights Center, and the Center for Medicare Advocacy

 

Justice in Aging’s Statement on California’s Proposed Budget

By | Statements

Governor Brown released his proposed budget for fiscal year 2018-2019 earlier this week. Despite the governor’s recognition of growing levels of poverty across California, his proposal prioritizes increasing California’s reserves without including any new investments or initiatives to increase the health care and economic security of older adults in California. With a Rainy Day Fund now totaling $13.5 billion, California is in a financial position to restore and strengthen programs that lift seniors and people with disabilities out of poverty while also maintaining sufficient reserves to protect against future federal threats and economic uncertainties. For low-income seniors aging into homelessness and struggling on fixed incomes, we can and must do more.

Most critically, the budget proposal does not restore benefits for elderly Californians and people with disabilities who rely on Supplemental Security Income (SSI) to meet basic needs. Specifically, the proposal fails to increase the State Supplementary Payment (SSP), which is the state-funded addition to the federal SSI benefit, or to provide a Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) to the SSP. SSI/SSP helps ensure stability for seniors and people with disabilities at the very lowest income levels. However, as a result of recession-era cuts to the SSP, the benefit for an individual fell from 100.5% of the federal poverty level in 2009 to 90.5% of the federal poverty level in 2018, leaving individuals with a total SSI/SSP monthly individual benefit of just $910. As a part of the Californians for SSI coalition, Justice in Aging will continue pushing for full restoration of the SSP and annual COLA so that we can lift all seniors in California out of poverty.

Summary of Other Key Budget Proposals for Low-Income Older Adults:

Funding for Medi-Cal Dental Benefits and the State Oral Health Program

Last year, the Legislature and Governor implemented legislation to fully restore dental benefits to adult Medi-Cal recipients starting January 1, 2018, including root canals on the back teeth, gum treatment, and partial dentures. This year’s budget proposal includes $212.2 million to fund the restoration. This is a huge win for the overall health of older adults. For more information on the newly restored benefits, take a look at these Dental Factsheets we developed in collaboration with our partners at CPEHN and Asian Americans Advancing Justice.

This year’s budget proposal will also continue funding to California’s Oral Health Program within the Department of Public Health. This year the program will receive $30 million in funding to improve the oral health of all Californians at the local level through prevention, education, and community organizing.

Minimum Wage Increase and Provider Paid Sick Leave for IHSS Providers

This year’s budget proposal allocates $119.4 million to implement the state’s minimum wage increase for In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) workers. The proposal also includes $29.9 million to fund the eight hours of paid sick leave IHSS workers are entitled to starting July 1, 2018.

Provider Rate Increases and Supplemental Payments

The budget proposal includes $649.9 million to fund provider rate increases and supplemental provider payments for both physician and dental services. The goal of these increases is to improve access to Medi-Cal services.

As costs continue to rise for housing, food, medical care, and other essentials, older adults and people with disabilities will struggle to live independently in the community without robust investment in and improvements to existing programs. In the coming months, as the budget process moves forward in the state legislature, we will continue to fight for increased economic security and access to affordable health care for seniors and to keep you informed about any changes to the programs that impact older Californians living in or near poverty.

Justice in Aging Launches New Bay Area Project with Two New Attorneys

By | PRESS RELEASE

Oakland, CA – Justice in Aging is pleased to announce a new outreach, education and advocacy project in the San Francisco Bay Area that will improve access to Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and In Home Supportive Services (IHSS) for low-income seniors residing in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties.

SSI and IHSS are programs that provide an important lifeline to low-income older adults. SSI provides vital basic income support to extremely low-income older adults and people with disabilities to pay for food, shelter, and other necessities. In Alameda County 52,820 people rely on SSI, and Contra Costa County is home to 26,658 SSI recipients. IHSS is a life changing and life sustaining program for over 25,000 people in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties. The program provides personal care services to seniors and people with disabilities who need help with activities of daily living in order to remain at home and in their communities.

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Times are Changing: Needs of Low-Income Seniors in the Spotlight

By | BLOG, HOMEPAGE
Recently there has been a groundswell of media, academic, and pundit attention on the issue of senior poverty.

From the New York Times, the The Atlantic, to NPR, important and influential sources are finally acknowledging the difficult reality that too many of the older adults in our families and communities are facing. At Justice in Aging we are working with partners to leverage this attention to push for policy changes that can help these seniors. Read More

Governor’s Budget is a Start But Doesn’t Go Far Enough for Poor Seniors

By | BLOG, HOMEPAGE, Uncategorized
In releasing his proposed budget today, Governor Brown recognized that too many seniors and people with disabilities living in our communities are living in poverty. But the proposals he offered provide only limited relief to those Californians struggling to afford rent, food, heat and other necessities. More action and bolder policies will be needed to lift seniors and people with disabilities out of poverty. California is a wealthy state with a strong economy, and a large budget surplus, but its benefits are not equitably distributed.  For low-income seniors struggling on fixed incomes, we can and must do more. Read More

What You (And the WHCOA) Missed Last Week

By | BLOG, HOMEPAGE, SENIOR POVERTY
If you were out of the office last week enjoying the Holidays and ringing in the New Year you may have missed two important news items.

The first, an Atlantic article, projects a shocking rise in senior poverty between now and 2050. Renowned economist, Teresa Ghilarducci from the New School for Social Research, used current rates of senior poverty to determine that unless we take action now to strengthen our country’s retirement system, 25 million elderly Americans will be poor in 2050. That’s more people than the entire populations of Florida, New York, and 46 other states (only California and Texas currently have more than 25 million people living in them).

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