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.
December 20, 2017-Today, the House and Senate passed their destructive tax bill on a purely partisan basis. The tax bill provides an enormous tax break to wealthy individuals and big corporations at the expense of the well-being of millions of others, including older adults. The Joint Committee on Taxation estimates that the bill’s tax breaks for the wealthy will slash federal revenue by over $1 trillion, directly undermining critical programs that older adults rely on, such as Medicare, Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income, and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
This bill threatens the health and economic security of older adults and their families in other ways as well. By repealing the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate, the tax bill will leave 13 million Americans without health care, including older adults, people with disabilities and 5 million Medicaid-eligible individuals. The tax cuts will not provide financial relief to most older adults. The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy finds that by 2027 the bottom three-fifths of Americans will see their tax bills rise, as temporary tax cuts for individuals expire and corporate tax cuts remain permanent. Further, under sequestration, the bill also triggers automatic cuts to certain federal programs, including $25 billion from Medicare in 2018 alone.
The fight is not over. Now that Congress has passed the tax bill, we must hold them accountable, and let them know that they can’t pay for tax cuts for the wealthy by slashing Medicare, Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income, SNAP, and many other programs that older adults depend on.
We will be here in the New Year ready to fight back and provide you with the information you need to do your jobs. Thank you for everything you do. Together we will protect older adults, people with disabilities, and their families from harm, and work to strengthen the programs they rely on.
In September, the House of Representatives passed HR 2792, an attempt to revive a disastrous old policy that would prohibit the payment of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) to people who are the subject of an arrest warrant for an alleged felony or for an alleged violation of probation or parole. Unfortunately, the House passed this bill as a way to pay to extend the Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program.
This bill would not help law enforcement secure the arrest of people they are seeking; instead it will harm thousands of people and cause them to lose their benefits. Join our webinar, Why the Proposal to Stop SSI Benefits for Those With Outstanding Warrants is so Harmful, to hear why this is not an evidenced-based strategy for law enforcement to use.
We have conclusive remarks from Representative Danny Davis (D-IL) about his efforts in the fight against HR 2792 in the House. Join the CCD Social Security Task Force and Justice in Aging to learn more about the details of this proposal, who it would harm, and why it is bad policy.
Real-time captioning and ASL interpretation was provided for this webinar.
Dara Baldwin, National Disability Rights Network
Tracey Gronniger, Justice in Aging
TJ Sutcliffe, The Arc
The webinar took place on Monday, November 20, 2017 at 1:00 p.m. PT / 4:00 p.m. ET.
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.
Social Security’s Representative Payee Program is crucial to protecting the resources and economic security of vulnerable older adults who cannot manage their own finances. It is also inadequate to meet the growing needs of older adults and has a number of problems in both its capability determination process and in the way the overall program is administered. This Issue Brief, How SSA Can Improve the Representative Payee Program to Protect Vulnerable Seniors is the final paper in a series that Justice in Aging has produced with the support of a fellowship grant from the Borchard Foundation on Law and Aging.
You can access the full toolkit of publications on the Representative Payee Program here.
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
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).
We have some hopeful news regarding Justice in Aging’s lawsuit against the Social Security Administration (SSA) for SSA’s demand that lawfully married same sex couples receiving SSI pay back overpayments caused by SSA’s refusal to recognize their marriage in timely fashion.