Older Amer­i­cans Act Reau­tho­riza­tion In­tro­duced

Stanstead Journal - - NEWS -

Wash­ing­ton, DC

Sen. Bernie San­ders, chair­man of the Se­nate Sub­com­mit­tee on Pri­mary Health and Ag­ing, in­tro­duced leg­is­la­tion to reau­tho­rize and strengthen the Older Amer­i­cans Act which sup­ports Meals on Wheels and other crit­i­cal pro­grams for se­niors.

“With 10,000 Amer­i­cans turn­ing 65 ev­ery day, our coun­try’s grow­ing pop­u­la­tion of se­niors in­cludes many who rely on th­ese crit­i­cal pro­grams to help them stay in their own homes and com­mu­ni­ties,” said San­ders (I-Vt.).

Speak­ing at an Older Amer­i­cans Sum­mit, San­ders and oth­ers un­veiled the new bill to ex­tend the land­mark law that was first en­acted in 1965.

The mea­sure is co-spon­sored by Sens. Pa­trick Leahy (D-Vt.), Bar­bara Boxer (D-Calif.), Tim John­son

(D-S.D.), Bill Nel­son (D-Fla.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Robert P. Casey Jr. (D-Pa.) Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Jeff Merkley ( D-Ore.), Kirsten Gil­li­brand (D-N.Y.) Al Franken (D-Minn.), Richard Blu­men­thal (D-Conn.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Tammy Bald­win (D-Wis.) and El­iz­a­beth War­ren (D-Mass.).

At a time when mil­lions of se­niors are strug­gling with in­ad­e­quate in­comes and when nu­tri­tion pro­grams for se­niors have been cut, San­ders’ bill would au­tho­rize a sig­nif­i­cant in­crease in sup­port for meals at se­nior cen­ters and pro­grams like Meals on Wheels that de­liver food to se­niors’ homes. Bud­gets for se­nior nu­tri­tion pro­grams have been slashed this year as a re­sult of across-the-board spend­ing cuts known as se­ques­tra­tion.

At a time when many in Congress want to cut So­cial Se­cu­rity ben­e­fits, the mea­sure also re­quire the Bureau of La­bor Statis­tics to cre­ate a more ac­cu­rate way to mea­sure se­niors’ liv­ing ex­penses. A con­sumer price in­dex for the el­derly would ac­count for spend­ing on high-in­fla­tion goods and ser­vices like health care, pre­scrip­tion drugs and heat­ing homes. The change would re­sult in more ac­cu­rate an­nual cost-of-liv­ing ad­just­ments for So­cial Se­cu­rity re­cip­i­ents.

The bill’s other pro­vi­sions to help se­niors in­clude im­proved job train­ing ser­vices for se­niors, ex­panded sup­port for care­givers and added pro­tec­tions against el­der abuse.

“As mil­lions of Baby Boomers turn 65, reau­tho­riz­ing the Older Amer­i­cans Act is cru­cial to en­sure that we meet the needs of to­day‘s se­niors,” said Jim Fir­man, pres­i­dent of the National Coun­cil on Ag­ing.

Nancy Alt­man of the Strengthen So­cial Se­cu­rity Coali­tion said reau­tho­riz­ing the law “is crit­i­cal to en­sur­ing the well­be­ing of se­niors in the United States who are com­mit­ted to liv­ing out their days in the com­fort of their own com­mu­ni­ties.”

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