“I wish more of the stimulus funds had gone to the senior community,” says Anthony Bell, California program manager for the National Indian Coalition on Aging (NICOA). “Everyday we get heartbreaking calls from older workers who have lost jobs and are desperately looking for work to save their homes.”
Seniors are an often overlooked demographic when jobs and the economy are mentioned, even though they are staying in the workforce longer than in years past. Out of the $787 billion in stimulus money, just $120 million, or less than 0.01 percent, went to senior employment, although older Americans are returning to work in greater numbers.
The Recovery Act did provide $100 million for nutritional programs for older Americans, and SSI recipients got an extra one-time check for $250 as part of the stimulus. While that might have paid a few bills, Bell says, $250 is a “a mere pittance to seniors who are struggling with job and housing issues.”