The federal government has been in partial shutdown mode since Dec. 21 – meaning it’s been nearly a full month since a quarter of government agencies, including the Departments of State, Justice, Transportation, Agriculture, and Interior furloughed a combined 800,000 workers or asked them to work without pay. What began as a minor inconvenience for some is fast becoming a major concern for many seniors who rely on government support for food, shelter and medical care.
First, the good news: Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid will continue operating uninterrupted, Vox reported. However, they noted “new applicants for these programs might face a wait.” The VA will also continue to operate its hospitals and clinics. Continue reading
This week’s shutdown of the federal government has some very real and immediate impacts on the nation’s older adults. Money funneled through the Older Americans Act for meals, caregivers, legal help, and family caregiver training will soon dry up, according to a report in the Eureka (Calif.) Times-Standard.
Other programs, like energy assistance for low-income families, which help pay heating bills, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), which provides cash to the impoverished, and Social Services Block grants, which help states fund initiatives like elder abuse programs and senior services, will be hit hard if the impasse continues for any length of time.
Money for many of these programs ran out at midnight on Sept. 30; because they are either discretionary, or require re-authorization, they’re at a standstill until an appropriations bill is passed. Some local programs which rely on partial federal funding for vital senior services like Meals on Wheels face the daunting prospect of temporarily halting operations. However, spokespersons for other organizations say they’re OK for now. Continue reading