Senior Advocacy in Action Alert
An 8.4% cut across all federal non-entitlement programs will go into effect January 2, 2013. The cuts are automatically triggered by the 2011 Budget Control Act, resulting from the bipartisan “Super Committee’s” inability to come to an agreement on $1.2 trillion in budget cuts. Unless Congress acts, these cuts will affect every federal program, from the military to public health and social services. Please see the information below and make calls, emails, faxes, and tweets to express your concern.
Unless Congress reverses an 8.4% across-the-board cut approved last year, all discretionary federally-funded aging network programs will lose funding beginning January 2, 2013. The official name for this cut is “sequestration,” and it was a provision of the Budget Control Act that was passed to address the growing federal budget deficit.
Between $4-5 million in annual funding will be lost to Michigan just from the federal Older Americans Act, which provides congregate and home-delivered meals, in-home services, senior employment and other services. Other discretionary federal programs would also be hit, including energy assistance, senior volunteer programs, and the Community Services Block Grant, which supports Community Action Agencies and helps low-income families. A report released by Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) states that the sequester would eliminate 17 million meals for needy seniors nationwide. The sequester is taking place because a bipartisan committee failed to come up with an agreement on how to save $1.2 trillion over the next 10 years.
What You Can Do:
Contact your U.S. Representative and Michigan’s two U.S. Senators to express your concern about the impact of “Sequestration Cuts” on low-income seniors. Find your U.S. Representative by going to www.house.gov and typing your zip code in the box at the top labeled “Find Your Representative.” You can also send a message directly through the website. If you don’t have the Internet, call your local library for information.
Michigan’s U.S. Senators
- Senator Carl Levin Ph (202) 224-6221 F (202) 224-1388 www.levin.senate.gov
- Senator Debbie Stabenow Ph (202) 224-4822 F (202) 228-0325 www.stabenow.senate.gov
NOTE: Deliver messages by phone, fax or email. Do not send a letter as mail addressed to federal officials is screened for toxins and can be delayed in the process.
- When the sequester cuts take place, Michigan will lose $4-5 million in federal monies for home and community-based services for seniors through the Older Americans Act.
- The cuts will deny 6,000+ seniors nutritional meals, including 2,500 frail homebound seniors getting meals-on-wheels. Evidence shows that poor nutrition can lead to weight loss, health problems, falls, and increased difficulty with activities of daily living.
Snowbirds and the US Census
Older adults who travel south for the winter months can fill out census forms when they return to Michigan. Submitting the document with a southern address could cost their home state millions in federal dollars.
“We are encouraging older adults to fill out their forms at home in Michigan,” says Tom Czerwinski, Executive Director of the Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan. “It is a situation that could be very costly for Michigan’s senior services; potentially reducing funding at a time when state dollars are decreasing and the older adult population is increasing.”
The census information is set to be distributed in February and March, when many snowbirds are already at their southern addresses. The form asks individuals to identify who is living at their address on April 1, 2010. Simply write “usual residence elsewhere” on the document and return it without completing the information.
Those who live in Michigan for six months or more will have a form mailed to their Michigan address. They can fill out that form when they return to their northern home.
Upcoming federal funding to state and local entities will be based on the 2010 census. If snowbirds are not counted it would costs the state millions in federal funding for senior services.