We all are fortunate that Franklin County residents support our seniors, shown with overwhelming approval of the recent Senior Options Levy this month (Dispatch article, May 3).
Census data show that nearly 1 in 5 people in Franklin County, about 18 percent, will be 60 or older by 2020, and that number grows exponentially in the years ahead. Unfortunately, the Trump administration’s budget would undermine the health, independence and economic security of millions of older adults and caregivers.
Cutting key federal programs that help low-income older adults meet their basic needs, find jobs to make ends meet, give back to their communities through volunteerism, get one-on-one help understanding their Medicare and other benefits, and live independently at home and in the community, will put increased pressure on local communities to make up for what is lost. Most communities will be unable to meet the need.
For example, President Donald Trump's budget would eliminate the State Health Insurance Assistance Program. In Ohio, this program has provided free, unbiased and individual Medicare counseling to 340,000 individuals in one-on-one sessions and more than 1 million at group presentations in the past year. It has saved Ohio Medicare beneficiaries nearly $29 million.
Proposed deep cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps) and elimination of the Social Services Block Grant, the Community Services Block Grant, the Community Development Block Grant, the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, and the Prevention and Public Health Fund, demonstrate a short-sightedness, lack of compassion and apparent indifference to the many growing fiscal constraints of local communities to be able to do the right thing.
It is essential that Congress recognize and make wise federal investments in programs that keep older adults in their homes and communities and that support caregivers.
Chief policy officer
Ohio Association of Area Agencies