Senior poverty is on the rise

Americans should not have to retire into poverty.  Many Americans live paycheck to paycheck and are unable to save for retirement.  Others are forced to spend their savings earlier than expected because of job losses related to widespread ageism.  And even Americans lucky enough to stay employed and save into their golden years quickly deplete their savings on healthcare, housing, and other necessities once they retire.  Not surprisingly, many seniors have to choose between buying medicine or food.  We need to accept the fundamental premise that most Americans will rely on Social Security for most of their income during retirement.  

The health of our seniors is at risk as well.  Medicare requires our seniors to pay premiums, copays, coinsurance, and deductibles, which drain the modest savings and Social Security checks of our seniors.  Medicare does not cover most dental care, vision exams, hearing aids, and long-term care.  While Medicaid is a resource for seniors in poverty as well as seniors who need long-term care, applying to Medicaid successfully requires stoic patience and elder law attorneys.  The entire Medicaid process in New Jersey is purposefully designed to arbitrarily delay, discourage, and deny applications.

Dignity for our seniors

We will expand Social Security.  We will enact a single-payer, universal healthcare system that will include prescription drugs, dental care, vision exams, hearing aids, durable medical equipment, assistive technology, rehabilitative services, and home and community based long-term care services.  Seniors will be free of premiums, deductibles, co-payments, and co-insurance.  We will make sure that every senior citizen in this country can retire with dignity.

Fight for disability rights

We have to take care of our disabled citizens and prevent them from falling through the cracks of our broken system.  People with disabilities have fewer work opportunities and experience much higher poverty rates.  Our special needs children are vulnerable beyond comprehension.  We will provide our special education teachers the support they need.  We will fight to increase educational opportunities for persons with disabilities.  We will fight to expand the Social Security Disability Insurance program.  We will fight to guarantee jobs with living wages to all persons with disabilities, and we will end the archaic practice of paying individuals with disabilities sub-minimum wage.