It’s election season, and politicians are looking to connect with voters, particularly seniors.
Now is the perfect time to make your voice heard on protecting and strengthening the health and economic security of older adults in your community. Major decisions on the federal budget and deficit reduction are looming soon after the election.
Use these tools to take action today.
Questions to Ask Candidates
1. Long-Term Care
Millions of Americans will need some long-term care services in their lifetime. Yet, most do not realize that Medicare does not cover these costs, and private insurance is unaffordable for many. Too often, seniors are forced to impoverish themselves to get assistance from Medicaid. In addition, access to home care is limited because of Medicaid’s institutional bias. The result is that burdens on family caregivers are only getting worse.
What to ask the candidate: What are your plans to address America’s growing long-term care crisis for families?
2. Funding for Senior Programs
Senior programs—such as home-delivered meals, falls prevention, caregiver support, and elder abuse prevention—keep older adults healthy, secure, and independent in their own homes. They also help families who are juggling elder care with other responsibilities. Yet, the Older Americans Act and other senior services are drastically underfunded with growing waiting lists under recent budget caps.
What to ask the candidate: What will you do to reverse the downward trend in support of aging services and make overdue investments in programs that support seniors’ health and economic security?
3. Medicare Low-Income Protections
Half of Medicare beneficiaries have incomes below $24,500. Yet, on average, they must pay more than $5,000 annually out-of-pocket for their health care needs. These seniors face impossible decisions each month on whether to spend their limited incomes on medicine, food, or rent.
What to ask the candidate: What are your plans to strengthen Medicare to ensure that seniors with low incomes who are struggling to make ends meet can afford their health care needs?
4. Senior Hunger
More than nine million older adults face the threat of hunger, yet three in five seniors eligible for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP – formerly known as Food Stamps) are not enrolled in the benefit. Others face fewer home-delivered meals and long waiting lists to participate.
What to ask the candidate: What are your plans to improve vulnerable seniors’ access to the nutritious food necessary for maintaining their health and independence?
5. Social Security
Social Security is the most effective anti-poverty program in U.S. history, keeping 21 million people out of poverty each year. Still, a substantial number of seniors, particularly women and African Americans, rely on Social Security for most or all of their retirement income. This fixed income often isn’t enough to make ends meet, leaving many American seniors struggling to get by.
What to ask the candidate: How do you plan to strengthen Social Security so it better serves the most vulnerable seniors and their families?
More Issue-Based Electoral Advocacy
- Vote to End Hunger
- LCAO Seniors Decide 2016 Presidential Candidates Forum (archived video)
Tips for Engaging Elected Officials
Use these tools to avoid running afoul of nonprofit restrictions on political activity and lobbying and to create a successful event.
Best Practices for Nonprofits Working with Political Candidates
These do’s and don’ts provide expert guidance to empower you to provide nonpartisan, balanced opportunities for dialogue during election season.
- Federal Voting Assistance Program: Election Calendar
- League of Women Voters
- The Leadership Conference: Voting Rights