WASHINGTON—AARP is continuing to fight for older Americans amid the coronavirus crisis by holding a nationwide Virtual Lobby Week April 29 to May 5. Beginning today, AARP state leaders and volunteers will visit virtually with federal lawmakers to urge more help for those age 50-plus and their families as they face growing health and economic challenges due to the pandemic.
“On behalf of our 38 million members and broader constituency of Americans age 50 and up, AARP is calling on Congress to act quickly on a number of pressing needs, including protecting residents of nursing homes and other care facilities, expanding food assistance for the most vulnerable, and helping state and local government close budget gaps,” said Nancy LeaMond, AARP Executive Vice President and Chief Advocacy & Engagement Officer. “This pandemic is putting tremendous pressure on older adults and their families. AARP is committed to fighting for policies that will protect their health and financial security.”
A new AARP poll to be released April 30 found an overwhelming majority of older adults agree that more federal action is needed, and as many as nine out of 10 Americans age 50-plus support legislative proposals consistent with those AARP state leaders are championing during their virtual lobby visits.
Leaders from all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico will meet virtually with Capitol Hill offices to call for federal legislation to:
Protect Residents in Nursing Homes and Other Care Facilities
According to news reports, at least 11,000 residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities have died from COVID-19. AARP is urging Congress to take immediate steps to ensure that facilities are testing staff and residents, providing personal protective equipment (PPE), and have adequate staffing levels. AARP also urges Congress to require the daily public release of names of facilities with confirmed COVID-19 cases, and the provision of timely notice and information to residents and loved ones in the case of facility discharge or transfer. And, with in-person visits largely halted, Congress should require facilities to make available and facilitate virtual visitation for their residents and families as well as fund the technology and other items to carry out these visits.
Invest More in Federal Nutrition Programs and Offer Greater Flexibility
To match the magnitude of the growing and urgent food needs across the country, AARP urges Congress to temporarily increase both the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) maximum benefit and the minimum monthly benefit and explore ways to expand access to online grocery shopping and delivery using SNAP benefits. AARP also asks that all rulemaking that would restrict SNAP eligibility or reduce benefits be suspended.
Provide Additional Support for State and Local Governments
More financial support will help state and local governments address significant budget shortfalls and support essential services and programs that older Americans and their families depend on. States are likely to exhaust their unemployment insurance trust funds, and Congress should provide grants to ensure benefits continue to be paid. Further, states that adopt mail-in balloting to protect public health and to ensure that older Americans can exercise their right to vote during upcoming elections will need additional funding.
AARP has repeatedly called for Congress to address the needs of older Americans and their families in its response to the coronavirus pandemic. AARP successfully fought to secure financial relief for Social Security recipients and to protect Social Security and Medicare Trust Funds for current and future generations in earlier coronavirus legislations.
To learn more about AARP’s efforts amid the coronavirus pandemic, visit www.aarp.org/coronavirus.
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AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering people 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With a nationwide presence and nearly 38 million members, AARP strengthens communities and advocates for what matters most to families: health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also produces the nation's largest circulation publications: AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. To learn more, visit www.aarp.org or follow @AARP and @AARPadvocates on social media.
Media Contact: Amanda Davis, 202-434-7872, firstname.lastname@example.org, @AARPmedia