Age Discrimination in Employment Equals Elder Poverty

Feeding AmericaFeeding America recently reported that 68 percent of older adult  (50+) households live in poverty based on their annual income.

The organization issued a report, Baby Boomers and Beyond: Facing Hunger After Fifty, stating that lack of employment, housing instability, poor health and unpaid medical bills are among the top challenges facing older Americans.

According to the report, pre-seniors between the ages of 50 and 64,  may be particularly vulnerable as they are not yet of retirement age and thus ineligible for safety net programs like Medicare and Social Security.

Data such as this puts the problem of age discrimination in employment in context,  Older workers are forced out of the job market by legalized age discrimination, and then cannot find decent new employment because of epidemic, blatant and unaddressed age discrimination in hiring.  The result is hunger, homelessness,  ill health as a result of skipped medical visits and unfilled prescriptions …  poverty.

Problem Made Worse by Obama Administration

In an understatement, Matt Knott, president of feeding America, a nationwide organization of 200 food banks, states: “Every day for the next 15 years, 10,000 people will turn 65. This is absolutely the right time to be taking a hard look at the data to determine the challenges our mature clients face.”

Not only has the federal government ignored age discrimination and its ensuing problems, but the problems arguably have worsened significantly under the administration of President Barack Obama.

Obama signed an executive order in 2010 that actually permits federal agencies to discriminate against older workers in hiring. Last month, U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez endorsed an initiative by America’s leading corporations to conduct a hiring initiative that blatantly discriminates against older workers. Meanwhile, the nation’s supposed leading advocacy group for older Americans, the AARP, has been completely silent about this abandonment of older workers!

The U.S. government for years has issued absurd and patently false figures depicting low unemployment for older Americans. These statistics fail to measure older workers who have disappeared from sight due to chronic long-term unemployment, forced to work in low-wage or part-time jobs, or who are forced to retire as soon as they turn age 62 to obtain Social Security benefits (thereby incurring a drop of at least a 25 percent  in their monthly Social Security check for the rest of their lives).

Feeding America states that 81% of older (50+) adult households are food insecure.

The Feeding America report  indicates that most of the older Americans who face food insecurity are between the ages of 50 and 64. According to Feeding America, a total of 13 million older adults receive assistance from the Feeding America network each year and, of these, 62 percent are between the ages of 50 and 64.

AARP Takes Credit?

The Feeding America report  is based on data collected earlier by Feeding America for its Hunger in America 2014 report, the largest study of charitable food assistance in the U.S.  More than 60,000 clients confidentially answered questions about their personal and household circumstances for the study. Feeding America provides food and groceries to 46 million Americans annually. The AARP apparently paid Feed America to harvest data from Feeding America’s 2014 report  to focus on older Americans. The AARP Foundation issued a national press release on July 9, 2015 stating the Baby Boomer report was “made possible by a grant from the AARP Foundation.”   The media, of course, reprinted this without question.

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