The Senate is expected to pass President Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill over the next several days. Though concessions have been made to improve its chances of passage, the legislation remains the best hope of getting seniors and other struggling Americans the relief they so badly need.
Under the COVID relief act, millions of Social Security beneficiaries will be eligible for $1,400 stimulus payments to keep their heads above water financially. The legislation also contains crucial new funds for vaccinations, testing, and safer nursing home care that is so crucial to older Americans.
There is more good news in this bill for seniors. It also includes:
*$12.6 billion in additional federal Medicaid payments that states can use to expand home and community-based services (HCBS), which generally is a healthier option for seniors than nursing homes;
*47.8 billion for Coronavirus testing and mitigation;
*$4.5 billion for LIHEAP, the federally-funded program that helps keep low-income seniors’ homes heated and cooled;
*$276 million for aging and disability programs under the Elder Justice Act.
Seniors have been among the hardest hit by the pandemic, in terms of sickness and deaths, mental and emotional stress, and financial strain. The relief package should go a long way toward mitigating their pain.
“The vast majority of Americans believe this plan is essential to giving them help. It’ll grow the economy in the process. This is a lifeline for getting the upper hand against COVID. This isn’t some academic discussion. It’s about you, and people like you.” – President Biden, 3/5/21
We salute President Biden for his steely determination to enact this legislation, along with House committee chairs Rep. Richard Neal (Ways & Means), Rep. Frank Pallone (Energy & Commerce), and Senator Ron Wyden (Finance committee chair). We also thank Rep. Debbie Dingell for championing the HCBS provisions of the bill.
Once the COVID relief package passes the Senate, it will go back to the House for final approval and on to President Biden’s desk for signature. On Friday, National Committee president and CEO Max Richtman said, “The passage of this landmark legislation will be a great moment for all Americans who have struggled to survive and stay financially afloat during this pandemic, especially seniors, people with disabilities, and their families.”