How the U.S. government shutdown is affecting vulnerable seniors

One week ago, on Monday, September 30, much of the United States government went dark. Due to a budget dispute between congressional Republicans and Democrats, congress did not authorize funds to be released in order to operate parts of the government.

US congressThe shutdown has impacted different segments of the U.S. population in various ways, and while many services for seniors – including social security payments, and veterans’ hospitals – will continue uninterrupted, many other seniors, particularly those who are ill, and low-income, may be particularly vulnerable.

According to Harrine Freeman of Bethesda, Maryland-based H.E. Freeman Enterprises, some of the halted services which could have a significant negative impact on older people include:

1.    Administration for Community Living (ACL): Part of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, one component of the ACL is providing meals for low-income seniors, as well as fighting elder abuse and overseeing long-term care communities.

2.    Centers for Disease Control (CDC): The CDC administers an annual influenza vaccination program, and this has been halted as a result of the government shutdown.

3.     Medicare: Deliveries of new and replacement social security cards, as well as renewed Medicare cards, have stopped.

“Due to the government shutdown many elderly have been forced to or voluntarily made adjustments to their lifestyle due to service halted or reduced,” Freeman told in a recent interview. She added that for those living paycheque-to-paycheque, the consequences of the shutdown can be long-lasting, and even permanent.

“The government shutdown will cause even more financial strain on their lives that some may never be able to recover from,” Freeman said.

How do you think vulnerable seniors and older people in the United States can cope with the American government shutdown? Share your thoughts in the comment section below: