Officials with the Ocean County Senior Advisory Council have issued a letter to state and federal officials stating their concerns about the sequester of federal funds on March 1, which could cut funding for Older Americans Act programs by 10.2 percent.
At the Manchester Council Meeting last night, Brendan Weiner said if enacted, Ocean County alone could see some $720,000 in cuts, which he said could compromise some 26,000 meal services and other programs.
"The council has written to senators asking for a no vote on this issue," Weiner said. He said that while the cuts proposed in the sequester may seem "advantageous" to many members of Congress, he said it will mean real losses to programs here in the county.
Specifically, Weiner said the cuts would mean reductions in the home delivered meals, leading to isolation of many seniors in the Manchester and surrounding communities.
In the letter, Council Director D. Jane Maloney wrote: "These cuts would have devastating consequences for Ocean’s older adults: compromised health, poorer nutrition, increased isolation, higher risk of falls, etc.
"After years of flat federal funding we (AAA) have nothing left to squeeze out of our budget, so a sequester will directly hurt the older adults and the caregivers we help every day. Also, Ocean County is in the early recovery phase of Superstorm Sandy and of the 52,877 FEMA applications already filed, 15,865 are senior citizens.
"This is the worst possible time for Older Americans Act programs to be cut when so many older adults and their families are counting on our support while county and local governments are reeling from the recovery costs."