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Tuesday, April 30, 2013 - 11:44am

Seniors Vulnerable To Sequestration

Georgia’s Department of Human Services is losing more than $9 million due to federal budget cuts called sequestration. Programs for the aging will lose nearly $3 million.

The federal cuts will reduce the amount of money available for local services to the aging such as feeding programs at senior centers and Meals On Wheels. It will reduce the amount available for transportation, personal support services and elder legal assistance. It will also trim the amount of state aid to caregiver respite and programs to prevent elder abuse.

Lynn Vellinga, Chief Financial Officer for the state Department of Human Service, says local programs will start to see the impact in just over a month.

“For the area authorities on aging, we will have to build that into their next contract. Because their contract cycle’s already through the end of June is already in place. So we’ll have to build it into their contracts that begin July 1,” he said.

Vellinga says local programs will decide how to implement the cuts in their area.

The Low Income Energy Assistance Program is losing $3 million as part of federal sequestration cuts.
Vellinga says cuts to that program will be felt next winter. He doesn’t know how many people will lose home heating aid.

“If you have less money, it generally means you have the ability to serve fewer clients.”Vellinga said.
Last year, the state Energy Assistance program received nearly $62 million in federal funding.

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