We commended the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which is providing assistance for low-income senior housing. With the COVID-19 virus still bearing down on the country, B’nai B’rith is calling on Congress to pass another bipartisan stimulus package that provides funding for Section 202 affordable housing for seniors.
As the largest national Jewish sponsor of low-income, nonsectarian housing for seniors in the United States, B’nai B’rith is uniquely aware of the need to appropriate additional financial resources for senior housing in response to the COVID-19 crisis. The additional money would potentially allow senior buildings to expand service coordination (which is especially important for buildings that lack a service coordinator: a social services staff person) and offer WiFi to all residents, which could make telemedicine more readily accessible. Funding could also provide the necessary resources for buildings to absorb additional expenses associated with extra staffing, cleaning supplies, personal protective equipment, security personnel and decreases in rents. The funding could enable our country to construct more Section 202 properties. As always, B’nai B’rith will continue to advocate to members of Congress on issues important to seniors.
Lastly, we appreciate the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) decision to provide direct stimulus payments to all Social Security recipients regardless of whether they filed a tax return. We now call on the IRS to extend this guidance to Supplemental Security Income recipients (SSI). Forcing SSI recipients, to file a tax return is an unnecessary burden during a time of crisis. Given restrictions regarding travel and socialization, the IRS guidance places hardships on the very set of people who need the financial assistance the most. We should be looking to get financial assistance to SSI recipients as quickly as possible and not force them to jump needlessly through hoops.