The Economic Security Initiative: A Snapshot of Clients Served
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The Economic Security Initiative: A Snapshot of Clients Served

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August 21, 2012

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Read other success stories from the Economic Security Initiative.

In 2009—in response to the growing crisis among older adults resulting from the economic downturn–NCOA launched the Economic Security Initiative (ESI). Through the Initiative, NCOA is working with 20 community organizations to assist older adults in getting back on a path to economic security.

The 20 ESI sites work with a range of community partners to  improve the economic security of older adults with annual incomes below $27,000 by providing a comprehensive, person-centered assessment, an economic action plan, and assistance navigating public and private community resources.

In the two-year demonstration, the ESI sites helped over 5,000 older adults move toward economic security.

Here are some other characteristics of the clients they served:

  • 66% of clients were eligible for at least one major public benefit, including Medicare Savings Programs, Supplemental Food Assistance Program (SNAP), energy assistance, and State Pharmaceutical Assistance Programs. ESI counselors helped these older adults—including Susan’s mother, as this story relates—to identify over $10.2 million in benefits.
  • Half of all clients were unbanked. This means they had no active banking account—and no opportunity to earn interest on what resources they may have. In recognition of this trend, NCOA is partnering with community development credit unions to increase older adults’ access to no-fee banking services.
  • 920 clients received assistance obtaining employment. A quarter of ESI clients were below traditional retirement age, and eager to find work. Warm referrals to community partners, including the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP), helping these struggling older adults—such as Ms. H from New York—receive training that led to full-time employment.
  • Almost half (44%) were living with chronic conditions. These health problems can exacerbate existing financial woes. That’s why the ESI sites took a holistic approach to services, helping their clients find benefits, financial education, and community supports that can restore their health as well as their financial well-being, as this example of Mr. T illustrates.

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older adults don't have to choose between paying for medicine or food.

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