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COVID-19, My Grandma, and My 401K

For communities across the country, conversations around the kitchen table have changed in a matter of days. In the Latinx community it is no different than others who are confused, uncertain, and worried. From a discussion of benefits access to a discussion on immediate health risks, financial risk, and deciphering the differences between social distancing, quarantine or isolation—families, friends, and neighbors are staying connected on what is keeping them up at night, while remaining physically disconnected.

It has been part of Latinos for a Secure Retirement’s mission from our onset to ensure that Latino elders have equitable access to benefits stemming from the Older Americans Act (OAA). This in it of itself is a challenge, due to lack of trust in institutions and cultural inequities to access beyond just language barriers. Nonetheless, these resources are absolutely necessary as our elders take on part-time jobs to supplement their income and cannot get by with Social Security checks alone.

Additionally, older undocumented immigrants continue to work to make their living after retirement-age because even though they may have spent decades contributing to the Social Security Trust Fund, they may never see those benefits but for their legal status. During this critical time, these elders make up the essential labor force by harvesting our food, disinfecting our schools and places of work, and are the “older adult gig workforce” delivering our essentials to get us through trying times like this pandemic.

Unfortunately, there is a lack of information on COVID-19 in our communities as most updates are being shared digitally in English and translations are at best, a week behind. For example, on my 7th day of quarantine, my Tía (aunt), who works in agriculture in rural Ohio, messaged me on Facebook to ask if the COVID-19 situation was real. I caught her up to speed, shared resources to help in Spanish, and taught her how to look out for reputable news sources. That personal touch will be key in sharing information with our rural and urban Latinx communities.

As folks continue to practice social distancing, we must continue to connect to one another.

I personally invite you to our first Young Adult Digital Retirement Summit, Wednesday, April 15th from 11 AM – 12:30 EST via Zoom and Facebook Live.

We know that many young adults are primary caregivers or contribute to their household finances during this tough financial future.

As long as you are young at heart, we welcome you to our event where we hope to spark a discussion on financial security and retirement. While retirement may be the last thing on people’s minds, it is our duty to inform our community about legislative updates, ensure that Latinos are getting equitable access to economic relief, and to be a guiding force for Latinos as they are met with financial difficulties for the second time in a generation. Our panelists will discuss the difficult financial decisions communities make during economic downturns and the policy proposals that can undermine or expand our country’s first universal social insurance system.

Lastly, we will introduce the BenefitsCheckUp® tool that can used by caregivers to access additional benefits to boost our parents’ and grandparents’ budgets–now and beyond the constraining circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic.

RSVP here for our first Digital Retirement Summit! We will keep you updated on upcoming LSR events, legislative updates, and virtual networking opportunities.

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About Abigail Zapote

Abigail is the Executive Director for Latinos for a Secure Retirement where she leads a coalition of national Latino organizations to advocate for Social Security, equitable access to Older Americans Act (OAA) services, and greater financial literacy for Latinos of all ages.

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