WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.) lauded the announcement by Vice President Joe Biden that the Obama Administration will take steps to help Holocaust survivors living in the United States access needed services, such as health care and nutritional services, without having to live in a nursing home or assisted living facility. The Holocaust Survivor Assistance Initiative announced today complements bipartisan legislation introduced by Senator Cardin and Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) – S.999, the “Responding to Urgent Needs of Survivors of the Holocaust Act or the ‘‘RUSH Act” – which would create a point person within the Administration for connecting nonprofit and community partners with Holocaust survivors in need. S. 999 would also add Holocaust survivors to the list of groups receiving priority for social services through the Older Americans Act (OAA. In October 2013, the HELP Committee approved legislation reauthorizing the OAA that includes Cardin-Kirk language providing for greater Administration focus on the needs of the survivor community.
“As survivors of terror and torture, these victims of the Holocaust came to our country seeking the American Dream, and they have enriched our nation. Now they need additional social services that will allow them to age in place,” said Senator Cardin. “Time is running short for this community. The Administration has taken meaningful steps to fulfill our obligation to provide them with community supports.”
Approximately 120,000 Holocaust survivors live in the United States, with an average age of 80. Nearly one-quarter are age 85 or older and three-in-five are women. Two-thirds of Holocaust survivors live alone, placing them at greater risk of institutionalization. In addition, more than half of all Holocaust survivors who immigrated to the United States after 1965 live below the federal poverty level and have few resources.