Americans are living longer and, therefore, often working longer.
On Thursday, members of the Senate Special Committee on Aging looked into ways the government can better empower older Americans in the workplace and during their retirement years.
“Many seniors seek to remain in the workforce to make ends meet or to regain income lost while caregiving,” said Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA), Chair of the committee.
Sen. Casey pointed to data showing that around 45 percent of Americans 65 or older are now retired, compared to 58 percent in 2000.
Committee members discussed economic barriers facing older Americans and their options for employment.
“Many elderly may want to do something that has great flexibility,” said Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN), Ranking Member of the committee.
Lawmakers heard testimony from Dave McLimans, a Vietnam veteran and a retired steelworker.
He urged lawmakers to ensure benefits like Medicare and Social Security stay intact for older Americans.
“I didn’t serve my country to work and pay taxes for 44 years as an active steelworker just to let my voice fade away and see younger generations lose benefits I fought for,” said McLimans.
Workplace discrimination for older Americans was another focus of the discussion.
“Age discrimination is bad for people, and it’s bad for the economy,” said Dr. Ernest Gonzales, Director of the Center for Health and Aging Innovation at New York University.
There is now bipartisan legislation under consideration aimed at better protecting older Americans in the workplace against age discrimination.