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Welch Legislation to Eliminate Major Barriers to Employment for Disabled Seniors

October 25, 2018
Press Release

BURLINGTON, Vt. – This morning at Gardener’s Supply, Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) unveiled his legislation to remove two major impediments to older disabled Americans remaining in the workforce past the age of 65.

“It simply doesn’t make sense to penalize disabled seniors who want to remain in the workforce beyond the traditional retirement age,” said Welch. “This legislation eliminates two arbitrary barriers that discourage disabled seniors from working. And it ensures employers have dedicated workers ready, willing and able to get the job done.”

Under current law, qualified disabled adults receive an average monthly payment of $845.17 under the Social Security Disability Insurance program (SSDI). Beneficiaries are permitted to work but lose their disability benefit at the age of 65 if they choose to remain in the workforce. Welch’s legislation eliminates this barrier subject to state approval.

Also under current law, qualified disabled workers receiving disability benefits can buy into the state Medicaid program in most states to receive assistance with health care premiums. When these beneficiaries reach the age of 65, they can no longer buy into the Medicaid program if they choose to continue working.  Welch’s bill also eliminates this barrier subject to state approval.

“In Vermont and across the country, people with disabilities face significant barriers to employment,” said Sam Liss, Chair of the Vermont Center for Independent Living (VCIL) Board of Directors. “We appreciate the leadership from Congressman Welch to remove these barriers and shed light on this important problem.”

Cindy Turcot, President of Gardener’s Supply Company said, “We at Gardener’s Supply are encouraged to hear about this legislation. We value the experience and wisdom of our mature workers and know how much they contribute to our business. This change will allow people the freedom to decide how long they want to work and eliminates the barriers for older workers with disabilities. Thank you to Congressman Welch.”

Gardener’s Supply is a 100 percent employee owned company with three Vermont locations. Recognized for their leadership in hiring Mature Workers, about 35 percent of the company’s employees are over the age of 55. Welch’s legislation would enhance their 65+ hiring program by allowing disabled seniors to continue working and receiving benefits.