Sen. Franken raises concerns about how sequester affects Minnesota seniors

U.S. Senator Al Franken is raising concerns about the effect of sequestration on Minnesota seniors.

Federal across-the-board budget cuts known as the sequester reduced Older Americans Act funding in Minnesota by about six percent, or $1.4 million, from 2012 levels. That money is used for senior services like home-delivered meals and transportation.

At a Monday meeting in St. Paul with about 150 seniors and senior advocates, Franken said providing those services can actually save money.

"It enables seniors to stay in their homes, where they want to be, where they prefer to be, and not have to go into a senior living facility, go into a nursing home, which just costs so much more money," he said.

So far, agencies that distribute the funds in Minnesota have been able to make up for the cuts by using reserves, but those reserves will be gone by year's end.

"We will feel the impact of sequestration beginning in January 2014," said Dawn Simonson, executive director of the Metropolitan Area Agency on Aging. "So that will result, very likely, in reduction in services for seniors and family care givers.

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