CUFF Act Threatens Aging ALRP Clients

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 14:  U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem (R-SD) speaks during a news briefing after a House Republican Conference meeting January 14, 2014 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Congressional negotiators have reached to an agreement of a $1.1 trillion spending bill to avoid another government shutdown when the current funding ends tomorrow.  (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)A significant number of people living with HIV/AIDS in San Francisco are over the age of 50 and disabled, meaning they depend on SSI and SSDI to remain housed, clothed, and fed.

U.S. Representatives Sam Johnson (R-Texas), Kristi Noem (R-South Dakota), and Senator Dan Coats (R-Indiana) have recently introduced the “Control Unlawful Fugitive Felons Act of 2015” or CUFF Act (H.R. 2504).  This act would prohibit the payment of Social Security, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), or Special Veterans Benefits (SVB) to people who are the subject of an arrest warrant for a felony or for an alleged violation of probation or parole. The CUFF Act would not apply to people wanted for serious offenses who law enforcement is actively pursuing, but would apply only to those who law enforcement decides not to go after, e.g. primarily minor offenses such as failure to pay a fine or fee or for very old warrants.

Justice in Aging, a national organization that advocates for the interests of low income older Americans, has released a disturbing list of all the ways the CUFF Act could impact ALRP’s clients, which has been excerpted below:

– Hundreds of thousands of people would lose Social Security Old Age or Disability Insurance benefits or SSI benefits.

– A significant number of people will become homeless when they lose their benefits.

– Some people have had benefits cut off while residing in nursing homes.

– A very high percentage of those who will lose their benefits are people with intellectual disabilities or mental illness. A majority of those affected who are receiving benefits based on disability fall into these categories.

– Many will lose Medicare outpatient (Part B) coverage because of inability to pay the quarterly premium.

What can you do to prevent the CUFF Act from passing? Contact the offices of Senators Boxer & Feinstein today to let them know of your opposition to this bill, and, perhaps most importantly, stay informed!  ALRP clients are counting on it.