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AARP Foundation BACK TO WORK 50+ is made possible in part by the generous support of Walmart Foundation.

 

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SCSEP Returns Taxpayers' Investments with Interest

At a time of record unemployment and hardship among the elderly poor, the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) is the only program in the U.S. that provides community services and work-based training to low-income, unemployed older Americans age 55-plus. (In fact, 83 percent are 60-plus, and 27 percent are 70-plus.)

Eligibility for SCSEP training is limited – only seniors whose incomes are lower than $13,613 (125 percent of the federal poverty level) can take part. Three out of five are women, and 51 percent are minorities.

SCSEP has 18 national sponsors who link SCSEP participants with training and then help them find real jobs. AARP Foundation SCSEP is its second-largest national sponsor and the most successful in moving participants to jobs: More than 500,000 older people have found work through AARP SCSEP.

AARP Foundation SCSEP places its trainees at "host agencies" – nonprofit organizations and local community service programs that provide almost every community service imaginable, from day care centers, schools and hospitals to food kitchens and VA centers.

In return, the agencies help SCSEP trainees build new skills – skills that will help them find work. Like most trainees, SCSEP participants don't earn much. The program, not the host agencies, subsidizes their training by paying them minimum wage for the 20 hours a week they train at their host agencies. At $7.25 an hour, that comes to $145 per week.

Why Else SCSEP Matters

SCSEP cuts will have a ripple effect on local economies. Almost all community service organizations and nonprofits are already dealing with state and federal budget cutbacks; those that can accept private donations have seen those drop, too. With fewer SCSEP trainees, host agencies will have to cut their services to vulnerable low-income people – children, the sick, the elderly – who need their services the most.

AARP Foundation SCSEP returns taxpayers' investments with interest. In 2010, AARP SCSEP's social return on investment (SROI) was $200 million.

Host agencies save $192 million in wages by using SCSEP trainees (based on Independent Sector volunteer wage valuation of $20.25 per hour x 9 million hours).

By turning users of federal funds into taxpayers, SCSEP saves $7.5 million a year (based on 5,000 SCSEP trainees finding unsubsidized jobs and paying $1,500 each in taxes).

Income
Resources

Use the navigational menu to learn more about the tools and resources that will help low-income Americans age 50 and over regain control of their financial stability.

Featured
Programs & Services

AARP Tax Aide

AARP Foundation Tax-Aide

This program offers free assistance with tax-return preparation. Go

grandmother with her two grandaughters

AARP Benefits QuickLink

See if you qualify for public assistance and you can save money on health care, medication, food, utilities, and more! Go

AARP Foundation Finances 50+

Finances 50+

This financial capability program is a collaboration between AARP Foundation and Charles Schwab Foundation. Go

Couple standing outside home, Create the Good

Housing Solutions Center

This program offers free HUD-certified counseling and assistance to 50-plus homeowners who are at risk of foreclosure. Go

Medical team at a computer, AARP Foundation Back to Work 50+

Back to Work 50+

We are partnering with workforce services providers to strengthen the bridge between 50+ job candidates and respected employers. Read

Income in the
News

Are Boomers Confident About Retirement Saving? Survey Says No.

(Marketwatch, April 2) - A new survey by the Insured Retirement Institute notes a marked drop in the last two years in boomers' confidence that they are saving enough for retirement. Read

Older Americans Adding to Debt to Help Relatives

(Marketplace, March 27) - Recent studies indicate that 50+ Americans now carry more credit card debt than those under 50, the first time for such a swing. And a good portion of that debt comes from older Americans helping out struggling relatives. Read

Challenges Face Those Who Want to Continue Working

(Huffington Post, March 21) - In her most recent blog, Sara Rix, senior strategic policy advisor with the AARP Public Policy Institute, notes that although many older Americans want to keep working, challenges such as ill health, job loss and caregiving responsibilities often still stand in the way; however, ongoing improvements in employment options continue to make "working close to forever" highly appealing. Read