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Over 55 and Unemployed? This Authorities Program Will Prepare and Pay You


In the course of the pandemic, employees 55 and older misplaced jobs earlier, have been rehired slower and confronted greater unemployment charges than youthful employees, based on an October 2020 examine by The New College for Social Analysis.

These obstacles are particularly daunting for low-income seniors, who might lack the training, coaching or wrap-around assets essential to re-enter the labor pressure.

When you’re 55 or older and unemployed, a free work-based job coaching program from the Division of Labor can assist.

It’s known as the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP), and it supplies sponsored, part-time group service work to hundreds of low-income American seniors annually.

Maintain studying to be taught who’s eligible and how one can apply.

What Is the Senior Group Service Employment Program?

The SCSEP was created greater than 55 years in the past as a part of the Older Individuals Act of 1965.

This system goals to offer sponsored, part-time, group service work and coaching for folks ages 55 and older with low incomes.

The Division of Labor acquired $402.9 million in funding for SCSEP in 2021, based on the agency’s fiscal budget. It allocates these funds to numerous state companies and 19 nationwide nonprofit organizations.

The SCSEP helps pay the wage of an estimated 56,0750 older Individuals who take part in this system annually.

How Does the SCSEP Work?

The SCSEP is federally-funded and administered by states, which contract with local people service organizations. (Goodwill and AARP are two of the largest).

The SCSEP is particularly designed to fulfill the employment wants of older employees.

Contributors are positioned with an area nonprofit or authorities company and receives a commission to work 20 hours every week.

You’ll receives a commission the federal, state or native minimal wage — whichever is highest.

Professional Tip

The federal minimal wage in 2022 is $7.25. So  you may count on to earn at the least $145 every week earlier than taxes, or about $7,540 a 12 months. 

Sponsor companies are required to offer you supportive profession companies like resume writing and laptop coaching. Additionally they place you in a hands-on work project with an area nonprofit or authorities company.

This makes SCSEP a “win-win” for older employees and nonprofit teams alike, mentioned Emily Allen, AARP Basis’s senior vp of packages.

“The contributors get hands-on expertise and the group group will get further manpower to hold out their mission,” Allen instructed The Penny Hoarder.

These entry-level to mid-level group service jobs embrace work comparable to studying how one can function the ordering system at a meals financial institution or answering telephones at your native Council on Getting old.

Allen mentioned roles like this give employees present work expertise, which is enticing to potential employers.

“It’s typically simpler to discover a job when you’ve a job,” Allen mentioned. “Program contributors are actively working in an project, and that actually speaks to an employer.”

Once you’re not within the subject, organizations like AARP work one-on-one with SCSEP contributors to establish their expertise and profession aims.

“We focus loads on creating the gentle expertise and digital expertise they should search for and acquire employment,” Allen mentioned.

The purpose of the SCSEP is to function a bridge to full-time, unsubsidized work.

In different phrases, your SCSEP gig received’t final perpetually. Allen mentioned contributors often keep in this system for a few 12 months.

Nonetheless, many companies go on to rent SCSEP employees as full-time staff. Even when they don’t, you may take the abilities you discovered to get a everlasting place elsewhere.

Who Is Eligible?

You’ll want to fulfill sure standards to qualify for the SCSEP.

To be eligible, you could:

  • Be at the least 55 years previous.
  • Be unemployed.
  • Have a household earnings of not more than 125% of the federal poverty stage.

In 2022, 125% of the U.S. poverty stage is $16,100 a 12 months for a single particular person or $21,775 a 12 months for a family of two folks.

Professional Tip

You’ll be able to test to see in case your family meets 125% of the poverty threshold through the use of this tool on Advantages.gov. 

Be mindful: Earnings from sure authorities advantages doesn’t rely for SCSEP eligibility functions.

For instance, any SSI or Social Safety Incapacity funds you obtain aren’t included as earnings, and neither is 25% of your Social Safety retirement advantages.

In accordance with the Division of Labor’s web site, SCSEP provides employment precedence to the next demographics:

  • Veterans and certified spouses
  • People ages 65 and older
  • Individuals with disabilities
  • Residents of rural areas
  • People who find themselves homeless or susceptible to turning into homeless

How the SCSEP Works in Your Space

You should use the Older Worker Program Finder instrument on the federal CareerOneStop website to discover a SCSEP location in your space.

Likelihood is you’ll discover one. In accordance with a 2021 Department of Labor report, SCSEP-funded companies can be found in practically 3,000 U.S. counties and territories.

“We at all times wish to hold our positions crammed, so there’s often a recruitment occurring for brand new contributors,” Allen mentioned.

Rachel Christian is a Licensed Educator in Private Finance and a senior author for The Penny Hoarder.