The Dignity Voucher Program

Policy Paper
July 15, 2010

The United States faces two immense challenges: prolonged unemployment and an aging population. To meet the needs of the elderly while creating jobs for low-skilled workers, Michael Lind and Lauren Damme propose the Dignity Voucher program, an innovative system of service care vouchers for the elderly.

Modeled on successful service voucher programs in other countries, the Dignity Voucher program would provide federal funding for state-based eldercare service vouchers.  The program would increase demand for low-wage service sector workers, provide indirect financial assistance to elderly Americans who need occasional personal assistance they cannot afford, reduce the burden on many families of supporting their elderly relatives, and generate tax revenues by replacing informal, underpaid labor with adequately-paid, formal work.

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