Am I Being Targeted For Layoff Due To My Age?

Thinking of the next big idea
Thinking of the next big idea

An AOL Jobs reader asks:

I work for a large company in Ohio. There are 50 or so employees with my job title working at various locations in the area. The company has decided to eliminate all but 15 of those positions. I am 61 years old. The company first examined our work history, anyone with disciplinary actions were eliminated from the pool. We were informed some positions had been filled and yesterday "group interviews" were conducted. The union negotiated a severance package, one week pay for each year served, the company will continue to pay benefits for three months and they will not contest unemployment benefits. I have been informed by my department head they may offer a lesser paying position if I am not among those chosen. There are 3 people with my title at my store. Should I be permitted to choose between a lesser paying job and the severance package? After the severance package, unemployment, perhaps SSI disability, can I simply accept early retirement? What other options do I have?