Mar 29

Seniors alerted to potential cuts, petition to Legislature

Date: March 29, 2017 | Category: News

Care Connection for Aging Services is joining the Missouri Association of Area Agencies on Aging to alert folks that thousands of older Missourians are facing cuts in services under the proposed state budget.
The proposed Missouri House Budget would eliminate the Circuit Breaker Property Tax Credit for seniors and people with disabilities who rent, impacting 100,706 people.
The House Budget also eliminates MORx for seniors who are on Medicare only, impacting 60,000 seniors.
Diana Hoemann, Executive Director of Care Connection, is leading an information campaign to alert the more than 10,000 clients who her agency serves of these pending cuts.
Some 77 percent of voters in Missouri are 60 and older, the age group served by Care Connection.
“We want to make sure that older Missourians are aware of these proposed cuts and have a way of expressing their concerns to their legislators,” Hoemann said.
To that end, leaders at all 22 senior centers in the district’s 13 counties are distributing information and making available a petition to be signed and sent to the Legislature immediately.
Among programs of Care Connection are home-delivered meals, ombudsman services, senior centers, disease prevention and health promotion, transportation, in-home services and public benefits counseling. Also being debated in the Legislatures are existing MORx prescription drug benefits, Circuit Breaker property tax credits, and Medicaid eligibility benefits.
Senior funding is $1.2 million below the 2008 funding level, according to the ma4. Nearly 400,000 Missouri seniors rely on Social Security for 90 percent of their annual income. This means that for every three seniors, one is struggling to meet the most basic needs—food, medicine, housing and transportation.
“We believe investing in senior programs is a smart move that will save the taxpayers millions of dollars,” said Hoemann, who serves as president of ma4. “Consider that in 2017 dollars, it will cost the Missouri taxpayer $53,000 for one senior to stay one year in a skilled Medicaid facility. That same senior, with access to area agency on aging senior services, could live safely and comfortably at home for $18,000.”
The petition calls for full state funding for the area agencies on aging; the preservation of MORx benefits for 60,000 seniors and the Circuit Breaker Property Tax Credits for seniors who rent their homes; no changes to Medicaid eligibility criteria that would make it more difficult for the poorest and disabled to qualify for care; and the creation of a Senior Services Growth and Development Program, providing a dedicated, stable source of funding for senior programs from a percentage of the premium tax on insurance.
The same petition is available online at https://www.gopetition.com/petitions/protect-senior-programs-in-missouri.html.
Care Connection for Aging Services is a non-profit that operates 23 locations in 13 counties with the mission to provide resources and services that empower people to create healthy aging experiences. For more information, call 1-800-748-7826.
Here is a county-by-county look at the number of seniors who receive MORx:
County MORx Member
Bates 992
Benton 1,522
Carroll 527
Cedar 1,207
Chariton 420
Henry 1,360
Hickory 766
Johnson 1,283
Lafayette 1,397
Pettis 2,364
Saline 1,213
St. Clair 695
Vernon 1,181