— By Ryan Gruenenfelder   For too long Illinois has been without a comprehensive, balanced budget that helps make life better for residents of all ages. Since 2002, the Governor and the General Assembly have failed to pass a truly balanced budget. And for almost two years, the State has operated without anything beyond a ‘stop-gap’ budget.  This budgetary inaction has led to a current fiscal year 2017 budget deficit of somewhere between $5.4 billion to $7.8 billion, depending on whose …

— Millions of family caregivers in Illinois will have many reasons to celebrate during National Caregiving Month in November, as new laws will provide much and urgently needed help for them as they take care of their loved ones. Thanks to the tireless advocacy of AARP, the Hospital Association and other groups, the Illinois CARE Act will help to significantly increase coordination between caregivers and hospitals. The law requires hospitals to: Provide your loved one the opportunity to designate a family …

— New Federal Rule – and New Draft Rule for Big Cities – Could Help 3M+ Employees in NY Who Now Lack Access to Workplace Savings Plans NEW YORK, N.Y. – AARP today praised the finalization of a rule by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) that confirms states can facilitate the creation of automatic enrollment retirement savings plans for use by small businesses. AARP New York urged New York State – where over half of all private sector workers lack access …

— Some seniors remember celebrating when the Chicago Blackhawks—the most unlikely of the National Hockey League contenders in 1938—captured the Stanley Cup: It was April 12. Many more seniors recall the hoopla on April 12, 1983, when Harold Washington became Chicago’s first black mayor. This year, April 12 marks another historic milestone, but hardly one to celebrate. It’s Equal Pay Day, marking the day when the average woman’s income—in addition to her 2015 wages—finally matches the amount the average man earned …

— Family caregivers make sacrifices daily to ensure their loved ones receive the necessary care and attention required to help them continue to live independently. Working caregivers face additional stress when attempting to balance work and the demands associated with caregiving, some even coming to the decision to leave work to care for a loved one. The Eligible Leave for Employee Caregiving Time (ELECT) bill filed in the Illinois House of Representatives on February 11 would allow for working caregivers to …

— Statistically speaking, one in five women and one in ten men will get Alzheimer’s in their lifetime; however, certain individuals have a higher genetic risk. Your lifetime risk for Alzheimer’s disease can be as low as 5%, but as high as 70%, depending on your APOE genotype. Common variations in a gene called apolipoprotein E, or APOE, are highly correlated to risk of Alzheimer’s disease. People with the highest risk for the disease begin to accumulate brain changes as early …

— As the time to file taxes quickly approaches, scammers are presented with a month-long opportunity that could result in identity theft or tax fraud. Now, more than ever, is a crucial time for taxpayers.   Identity Theft Documents needed in order to file taxes for 2015 should begin arriving in mailboxes because employers have to mail W-2 and 1099 forms by January 31, though banks and brokerage firms may have later deadlines. Since these documents contain your Social Security number …

— In addition to a string of laws and amendments going into effect at the start of the New Year, the SNAP gross income limit in Illinois increased from 130 percent to 165 percent of the federal poverty level. This means an estimated 40,000 low-income working families will be eligible for SNAP benefits. SNAP is a federal program that combats food insecurity and poverty, allowing participants to spend money on nutritionally valued food that they wouldn’t have the chance to purchase …

— In response to Illinois’ current budget impasse, the Illinois Secretary of State is no longer mailing license plate renewal notices to Illinois drivers. Failure to renew ones license plate on time can leave drivers with a $20 late fee or a $120 traffic ticket should they be pulled over with expired plates. Illinois drivers have the option to sign up to receive email reminders when their plates are about to expire to avoid fees and tickets. In addition to no …