Beth Finkel headshotProposes Paid Family Leave, Retirement Savings Plan Study, Caregiver Help; More Aid for Caregiver Supports Needed

Statement by AARP NYS Director Beth Finkel:

Paid Family Leave

“AARP applauds Governor Cuomo for proposing paid family leave, and his moving recollection of regret for not taking more time to be with his dying father said it all.

“Paid family leave would help not only parents of newborns but caregivers of older parents, spouses and other loved ones, as the Governor illustrated. And though he acknowledged he could have taken the time, he rightly noted that most New Yorkers can’t.

“Most family caregivers hold down full-time jobs, and they shouldn’t have to worry about losing pay – or losing their jobs – when they need to focus on caring for their loved ones.

“This commonsense solution would support family caregivers so they can provide the best care for their loved ones. AARP urges lawmakers to include paid family leave in the final state budget.”

Helping Working New Yorkers Save For Retirement

“Governor Cuomo acknowledged that middle class and economically struggling New Yorkers need help saving for a self-sufficient retirement, and AARP commends him for creating the NY SMART Commission to study a state-administered workplace retirement savings plan (pages 212-213).

“Assemblyman Rodriguez and Senator Savino have introduced a bill that provides a clear roadmap to address this growing problem as fewer employers offer pensions or 401(k)s. Already, 52 percent of New York’s 18- to 64-year-old private sector workforce – over 3.5 million New Yorkers – including over 60 percent of those under 35 and an astounding 67 percent of Hispanics, lack access to a workplace saving plan.

“Americans are 15 times more likely to save if they can do so through payroll deduction. Major newspapers across New York have urged the state to explore a state-facilitated plan, which could ultimately save taxpayers money by helping more New Yorkers achieve financial independence in retirement.

“We stand ready to work with the Governor and the Legislature to ensure New York creates an effective ‘Work and Save’ plan this session to empower individuals to save for their own retirement.”

Expanding Health Tasks by Advanced Home Health Aides

“Allowing properly supervised advanced home health aides to perform more health tasks, such as administering eye and ear drops, is one common sense step to help relieve the growing strain on family caregivers.

“Many caregivers are faced with trying to juggle demands at their own workplace with providing important, basic health tasks for their older parents, spouses and other loved ones at home.

“Helping caregivers is critical, since they allow our older loved ones to age with dignity and independence at home – where the vast majority want to be – rather than in much costlier and mostly taxpayer-funded institutional care settings.

“New York’s nearly 2.6 million unpaid family caregivers provide care valued at $31.3 billion annually. AARP applauds Governor Cuomo for continuing to press this issue with the Legislature, and we hope lawmakers join him in recognizing that the need to support our family caregivers through this and other common sense solutions is both compassionate and cost-effective.”

Caregiver Support Aid

“While expanding home health aides’ roles would help family caregivers, New York State must also keep pace with an aging population by adequately funding cost-effective services that allow our frail elderly to age as long as possible in their homes, rather than in expensive, taxpayer-funded institutional care settings. Governor Cuomo’s executive budget does not do so.

“AARP is urging an additional $25 million for non-Medicaid home and community based services for the elderly to eliminate waiting lists that total nearly 10,000 people who qualify, and another $30 million for State Office for the Aging (SOFA) programs that support family caregivers in need and in crisis situations.

“These services help support the nearly 2.6 million unpaid family caregivers across the state who play a critical role – valued at $31.3 billion annually – in helping loved ones age with dignity at home, as the vast majority want. Investing in these programs is both compassionate and cost-effective, and AARP urges state lawmakers to add this money to a final budget.”

Conclusion

“These initiatives are all aimed at helping middle class New Yorkers make ends meet. But they will also benefit taxpayers by helping New Yorkers remain financially independent through their later working years and into retirement, and by helping more New Yorkers age with dignity in their own homes rather than costly institutional settings. AARP will work hard to make sure these initiatives are part of a final state budget.”

Contact: Erik Kriss, ekriss@aarp.org

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AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, with a membership of more than 37 million, that helps people turn their goals and dreams into real possibilities, strengthens communities and fights for the issues that matter most to families such as healthcare, employment and income security, retirement planning, affordable utilities and protection from financial abuse. We advocate for individuals in the marketplace by selecting products and services of high quality and value to carry the AARP name as well as help our members obtain discounts on a wide range of products, travel, and services.  A trusted source for lifestyle tips, news and educational information, AARP produces AARP The Magazine, the world’s largest circulation magazine; AARP Bulletin; www.aarp.org; AARP TV & Radio; AARP Books; and AARP en Español, a Spanish-language website addressing the interests and needs of Hispanics. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to political campaigns or candidates. AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity of AARP that is working to win back opportunity for struggling Americans 50+ by being a force for change on the most serious issues they face today: housing, hunger, income and isolation. AARP has staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Learn more at www.aarp.org

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