Elimination of Social Security tax, caregiving, stronger protections against fraud & abuse among session goals
AARP West Virginia state leaders recently detailed the organization’s legislative agenda for the 2019 West Virginia Legislature, with a focus on legislative action in the areas of financial and retirement security, caregiving services and support, and strengthening communities. AARP West Virginia staff and volunteers are maintaining a very active presence at the State Capitol throughout the 60-day session, working on behalf of nearly 300,000 members across the Mountain State. AARP is working closely with state leaders on the passage of legislation impacting West Virginians 50-plus, which includes:
- Protecting Pensions and Retirement Income: Working to ensure older Americans have a brighter and more secure financial future in retirement, AARP supports policies that protect pension benefits and money earned over a lifetime of hard work, and change the way retirement income is taxed, including:
- Elimination of the state taxation of Social Security benefits, so older West Virginians on fixed incomes can keep more of their hard-earned money.
- Combatting Financial Exploitation and Elder Abuse: Working with the West Virginia Financial Exploitation Task Force, AARP supports state laws that strengthen protections against fraud, deception, and unfair practices; and equip consumers with the tools needed to make informed choices and to protect themselves. AARP is calling for new legislative and regulatory protections including:
- Strengthening Adult Protective Services (APS);
- Enhancing civil and criminal penalties to protect our most vulnerable citizens; and,
- Supporting fair lending and borrowing practices, and opposing any efforts to roll back existing protections.
- Supporting Family Caregivers: Approximately 300,000 family caregivers in West Virginia provide an estimated $2.8 billion in un-paid care annually. In 2019, AARP will continue working to support family caregivers and their loved ones by advancing laws and policy changes that will:
- Provide family caregivers with a needed break through greater access to adult day and respite care services;
- Remove barriers to telehealth services such as outdated regulations and reimbursement policies, in order to expand access to care for patients and family caregivers; and,
- Reduce the financial burden of caregiving through a tax credit for family caregivers.
- Accelerating the Pace of Change in Providing Quality Home and Community-Based Services: A majority of West Virginians want to stay in their homes and communities as they age. AARP is asking state policymakers to:
- Improve access so that consumers can easily find and afford services; and,
- Balance Medicaid expenditures to give consumers more choice in care settings (like home and community-based services).
- Strengthening Communities For All Ages: A majority of adults want to stay in their current homes and communities as they age. AARP supports actions at the state and local levels for improvements that make communities places where people of all ages can thrive – what we call “livable communities” – such as:
- Fair and affordable energy pricing policies by utilities and state regulators that do not burden energy consumers; and,
- Access to affordable, reliable, high quality telecommunication services, including broadband, that allow consumers to stay connected and productive.
“The majority of older West Virginians want to remain in their homes and communities for as long as they are able to do so. AARP’s state advocacy agenda reflects the organization’s commitment to find bipartisan solutions that enable more people to live and age as they choose,” said AARP West Virginia State President Rich Stonestreet. “Caregiving services and supports, financial and retirement security, and the continued improvement of our communities are issues that are very important to thousands of 50+ West Virginians and their families.”
For the latest updates on AARP’s state advocacy work at the State Capitol, follow AARP West Virginia on Facebook and on Twitter @AARPWV. The 60-day regular session of the West Virginia Legislature concludes on Saturday, March 9.
AARP WV Media Contact:
Tom Hunter, Associate State Director-Communications, firstname.lastname@example.org, 304.340.4605