AARP Eye Center
AARP’s purpose is to empower people to choose how they live as they age. Many policy changes enacted this legislative session will help Connecticut residents do just that.
Most older adults want to remain in their own home and community as they age. AARP staff, volunteers and member e-activists worked diligently to ensure that older adults are supported through program availability, quality services, consumer protections and initiatives to address affordability and the cost of living in Connecticut.
The budget expands the existing exemption for pension and annuity earnings starting with returns filed in early 2025. Under current law, those benefits are exempt for single filers whose overall adjusted gross income (AGI) is less than $75,000 and for couples whose AGI is less than $100,000. Those who make even $1 more receive absolutely no tax exemption. The budget reduces those exemptions for singles making between $75,000 and $100,000, and for couples earning between $100,000 and $150,000. The details about this portion of the budget can be found in section 394.
“We are pleased with the continued progress toward reducing the income tax burden on retirees in this state,” said Nora Duncan, AARP Connecticut State Director. “AARP believes the state can and should do more to keep retirees in Connecticut and simplify our retiree income tax laws. This issue will continue to be a priority for us in future legislative sessions.”
AARP Connecticut appreciates the bipartisan efforts that resulted in the passage of many key priorities during the 2023 Legislative Session, including the below highlights:
Energy Protections (Senate Bill 7)
AARP supports legislation that creates a more equitable and transparent energy market that works in the best interest of Connecticut's consumers of energy. This bill – as a follow up to the “Take Back Our Grid Act” of 2022 – adds further consumer protections to the law, including a prohibition on pushing the cost of defending rate increase hearings onto consumers, reducing ratepayers’ monthly energy charges, and reimbursing consumers for spoiled food and medicine resulting from a prolonged outage.
Financial Exploitation (Senate Bill 1088)
Experts estimate that more than 369,000 incidents of financial abuse targeting older adults – resulting in an estimated $4.8 billion in losses – are reported to authorities in the U.S. each year; and these figures likely understate the problem by a considerable amount. AARP is committed to protecting seniors from financial exploitation and has been at the forefront of advocacy in support of federal and state laws and regulations that prevent these forms of abuse. This bill, among other things, makes it easier for financial institution representatives to stop suspected financial exploitation of people 60+, protecting them from liability in certain cases (good faith and reasonable care). Under this bill provision, “financial exploitation” is taking advantage of an eligible adult by another person or caretaker for a monetary, personal, or other benefit, gain, or profit. It also adds good consumer protections such as strengthening Power of Attorney provisions, requiring paper statements if requested, and more.
Early Voting (House Bill 5004)
The people of Connecticut overwhelmingly approved in-person early voting in the 2022 election. As a result, this bill will require 14 days of early in-person voting be implemented for the 2024 elections. Additionally, House Joint 1 – A Resolution Approving a State Constitutional Amendment to Allow No-Excuse Absentee Voting – passed for the second consecutive legislative session and will give voters another chance to change the voting laws in Connecticut. A question asking voters to decide if we should change the Constitution to allow for no excuse absentee balloting will appear on 2024 ballots.
Health Care Costs (House Bill 6669)
Older adults should not have to choose between paying for the medication they need to stay healthy and paying for other necessities like food and utilities. HB 6669 allows Connecticut to join the ArrayRx program. This program will provide CT residents with a discount card that they can use at the pharmacy to access lower Rx drug prices. The bill also addresses – among other things – issues of transparency regarding the availability of generic drugs, pharmacy benefits managers’ practices related to prescription drug distribution, and hospital facility fees. In a recent survey of older adults in Connecticut, 96% of respondents said that having adequate health insurance coverage was an important issue to them, and 87% said the same about paying for healthcare expenses. This legislation is a good step toward addressing these concerns.
Caregiving (House Bill 5781)
Connecticut Medicaid spent $3.5 billion on Long-Term Care in 2022 and because of this legislation, Connecticut taxpayers are getting more of the financial transparency they deserve and older adults and people with disabilities will get more of the quality care they deserve. A few of the things it does: creates a state Dementia Services Coordinator position; creates a number of consumer protection enhancements in homemaker companion agencies; requires that the Long-Term Care Ombudsman be notified of any involuntary transfers & discharges from nursing homes; helps create family councils in Managed Residential Communities that offer assisted living services; and requires that nursing homes provide a narrative of their annual cost reports, disclose if they are owned by a private equity or real estate investment company, and be transparent about related party entities that receive at least $30,000 in income from the nursing home each year.
Pedestrian Safety (House Bill 5917)
Vision Zero is a strategy to eliminate traffic fatalities and severe injuries for everyone who uses the road. More than 380 people were killed on Connecticut roads in 2022 – the highest number in 30 years – and 55% of pedestrians killed in Connecticut in 2022 were over the age of 55. The legislation, among other things: requires the state Department of Transportation to adopt an intersection control evaluation policy to evaluate new intersections or modify existing ones; allows municipalities to install red light cameras in specified locations and sets guidelines for how those cameras are used; and gives prosecutors the ability to require those contesting traffic tickets to take an approved driver safety course as a way to resolve the ticket.
In addition to advocacy work, AARP is committed to providing valuable information and resources through a wide variety of free educational, interactive, and fun events. Learn more about AARP in Connecticut at www.aarp.org/ct and explore the variety of in-person and virtual offerings at www.aarp.org/CTEvents. Stay informed by signing up for our emails.