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AARP Illinois' 2022 Legislative Session: We Fought Hard and Won

This 2022 Spring regular legislative session, AARP Illinois fought hard on issues important for its 1.7 million members and older adults in Illinois.

Below is a summary of the many legislative wins that AARP Illinois advocated for on behalf of older adults across the state.

These wins will bring meaningful change to older adults across the state in the areas of nursing home reform, caregiving, retirement security, livable communities, affordable housing, utilities, home and community-based services and consumer protections.

NURSING HOME RATE REFORM
A new law will bring reforms in nursing home facilities to prioritize residents’ quality of life, reduce inequities of care, and demand heightened facility accountability and transparency.

COMMUNITY SPOUSAL SUPPORT
Community spouses will now be permitted to retain the highest allowable amount of their own assets under state and federal law.

SB 1405 makes sure no one in a nursing home will ever have to die alone again by ensuring residents will be able to have a loved one by their side


LIVABLE COMMUNITIES:

HB 2775 bill ensures that renters cannot be turned away for using Social Security, veteran’s housing benefits or other sources of income such as vouchers if they are otherwise qualified. Landlords continuing these discriminating practices could face litigation in state court.

SB 1975 makes it easier for older adults and people with disabilities in Cook County to receive and maintain property tax benefits by providing for automatic annual renewal of the Persons with Disabilities Exemption and streamlines benefits for low-income seniors.

HOME AND COMMUNITY BASED SERVICES:
A bill passed creates a three-year Illinois Commission on LGBTQ Aging; requires the Director of the Illinois Department on Aging to appoint an LGBTQ Older Adults Advocate (first in the country) to ensure the needs and experiences of LGBTQ older adults and older adults living with HIV are incorporated into the department’s programming and policymaking; and requires providers that are funded by or contract with the Illinois Department on Aging complete LGBTQ older adult awareness and competency training. 

The approved FY23 Illinois state budget fully funds
budget fully funds the state’s Community Care Program, adds an additional $4 million for caregiving.

DEMENTIA TRAINING

Senate Bill 3707 will ensure that education on Alzheimer’s and dementia, safety risks, and effective communication are incorporated into the annual training for Community Care Providers.

House Bill 4388 applies the dementia training requirements to paramedics that already apply to doctors, nurses, and other healthcare providers. This means that paramedics will receive at least one hour of training on dementia care and communication prior to each relicensure, as part of the existing training hours required for relicensure.

MAKING ILLINOIS AFFORDABLE

The FY23 Budget gives property tax rebates of up to $300 and expands the earned income tax credit to those who are 65 and older.

HB 4979 allows the owner of a whole life insurance policy, when obtaining favorable consideration for Medicaid to make an irrevocable assignment of all or a part of his or her rights under the policy to a funeral home in accordance with a specified provision of the Illinois Funeral or Burial Funds Act.

UTILITIES
HB 4973 strengthens the ability of the Illinois Commerce Commission to protect consumers from fraudulent practices of alternative retail electric and gas suppliers.  It amends the Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act and adds that fines for violations can be as high as $10,000 (currently $1,000).  The Commission may also now revoke a supplier’s certificate if there is a pattern of violations. 

DISRUPTING DISPARITIES FOR LGBTQ OLDER ADULTS

SB3490 creates three-year Illinois Commission on LGBTQ Aging; requires the Director of the Illinois Department on Aging to appoint an LGBTQ Older Adults Advocate (first in the country) to ensure the needs and experiences of LGBTQ older adults and older adults living with HIV are incorporated into the department’s programming and policymaking; and requires providers that are funded by or contract with the Illinois Department on Aging complete LGBTQ older adult awareness and competency training. 

About AARP Illinois
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