AARP sent Governor Roy Cooper a letter asking him to preserve critical funding advancements for older adults in final budget negotiations.
July 1, 2019
Dear Governor Cooper:
On behalf of the 1.1 million AARP members in North Carolina and 1.2 million family caregivers in the state who provide uncompensated care to loved ones each year, I urge you to support the important advancements that help older adults and their family caregivers currently proposed in this year’s budget.
This year marks the first time in our state’s history when we are estimated to have more residents ages 60 and over than those ages 18 years or under. By the year 2025, one in five North Carolinians will be 65 and older. How we meet the needs of residents of all ages will determine how the state will continue to grow and prosper.
We ask that any budget revisions you send back for legislative consideration do not undermine sorely needed funding increases that help address some critical needs of older adults in North Carolina.
AARP is especially pleased that additional funds have been allocated for the Home and Community Care Block Grant (HCCBG) which provides in-home and community-based services in support of older adults and their unpaid primary caregivers. With a waitlist of over 10,000, the budget changes will allow an estimated additional 1,500 individuals to be served in FY 2019-2020 and an estimated additional 2,725 individuals to be served in FY 2020-2021 and thereafter, a good step in the right direction.
Another important advancement is the increase in the Special Assistance (SA) Personal Needs Allowance. This allowance is the only source of money for Medicaid-sponsored assisted living residents to purchase personal items like toiletries, postage stamps, or snacks. A long overdue increase for recipients changes the monthly allowance from $46 to $70 effective October 1, 2019.
We appreciate the support in your budget proposal and included in the recent legislative budget for recurring funding for NC 2-1-1 and increased funding for broadband. Better access to broadband will enable better access to telehealth and provide for other economic opportunities.
While a final budget is being negotiated, please consider starting at the level of funding approved by the General Assembly. As our older population continues to grow, we need to insure that valuable programs that serve their needs get the attention and funding they deserve. AARP thanks you for your leadership and stands ready to work with you to make the state better for all ages.
Lisa Riegel, Manager Advocacy & Communications, AARP North Carolina