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Raise the Personal Needs Allowance

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Medicaid patients in long-term care often have outside income, such as Social Security or pensions. But Medicaid takes most of that money to defray care costs, leaving residents with little to spend on personal items, such as toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo and gifts for family members.

A personal needs allowance (PNA) is a provision that allows patients to recoup some of those costs, but the limits—$30 per month for those in nursing homes and $46 for those in assisted living—have not been raised since 1987 and 2003, respectively.

AARP North Carolina is working with Friends of Residents in Long-Term Care to put pressure on the state legislature to increase the limits. A rise in the PNA for nursing homes of $40 would give residents about the same purchasing power that they had in 1987.

In assisted living facilities, where the PNA also covers co-pays for prescription drugs, it would take a $24 increase to give people the same purchasing power. A PNA raise would significantly enhance the quality of life. Keep apprised at aarp.org/nc.

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