by Coretta Bedsole, AARP SC advocacy director
If you don’t know that AARP SC advocates for the 50 plus in the state legislature, then you don’t know “AARP.” The 2016 legislative session is over half way through, and so far it has been a very good year for family caregivers. The SC House passed a state budget that includes $1.5 million in new funds for home and community based services such as home delivered and congregate meals, transportation and in home care programs. The House also added $1 million in new funds for respite vouchers for family caregivers. The Senate Finance Committee supported the House funding and also added another $600,000 for respite care. AARP SC will continue to support these funding items as the budget process goes to the Senate floor, conference committee and on to the Governor for her signature.
Financial security has also hit the radar screen in the state legislature. Under the leadership of Senator Ronnie Cromer, the Senate Finance Committee adopted a budget amendment to establish a task force to study ways in which to encourage more of our state’s citizens to plan and save for retirement. AARP SC will work with elected officials and other stakeholders in the next months to develop a proposal. In South Carolina, 54% of employees or 827,000 individuals have no access to saving through their employer. 25 percent of households aged 55–64 do not have either a 401(k) or an IRA.
• The typical working-age household has only $3,000 in retirement assets and retirement households only have $12,000. The average Social Security check in SC is less than $1,200 per month, or about $14,000 per year.