FAMILY CAREGIVERS AND WORKERS GAIN LEGISLATIVE SUPPORT
RICHMOND _ A bill to help caregivers who take care of family members and another that could help workers save for retirement are on their way to the Governor’s desk after passing the Virginia General Assembly.
“We applaud the General Assembly for helping Virginia’s 1.7 million caregivers get the assistance they need,” said AARP Virginia State President Bob Blancato. “We are also pleased that legislators voted to look at ways to make it easier for Virginia’s workers to easily save for retirement.”
With more than 1 million members in Virginia, AARP is the largest organization working on behalf of people age 50+ in the Commonwealth. AARP Virginia advocates asked lawmakers to pass House Bill 1413 and Senate Bill 851, which will help family caregivers by requiring hospitals to provide them with more instruction about how to care for their loved ones after a hospital stay. The legislation passed last week and will take effect later this year.
Virginia’s family caregivers provide care to their loved ones that equals $11.7 billion if those family members were in a care facility, according to a 2011 AARP study.
The team of volunteer advocates also asked legislators to require the Virginia Retirement System to form a work group to develop recommendations to encourage and facilitate saving for retirement. An AARP Virginia survey shows that 86 percent of the state’s workers wish they had saved more for retirement and that only about half have access to a retirement savings plan such as a 401(k) through their employer.
House Bill 1998 requires the Virginia Retirement System to convene a work group to review current state and federal programs that encourage citizens of the Commonwealth to save for retirement by participating in retirement savings plans. The review will include an examination of retirement savings options for self-employed individuals, part-time employees, full-time employees whose employers do not offer a retirement savings plan, and groups with a low savings rate. The work group will include representatives of the Department of Taxation, small business, the self-employed, the Virginia College Savings Plan, and other stakeholders. The Virginia Retirement System will report its findings, which may include recommendations for statutory changes or amendments to the general appropriation act, to the Governor and the General Assembly by January 1, 2017.
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AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization with a membership that helps people 50+ have independence, choice and control in ways that are beneficial and affordable to them and society as a whole. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to either political campaigns or candidates. We produce AARP The Magazine, the definitive voice for 50+ Americans and the world's largest-circulation magazine with nearly 35 million readers; AARP Bulletin, the go-to news source for AARP's millions of members and Americans 50+; and our website, AARP.org. AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity that provides security, protection, and empowerment to older persons in need with support from thousands of volunteers, donors, and sponsors. We have staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.