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Virginia General Assembly Passes CARE Act


Family caregiver Pamela Bingham, left, asks lawmakers to pass the CARE Act at a press conference in January. AARP President Bob Blancato, middle, stands with Senate Bill 851 patron Senator Barbara Favola.

_  A bill to help family caregivers get more guidance when their loved ones are discharged from the hospital is on the way to Governor Terry McAuliffe's desk for his signature.  The Virginia House of Delegates and Virginia Senate passed House Bill 1413 and Senate Bill 851 earlier this week.

The new law will help family caregivers by providing them with more instruction about how to care for their loved ones after a hospital stay.

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.

“Helping Virginia’s 1.7 million caregivers get the assistance they need tops our list of priorities,” said AARP Virginia State President Bob Blancato. "This is a wonderful victory for everyone who has to take care of a family member after they have had a hospital stay."

There's just two weeks of the legislative session left.  AARP volunteers headed to the Virginia General Assembly in January to ask legislators to help caregivers who take care of family members and to start a program to help workers save for retirement.

“We also want to help give Virginia’s workers the ability to easily save for retirement,” Blancato said.

House Bill 1998, which would create a work group to explore creating a state retirement program for Virginia workers, is currently in the Senate Rules Committee.  It passed the House of Delegates in February and must pass the Senate committee before it is voted on by the full Senate.

 A recent 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.

With more than 1 million members in Virginia, AARP is the largest organization working on behalf of people age 50+ in the Commonwealth. which

AARP’s other legislative priorities for 2015 include:

Fair Redistricting: AARP Virginia wants to ensure that the next redistricting process is transparent and provides a meaningful opportunity for interested parties and the public to participate effectively. Gerrymandered districts cause voters to be detached from legislators and fellow constituents, elections to tip toward candidates that tend to be less moderate than the general population, and concession of elections by minority parties in districts they are unlikely to win -- leaving voters with no viable option and legislators who are protected by safe seats with little inherent interest in pursuing policies that help their constituents. AARP Virginia supports One Virginia 2021: Citizens for Fair Redistricting and their effort to promote discussion to find a path to fair redistricting.

Home and Community Based Services: Currently funding for long term services and supports in Virginia is heavily focused on nursing homes and other institutional care facilities. By expanding access to home and community based services, Virginia would enable more people to be served in their setting of choice, such as their home, and potentially save money by paying for less institutional care. AARP Virginia supports reforms to the long term services and supports system that allows individuals to remain in their homes or home-like settings.

Make Sure Budget Decisions are Fair to All Generations:AARP Virginia will monitor state budget proposals to be sure that decisions are fair to all generations and do not place an unnecessary hardship on our most vulnerable citizens.

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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 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.

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