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AARP Pennsylvania Capitol News

Family Caregiver Expansion Needs Senate Approval

As the PA General Assembly wraps up work before heading home for the summer, AARP PA is looking for your help to win approval of a much-needed change to the PA Family Caregiver Support Act that will bring the Commonwealth’s eligibility requirements in line with those of a matching federal program.

AARP and other senior advocacy groups want the State Senate to approve House Bill 245, which unanimously passed the House last year and would increases reimbursement limits for respite care and other care giving expenses, as well as the maximum lifetime grant limit for home modifications and assistive devices. Those changes represent the first adjustments since the state program was established in 1990.

In a tough budget year, it’s important to note that House Bill 245 does not require any additional state funding. The bill simply provides Area Agencies on Aging the flexibility to better target the resources they already receive. The Family Caregiver Program also allows older Pennsylvanians to remain at home and age in place, a much less expensive alternative than institutional care.

You can help in two ways:

  • Call 1-800-515-8134 and ask your State Senator to pass HB 245 before leaving for the summer recess.
  • Visit your state senator’s district office and deliver the message in person. If you do visit your state senator, we’d love to hear about it. Please drop a note to Advocacy Manager Ray Landis and let us know how the meeting went.  


Special Session Must Address Seniors’ Transportation Needs

AARP PA recently called on state lawmakers to develop a comprehensive transportation plan during the current special legislative session in Harrisburg that addresses the immediate and future needs of the state’s growing senior population.

AARP volunteer Mark Berg from Gettysburg told a state capitol news conference that PA’s very popular Free Transit, Shared Ride and Transportation for the Elderly programs serving older residents must be part of an overall plan that provides an accessible, safe, and affordable transportation system.

“By 2030, almost one in four Pennsylvanians will be over age 65,” said Berg. “The availability of transportation services, the safety of roadways and vehicles, and the design of communities are essential to helping Pennsylvanians live independently and are crucial concerns for midlife and older residents.”

Berg made his remarks at a news conference by the Keystone Transportation Funding Coalition, a group of more than 20 statewide organizations committed to a comprehensive long-term funding solution for all modes of transportation following the federal government’s rejection of a tolling plan for I-80.  

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