AARP Applauds Passage of Connecticut General Assembly Budget

Posted on 05/03/22

AARP Connecticut State Director Nora Duncan provided the following statement in response to the state budget passed by the Connecticut General Assembly and expected to be signed by Governor Lamont:

“AARP’s mission is to empower people to choose how they live as they age, and an important part of choosing how we live as we age is being able to choose where we live as we age. Most older adults want to remain in their own home and community as they age. Program availability, services and affordability are critical factors in making these choices, and we are pleased that the budget includes provisions – many of which had strong bipartisan support – that will support older adults.

“We applaud the Governor, elected leaders, and legislators on both sides of the aisle for being responsive to AARP Connecticut’s nearly 600,000 members about the issues that are most important to them. Several pieces of this budget agreement will make it easier for older adults to age in place, and we hope it will encourage more of our valuable older residents to remain in Connecticut and continue to contribute to their communities.”

Long-Term Services and Supports
“According to a recent AARP survey, 81% of older Connecticut residents say that, if they ever need long-term care, they want to receive that care in their own home. The budget agreement supports this preference and makes the Connecticut Home Care Program for Elders (CHCPE) more accessible by lowering the copay for program participants from 4.5% to 3.0%. CHCPE provides assistance with activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing, eating, and taking medication, which allows older adults who are at risk of nursing home placement remain at home.

“The budget will also support individuals who receive home care through the creation of a Community Ombudsman Program for Home Care. This program will be modeled on the existing Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program, which provides information, support, and advocacy to individuals who receive care in institutional care settings like nursing homes. The Community Ombudsman Program will support the more than 30,000 individuals in Connecticut who receive Medicaid home and community-based long-term services and supports.

“When a married individual needs to move into a nursing home, the spouse who remains in the community typically needs to spend down their shared assets below a certain level for Medicaid to pay for the nursing home care. The budget includes an increase in the minimum community spouse protected asset limit from $27,480 to $50,000, which will help married low- and middle-income Connecticut residents remain in their home and meet their basic needs if their spouse enters a nursing home.”

High-Speed Internet
“Equitable access to broadband is increasingly essential for everything from employment to education to healthcare. High-speed internet access enabled older adults to overcome social isolation and remain connected to their families, friends, places of worship, senior centers, libraries, and more during the COVID-19 pandemic. In multigenerational households, broadband services are essential for remote learning, and improved access to telehealth has been beneficial to people of all ages. AARP Connecticut is pleased with the budget’s continued investments in broadband infrastructure in low-income communities and underserved areas.”

Tax Relief
“In addition to being a significant expense for many residents, Connecticut’s motor vehicle taxes are unpredictable from year-to-year and from one municipality to the next. These taxes have an especially burdensome impact on lower income residents and those on fixed incomes, including many older adults. The budget lowers the statewide car tax cap from 45 mills to 32.46 mills, which will provide relief to car owners in almost half of Connecticut’s towns.

“The budget will also increase the property tax credit from $200 to $300 and expand eligibility to more taxpayers. It also accelerates the phase-in of the pension and annuity income tax exemption by allowing qualifying taxpayers to deduct 100% of their eligible income beginning with the 2022 tax year. Under current law, pension and annuity income would not have been fully tax exempt until 2025.

“Making the Nutmeg State a friendlier place to live and retire independently is good for everyone. Older adults make up an ever-growing percentage of our state population, and they have an outsized impact on Gross Domestic Product and pay a disproportionately high share of state and local taxes.”

This story is provided by AARP Connecticut. Visit the AARP Connecticut page for more news, events, and programs affecting retirement, health care, and more.

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