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Seniors

  • Van Pelt: We must act now to save seniors

    vanpelt 012820CHICAGO – To bring attention to the many West Side seniors who aren’t getting the help they need during the coronavirus pandemic, Senator Patricia Van Pelt (D-Chicago) held a press conference Sunday and urged the community to get involved with relief efforts.

    “What are these seniors supposed to do?” said Van Pelt. “They have no resources, no transportation, which means no access to testing, no way to get groceries, no basic sanitary products. Somebody’s got to act on their behalf.”

    Van Pelt was joined at the press conference by a number of community leaders, including:

     

    • Robin Hood, Senior Liaison for the 5th District;
    • Rosemary Coleman, Local Advisory Council President (LAC) for Chicago Housing Authority;
    • Louvenia Hood, Executive Director, Mothers Opposed to Violence Everywhere; and
    • Valencia Pringle, Executive Director, Family Cares Mission.

    They discussed the needs of the senior community, and how they have been neglected. Seniors are the most susceptible to the virus, with nearly half of the state’s cases being reported in nursing homes.

    Before the press conference, Van Pelt and her team distributed 10,000 pairs of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to hundreds of residents at Albany Terrace and Patrick Sullivan Apartments. Patrick Sullivan is one of three homes in the senior living community that has suffered coronavirus-related casualties, according to LAC President Rosemary Coleman.

    “I feared this would happen,” said Rev. Hood. “These seniors have been left in the dark, deprived of the resources they need to stay alive. I’m not going to sit here and wait for them to die.”

    Despite the PPE packages the seniors received on Sunday, Van Pelt says that won’t be enough to protect them against the worst of the coronavirus.

    “For the sake of our seniors’ health and safety, we can’t let the current conditions continue,” Van Pelt said. “I urge members of the community to step in and donate what they can to help make sure our older citizens can get the help they need.”

    Van Pelt’s office is partnering with Family Cares Mission and asks that anyone interested in helping the city’s seniors donate here.

  • Senior tax exemptions will now renew automatically

    Propert TaxesPARK FOREST – Senior citizens who have qualified for property tax exemptions in Cook County will only need to reapply one more time, State Senator Patrick Joyce (D-Essex) announced.

    Public Act 101-0622 removes the requirement that recipients of the Senior Homestead Exemption in Cook County reapply for the exemption every year.

    “Senior citizens in the South Suburbs are going to have a big weight lifted off their shoulders next year,” Joyce said. “I’m pleased that Illinois is taking steps – even small ones – to correct our broken property tax system.”

  • Cunningham announces expanded benefit opportunities for seniors

    seniors 010820SPRINGFIELD – More seniors will be eligible for certain state benefits under new changes implemented by the Illinois Department on Aging, State Senator Bill Cunningham announced Tuesday.

    “Many seniors live on a fixed income, and we need to ensure that all of them have access to the benefits they need,” said Cunningham, a Democrat who represents portions of Chicago and the southwest suburbs. “This program provides valuable assistance to some of the most vulnerable people in our state. Expanding its availability is simply the right thing to do.”

    The new rules increase annual income limits to participate in the Benefits Access Program, which includes the Secretary of State license plate discount, seniors ride free transit benefit and persons with disabilities ride free transit benefit. Eligibility for the program is now determined by income as follows:

    • For households containing one person, an annual income of less than $33,562
    • For households containing two persons, an annual income of less than $44,533
    • For households containing three or more persons, an annual income of less than $55,500

    For applications submitted between January 1 and April 15, income amounts from 2018 will be used to determine eligibility. For applications submitted after April 15, income amounts from 2019 will be used.

    The changes come as part of the bipartisan budget implementation bill passed by the General Assembly last spring. This is the first time the annual income limits for the program have been increased since 2010.

    Applications may be submitted online at www.illinois.gov/aging under the “Benefit Access” tab. For assistance, call the Illinois Department on Aging Senior HelpLine at 1-800-252-8966 (hearing impaired call 1-888-206-1327).

  • More seniors eligible for transportation assistance in 2020

    Sen. Laura FineSPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department on Aging has adjusted its annual income eligibility limits for the Benefit Access Program, allowing more seniors to qualify to receive transportation assistance in 2020.

    “This is the first income limit increase since 2010, despite the rising cost of living,” said State Senator Laura Fine (D-Glenview). “It’s been a long time coming, but I’m glad to see that our most vulnerable seniors will now be able to get help with their transportation needs.”

    The Benefit Access Program includes the Secretary of State License Plate Discount, the Seniors Ride Free Transit Benefit and the Persons with Disabilities Free Transit Ride. The services aim to help older adults live independently by improving their transportation options.

    For applications submitted on or after Jan. 1, 2020, the new annual income limit for a two-person household is $44,533. This is an increase of nearly $8,000 from the previous income limit.

  • Crowe’s event educated seniors on fraud and identity theft prevention

    State Senator Rachelle Crowe (D-Glen Carbon) and State Rep. Katie Stuart (D-Edwardsville) greet the crowd in Caseyville Public Library on Wednesday morning.CASEYVILLE – As technology evolves and scammers find new ways to target the older population, State Senator Rachelle Crowe (D-Glen Carbon) reminded people of the many ways in which they should protect themselves during the seminar for seniors she hosted Wednesday.

    “Scammers are getting more and more creative over the phone and internet, and are targeting elders’ wallets,” Crowe said. “I wouldn’t be doing my job if I wasn’t trying my best to provide seniors with the skills to fight back.”

    The event was free and open to the public at the Caseyville Public Library on Wednesday. The Attorney General’s Office and State Rep. Katie Stuart (D-Edwardsville) co-hosted the event with Crowe.

  • Bertino-Tarrant cuts red tape for seniors

    jbt 041118 3SPRINGFIELD – Illinois seniors may soon no longer need to reapply for Senior Citizens Homestead Exemptions, thanks to State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant.

    Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) introduced Senate Bill 140, which would eliminate the need for senior citizens to reapply for an exemption once the assessor or chief county assessment officers grants a Senior Citizens Homestead Exemption.

  • Murphy proposal would help seniors with rising property taxes

    murphy 021617DES PLAINES – More senior citizens could save money on their property taxes under legislation filed by State Senator Laura Murphy (D-Des Plaines).

    Murphy’s proposal raises the income limit to $75,000 for senior citizens to claim the assessment freeze homestead exemption on their property taxes. The cap currently is $65,000.

    “I think the legislature should do more to help seniors stay in their homes and not be pushed out by rising home values and property taxes,” Murphy said. “That’s why I introduced a plan to raise the income cap for the senior freeze exemption.”

  • Harmon, Silverstein urge Rauner administration to move cautiously with senior care pilot program (VIDEO)

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  • Clayborne works to move Senate budget package forward

    clayborne 022817SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Senate moved a number of measures forward Tuesday in an effort to get the state back on track and solve the budget stalemate.

    State Senator James F. Clayborne (D-Belleville) supported measures that would fund social service agencies, bring economic investment back to the Metro East and help reduce the state’s deficit.

    “It is time to get this state back on track,” Clayborne said. “We are making some tough yet necessary decisions in the Senate. Nonetheless, these are decisions to keep places like the Lessie Bates Davis Neighborhood House open and ensure the citizens in our community have a renewed sense of livelihood.”

    The Senate continues to work on these measures in an effort to bring reforms to the state and put an end to the two-year budget stalemate once and for all.

    “Enough is enough. We need to ensure our seniors are taken care of, that after-school programs remain funded and that our most vulnerable residents no longer face uncertainty,” he said. “I hope this plan will make it to the governor’s desk and that he will support it. We need to get this done for the people of our state.”

  • Biss: Rauner’s proposed cuts to senior services cruel, ill-conceived

    SeniorAn effort to put the brakes on Gov. Bruce Rauner’s plan to take critical home care services away from Illinois’ aging population passed out of the state Senate on Thursday.

    Senator Daniel Biss (D-Evanston), chairman of the Senate’s Human Services Committee, sponsored legislation in response to the Rauner administration’s proposed cuts to the state’s Community Care Program.

    The measure, House Bill 4351, would protect elderly residents who qualify to receive health care services in their homes through the program, rather than requiring them to move into more expensive nursing home settings, as Rauner has suggested.

  • Bertino-Tarrant wants the statute of limitations extended for financial exploitation of elderly, disabled

    jbt 042116SPRINGFIELD— Under current law, prosecution for financial exploitation of an elderly person or a person with a disability must occur within three years of the offense being committed.

    State Sen. Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) is trying to extend the statute of limitations for this type of offense.

    “Seniors and the disabled aren’t always able to promptly recognize and report when they are being financially exploited, which is why it’s important to increase the timeframe when someone can be prosecuted for these crimes,” Bertino-Tarrant said.

    In general, most states allow individuals to be prosecuted for financial exploitation of a senior or disabled person longer than three years after the offense occurred.

    Alabama has a statute of limitations of seven years, and in Oregon the statute of limitations is six years. Minnesota recently extended the time period for when someone can be prosecuted for financially exploiting a senior or disabled person.

    The plan supported by the senator would increase the statute of limitations for financial exploitation of an elderly person or a person with a disability to seven years in Illinois. This would align with banking laws and regulations that require banks to maintain financial records for seven years.

    The proposal Bertino-Tarrant is backing also allows for defendants to be prosecuted for financial exploitation in any county where a victim over 60 or with a mental disability resides. This is important because suspects often live in a different county or state than their victim. Many seniors who have been financially exploited end up being placed in care facilities.

    Bertino-Tarrant is the chief co-sponsor of Senate Bill 3180, which passed out of the Illinois Senate today.  The legislation will now have to be approved by the Illinois House.

  • Seniors bring attention to impact of budget impasse (VIDEO)

    Seniors bring attention to impact of budget impasse

  • Senators Biss, Martinez, Raoul join SEIU to invest in Illinois families

    biss martinez raoulSPRINGFIELD — State senators Daniel Biss (D-Evanston), Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) and Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago) announced today that they will be working with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) on a legislative agenda designed to protect children, working parents and seniors.

    “At a time when working families are being attacked by the governor’s policies, it’s important to find ways to strengthen our state’s child care and home health care programs,” said Martinez, who is sponsoring Senate Bill 2536, which would safeguard existing health insurance for child care providers and ensure they receive appropriate training.

  • Forby’s facility tours highlight how budget disproportionately effects Southern Illinois

    forby map training centerState Senator Forby (D-Benton) toured several rehabilitation and healthcare facilities to discuss the consequences Southern Illinois faces if Governor Rauner doesn’t work with legislators to pass a budget. Senator Forby listened to suggestions from the community affected by the budget so he can bring their recommendations to Springfield.  

    “Governor Rauner is holding the budget process hostage in exchange for proposals in his wage-killing turnaround agenda,” Senator Forby said.

  • Biss: Protecting the DON score threshold protects the most vulnerable

    biss locpensSPRINGFIELD — State Senator Daniel Biss (D – Evanston) released the following the statement as the House passed legislation protecting eligibility requirements for older adults and persons with disabilities:

    “We cannot in good conscience change the eligibility standards for our citizens who rely on daily essential services. Keeping the eligibility score at 29 will allow Illinoisans to stay in their homes and receive minimal care instead of forcing people into costly nursing home facilities.

    This bill protects 24,000 adults in the Community Care Program and 10,000 persons with disabilities in the Home Services Program by allowing them to keep their care. I applaud its passage and I look forward to its ultimate signing into law.”

    Through the safeguards created by this prospective law, service recipients are protected should the eligibility tool change or a new tool be implemented to determine need, which will allow for a gradual transition and less disruption of services.

    The legislation has passed both Houses and now moves to the governor’s desk.

  • Senate Democrats lead in protecting seniors, people with disabilities (AUDIO)

    biss don 81815Seniors struggling to stay in their homes and people with disabilities in need of vital care would still have access to services under a plan passed by the Senate today. Without today’s action, substantial and detrimental changes to state-provided care proposed by the governor would force tens of thousands of older adults and adults with disabilities out of their homes and into costly nursing home facilities.

    “The governor is cutting much more than hypothetical dollars from the budget with his plan,” said State Senator Daniel Biss (D – Evanston). “He is cutting a lifeline for thousands of seniors and disabled Illinoisans who often rely on minimal and inexpensive services to ensure their basic health and safety.”

  • Collins protects, informs seniors seeking reverse mortgages

    collins reversemrg mrSPRINGFIELD – In the wake of revelations that at least one con artist used a risky financial product called a reverse mortgage to scam dozens of senior citizens, State Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-Chicago 16th) was pleased to announce today that the governor has signed her legislation designed to protect consumers from losing their homes in reverse mortgage schemes.

    “A reverse mortgage is a complicated financial product that can leave homeowners and their families vulnerable to scams and unable to pay when the loan comes due,” Collins said. “This legislation requires lenders to provide potential borrowers with accurate information about the product, a list of counselors they can contact if they need help and the opportunity to reconsider within three days of signing the paperwork.”

    For almost 30 years, a lawsuit filed by the state alleges Chicago remodeler Mark Diamond tricked senior citizens into taking out reverse mortgages – which pay out cash advances based on a homeowner’s equity – and then use the loan proceeds to pay his company to make home improvements. Instead, Diamond took the money while the repairs remained unfinished or poorly done. Many of his victims and their families faced losing cherished homes they’d owned for decades when the homeowner died or moved into long-term care and the loan (the cash paid out, plus interest) came due. Attorney General Lisa Madigan is asking a court to put Diamond, who kept his scheme going by conducting it under the auspices of different companies, out of business for good. Diamond’s practices are also under federal investigation.

    Collins worked with Madigan, Housing Action Illinois and other advocates on Senate Bill 1281, which ensures potential borrowers are informed about the risks of reverse mortgages and also prohibits someone who facilitates a reverse mortgage from accepting any of the proceeds in exchange for services, as Diamond did. Finally, the legislation prevents conflicts of interest by banning lenders from receiving compensation in exchange for trying to sell borrowers on other financial products, such as life insurance policies and investments.

    “The senior citizens I represent take great pride in their homes; many have worked hard their whole lives to pay off their mortgages,” Collins said. “Strong consumer protections can help them avoid unscrupulous schemes so they can live out their later years in peace and dignity and not worry about whether the family home will be there for their children and grandchildren.”

  • Biss's Silver Search legislation to help Alzheimer's patients signed into law

    Biss's Silver Search legislation to help Alzheimer's patients signed into law

    SPRINGFIELD - When a loved one is missing, every moment can feel like an eternity. That wait can be especially terrifying if the missing person suffers from dementia, potentially leaving them without the cognitive abilities to stay safe until help arrives.

    A bill sponsored by Illinois state Senator Daniel Biss (D-Evanston) was signed into law today, providing law enforcement with extra tools to help locate older adults with Alzheimer's or related dementia when they go missing. The new law creates the Silver Search program, whose task force will develop a toolkit and statewide awareness program.

    "There's great risk when people with dementia go missing that they might not be able to keep themselves safe," said Sen. Biss, "so it's imperative we use all the tools at our disposal to find them quickly. Silver Search and programs like it are used across the country to help law enforcement act swiftly and appropriately to help locate this specific population."

  • Bertino-Tarrant passes legislation to modernize methods for locating individuals with Alzheimer’s

    Bertino-Tarrant passes legislatioto modernize methods for locating individuals with Alzherimer's

    SPRINGFIELD - Last year, in Georgia, an elderly man suffering from Alzheimer’s slipped away from his home in the middle of the night and wandered into a nearby neighborhood in the cold only to be shot dead when mistaken for an intruder.

    And this year in Texas, an elderly man suffering from Alzheimer’s wandered away from his family’s home in the middle of the night in the midst of freezing temperatures. He was later found dead.

    These are the tragic stories state Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) worked to prevent through legislation she helped pass out of the Illinois Senate this year. Her plan, which was signed into law today, allows law enforcement, Department on Aging and local law enforcement agencies to create a statewide awareness program to help locate individuals with Alzheimer’s and other cognitive diseases who go missing.