Valley Viewpoints: Increase needed

by Roxanne Stuart, President Resident Council Michaud Residential Health Services

As a resident of Michaud Residential Health Services in Fulton, I ask you to contact your elected state officials and urge their support of legislation that seeks to amend the social services law, in relation to the personal expense allowance for residents of residential health care facilities receiving or eligible to receive supplemental security income payments and/or additional state payments (Senate Bill 2464/Assembly Bill 7832).

This legislation seeks to increase the personal needs allowance of residents of residential health care facilities from $50 to $100 per month.

Currently, residents of residential care facilities are afforded a personal care allowance of fifty dollars per month. Residents are primarily senior citizens who reside in skilled nursing facilities, many of whom depend solely on Social Security and SSI or other forms of assistance.

All are on fixed incomes that depend on this allowance to pay for everything from their clothing, haircuts, and special toiletries to the few additional amenities such as cable television, telephone service and trips away from the nursing home which may cost more than half of the monthly share.

The last increase in the personal needs allowance was in 1981. Since that time, recipients have seen a drastic decrease in the real dollar value of their allowance. This personal needs allowance is an important quality of life issue for residents.

The personal needs allowance for nursing home residents comes from state funds. No cost of living adjustments of the past 19 years have been applied to this allowance.

I urge you to contact state lawmakers and support this legislation and ensure that it moves from committee, is passed by Legislature and ultimately signed into law by the governor.

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