Friday, August 28, 2009

Remembering Senator Ted Kennedy and Supporting the CLASS Act

Senator Ted Kennedy worked until his last days to help those less fortunate than himself. We are saddened by his death, but encouraged by the work he accomplished while serving as the 3rd longest serving member of the U.S. Senate. The Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) Act of 2009 is one of the last pieces of legislation he introduced, and one that WOW supports. Long-term care services are not affordable for all elders in poor health. Often times, elders move further away from economic security because of high out-of-pocket costs associated with these services.

According to the Elder Economic Security Standard™ Index, home and community-based long-term care costs can double, or in some cases even triple, an elder’s total expenses. In Connecticut, for example, a single elder without a mortgage needs $21,685 a year to make ends meet if they are in good health. However, if they need a just medium level of LTC support (16 hours a week) their annual expenses increase to $41,680.

The CLASS Act would help today’s workers afford to age in place and set up a national insurance program financed by voluntary payroll deductions for anyone who is 18 or older and working. Workers can then use the money saved when needed in their older years. This proposed legislation promotes choice and independence in a fiscally responsible way and is a solid next step toward addressing the challenge of making long-term care both affordable and accessible.

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