Rep. Tuck to introduce Senior Benefits Program extension bill
Representative Chris Tuck (D-Anchorage) announced he will introduce legislation to prevent Alaska's Senior Benefits Program from sunsetting in 2011.
"Alaska's seniors worked hard to pave the way for the success of current generations, and they play a vital role in our state's economy. They've earned this benefit that helps many of our pioneers with their monthly bills so they can afford to stay in Alaska," said Rep. Tuck.
Currently, Alaskan seniors with limited incomes can qualify for the Senior Benefits Program to receive a monthly stipend of between $125 and $250. More than 10,000 Alaskans count on this program to help pay their monthly bills. According to a recent study by the University of Alaska's Institute for Social and Economic Research, Alaska's senior citizens contribute $1.5 billion to Alaska's economy every year, much of which goes to local businesses across the state.
"When my old shoes finally gave out last month, this was the money that allowed me to get a new pair," said Dorothy Crandell of Anchorage. "Social Security just covers my basic bills, so Senior Care is what I have for everything else."
The needs-based Senior Benefits Program replaced the Longevity Bonus program in 2006, and unless it is reauthorized, it will expire in June of 2011. Representative Tuck's bill would extend the program for 4 years.