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AK State House Majority PR: House Unanimously Extends AK Senior Benefits Program (Hawker's HB 16)


Hawker’s HB 16 re-authorizes payments through 2015

Monday, January 31, 2011, Juneau, Alaska – The Alaska State House of Representatives today unanimously passed House Bill 16, extending the Alaska Senior Benefits Program to June 30, 2015.

“My colleagues and I recognize the value of senior citizens in our communities, and the financial challenges older Alaskans often face,” said Rep. Mike Hawker, R-Anchorage and bill sponsor. “We want our senior citizens to have peace of mind knowing these modest benefit payments will continue to offset high costs of living.”

Administered by the Dept. of Health & Social Services Division of Public Assistance, the program offers monthly needs-based stipends to Alaskans aged 65 or older. In 2010, benefits were paid to more than 10,000 seniors.

“The Alaska Senior Benefits Payment Program is one of the state's most successful public assistance commitments,” Hawker said. “The program provides real comfort and financial stability to senior Alaskans who most need that additional security. No one wants our fixed-income elders confronted with the impossible choice of paying for food, or medicine, or home heat”

Hawker noted that the program is crafted with recurring sunset provisions to make certain it does not become viewed as an entitlement, but remains subject to the state's future fiscal circumstances.

HB 16 passed by a vote of 37 to 0 and now moves to the Alaska State Senate for consideration.

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