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Bill to help seniors most in need advances in the House
DENVER—Today, the House Finance Committee passed a bill sponsored by Rep. Cindy Acree that will help Colorado’s seniors most in need by outlining an increase for the old age pension program and expanding dental assistance for qualifying seniors.
Currently, the standard allowance for seniors in the old age pension program is $699 per month. This amount has not been increased in three years, despite rising costs of living. House Bill 1326 proposes the State Board of Human Services increase this pension payment to $725 per month.
By statute, seniors who currently qualify for the old age pension program can also receive dental assistance for dental appliances, like dentures, or other valuable services like oral cancer screenings. Although the dental assistance program was established in 1977, it has not been funded since fiscal year 2009-2010. Acree’s measure further protects seniors by restoring funding for the program.
“We owe a responsibility to our seniors to ensure they receive the care and assistance that they deserve,” said Acree, R-Aurora. “This measure not only restores funding for dental assistance to qualifying seniors, it promotes additional funding for the old age pension program.”
Acree’s bill appropriates $3 million to fund the dental assistance for seniors program and expands eligibility to seniors whose family income does not exceed 135% of the federal poverty level.
“This bill recognizes the fiscal realities of today and works to help low-income seniors afford both their health and everyday expenses,” said Eileen Doherty, of the Colorado Gerontological Society. “House Bill 1326 is a responsible measure that will keep Colorado current and respectful of the financial struggles low-income seniors currently face.”
Also sponsoring the bill is Democrat Rep. John Kefalas. The measure passed the House Finance Committee 12-1 and now moves to the House Appropriations Committee for further consideration.
Majority Press Secretary