Dunleavy restores Senior Benefits program - Must Read Alaska
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Thursday, December 12, 2019
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Dunleavy restores Senior Benefits program

Gov. Michael Dunleavy told seniors at the Chugiak-Eagle River Senior Center today that the Alaska Senior Benefit Program will be funded in full this year at $20.8 million. In a previous version of the Operating Budget, Dunleavy had cut the funding for older Alaskans who are low- or moderate-income.

Payments will be retroactive to July 1. During the last fiscal year, the program ran out of money and some payments were curtailed in May and June.

“What we have decided to do is make sure that the funding for senior benefits is in this year’s budget going forward,” Dunleavy said.

The governor said he would complete his vetoes and sign House Bill 2001, the current operating budget that the majority of the Legislature approved. It reinstated all of the $400 million of his vetoes, leaving only $23 million in vetoes — that was for the travel budget of the executive branch.
Homer Rep. Sarah Vance expressed thanks for the announcement, saying it was one of her key issues this year.
“I think it’s great that we continue to show respect to Alaska’s elders, as these benefits help provide for their wellbeing in the years of their lives when many of them don’t have and cannot get employment, and because they have contributed to building Alaska for so long.”

Watch Dunleavy’s remarks here:

 

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Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • $20 million for Senior Benefits? That’s nothing compared to the remaining $380 million in HB2001.
    Let the drama unfold! Will Ben reign in Mikes impulses? Will Mike veto $85 million from the UA like his spreadsheet indicated?

  • I hope we’re also getting our full PFD as many of us Seniors don’t qualify for Senior Benifits to help us!!

  • This is what happens when you are under threat of being Recalled. And it’s just the first of many of his caves to come IMO. We’ll see, of course, but this is just how things go when you make a mockery out of the legislative process. You get to see who your actual constituents are.
    My guess is that a good number of these seniors getting their benefits back are Native Alaskans and the question is will they now oppose any Recall of Dunleavy. We will find out.

  • Good move. We need to take of our elders, regardless of politics.

    Whomever advised the governor to cut senior benefits to begin with should be moved far, far away from his inner circle.

    • Now that I agree with 100 percent. That advisor’s name is Donna Arduin and she should be moved to the lower 48.

  • Well said Damon.
    Extremely foolish move to even contemplate messing with funds to take care of our seniors. They paid their dues and we need to respect our seniors during their final years of life.

    Now, we need our $3000 pdf and more vetoes so we start living within our means. The ridiculous spending habits of UAA staff has been exposed so UAA is a great place to start cutting, then other top heavy state positions that are not necessary; like Deputy Commissioners, Assistant Directors for each state department .

    • Certainly a go for it!!!!!!!!

    • I wish the cuts would go to the obvious. Unnecessary spending. But it won’t. They will just raise tuition and anything else that comes out if the students pockets. They will cut teachers pay or benefits or part time jobs. Like our government, the executives the deans, anyone at the top should have their pay cut. Rethink catering meetings. Coffee,tea, and water are fine. If you must eat put out fruit and donuts. This is AK-take care of our people; we don’t have to be fancy like the lower 48. Our students deserve better ( as well as our seniors).

  • What?? I thought we were “getting government out of the way.” You know, “making room for the private sector.” Those old folks should have done a better job planning and if they fell short due to no fault of their own, well life is tough. State government exists to give me what’s mine, I want my $6,700 entitlement check. Honor the Constitution, I say, but ignore the intent of the 1976 Constitutional Amendment that created the Permanent Fund.

    • You’ve certainly given the picture of how Dunleavy seems to have painted himself into a corner, EL.
      Make room for the private sector, indeed. Heheh!

    • Spoken like a true Trumpee. I will get mine and to Hell with the women, children, seniors, and disabled. It is their fault of course and if it’s not. Oh well too bad. I will not suggest you move as that is not the American way. However, you might be happier among your peers- in China or Russia or any number of countries without social programs. If you get disabled at work or if you become sick and cannot work, well to use your words life is tough.

  • Socialism. Where is the outrage from the cut the budget crowd?? Trying to have it both ways when it’s convenient I guess. Hypocrisy. All credibility gone now.

    • enter. . .crickets.

      • No, just you chirping from the weeds. Gimme….gimme my free money! Closet socialist Mr Gary!

    • It is taking all hands on deck to circle the wagons.

  • There should be a work requirement.

    • Especially for those seniors in the Bush where you could put those seniors to work shoveling snow.
      Keep those ideas coming, Leo.

      • Hey Bill and Leo when’s the last time you shoveled any snow for a work requirement? Probably pay someone dont you? Get of the stupid remarks and think of some reality stuff….

    • For what? Seniors? Students. Who is it you want to work? Did you know every time there is a welfare to work program, they have at least twice as many people sign up as they can accept into the program. I love how that is always the answer. I am 71 and I have worked in some capacity since I started selling my dad’s surplus tomatoes when I was 12. I have a bad knee and a worse knee. They might get to doing my surgery for the worst in Dec. I have severe asthma, arthritis, bone spurs in one shoulder, Reynauds and a few others. What would you have me and others like me do?

  • When will seniors see their back paychecks. (Senior benefits check)

  • I just got my Senior Benefit for September 2019, but no reimbursement for July & August in sight! Because I had no warning before July 1st, that the check would be with-held I went ahead, as is my practice in the past, got some much needed groceries, but didn’t find out about Benefits being stopped, and spent money on food, leaving me unable to pay 2 of my utility bills. I received a letter written on JULY 15th (!) that benefits would cease on July 1st……. Two weeks before that letter was written! Now having been told that Senior Benefits would be reimbursed for July, August, and September, I was relieved to feel I would be able to catch-up on my bills. Not to be!

  • I don’t know Naomi. I haven’t received anything yet. I did the same thing. I paid all my bills and bought food. The when my check didn’t come I had to borrow money to pay for my medication. If I had known ahead, I would have gone to food bank and saved money for my medication.

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