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Illinois Alliance for Retired Americans
Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
3:30pm
Thu Apr 7, 2016

Illinois Advocates Ask Business Leaders To Push For A 'Responsible' Budget (UPDATED)

Illinois advocates for seniors and people with disabilities are calling on local business owners to speak out against the long-running state budget impasse and the "dangerous" spending cuts proposed by Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner.

Representatives from the Illinois Alliance for Retired Americans and Citizen Action Illinois, a public interest organization and a progressive political coalition, are spearheading the campaign. They are targeting organizations with GOP connections and businesses that, they say, have donated to local Republican state lawmakers.

Advocates protested and passed out leaflets this week in front of the Downers Grove Economic Development Corporation -- for which Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno (R-Lemont) and other GOP legislators are board members -- and Cassens Transport Co. in Edwardsville. The activists rallied at the Firewater Saloon in Chicago's Edison Park neighborhood Thursday afternoon, and plan to visit a Joliet pizza parlor and the Park Ridge Community Bank next week.

Their campaign comes during the tenth month of the state budget impasse. Rauner's pro-business, anti-union policy agenda is at the center of the stalemate, which has created financial chaos for higher education institutions and a range of social service providers. Home health care service providers, for example, have yet to receive over $235 million in state payments owed to them, according to SEIU* Healthcare Illinois, the union representing home care workers.

The advocates are dropping off letters to Illinois business owners, urging them to ask their state lawmakers to "defend the home health care program and the home health providers our state's senior citizens and people with disabilities depend on, and pass a responsible budget that rejects Governor Rauner's dangerous cuts."

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
3:24pm
Wed Jan 20, 2016

Advocates Push For State Legislation To Protect Home Services Eligibility

U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL,9), state Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago) and other advocates for seniors and people with disabilities sought to rally support Wednesday for proposed state legislation aimed at preventing the governor from making eligibility requirements tougher for home services programs.

Harris is spearheading the bill, HB 4351, in the state legislature.

The measure involves the Determination of Need (DON) score, which sets eligibility for the Home Services Program for people with disabilities and the Community Care Program for low-income seniors. Through the programs, seniors and people with disabilities are connected to personal attendants who can assist them at their homes.

Under Harris' proposal, the minimum eligibility DON score could not be raised above the current figure of 29. Rauner in the past has proposed raising the DON score from 29 to 37 as a means to cut costs. 

"Nearly 40,000 seniors and people with disabilities are estimated to lose their essential home care if the governor were to have his way," Schakowsky said during a press conference at the Thompson Center. "And countless more would be denied (services) in the future. Shame on Governor Rauner."

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
3:40pm
Wed Mar 19, 2014

Schakowsky Speaks Out Against Proposals To Expand Medicare Means Testing

U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL,9) says Medicare beneficiaries would have to shoulder a severe financial burden if additional means testing is introduced into the program, as some federal proposals have recommended.

The congresswoman on Wednesday jointly released 150,000 petition signatures against means testing Medicare with national groups including the Medicare Rights Center and Social Security Works. The petition calls on President Barack Obama "to drop support of Medicare cuts," according to the groups.

"At least one in five seniors are already cutting back on health care because they can't afford it," Schakowksy said on a conference call with reporters Wednesday morning. "Shifting more costs onto their shoulders is not the answer, especially when there are better solutions."

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
4:57pm
Thu Dec 5, 2013

Seniors Rally Against Social Security Cuts, Tell Congress Not To Balance The Budget On Their Backs (VIDEO)

With Social Security reform on the table during congressional budget talks to reduce federal spending, about a dozen protesters, most of which were retirees, gathered in downtown Chicago Thursday to call on Congress to reject proposals that “balance the budget on the backs of seniors.”

“Keep your hands off our Social Security,” chanted the protesters who, organized by the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare (NCPSSM) and the Illinois Alliance for Retired Americans, rallied at Federal Plaza.

The protesters urged Illinois’ congressional delegates to reject any legislative proposal that boosts the retirement age above 67, increases means testing for Medicare premiums or changes cost-of-living-adjustments to a chained Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation formula.

“This is becoming a budgetary issue, but it’s a matter of priorities,” said Jay Lewkowitz, 65, congressional district coordinator for the NCPSSM. “Our country needs to tell Congress that taking care of an aging population and making sure our safety net stays intact is a priority for us.”