AARP Nebraska is working around the state to educate Nebraskans about legislative priorities that can help make life better for folks as they age. Included are bills that expand Aging and Disability Resource Centers, paid leave and food assistance.
With the state legislative session in full swing, advocates for older adults are hopeful Senators will continue to prioritize policies that support Nebraskans as they age. Among the top priorities for A-A-R-P Nebraska is Legislative Bill 10-04, which would establish permanent Aging and Disability Resource Centers across the state.
Jina Ragland, the associate state director of advocacy and outreach for the organization says, “It helps people find the right service so they can get the right care at the right time. And most importantly they can age in place in their homes or in the lowest level of care which in turn not only saves the consumer money but also can provide savings to the state.”
A-A-R-P is also promoting L-B 439, which would help expand the scope of practice of assisted living nurses, and L-B 844 that requires employers to provide 40 hours of paid leave to full-time workers each year to care for themselves or a loved one.
With some elderly Nebraskans struggling to put food on the table, Ragland says L-B 770 could help by raising the income limit to qualify for the Supplemental Assistance Program, “there’s 176,000 Nebraskans who get SNAP benefits and 29 percent of those were elderly or had disability. Nutrition is very important in health and without proper nutrition we have health consequences that result in high medical costs.”
Lawmakers are also considering financial security legislation, which Ragland notes is important for both the young and old. L-B 194 caps interest rates on predatory payday loans; and L-B 757 ends fees for consumers to place or remove a security freeze on their personal information. “Consumers interests always, I think are at the forefront for senators. With the short session and a budget and other tax priority bills I still think we have good senators that are fighting for the rights of Nebraskans and will continue to push for those incentives,” said Ragland.
A-A-R-P is also supporting L-B 738, which would annually adjust Nebraska’s taxation of Social Security benefits for inflation. Ragland says all these bills can help make life better for Nebraskans ages 65-plus, whose numbers are expected to increase 36 percent from 2010 to 2020, with higher growth among those 85 and older.