Rep. Scott Kawasaki

Program Scheduled to End Next Summer Without Legislative Action

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 21, 2017

Anchorage – A statewide listening session on the future of the vital Alaska Senior Benefits Program will be held next week to gather input from Alaskan. The program is currently scheduled to sunset in June 2018. The listening session on Thursday, September 28 is sponsored by the House Health and Social Services Subcommittee on the Senior Benefits Program. The Subcommittee, chaired by Representative Ivy Spohnholz (D-Anchorage), will be taking public input on House Bill 236 to extend the program until 2022.

“In Alaska, we honor our elders and seniors by seeking their guidance, counsel, and wisdom. In return, we help low-income elders and seniors with small cash payments to help them make ends meet,” said Representative Scott Kawasaki (D-Fairbanks), the prime sponsor of HB 236. “I support continuing the Senior Benefits Program and am hopeful the overwhelming need for the program becomes readily apparent during the upcoming listening session.”

Next week’s listening session will be held at the Anchorage Legislative Information Office (LIO) with teleconference sites at LIOs and senior centers across the state. Those unable to get to a teleconference site can also participate by calling into the meeting.

“Many low to moderate income seniors struggle with the high cost of living in Alaska. This much-needed program gives many of our seniors the little bit of assistance they need to stay in Alaska so they can enjoy their home, the Alaska way of life, and stay close to their families,” said Rep. Spohnholz. “Lawmakers need to hear about the importance of the Senior Benefits Program. Once they do, I am confident they will move quickly to keep this vital program up and running.”

The Senior Benefits Program, which took the place of the Longevity Bonus Program, was created in 2007 to help low to moderate income Alaskans ages 65 and older with cash assistance payments of between $76 to $250 a month. These payments can help pay for food, heating, electricity, transportation, and prescription drugs. The program currently helps support nearly 12,000 Alaskans.

WHO: House Health and Social Services Subcommittee on the Senior Benefits Program and stakeholders from across the state
WHAT: Listening session on the continuation of the Alaska Senior Benefits Program
WHERE: Anchorage LIO, senior centers, and LIOs across Alaska
WHEN: 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., Thursday, September 28, 2017
Teleconference: 1 (844) 586-9085, in Anchorage (907) 563-9085, in Juneau (907) 586-9085
Live stream: http://akl.tv

For more information, please contact Alaska House Majority Coalition Press Secretary Mike Mason at (907) 444-0889.

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