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Mental Health Advocates Rally to 'Raise the $60'

Monthly Allowance for Personal Care Home Residents Not Adequate

HARRISBURG, Pa., March 31 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Each month, Pennsylvania residents of personal care homes living on SSI pay $1096 month for their room and board. In return, they receive a personal needs allowance (PNA) of $60 to cover all of their personal needs. Despite an increase in living expenses, the stipend has not changed since 1993.

Advocates for personal care home residents will rally for a PNA increase on Tuesday, April 1, 2008 in Harrisburg at the Capital Rotunda from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m.

"The cost of living has gone up in the last 15 years, but people receiving SSI and living in personal care homes have not seen an increase in their monthly allowance," said Sue Walther of The Mental Health Association in Pennsylvania. Due to Medicare Part D, the expenses PCH residents must now cover with their PNA are significantly greater than they were in 1993.

Personal care home residents use their PNA to pay for toll telephone calls, clothing and shoes, bus fares, haircuts, snacks, entertainment, recently added costs associated with medication and specialist co-pays, as well as other personal needs. "Many residents do not have family or friends to purchase these items for them, so it is necessary that they be able to cover these expenses on their own," said Walther.

"I have to use my monthly allowance to pay co-pays on 19 different pills," stated Beverly, a personal care home resident in southwestern Pennsylvania. Legislation (HB 2253) to raise the PNA to $120 a month has been introduced by Pennsylvania Representative Jim Marshall (R- Beaver). This legislation would affect 9,000 personal care home residents who receive SSI.

SOURCE Mental Health Association in Pennsylvania
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