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Senate Aging Services Budget Falls Short For Older Illinoisans

AARP Urges House of Representatives not to Concur on Senate Budget which Includes Elimination and Reductions to Critical Senior Services

SPRINGFIELD, Ill., May 23 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Many older Illinoisans were left out of the Senate's senior services budget bill passed today. The bill includes severe cuts to several programs and services that allow older residents to live independently in the communities of their own choice and avoid costly and premature institutional care. AARP is opposed to the budget and strongly urges the Senate and House to support the funding level proposed in the Governor's introduced budget and the increases in Speaker Michael Madigan's budget bill (HB 6520).

The Senate passed SB 1103 which removes nearly $50 million from the introduced budget. The reductions affect: the Community Care Program; the Senior Helpline; and eliminates the Ombudsman program.

"The Senate budget is a step backwards when it comes to aging services in Illinois," said Bob Gallo, AARP Illinois State Director. "AARP is disappointed in many aspects of this budget. We're urging all legislators to come together and do what's right - support the funding in the Governor's budget and the increases to these critical services in the Speaker's budget."

After suffering $25 million in reductions from the introduced budget last year, SB 1103 reduces $50 million from the introduced budget for Fiscal Year 2009.

The Senate's version severely reduces funding that allows older adults otherwise eligible for nursing homes to receive services in their homes. This reduction has the potential to push clients of this service out of their homes and into nursing homes. Ultimately this reduction could both cost the state more money and prevent the seniors exercising their choice to live independently.

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