• Categories

  • Advertisements

“Budget cuts victimize the disabled”

This article excerpt found in the January 26, 2010 Philly Daily News and can be read in full at this address …. http://www.philly.com/dailynews/opinion/20100126_Budget_cuts_victimize_the_disabled.html

“If $5 and $10 cuts don’t seem like much, consider this: People who are “totally and permanently disabled” – physically unable to work at all – get no more than about $700 a month in federal SSI payments, and many get less. (That’s at least $2,430 lower than the federal poverty line of $10,830 a year for an individual.) In that world, $5 means a lot – the copay on necessary drugs, for example, or the last few dollars for the electric bill or the rent.”

Advertisements

“Editorial: SSI cuts are a cruel plan”

http://www.philly.com/inquirer/opinion/83227462.html

This article came from the Philadelphia Enquirer on February 1, 2010

I loved this article in more  ways then many can imagine, it is about PA’s cost of living decrease as I’ve started calling it. (oh and I broke my new rule about not including the complete article on this one, it said a lot in it’s short length.

Editorial: SSI cuts are a cruel plan

As of this week, several hundred thousand elderly poor and disabled Pennsylvanians will be nickel-and-dimed to help balance the state’s $28 billion budget.That’s wrong, and all the more unconscionable given a state budget that benefited fat cats while resorting to an expansion of casino gambling to raise revenue.

In reaching their months-late budget deal in October, Harrisburg lawmakers and Gov. Rendell necessarily nipped and tucked state spending in hundreds of other ways.

That’s not a bad thing. But the process went off the rails when it came to a decision to cut the state’s modest monthly supplement provided to nearly 350,000 poor and disabled receiving federal Supplemental Security Income (SSI) checks.

The aggregate savings from the cuts of $9.4 million this year and $22.9 million next year represent a pittance in overall state spending. But the monthly reductions of $5 to $10 will come from SSI recipients already trying to live on only $700 – more than 20 percent below the poverty level.

To some of the disabled – including nearly 130,000 people in Philadelphia and four surrounding counties – the SSI reductions could represent the cost of a prescription co-pay, or a transit fare to the doctor’s or grocery store. But it’s as much the harsh message the state is sending with these cuts that’s so objectionable.

Remember how lawmakers and Rendell spared natural-gas drillers from paying a new extraction tax? That levy is being collected in many of the other states where the Marcellus Shale is being tapped.

How about the decision to saddle the state with another expansion of casino gambling to raise $200 million a year? Those state winnings represent a hidden tax on many people who can least afford it.

With such skewed priorities in place, the SSI cuts appear cruel and unnecessary. Although the cutbacks are set to start today, they should be rescinded as soon as possible.

Wouldn’t you just know, the SSI reductions only came to light recently. But now that the secret is out, there’s an understandable clamor growing from advocates and some lawmakers to remedy this insult to the elderly poor and disabled.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Do I laugh or cry?!?!?!

Ok many of you know that Pennsylvania is in the process of decreasing what they give to folks for the state portion of Social Security, the amount had been $27.40, but is decreasing to $22.10 well today, February 1, 2010.

Saturday I got more mail from my County Assistance office of which I’ve kind of begun cringing at the sight of the CAO return address, not really knowing for sure if I really want to know what they are doing to me now or not.  Well, I hesitently opened the letter, and like the one that told me I was going to be losing about $5 per month starting today, this one was also 2 pages, but as I read it I wanted to both laugh and cry.  I’m still kind of shocked about it to be honest.

Well the letter basically said that because my income had changed that effective today (2-1-2010) my food stamps would be increasing.  the amount isn’t huge, but it was a $2 increase in my food stamps, so while I’m glad I got a portion of the $5 I lost back, I find myself dumbfounded, because I’m pretty sure that the 3 mailings I received from my CAO this past week (the 3rd was telling me they had received my application for LIHEAP) that the $5 that the state claimed they would save on me today, was pretty much spent just in mailings. 

Here is a scanned copy of the letter I got telling me about the decrease in my state portion of my SSI (more will follow it) …..  I received this on Saturday, January 23, 2010 ….

SocialSecurity-State-supliment-decrease

Notice they explained the decrease in a single sentence … well here is the page they included with it telling me all about my right to appeal …..

SocialSecurity-State-decrease-page2

On Saturday,  January 30, 2010, I received the following letter telling me about the increase in my foodstamps ….

1-30-2010-CAO-Notice_Foodstamp-increase

It was accompanied by a second page as well that told me about my right to appeal in fact, it was identical to the second page of the previous letter, so rather then posting it I’m going to ask you to take my word on the idea that it was identical.

Now why am I sharing these scanned copies with the world?  Simple, to point out not only that I like many others had been told I qualified for a specific amount in Social Security (I personally receive Disability and SSI), and then I basically like many  others in Pennsylvania who receive SSI get told that despite the fact I was told I qualified for a specific amount, the state is going to decrease the amount they contribute.  So, even with the $2 increase in my food stamps, I’m still being shorted $3 of what I was told I qualified for.  So basically the state is ripping me off.

I know there are those out there who would think they are all high and mighty because you work and don’t receive benefits from the government, but before you start slamming me with comments telling me I’m lazy let me point out that in order for me to qualify to receive Social Security Disability, I had to work, so yes, I have worked, and have held several jobs over the years, but because of my disability I wasn’t able to continue with those jobs for very long.  I keep trying and hope that I will find a job I am able to do well at over the long-term.  I am a volunteer at a Service Dog organization, and I do some freelance writing, in addition to this blog and other projects I try to help with as I’m able to, so I’m not just sitting back collecting money and not giving anything back to society.  So if you plan on hitting me with that line of thinking, I assure you it won’t get very far here.  Yes, you are entitled to your opinion, but you should also know that while you may be on a high horse now, looking down in disgust at folks like me, you yourself could be a single car accident or other life changing event from being in exactly the same position I am in financially.  I hope that nothing happens to anyone, but it is something to keep in mind for those who feel they are better then me because I receive benefits from the governeent and they don’t.

My point is this in my case, I earned the ability to receive these benefits, and now I’m being told my benefits will be decreased through no fault of my own, so yes, for lack of a better word, I’m pissed!  I’m also angry, because I know there are folks who want to work but have never been able to who are also losing money from their benefits.  Those of us on Social Security are living well below the poverty level, so since we are now living lower today then we were yesterday, I would like to ask if anyone knows who’s wallet is being padded with the money I was told I qualified for and have had pretty much stolen from me?

For the sake of the politicians, in Pennsylvania, I certainly hope you opt to NOT vote for a raise for yourselves this year in light of screwing so many people over here in Pennsylvania.  I know for a fact there are efforts being made by various groups challeniging this state decision, and I certainly would think that if you want these groups to promote you as someone who is friendly to folks like me when you are up for re-election, that you strongly consider keeping your overly high pay-rate where it’s at and NOT increasing it., because that would simply be like adding insult to injury in my eyes and the eyes of many others in Pennsylvania who got hit with this year’s cost of living DECREASE!

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

WordPress Tags: Pennsylvania,Social Security,February 1, 2010,food stamps,LIHEAP,government,volunteer,opinion,election,PA cost of living DECREASE,Zemanta,Sestak,Governor Rendell,Rendell,Maintain,pamhi

The death of HB2253 … or is it? Part 2

  This is a second email I received from the same source at PMHCA regarding the death and hopefully resurrection of HB2253 offing another way you can help.

Click here to download the booklet mentioned in the following message

 

 

Dear friends – Here’s another way to get our message out about the personal needs allowance.

 

I’m attaching a booklet that tells the real stories of several personal care home residents and their struggles to survive on $60 per month. You can print a copy of this booklet (color is fantastic if you have a color printer!), personalize it with your own message and send it on to the Governor and your legislators.

 

You could even have everyone in your drop-in center, support group, clubhouse, personal care home or other group to write their personal messages. Some people may want to tell what they spend their monthly allowance on. Feel free to add more blank pages that you fill in.

 

You will want to include a cover letter that tells who is sending the booklet to them so they can contact you. Here is what we want the governor and our legislators to know:  

It’s time to give a holiday gift to Pennsylvania’s low income personal care home residents: SPLIT THE SSI RAISE!

Nearly 10,000 seniors and people with disabilities in PA’s personal care homes are struggling to live on a $60 monthly allowance that must pay for medication co-pays, transportation, clothing, phone calls and all personal items. They have not received a raise in their monthly needs allowance since 1993!

 

In January 2009, all citizens on SSI will receive a generous 5.8% cost of living raise, $37 per month – the largest raise in 25 years. PA’s PCH residents will not receive ONE CENT of the raise unless DPW decides lets some of it go to them. We advocate that the raise be split evenly between the residents and the owners, as it was for Dom Care.

Please ask DPW to “Split the SSI raise” so that some of our most vulnerable residents can better meet their own needs!

 

Send to:

1. Governor Edward Rendell

225 Capital Building

Harrisburg, PA 17120

Or governor@state.pa.us

 

2. Your PA state legislators – You can find your legislator at www.congress.org. Type your zip code into the box beside “find your officials”. Send your message to your State Legislators.

“Governor Rendell Signs Bill Restricting Smoking in Most Public Places in Pennsylvania”

06-13-2008

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:                                                                  CONTACT:   

June 13, 2008                                                                                                  Chuck Ardo

                                                                                                                        717-783-1116

 

Governor Rendell Signs Bill
R
estricting Smoking in Most
Public Places in
Pennsylvania

Relevant Areas to be Smoke-Free in 90 Days

 

HARRISBURG – Governor Edward G. Rendell today signed into law the Clean Indoor Air Act, which will protect Pennsylvanians from the deadly health effects of secondhand smoke by prohibiting smoking in most public places, including restaurants, workplaces and a portion of casino floors.

 

“All Pennsylvanians will benefit from the persistence of advocates and legislators who refused to quit working until we had joined dozens of other states in banning smoking in most public places,” Governor Rendell said as he signed the law today in Ambler before an enthusiastic audience including advocates who have worked for years to enact the legislation.

 

“Smoking and secondhand smoke kills and costs our health care system billions of dollars in Pennsylvania. It only makes sense for us to attack this problem and the public overwhelmingly supports these protections. The members of the conference committee that developed this measure are to be congratulated on achieving a long sought compromise that will benefit the people of the Commonwealth.”

 

The smoking ban is an initiative from the Governor’s Prescription for Pennsylvania, a comprehensive health care reform plan which strives to make health care more affordable and accessible while improving quality.

 

A 2006 report from the U.S. Surgeon General documented the serious and deadly health effects of secondhand smoke on healthy non-smokers, which include developmental effects in children, heart disease in adults and cancer in sites beyond the lungs.

 

The legislation, Senate Bill 246, prohibits smoking in a public place or a workplace and lists examples of what is considered a public place. The bill allows for some exceptions, including a private residence (except those licensed as a child-care facility), a private social function where the site involved is under the control of the sponsor (except where the site is owned, leased, or operated by a state or local government agency) and a wholesale or retail tobacco shop. It also imposes penalties for those establishments not in compliance, as well as those individuals smoking in prohibited areas. 

 

Establishments will have a 90 day phase-in period to allow for necessary changes to come in to compliance with the new law. During this time, the Pennsylvania Department of Health will implement its plans for information, education and awareness to the general public and businesses about the requirements of the new legislation, and provide technical assistance to businesses in the implementation of no smoking policies.

 

In a signing letter to members of the General Assembly, the Governor noted that he shared the concerns of many citizens and some legislators that an even more comprehensive clean indoor air act can become law. He said he was particularly sympathetic to those citizens in Allegheny County, Scranton and other municipalities and believes it would be right and fair for state law to allow for the preservation of their forward-thinking local ordinances in addition to the ordinance adopted by the City of Philadelphia.

 

To learn more about this new legislation, visit www.health.state.pa.us, or for help in quitting smoking go to www.determinedtoquit.com or the helpline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669). For additional information on the Governor’s innovative Prescription for Pennsylvania health care reform plan, please visit www.rxforpa.com.

 

###

 

The Rendell administration is committed to creating a first-rate public education system, protecting our most vulnerable citizens and continuing economic investment to support our communities and businesses.  To find out more about Governor Rendell’s initiatives and to sign up for his weekly newsletter, visit his Web site at: www.governor.state.pa.us.

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: The text of Governor Rendell’s signing letter is below.

 

To the Honorable General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania:

 

            Today I signed Senate Bill 246, The Clean Indoor Air Act.  This law is an important, long fought and necessary step toward protecting the health of millions of our citizens from the documented dangers of second hand smoke.  Pennsylvania has waited too long to join the ranks of the other dozens of states that have enacted indoor smoking bans.  The members of the conference committee are to be congratulated on a long sought compromise that is a quality product. Make no mistake, Senate Bill 246 will allow millions of Pennsylvanians the right to breathe easier. 

 

            Although I enthusiastically signed this bill, I do share the concerns of many of our citizens, and some legislators, who think we can and should do better. This law was many years in the making and the day will come when an even more comprehensive clean indoor air act will be the law of the land.  I am particularly sympathetic to those citizens in Allegheny County, Scranton and other municipalities who led the way on this public health issue, only to have their forward thinking ordinances overturned. It would be right and fair for state law to allow for the preservation of these forward thinking local ordinances in addition to the ordinance adopted by the City of Philadelphia.  This issue has not fallen on deaf ears and in signing this bill, I trust the General Assembly will work toward that end. 

 

Edward G. Rendell, Governor

%d bloggers like this: