2017-02-09 / Around Town

Carson Introduces Initiatives for Seniors

Rep. Lauren Carson, D-Dist. 75, Newport, is beginning her second term with several proposals focusing on senior citizens.

Carson is the lead sponsor on three bills speaking to the needs of older residents. Rhode Island is eighth in the nation in its percentage of over-65 residents, and second in over-85. Within the state, Newport County has the highest population of those over 65.

The first piece of legislation is a resolution requesting that the U.S. Congress not pass laws that would cut Medicare benefits or eliminate the program’s guaranteed level of health care coverage.

“With the new administration in Washington, there is a fear that Medicare’s services will be cut and our state’s older citizens who rely upon the program will be left to fend for themselves,” said Carson.

The second bill proposes to establish an online Rhode Island Aging and Disability Resource Center within the Division of Elderly Affairs.

As described in a press statement, the center would “assist Rhode Islanders and their families in making informed choices and decisions about long-term service and support options and streamline access to long-term supports for older adults, persons with disabilities, family caregivers and providers.”

The third bill in the package would exempt military pensions from the state income tax.

Carson is also cosponsoring other legislation speaking to senior issues, including a bill that would continue free RIPTA bus passes for qualifying seniors and the disabled. Complimentary passes are scheduled to be phased out this month.

“Aquidneck Island in particular is seeing many of our state’s older citizens make the decision to retire on the island,” Carson said. “In order to keep our retirees healthy and remaining in the state, we must have the proper policies and services to accommodate this rising population.”

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