House Study Commission could create first state plan on aging in Rhode Island

Published in RINewsToday on March 20, 2023

With oversight of the state’s aging programs and services scattered among state agencies charged with overseeing a fragmented long-term care (LTC) system, House Deputy Majority Leader Lauren Carson (D-District 75, Newport) tossed H 5224 into the legislative hopper. The bill calls for the creation of a Special Legislative Commission (to be referred to as House Study Commission), with 14 members, to study and provide recommendations to coordinate the state’s program and services provided to older residents.  The commission, charged with taking a comprehensive look at the funding, coordination and delivery of state agency programs and services to older Rhode Islanders, would be required to report its findings and recommendations to the House no later than Feb. 7, 2024, and it would expire on May 7, 2024.

According to House Communications Director Larry Berman, “Legislation to create commissions are requested when issues need greater study than just one hearing. Commissions usually consist of House members, along with experts in the field, who will meet on multiple occasions and then develop recommendations to the House.”

The Nuts and Bolts

The House Study Commission’s legislative charge would include making a comprehensive study of key statistics that includes compiling demographic and financial statistics, and health status of older Rhode Islanders, and taking a look at their strengths and vulnerabilities to enable them to stay in the community. It would assess federal, state and local programs available, examining duplication of services, and provide recommendations as to how to eliminate red tape and better coordinate services among state agencies to improve the delivery of programs and services.

Its final report would also review and provide recommendations for the funding of services through State, Federal, and private grants, and provide recommendations for more efficient distribution and use of these dollars. It would also include making recommendations for the creation of a portal to provide and coordinate aging programs and services in the areas of employment, education, independent living, accessibility, and advocacy, as well as local older adult centers and services. 

Also, recommendations would be provided on mental health, transportation, food access, and health care. The commission would also explore and provide recommendations for additional regionalization of services.

Aging Organizations and Advocates push for passage

Last week, the primary sponsor of H 5224, and supporters, testified before the House Health and Human Services (HHS) Committee to give their thoughts about the creation of a House Study Commission and its positive impact on the delivery of programs and services to older Rhode Islanders.

Carson, the primary sponsor, opened up the hearing on the legislation telling lawmakers that many programs for older Rhode Islanders fall in different places around the state. “Even professionals are having problems navigating the system, never mind family, friends and parents,” she says, referencing a conversation she had with a Director of a Newport-based Senior Center, discussing the challenges during the COVID pandemic to navigate the system at state-level, providing services to her older clients.

“If we look back over the last 20 years, we used to have a cabinet-level position on Aging, then we had a Division on Aging, and  now we have an Office on Aging,” says Carson, noting that we have an increasing amount of older people in Rhode Island. She called for lawmakers to return the Office of Healthy Aging at a cabinet-level.

By creating a House Study Commission, lawmakers can look in an organizational way at how programs are being offered to seniors,” says Carson.  

According to George Neubauer, Chair of the Senior Agenda Coalition of Rhode Island (SACRI), an advocacy coalition representing 21 organizations, told lawmakers that SACRI had called for candidates at its Gubernatorial forum held last August to create a Rhode Island Strategic Plan on Aging. This plan would help the state look at its infrastructure and coordination of services for its rapidly growing older population, he said. At this time Rhode Island has no such plan, he said. 

In his testimony, Neubauer stated: “While the purpose of this proposed House Study Commission does not specifically call for development of a state Strategic Plan on Aging, it does call for a comprehensive look at our older population. “It would be charged with providing recommendations of collaboration, coordination within agencies, funding of services, and recommendations in areas of importance to older adults’ needs and quality of life, he added.

 “A number of states have developed what are sometimes referred to as Master Plans on Aging (including California, Massachusetts and New York). A Master Plan could be a roadmap to help the state transform its infrastructure and coordinate services for its older persons.  The findings and recommendations of this study Commission could lead to development of such a plan for Rhode Island,” says Maureen Maigret, former Director of the Rhode Island Department of Elderly Affairs (now the Office of Healthy Aging) and Chair of the Aging in Community Subcommittee of the Long-Term Care Coordinating Council.

It is now time for the creation of the House Study Commission, says Vincent Marzullo, who served 31 years as a career federal civil rights and social justice administrator at the National Service Agency, and a well-known aging advocate. “For the first time in recorded history, there are more people over the age of 64 in the world, than children under five. In Rhode Island, over 31 percent of residents are age 55 or older, and by 2030 one-quarter of our population will be over 65,” he says.

“Don’t we now have an obligation to ensure better healthcare, safety, housing, livability, caregiving, etc. for this aging community?” asked Marzullo, noting that during the pandemic more than 90% of the deaths were individuals over 60 —- and 53% of overall deaths were congregate care residents.

“With the lessons learned over the past two years and the devastating impact of COVID on our older adults, it’s critical that we reexamine our aging infrastructure, the needs for services, and the local service capabilities to this growing population, adds Marzullo, calling for “a serious, adult conversation that is long overdue to take place with the aging community, service providers and lawmakers about designing our plan for a more ‘Age-Friendly’ RI, which supports local senior centers as the local hub for the delivery of services.”

Deborah Burton, Executive Director of RI Elder Info, said that enacting H 5224 is “an essential step” towards improving the lives of older Rhode Islanders. “By studying our current services and initiatives, identifying future needs, and identifying potential areas for improvement, we can ensure that all older adults in our state have access to the resources they need to achieve wellbeing and maintaining maximum independence in ways that value, empower and engage them,” she said.

Carmela Greer, Executive Director of Edward King House Senior Center, gave her views as to why it is important to establish a House Aging Commission authorized by H 5224. “This opportunity to document who does what, when, for whom, with what dollars is a common-sense approach to building a comprehensive cost-effective way to care for the other of our most vulnerable populations second only to children,” she said.

According to Greer, who also serves as Policy Committee Lead for the RI Senior Center Directors Association, once this policy road map is designed, “smart decisions can be made to establish where the money can be saved, where duplication can be eliminated, and where existing funding can be re-directed, where duplication can be eliminated, and where existing funding can be re-directed to serve all parties involved.”

In concluding her testimony, Greer said: “We don’t want to re-invent the wheel.  We want to fix the one we have.”

Where House Leadership Stands…

House Minority Leader Michael L. Chippendale (R-District 40, Coventry, Foster, Glocester), goes on the record supporting Carson’s call to create a special legislative commission to study aging policy in the state. “House Republicans recognize the fact that RI is aging and how important it is to coordinate our services to cut duplicity and inefficiencies. A study commission establishes a deep dive public discussion into an understanding of our statewide need, and lessens the possibility of bureaucratic, unintended consequences, which can occur in the submission of haphazard bills,” he says, noting that “Republicans also believe that this is an area, where if the topics are properly vetted, the state can cut costs and bring efficiency to our core government senior services.”

“I support the concept of this commission and I am certainly open to it, but I need to discuss it further with the sponsor, Representative Lauren Carson, before recommending further action. I look forward to speaking with her in the coming weeks of the legislative session,” says House Speaker K. Joseph Shekarchi (D-District 23, Warwick).

Shekarchi and his leadership team will evaluate all legislative resolutions creating House Study Commissions introduced this legislative session to determine which one(s) will be allowed to proceed for a committee, and ultimately, floor vote.  At press time, there is no fiscal note. Creating House Study Commissions must have adequate resources and staffing for their operations. 

With H 5224 having bipartisan support, aging organizations hope that Speaker Shekarchi sees the importance of allowing a committee and floor vote on this resolution.  Democratic and Republican lawmakers must lobby the House Speaker for his endorsement to support passage of this very important commission. Every Rhode Islander will ultimately need to access comprehensive aging programs and services in their later years.

House debate on Carson’s Health Study Commission may well create the political will down the road after it releases its report leading to the creation of Rhode Island’s first Strategic Plan on Aging.

H 5224 cosponsors are Representatives Samuel A. Azzinaro (D-District 37, Westerly), Thomas E. Noret (D-District 25, West Warwick), Susan R. Donovan (D-District 69, Bristol, Portsmouth), House Majority Whip Katherine S. Kazarian (D-District, East Providence), Karen Alzate (D-District 60, Central Falls, Pawtucket), Jason Knight (D-District 67, Barrington, Warren),  and Kathleen Fogarty (D-District 35, South Kingston.

To show your support for H 5224, contact your House Representative.  Go to You can also contact House Speaker Shekarchi by calling (401) 222-2447.  Or email,


Senior groups ask House leadership for an “Age-Friendly Rhode Island” budget

Will House Leadership’s Budget Proposal Create an “Age-Friendly” State?

Published in RINewsToday on February 6, 2023

Over two weeks ago, Gov. Dan McKee unveiled his $13.8 billion proposed FY 24 Budget. To members of the aging community, the reaction is that this budget shortchanges seniors.  In an e-blast sent to 1,800 seniors and aging advocates, the Senior Agenda Coalition of Rhode Island (SACRI) described the proposed budget as unfriendly to seniors.

“Governor McKee’s proposed FY2024 budget that would take effect on July 1, 2023, ignores the needs of Rhode Island’s rapidly-growing older population,” noted SACRI, which represents 21 organizations with allied concerns. The budget document will reflect what lawmaker’s value and “as it stands, this budget fails to value us,” states the email.

Calls for creating an “Age Friendly” budget  

The SACRI legislative alert highlights how McKee’s FY 24 budget proposal is “senior lite,” noting that it provides minimal increases in funding for senior centers and Meals on Wheels.  More concerning, “it does nothing to address the larger investments needed to enable a growing number of seniors to age in the community.”

SACRI says the budget proposal has ignored requests from advocates and the community, even some requests that came from the RI Office of Healthy Aging (RIOHA). Specifically, the Governor’s budget did not include funding for additional RIOHA staff, in particular for its Adult Protective Services that received over 6,000 calls last year.

“For fourteen years we’ve urged the state to invest in improving The Point, but our requests have fallen on deaf ears. At community meetings with seniors and their caregivers of all income levels, we found their most frequent and compelling complaints were about their great difficulties in finding reliable information about available support and service options,” says SACRI, noting that very few seniors, or their adult children caregivers, even know that The Point exists. “But they are very well aware that without reliable and timely information about home and community-based care, their least-desirable and most expensive choice – nursing home care – often becomes the default,” says the legislative alert email,” he stated.

According to SACRI, the FY 2024 budget didn’t include increased Medicaid reimbursements to homecare and nursing home providers to raise their direct care workers’ wages and reduce workforce turnover. Nor did it include financial aid to help low and moderate-income seniors pay their Medicare Part B premiums and co-pays, as many other states have done.

The Ask…

SACRI is calling on House Speaker Joe Shekarchi (D-Warwick) and Senate President Dominick Ruggerio (D-Providence, North Providence) to support an “Age Friendly Budget.”  Why not improve funding for aging programs and services that ultimately benefit everyone in their later years?

More older Rhode Islanders are going to need to access programs and services to allow them to age in place at home. “Seniors strongly desire to “age in the community,” but the services that allow them to do that are often hard to find or simply unavailable. SACRI’s budgetary wish list includes increasing the minimum salaries of senior home care and nursing home care workers to $20 per hour, that’s a 50% federal match.

SACRI also calls for allocating $500,000 in first-time state funding for major improvements to The Point to provide information and referral services for seniors and their caregivers. This increased funding never made it into the FY 2024 budget proposal outlined in Gov. McKee’s Jan. 17th State of the State Address.

“With Rhode Island’s aging population skyrocketing, why not add five staff persons requested by the RIOHA, two of whom will work in its Adult Protective Services Program,” says SACRI. 

Finally, SACRI says the House budget should also include a provision to raise the income level for seniors to qualify for the Medicare Premium Savings Plan to save seniors close to $2,000 per year. Older Rhode Islanders are becoming poorer with higher numbers falling below the 2023 federal poverty level of $14,580 for a single person and with 28% of older households trying to live on less than $28,000 per year.”

The Aging Network speaks…from the front lines

Maureen Maigret, Chairperson of the Aging in Community Subcommittee for the Long-Term Care Coordinating Council (LTCCC), says that the “Age-Friendly Budget” proposed by SACRI is right on target with the needs of Rhode Island’s older population.

“More than ever, we need to address and adequately fund the services and supports that keep older persons living at home as long as possible. It is especially important for those aged 75 and over as one-half may need supports to remain living at home at the same time that their incomes start to decrease while their healthcare costs increase,” she says.

“The ‘Age-Friendly’ Budget Plan also aligns nicely with the strategic objectives and actions of the Strategic Plan of the LTCCC:s Aging in Community Subcommittee yet to be accomplished,” says Maigret, noting that lawmakers should view funds requested as wise investments that will help older adults remain living at home – where most wish to be – and prevent the use of much higher costs for nursing home care.

“Apparently, the Governor and his staff haven’t fully understood nor been sensitive to the struggles that the aging community has faced since the pandemic – more than 90% of the deaths in RI were individuals over 60, and 52% of the overall deaths were congregate care residents. Many are still frightened, isolated, hungry, and need community homecare or a caregiver,” says Vin Marzullo, who served 31 years as a career federal civil rights & social justice administrator at the National Service Agency.

Marzullo adds, “The Governor’s budget doesn’t provide any vision for an Age Friendly RI – which was to begin in FY2023 according to a 2019 RI OHA Strategic Plan,” adds Marzullo. “We have no coordinated path/strategy to build greater local capacity & support services for our growing aging population.”

“The McKee administration has yet to develop a Comprehensive Master Plan for Aging in RI despite a series of community conversations (Rhode Island 2030) during the Fall of 2021 and commitments made to the elderly during the 2022 Gubernatorial campaign,” charges Marzullo.

Other aging advocates had their views of McKee’s budget proposal

While they are appreciative that the Governor’s budget proposal fully funds the statutory nursing home inflation index of 5.4% plus a 1.5% labor add-on effective October 1, 2023, John Gage, President and CEO of Rhode Island Health Care Association (RIHCA) warns about a major issue facing Rhode Island nursing facilities. “The minimum staffing mandate that was passed in 2021 is largely an unfunded mandate and is impossible to comply with given the 20% reduction in the Rhode Island nursing facility workforce just since the start of the pandemic,” he says.

“RIHCA will work together with the Governor, the House Speaker, and the Senate President for short-term relief from the staggering penalty provisions of the minimum staffing mandate statute – fines estimated at $55-60 million in the first year of full implementation and nearly two-thirds of facilities being prevented from admitting residents after three quarters of their inability to comply by automatic admissions freezes,” he says. There are simply not enough workers to employ to meet the mandate, and fines of this magnitude would devastate the industry and lead to further facility closures,” he adds.

“The Rhode Island Senior Center Director’s Association (RISCDA) is focused on gaining funding requested by RIOHA Director Cimini for increased staffing, fully funding the Point, and supporting senior centers more fully with a funding formula that gets us to the rate of $10/person for non-institutionalized individuals 65 and over residing in each municipality,” says Robert Robillard, RISCDA’s president. “Shoring up services with funding will benefit not just our elders, but their families and caregiver’s alike,” he noted.

According to Robillard, the Governor’s presented budget includes a $200,000 increase for senior centers across our state. This is split between 39 communities based on the number of seniors living in each of the municipalities. “As we are pleased to see this movement to support senior centers more fully, [even with the additional funding] there are gaps within the system of care for our elders here in Rhode Island,” he says.

James Burke Connell, Executive Director, Age-Friendly Rhode Island, agrees with Robillard’s assessment of the key role senior centers play in Rhode Island’s long-term care continuum and the need for increased funding. “No, there isn’t sufficient funding toward the goal of making Rhode Island a great state in which to age, and I’m particularly concerned that the RIOHA will be under resourced to meet the needs of senior centers and older adult Rhode Islanders in general. Senior centers are the hubs of services and programs in every community, and they need greater support from our state, principally through significant increases in RIOHA’s capacity to support our aging population,” he says.

The McKee administration responds…

In responding to SACRI’s charges that McKee’s proposed budget was not “Age Friendly,” Derek Gomes, spokesperson for the state’s Pandemic Recovery Office says, “a single budget cannot address everything that the Administration is committed to accomplishing.” He noted that the Administration will work every year to make meaningful progress toward improving the quality of life for older Rhode Islanders and all the goals in RI 2030.

According to Gomes, the Governor’s proposed budget invests in older Rhode Islanders by including an additional $200,000 for senior centers, an additional $100,000 for Meals on Wheels, and $250,000 to digitalize an essential record of service that military veterans use to receive their benefits. The 2022 November Caseload Estimating Conference increased funding for long-term care by approximately $40 million in all, across Fiscal Year 2023 and Fiscal Year 2024, including a 6.9% rate increase for nursing facilities.

The battle of Rhode Island’s Fiscal Year 2024 budget moves to the House Finance Committee and ultimately for a vote on the House and Senate floor. It’s crucial that House Leadership begin the process of increasing funding for aging programs and services to move Rhode Island closer to becoming an “Age Friendly” state. Every taxpayer will ultimately benefit, because each one will ultimately have to access programs and services to allow them to age in place at home in their community.  

SACRI is planning a Legislative Leadership Forum scheduled for March 22, 2023, at Warwick’s Crowne Plaza. Save the Date. Stay tuned for details.

My most popular reads as an “age beat” journalist in 2022

Published in RINewsToday on January 2, 2023

 As an ‘age beat’ journalist for over 43 years, I have freelanced more than 867 stories covering aging, health care and medical issues. These authored and coauthored pieces have appeared in national, state, trade and association publications and even statewide news blogs. In 2022, my articles appeared weekly in 52 issues of Here are the top five articles read on this state-wide blog last year.

“Aging in Place in Your Rhode Island Community,” published in the May 2, 2022 issue of RINewsToday. 

According to this article, the aging of the nation’s population continues with seniors choosing to live out their remaining years, aging in place in their communities. The article discusses the findings of a study of adults age 50 and older conducted by the AP-NORC Center for Public Research and the SCAN Foundation. This study confirms that a majority of older respondents would like to age in place and are confident they can access needed health care services that will allow them to stay at home for as long as possible.  

In this article, Mary Lou Moran, Director, Pawtucket Division of Senior Services at the Leon Mathieu Senior Center, who noted, “the coordination, accessibility, and connection to services and programs is critical to the successful delivery of services and is where much work needs to be done.  

 Moran stressed the importance of senior centers located in communities throughout the state that delivered needed information and assistance to seniors on accessing the needed services to age in place. Social isolation, access to transportation, food and housing insecurity, economic stability, and connectivity to services, are obstacles to enabling a person to stay in the community in their homes, says Moran.

 Maureen Maigret, policy consultant and Chair of the Aging in Community Subcommittee of the Long-Term Care Coordinating Council, also described state programs that assist seniors age in place in Rhode Island.

 Finally, the article gave a history of the National Village to Village Movement and its impact on Rhode Island.  It noted that The Village Common of Rhode Island (TVC), with programs in Providence, Barrington, Edgewood/Cranston, and Westerly, provides supports to keep seniors at home through the efforts of almost 200 trained and vetted volunteers.

TVC supports include transportation, running errands, home visits and telephone assurance, minor home repairs and light yard work, assistance with technology, and a virtual caregiver support program. A robust weekly calendar offers virtual events, and a monthly newsletter keeps members and guests informed.

 To read this article, go to


“Calls for Rhode Island to Become more “Age Friendly,” published in the Jan. 24, 2002  2022 issue of RINewsToday. 

This article gave a background of a United Nation’s initiative to create “age friendly” communities.  Over two years ago, a proposal was endorsed by the 73rd World Health Assembly. It was presented to the U.N. General Assembly Dec. 14, 2020, (Resolution 75/131), leading to the proclamation of a U.N. Decade of Healthy Aging (2021-2030).

The four-page Resolution expressed concern that, despite the predictability of population aging and its accelerating pace, the world is not sufficiently prepared to respond to the rights and needs of older people. It acknowledges that the aging of the population impacts our health systems but also many other aspects of society, including labor and financial markets and the demand for goods and services, such as education, housing, long-term care, social protection and information. It thus requires a total whole-of-society approach to make “age friendly” changes.

Maureen Maigret, policy consultant and chair of the Aging in Community Subcommittee of Rhode Island’s Long-Term Care Coordinating Council, noted that many Rhode Island communities are involved to 1 degree or another in what we consider age-friendly activities. “The initiative is usually led by the local senior center and in some instances volunteer programs such as RSVP and AARP and The Village Common of RI,” she says.

 According to Maigret, over the last five years the state’s Long-Term Care Coordinating Council Aging (LTCCC) in Community Subcommittee has adopted and continues to work to support WHO’s decadelong initiative, adding the domains of Food & Nutrition and Economic Security and Supports to Remain at Home.

Newport was the first community to join the AARP age-friendly network; Cranston, Providence and Westerly following. The state’s Office of Healthy Aging has adopted its State Plan on Aging, calling for Rhode Island to become an age-friendly state, says Maigret.

 Maigret called on Rhode Island’s cities and towns review their community’s Comprehensive Plans to see how age-friendliness is addressed. “This is what Newport did. 

To read this article, go to


“Bill would (Re)create a RI Department of Healthy Aging,” published in the March 21, 2022 issue of RINewsToday. 

This article described a legislative proposal on Smith Hill to transform the state’s Office of Healthy Aging (OHA) into a department making it far more visible and effective as an advocate for the state’s growing senior population.  H. 7616, introduced by Rep. Lauren H. Carson (D-District 75, Newport), would expand the office in the Department of Human Services (DHS) into a full-fledged state department, expand its director’s authority, and appoint local senior centers as hubs for service delivery, with authority to bill Medicaid for transportation services.

The RI Department of Elderly Affairs (DEA) was created by law in 1977 and remained a department until 2011, when the legislature changed it to a division within the Department of Human Services (DHS). In 2019, the department was re-named the Office of Healthy Aging (OHA), shifting narratives and perceptions associated with growing older. At press time, the Office of Healthy Aging remains a division under the Department of Human Services. 

  “Restoring the OHA to a department status will strengthen its position at the budget table and elevate the importance of programs supporting older residents of our state. We hope that will make a difference,” says Bernard J. Beaudreau, Executive Director of the Senior Agenda Coalition of Rhode Island.

 .“The legislation proposed by Rep. Carson elevates the conversation about the importance of age-friendly policies that enable Rhode Islanders to choose how we live as we age,” said AARP Rhode Island State Director Catherine Taylor. “AARP Rhode Island looks forward to being part of this conversation and continuing to advocate fiercely at both the state and local levels for enhanced home and community-based supportive services, accessible and affordable housing and transportation options, and full inclusion of people of all ages and abilities in community life,” she said. 

According to Maureen Maigret, policy consultant and chair of the Aging in Community Sub-committee of Rhode Island’s Long-Term Care Coordinating Council, H 7616 is a very significant bill that will help to stimulate a long due discussion as to how the state should fund senior programs and services in light of the state’s growing age 65 and older population. This age group is projected to represent at least one in five of  the state’s residents by 2040.

 To read this article, go to


 “RI Candidates for Governor Spotlight Senior Issues at Forum,” published in the August 8, 2022 issue of RINewsToday. 

This article reported on a 143-minute Rhode Island Gubernatorial form where five Democratic and one Republican gave two minute responses to seven questions previously given to them by the Senior Agenda Coalitionof Rhode Island (SACRI).   These questions were intended to how these candidates if elected Governor would fix Rhode Island’s fragmented long-term care continuum and provider payment systems.

According to Bernard J. Beaudreau, Executive Director of the Providence-based SACRI about 300 seniors and aging advocates came to personally see the Gubernatorial candidates outline their position on aging issues. Multiple platforms on Facebook and YouTube were promoted by a variety of senior advocacy groups that resulted in the over 300 virtual audience. Some held “watch parties” at one or more of the 12 senior centers, with approximately 135 people participating from throughout the state.

 Maureen Maigret, chair of the Long-Term Care Coordinating Council’s Aging in Community Subcommittee and SACRI Board Member reported that all candidates supported: “making the Office of Healthy Aging a full cabinet/department with review of sufficiency of resources; expansion of Medicare Savings Program which I have been advocating for at least 5 years and adding a state COLA to SSI payments; requiring better data on minority older adult inclusion; addressing community living, housing and transportation needs of older persons and developing and implementing a comprehensive, interdepartmental strategic Plan on Aging.

 To read this article, go to


“Larson Pushes to Get Social Security Reform Proposal for House Vote, published in the  June 13, issue of RINewsToday. 

This article reported that the House Ways and Means Committee was preparing for a full mark-up on H.R. 5723, Social Security 2100: A Sacred Trust, authored by Committee Chairman John B. Larson (D-CT) this summer.  

 Larson says that over 200 House Democrats [no Republican has yet to support the proposal], are cosponsoring H.R. 5723. Forty-two national organizations (aging, union, veterans, disability, and consumer health organizations) are calling for passage of H.R. 5723, including the Leadership Council on Aging Organizations and the Strengthen Social Security Coalition representing hundreds of national and state aging organizations.

 According to a legislative fact sheet, H.R. 5723 both expands the program’s benefits and financially strengthens its. Here are a few provisions:

 Specifically, it would give a benefit bump for current and new Social Security beneficiaries by providing an increase for all beneficiaries (receiving retirement, disability, or dependent benefits).

The proposal would also protect Social Security beneficiaries against inflation by adopting a Consumer Price Index for the Elderly (CPI-E), to better reflect the costs incurred by seniors who spend a greater portion of their income on health care and other necessities.

This legislative proposal protects low-income workers by providing a new minimum benefit set at 25% above the poverty line and would be tied to wage levels to ensure that minimum benefits does not fall behind.

 It is expected that Larson will reintroduce this legislative proposal next Congress.  To read this article, go to