“The Executive Offi ce of Elder Aff airs was established more than 50 years ago and was one of the nation’s fi rst state agencies dedicated to addressing the needs of older people,” said Healey. “Today, the agency has evolved to off er programs and services that support 1.7 million older residents and nearly 1 million family caregivers. Our administration is committed to meeting the changing needs of today’s older adults, and I am thrilled that this name change better refl ects those that we serve.” “The new name … mirrors the values and goals of our older adult population and our commitment to support the vibrancy, independence and dignity of our family members, friends and neighbors as they age,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Kate Walsh. RESTRICT CARRYING GUNS (H 2305) — The House gave initial approval to a bill that would prohibit anyone, except on-duty law enforcement offi cers, from carrying a fi rearm in any state or local government-owned building, polling place or demonstration. The measure imposes up to a $1,000 fi ne and/or up to a 2-year prison sentence on violators and allows law enforcement offi cers to arrest, without a warrant, anyone who violates this law. Rep. Marjorie Decker (D-Cambridge), the sponsor of the bill, did not respond to repeated requests by Beacon Hill Roll Call asking her to comment on the passage of her proposal. Supporters say the bill will make government buildings, polling places and demonstrations safer and reduce the number of deaths and injuries from guns. Opponents say the bill would violate their Second Amendment right to bear arms. VETERANS’ PREFERENCE (H 3515) — The House gave initial approval to legislation that would amend the state’s current veterans’ preference law which places veterans who pass the exam at the top of the eligibility list for civil service positions. The current order is: disabled veterans, veterans and spouses or single parents of veterans who were killed in action or who died from a serviceconnected disability incurred during wartime service, provided that the spouse or parent has not remarried. The amendment would add members of the Massachusetts National Guard and Reserves of the United States Armed Forces with no less than two years of continuous service to the list. Supporters said these two new categories should be added in order to help these additional veterans who risk their lives to protect the nation. Rep. Meghan Kilcoyne (D-Clinton), the sponsor of the bill, did not respond to repeated requests by Beacon Hill Roll Call asking her to comment on the passage of her proposal. QUOTABLE QUOTES “As Massachusetts seeks to address soaring housing prices and rising rents that harm our residents, families and businesses, my offi ce has unique tools to help address the crisis, and we intend to do our part. By establishing the Housing Aff ordability Unit and appointing Esme Caramello, who has deep expertise in housing, my offi ce is committed to using all of our tools to ensure more safe and aff ordable housing opportunities for all.” ---Attorney General Andrea Campbell announcing the appointment of Esme Caramello to lead the newly established Housing Aff ordability Unit created to advance the statewide interest in expanding the availability of housing and particularly aff ordable and multi-family housing, across the state. “In Massachusetts, we’re proud to have signifi cantly expanded access to higher education, including historic increases in financial aid. But work remains to ensure that students of all backgrounds have the resources and support they need to start and succeed in their higher education journey. This investment refl ects our commitment to enhancing educational opportunities and experiences for all students, particularly for our Black and Hispanic students.” ---Gov. Healey announcing $1.3 million in Higher Education Innovation Fund grants to projects that are collaborations between all 15 Massachusetts community colleges, state universities and private institutions of higher education, to advance racial equity. “Over the last 50 years, instant tickets have become a leading product for lotteries across the country, and it all started here in Massachusetts. The new retro ticket is a fun way to celebrate this milestone and to recognize the signifi cance of the original ticket on the entire industry.” ---State Treasurer Deb Goldberg, Chair of the Massachusetts State Lottery Commission, announcing the Lottery is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its groundbreaking introduction of the world’s fi rst instant ticket with the launch of The Instant Game, a $2 ticket named in honor of the original $1 ticket that debuted May 29, 1974. “For many teen drivers, summer brings more free time with friends and plenty of potential distractions, such as phone use and multiple teen passengers — all of which increase their crash risk. Any time is the right time for parents and caregivers to talk with their teens about risky driving behaviors, the importance of continued driving practice to develop their skills and the many reasons they have to stay safe THE REVERE ADVOCATE – FRIDAY, JUNE 7, 2024 on the road this summer and beyond.” --- Mark Schieldrop, spokesperson for AAA Northeast, warning about the “100 Deadliest Days” — the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day when fatal crashes involving teen drivers are the highest. HOW LONG WAS LAST WEEK’S SESSION? Beacon Hill Roll Call tracks the length of time that the House and Senate were in session each week. Many legislators say that legislative sessions are only one aspect of the Legislature’s job and that a lot of important work is done outside of the House and Senate chambers. They note that Page 15 their jobs also involve committee work, research, constituent work and other matters that are important to their districts. Critics say that the Legislature does not meet regularly or long enough to debate and vote in public view on the thousands of pieces of legislation that have been fi led. They note that the infrequency and brief length of sessions are misguided and lead to irresponsible late-night sessions and a mad rush to act on dozens of bills in the days immediately preceding the end of an annual session. During the week May 27-31 the House met for a total of four hours and 23 minutes and the Senate met for a total of 18 minutes. Mon. May 27 No House session No Senate session Tues. May 28 House 11:01 a.m. to 11:07 a.m. Senate 11:21 a.m. to 11:24 a.m. Fri. May 31 No House session No Senate session Thurs. May 30 House 11:05 a.m. to 3:22 p.m.. Senate 11:35 a.m. to 11:50 a.m.. Fri. May 31 No House session No Senate session Bob Katzen welcomes feedback at bob@beaconhillrollcall. com Bob founded Beacon Hill Roll Call in 1975 and was inducted into the New England Newspaper and Press Association (NENPA) Hall of Fame in 2019. Long-Term Care Benefits for Veterans and Surviving Spouses Dear Savvy Senior, I understand that the Veterans Administration has a benefi t that can help veterans and spouses with long-term care costs. We recently had to move my elderly father into an assisted living memory care facility, and my mother will probably need care too in the near future. What can you tell me? Searching for Aid Dear Searching, The Veterans Administration (VA) does indeed have an underutilized benefit that can help wartime veterans and their surviving spouses pay for a variety of long-term care costs. This benefi t, called “Aid and Attendance,” is a special pension that’s paid on top of existing VA pensions for eligible veterans and surviving spouses. In 2024, it pays a maximum of $2,727 a month to married veterans; $2,300 a month to single veterans; or $1,478 a month to a surviving spouse. The money is tax free, and can be used to pay for assisted living, memory care, nursing home or in-home care services. Currently, around 156,000 veterans and survivors are receiving the Aid and Attendance benefi t, but many thousands more are eligible who either don’t know about it or don’t think they qualify. Eligibility Requirements To qualify, your dad must have served at least 90 days of active military service with at least one day of service during a period of war, and not have been discharged dishonorably. Single surviving spouses of wartime vets are eligible if their marriage ended due to death. In addition, your dad will also have to meet certain thresholds for medical and fi nancial need to be eligible. To qualify medically he must be either disabled, or over the age of 65 and need help performing basic everyday living tasks such as eating, bathing, dressing or going to the bathroom. Being blind or in a nursing home due to disability or receiving Social Security Disability or SSI also qualifi es him. Single surviving spouses have no age restrictions, but they must require help with basic everyday living tasks to be eligible. To qualify financially your parents “net worth,” which includes assets and annual income combined, must be below $155,356 in 2024. To calculate this, add up your parent’s assets, which includes their personal property (like investments, real estate, etc.) excluding their primary home and vehicles. And tally up their income over the past year (including Social Security, pensions, interest income from investments, annuities, etc.), minus any out-of-pocket medical expenses, prescription drugs, insurance premiums and longterm care costs over that same period of time. The VA also has a three-year lookback to determine if your parents transferred any assets to ensure they would qualify for benefi ts. If so, they may be subject to a penalty period of up to 5 years. How to Apply To apply for Aid and Attendance, you’ll need to fi ll out VA Form 21-2680 and mail it to the Pension Management Center (PMC) for your dad’s state. You’ll need to have your dad’s doctor fi ll out the examination information section. Or you can also apply in person at a VA regional offi ce near your parents. For more information or to download application forms see VA.gov/pension/aid-attendance-housebound. You can also call the VA at 800–827– 1000 if you have questions. If you need some help, you can appoint a Veteran Service Officer (VSO), a VA-accredited attorney or claims agent to represent your dad. See VA.gov/ ogc/apps/accreditation/index. asp to locate someone. If your dad is eligible, it can take months for his application to be processed, so be patient. You should also know that if your dad’s Aid and Attendance application is approved, the VA will send a lump sum retroactive payment covering the time from the day you fi led the application until the day it was approved. Then your dad receives monthly payments going forward. Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit SavvySenior.org. Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today show and author of “The Savvy Senior” book.

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