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posted on May 03, 2010 07:50

 

Idaho Cash Assistance Program Makes Reductions to Meet Deficit
 
In order to meet a $1.1 million deficit in a cash assistance program, the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare is reducing or eliminating payments to approximately 1,250 Idahoans. The reduction affects approximately 9% of people participating in the Aged, Blind and Disabled (AABD) program, which pays monthly cash assistance to participants.
 
“We regret having to take these actions, but we simply do not have the funds to continue the program at the current level,” says Russ Barron, administrator for the Division of Welfare. “We carefully looked at all types of assistance offered by the AABD program to determine what payments could be trimmed to meet our reduced SFY 2011 budget and better align Idaho’s program with other states.”
 
AABD provides cash assistance to individuals who are 65 or older, blind or have a disability. Eligible individuals receive a certain amount of cash each month to help pay for everyday living expenses. Most Idaho recipients will continue to receive a cash payment of $53 a month.
 
Over 14,700 Idahoans receive cash payments through the AABD program, which has grown more than 40% over the last ten years. Compared to other states, Idaho has provided some of the most generous cash assistance benefits, with all of the AABD payments funded by State dollars. Given the current budget situation, the State cannot continue current payment levels to the growing number of AABD participants. Without this change, the program would grow by a projected $500,000 of state general funds annually. The program is expected to cost $9.1 million this fiscal year.
 
Payment reductions range from $33 a month to almost $200 a month. The most significant change is for approximately 300 participants with developmental disabilities who live in certified family homes. Certified family homes are typically homes that provide care for one to two people with disabilities, providing room, board, and help with daily living requirements such as dressing or personal hygiene.
 
This group will no longer receive $198 a month in AABD payments, although they will continue to receive their Social Security Income payments of approximately $674/month as well as medical coverage through Idaho’s Medicaid program. All Medicaid benefits will remain the same, which includes a payment of $1,600 a month to the certified family home provider for helping a resident with daily living requirements.
 
The proposed changes take affect on July 1. Those affected are being notified by letter in the coming week to give them time to make any necessary arrangements. Many people affected by this change receive other state and federal assistance that will not be affected by the reduction in the AABD program. With reduced State payments, some people may see an increase in their Food Stamp benefits because of their lower income.
 
For more information on the change, please visit www.healthandwelfare.idaho.gov for a complete list of FAQs.
 
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