We are sure you‚Äôve heard all about the proposed budget cuts from Gov. Christie for Fiscal Year 2011. What you may be wondering is how does this affect me? You may ask what it all means to you, your children, your parents, or your community?
NJFA has been looking at the proposed budget and doing some research with some of our stakeholders. What we‚Äôve found is that there will be some significant impact for NJ‚Äôs seniors. Especially for those most vulnerable, who may already be living on the edge.
Some of you know that in 2009 we advocated, along with many others, for the change in the eligibility level for the NJ Senior Property Tax Freeze program, making the requirement for time you‚Äôve lived in your home to 1 year instead of 3 years. It was disappointing to learn that among the cuts was a freeze on Senior Freeze (also known as Property Tax Reimbursement Program). In the proposed budget those eligible would not receive a property tax reimbursement in 2011. The average reimbursement payment for this program is $1042. So, NJ‚Äôs seniors can add that to their cost of living for 2011.
Another cut that is going to add to a NJ senior‚Äôs expenses is the increase in co-payments for PAAD. Those who participate in this program do so to save money on medications, because they have limited income. The proposed increase in co-payments for brand name drugs will go from $7 to $15, When you factor in the deductible of $310 a year this will mean another $430 a year added to their cost of living.
Cost of living for a single elder renter in NJ according the NJ Elder Index =$25,941.
Add on the $1042 they won‚Äôt receive from the Senior Freeze program¬† =$26,983
Add on the $430 due to increased PAAD co-pays/deductible¬†¬†= $27,413
Will there be some safety net or increase to another program such as senior housing to help offset this increase to the NJ senior‚Äôs cost of living?