Scramble to fix Medicare Savings Program cuts

STRATFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — There’s a scramble on at the State Capitol to fix the ‘Medicare Savings Program‘ cuts in the new state budget before 113,000 seniors and the disabled start losing their monthly checks to cover their Medicare Premiums, deductibles and co pays.

Original Story: 113,000 Connecticut seniors feeling state budget ax

You might say that 60-year-old Dale Betts of Stratford is the ‘poster boy’ for falling through the cracks in the new state budget. Disabled by a motorcycle crash years ago, Dale lives alone on his Social Security Disability check and the State’s Medicare Savings Program.

Like all Social Security recipients, Dale is getting a 2-percent cost of living increase in January. Because of that cost of living increase, his monthly Social Security check will place him $3 over the new income limit for the ‘Medicare Savings Program.’

Related Content: State leaders to address Medicare Savings Program cuts

That $3 means Dale will no longer qualify for the $134 a month to cover his Medicare Premiums; which equals a $1,600 per year loss of income.

I think it’s cruel, I really do. It’s affecting people like me, and the elderly. It doesn’t have a place in Connecticut’s heart.”

Senate Republican leader Sen. Len Fasano (R-North Haven) admits this was a mistake by the legislative leadership, and lawmakers must come back before Christmas to make changes in the budget so that these cuts don’t start on January 1st, “We have to find $53 million in cuts, which I believe we can find using some of the Governor’s list that he put out the other day, plus some changes that we’re talking about.”

Dale put the loss of this monthly income from the state this way,  “It’s going to mean that I won’t be able to eat, basically, towards the end of the month.”

Fasano says if they can pass this fix it will only cover the first six months of next year and that lawmakers will have to make more changes in the budget to cover the rest of the year.

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