Good news & bad news for Connecticut seniors and the disabled

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — There’s good news and bad news for thousands of Connecticut seniors and disabled. The good news is that thousands of “Renters Rebate” checks are finally being sent out, but there is still no solution in sight for those cuts to the “Medicare Savings Program.”

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

First the good news.  A huge line of automation machines is processing “Renters Rebate” checks, stuffing them in envelopes, stamping them with postage at a rate of 8,000 a day at the State Comptrollers office in Hartford and going out in the mail every night.

Related Content: State leaders to address Medicare Savings Program cuts

A total of 48,350 checks going to senior and disabled Connecticut residents that have been waiting for them since mid October. It’s finally happening because of a fix to a mistake in the new state budget that lawmakers approved in that one day special session last month.

Related Content: Scramble to fix Medicare Savings Program cuts

But now they will have to come back again for another fix.  67 year old Linda Heston and 74 year old Pam Eckhardt and the rest of their neighbors at the Hallock’s Landing senior housing complex in Derby should be getting those checks within the next week or two but the “Medicare Savings Program” checks are still in doubt.   Checks that cover the $134 a month Premiums for Medicare Part B.

Related Content: Malloy signs 1 budget fix and then asks for another

The Speaker of the House, Rep. Joe Aresimowicz (D-Berlin), along with other legislative leaders, now admit they didn’t realize how many people would be affected by this cut, “While we understood the cuts when they were taking place, the level and the amount of individuals in the state, it’s reaching is objectionable to us.”

It’s 113.000 disabled like Dale Betts of Stratford, and seniors like Linda and her neighbors.  The problem just got worse because today the Comptroller said that the Governor’s numbers on the current year budget deficit were low.  It’s actually $207.8 million in the red and the cost of the first six months of the “Medicare Savings Program is $53 million. The Republican Leader in the House, Rep. Themis Klarides (R-Derby) saying, “It’s something that needs to be fixed. It’s something we’ve all heard very strongly from our constituents all over the state and we have asked to go into special session to fix it and there is a path to fix it.”

If that’s going to happen, it has to happen sometime in the next 15 to 20 days because the cuts to the “Medicare Savings Program” begin on January 1st. Legislative staffers are scrambling to find places to shift money around in the budget to cover this but the new deficit numbers mean the Governor must prepare more spending cuts. Legislative leaders say they’re schedule to meet with the Governor on all this next week.

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