NOTICE: In past years, the Department on Aging has been able to issue Circuit Breaker grants at the maximum allowable amounts. However, the state budget for fiscal year 2010 (July 1, 2009 - June 30, 2010) did not fund the Circuit Breaker program at those levels. In order to continue to provide the Circuit Breaker grant benefit to older adults and persons with disabilities on and after July 1, the Department made the difficult decision to cut each grant awarded in half. This decision based on budgetary cutbacks cannot be appealed.
Thank you for your understanding.
The media has written little about the decrease in Circuit Breaker benefits.However, an article in the Springfield State Journal-Register on July 9, 2009, titled "Quinn rejects budget, layoff notices go out" by Ryan Keith http://www.sj-r.com/breaking/x737359780/Layoffs-furlough-days-in-latest-budget-cut-plan reported :
Department on Aging cuts total more than $29 million and include:
• 12 furlough days
• 10 percent cut in some programs and grants
• $20 million reduction in Circuit Breaker grants
The Circuit Breaker program also provides discounts for license plate renewals for those who qualify.
One state senator said he was unaware of these cuts, saying the Circuit Breaker program is very important to seniors and disabled. Many see the reduction of the Circuit Breaker grants as a further assault on those who need it most.
Though $787 billion was provided to states under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (stimulus package) and President Barack Obama claimed two million jobs were either saved or created through the stimulus program, clearly much of these funds were targeted to preserve government jobs, providing little relief to small businesses in the private sector.
Shortly after the Dept. of Labor announced there would be no Cost Of Living Adjustment for those receiving Social Security, Obama threw seniors a bone by announcing Congress would consider a one-time payment of $250 in fiscal year 2010 to offset the COLA freeze. At the time, the one-time payment was earmarked to come out of the stimulus package, but the $250 benefit to seniors was then included in a 2010 $85 billion jobs program which was reduced to $15 billion by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. The bill is currently pending in Congress and will, most likely, be signed into law by Obama. However, this legislation (jobs bill) did not include the one-time $250 payment to Social Security beneficiaries.
During Mr. Obama's presidential campaign, he spoke of "spreading the wealth around." Many advocates for seniors and disabled clearly understand this redistribution of wealth was not "top down" but "inside out", meaning the middle class and poor are not the beneficiaries of Obama's political agenda. In reality, trillions of dollars are flowing out of the nation's coffers because of ever-mounting debt. The clear beneficiaries of the redistribution of wealth concept are bankers and lobbyists, including politicians who voted themselves a cost of living increase for the current fiscal year.
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