Seniors in Missouri…The Aging Evolution


Monday, July 27th, 2020

Seniors in Missouri have increased more consistently and proportionately than any age group. Persons age 65 and over represented 10% of the population in 1950.

By 2000, their ranks had risen to 13% of the total population and it is estimated that by 2030 this group will represent more than one-fifth of Missourians (21%). *

Between 1950 and 2000, the 65-and-over population grew by 85% to 755,000. This group is projected to grow by an additional 87% between 2000 and 2030 when their numbers are projected to swell to 1.4 million as the baby-boom generation progresses into this age category.*

In Missouri, the 85-and-over age group has grown, and will continue to grow, even more rapidly. In 1950, this group represented roughly one-half of one percent of the total population and measured 21,000. By 2000, the group had increased to 99,000 an increase of 78,000 persons. The group is expected to increase by another 78,000 by 2030 when they will number 176,000.*

The increases in Missouri’s elderly population, caused by increased longevity of the elderly and the baby-boom generation progressing into this age classification, likely will have the greatest impact on Missouri of any changes seen among the various age groupings. *

* Source: https://oa.mo.gov/budget-planning/demographic-information/population-projections/population-trends

Due to changing demographics in all age groups, those turning 65 now are concerned about quality of life, continuing or encore careers, and physical activity. The concerns of the oldest seniors’ often relate to healthcare, social isolation, and assistance with daily living tasks. Everyone shares a concern about economic stability.**

Missouri’s senior population, defined as those age 65 and older, has been steadily increasing over the last decade. The first Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) reached 65 years old in 2011. Since then, there’s been a rapid increase 65-and-older population across the U.S., which grew by over a third since 2010 according to the Census Bureau. No other age group saw such a fast increase. The number of seniors in Missouri will continue to increase dramatically over the next several years, reaching over 20% by 2030. **

This means that by 2030, approximately one in five neighbors, friends, family members will be senior citizens.**

** Source: http://www.missouriseniorreport.org/

Our rapidly growing population of aging Missourians presents both challenges and opportunities for state and local government. Many of the issues facing state legislators will have an impact on — or be impacted by — the demographic shifts that all of our communities are experiencing. 

What will this demographic shift mean for the state of Missouri? What can local, state, and federal legislatures do to prepare for growing numbers of older adults and unprecedented longevity? At ma4 and the ten AAA’s around the state, we focus on local, state, and federal issues that will impact aging Missourians. Stay tuned…more to come!

To find your Missouri House Representative:

LINK TO MISSOURI HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

For Missouri State aging issues, you can visit:

Official Missouri State Website

Silver Haired Legislature


Saturday, June 20th, 2020

The Silver Hair legislature was created in 1973 by a small group of seniors whose specific purpose was the advocate for senior issues, and the Missouri group was the first organization of its type in the United States. Some of the earliest proposals passed into law include Exploitation of the Elderly, the MO Senior RX Program, implementation of elder abuse laws, and the deletion of sales tax on pharmaceuticals.

The Silver Haired Legislature (SHL) group is composed of citizens, age 60 or older, who volunteer their time to advocate on behalf of Missouri’s older adults. Delegates are elected from each of Missouri’s ten Area Agencies on Aging, and all legislators meet annually for a model legislative session at the State Capitol to deliver five priority proposals.

Contact your local Area Agency on Aging if you are interested in becoming a member of SHL.

The SHL conducted their 2021 Senior Advocacy Week, February 23 – 26, 2021, using virtual methods to conduct meetings with their MO Legislators. This is a recording of the virtual ‘kick-off’ event that marked the start of Advocacy Week.

Social Security Recipients Eligible For Economic Stimulus Payments


Monday, April 13th, 2020

In response to the COVID-19 virus emergency, the federal government announced that they will send $1,200 Economic Stimulus Payments to all adults in the United States who earn less than $75,000 annually. This includes Social Security recipients.

If you receive Social Security retirement, survivors, or disability beneficiaries and do not have qualifying children under age 17 whom you claim as dependents, you do not need to take any action with the IRS.  You will automatically receive your $1,200 economic impact payment directly from the IRS as long as you received an SSA-1099 for 2019.

If you DO have children under 17 who may qualify for an additional payment, you should visit the IRS’s Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info page at www.irs.gov/coronavirus/economic-impact-payments and provide information about yourself and your qualifying children.

Additionally, any new beneficiaries since January 1, 2020, of either Social Security or SSI benefits, who did not file a tax return for 2018 or 2019, will also need to go to the IRS’s Non-Filers website to enter their information.

Please note that the IRS will NOT consider Economic Impact Payments as income for SSI recipients, and the payments are excluded from resources for 12 months.

The eligibility requirements and other information about the Economic Impact Payments can be found here: www.irs.gov/coronavirus/economic-impact-payment-information-center.  In addition, please continue to visit the IRS at www.irs.gov/coronavirus for the latest information.

Navigators Can Help Unemployed With ACA Health Insurance Options


Friday, April 10th, 2020

Right now, jobless claims in the United States are as high as they have been since the Great Recession of 2008. It is estimated that in addition to losing a job, as many as 25 million people could also lose the health care insurance they receive through their employers due to layoffs. If you find yourself in that situation, you may be able to qualify for Healthcare Marketplace health insurance for you and your family under a Special Enrollment Period.

Ordinarily, enrollment in an ACA plan is limited to an Open Enrollment period that occurs in late fall. However, if you have a major life-changing event – like losing your job – you may be able to enroll in a new plan immediately. To do so, you will need to follow a few special guidelines, answer a few questions, and provide documentation that you are subject to losing your existing health insurance plan.

Most importantly, if you do lose your job and want to take advantage of the ACA health insurance option, you must do so within 60 days of the time you lose your job or the date you expect that your job and health care coverage will officially end. If you apply, you will be asked about your particular circumstances.

You will have to pay the premium for this insurance yourself, but depending on your income, there are subsidies that help offset the cost. There are also different levels of coverage with different price points, so you should be able to find a plan that can give you the health care protection you need within a reasonable.

This is not a time to gamble with your health care options. And, if you need help, the Area Agencies on Aging offer an entire team of consultants known as Navigators that can help you work through the process and your options. They don’t sell insurance – they just help explain your options and the rules.

If you would like to talk with a Navigator about your ACA health insurance options, click on the following link to find help near you:

LINK TO STATEWIDE NAVIGATOR NETWORK

If you would like to establish an account on your own or just need additional information, visit the national website at this link:

WWW.HEALTHCARE.GOV

CLICK ON MAP FOR NAVIGATOR CONTACT INFORMATION

IRS Extends Tax Filing Deadline


Tuesday, March 31st, 2020

WASHINGTON — The Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service have announced that the federal income tax filing due date is automatically extended from April 15, 2020, to July 15, 2020.

Taxpayers can also defer federal income tax payments due on April 15, 2020, to July 15, 2020, without penalties and interest, regardless of the amount owed. This deferment applies to all taxpayers, including individuals, trusts and estates, corporations and other non-corporate tax filers as well as those who pay self-employment tax.

Taxpayers do not need to file any additional forms or call the IRS to qualify for this automatic federal tax filing and payment relief. Individual taxpayers who need additional time to file beyond the July 15 deadline, can request a filing extension by filing Form 4868 through their tax professional, tax software or using the Free File link on IRS.gov. Businesses who need additional time must file Form 7004.

The IRS urges taxpayers who are due a refund to file as soon as possible. Most tax refunds are still being issued within 21 days.

“Even with the filing deadline extended, we urge taxpayers who are owed refunds to file as soon as possible and file electronically,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. “Filing electronically with direct deposit is the quickest way to get refunds. Although we are curtailing some operations during this period, the IRS is continuing with mission-critical operations to support the nation, and that includes accepting tax returns and sending refunds. As a federal agency vital to the overall operations of our country, we ask for your personal support, your understanding – and your patience. I’m incredibly proud of our employees as we navigate through numerous different challenges in this very rapidly changing environment.”

The IRS will continue to monitor issues related to the COVID-19 virus, and updated information will be posted on a special coronavirus page on IRS.gov.

MA4 Legislative Priorities Help Seniors Focus On Key Issues


Monday, February 24th, 2020

Each year, the Missouri Association of Area Agencies identifies key legislative priorities for the year. The range in topic from tax credits and funding for meals programs to elder abuse laws and nursing home security. The one thing they all have, however, is that each priority is focused on the well-being of Missouri seniors. This year, MA4 will be advocating for positive outcomes in the following six categories:

  • Cameras in Skilled Care Facilities
  • Circuit Breaker
  • Elder Abuse/Nursing Home Abuse
  • Funding for MORx
  • Intranet Sales Tax
  • Maintain/Increase AAA appropriations

Here’s a quick recap of each issue including some of the proposals currently being considered by the Missouri Legislature.

Cameras In Skilled Care Facilities
(Information pending)

Circuit Breaker Renter Income Program – MA4 Supports
HB 2452 Modifies provisions relating to “circuit breaker” tax credits. Currently, certain senior citizens and disabled individuals are eligible to apply for a tax credit on real estate taxes or rent they have paid. Renters may claim a credit of up to $750 provided their income is equal to or less than $27,500. Homeowners may claim a credit of up to $1,100 provided their income is equal to or less than $30,000. This bill changes the amount of the credit for renters from $750 to $1,000 and the income threshold from up to $27,500 to $34,500. Additionally, this bill changes the amount of the credit for homeowners from $1,100 to $1,500 and the income threshold from $30,000 to $40,000.

Elder Abuse/Nursing Home Abuse
(Information pending)

Funding for MORx – MA4 Supports
MA4 supports continuation of the MORx prescription drug program for low income Missouri seniors.

Internet Sales Tax
HB 1967 is known as the Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement. Basically, it creates the ability for the state to collect sales tax revenues from online Internet sellers.

Appropriations for Area Agency on Aging ProgramsMA4 Supports Increases
HB 10 is the General Appropriations bill that deals with funds to be expended by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. MA4 supports increasing support for senior programs to levels which match or exceed those previously granted by the Missouri Legislature in terms of meal program funding and other AAA programs. MA4 also supports full funding for the Senior Services Growth Fund which was created by the Legislature last year.

After Iowa – Missouri Will Hold Presidential Primary March 10


Saturday, February 8th, 2020

Recent news reports have highlighted the problems encountered as Iowa kicked off the national process of selecting presidential candidates in 2020. Missouri will hold a Presidential Primary of its own on March 10, 2020, but the rules and procedures for this election are significantly different, and in many ways easier, than those in Iowa.

Missouri has a regular primary on March 10, then choose individual people to serve as delegates to the national political conventions later in the year through a caucus or local meeting process. If you are a registered Missouri voter, you are entitled to participate, and you may have more choices than you think.

In Missouri, voters are not registered to vote by party, but will be required to select the ballot of one party when they cast their presidential preference votes. Voters may choose a ballot from any one of the following political parties: Democratic, Republican, Libertarian, Green and Constitution.

Although it is surprising to many people, a total of 33 people have filed to appear on the Presidential Primary ballot in Missouri. Any candidate who wanted to appear on the Missouri Presidential ballot was required to pay a $1,000 filing fee in advance – or submit a petition containing 5,000 qualified Missouri voter signatures along with a statement indicating that they couldn’t afford the $1,000 filing fee. There will be 5 Republicans; 22 Democrats; 1 Libertarian; 3 Green; and 2 Constitution Party candidates on this year’s ballot (Including the names of some people who have officially suspended their campaigns, but didn’t have time to pull their names from the official ballot.

If you have questions about your eligibility to vote; rules regarding absentee or accessible voting; or to see a complete list of candidates who will appear on the March 10 ballot, click on the following link. And remember, your vote is your voice.

TO READ A MORE COMPREHENSIVE REPORT ON THE MISSOURI PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY, FOLLOW THIS LINK

Governor Proposes New State Budget


Wednesday, January 22nd, 2020

Governor Parson unveiled his Executive Budget and delivered his State of the State address last week, and several hearings on Medicaid, the State Budget and Tax Issues were held last week and/or are scheduled for this week. Here are a few items of interest:

Medicaid Expansion – In his State of the State address, the Governor claimed that Medicaid expansion would cost Missouri taxpayers.

However, numerous studies have shown that expansion can actually result in savings to state general revenue funds. For example, a recent examination of the actual state budget impacts in five states that expanded Medicaid showed that “expanding Medicaid has either been a positive for the state’s general fund revenues or has not resulted in any additional cost to the state.”

Calls to expand Medicaid have increased this year due to the fact that since January 2018, 125,000 children and parents have lost Medicaid coverage in Missouri.

Budget EstimateGovernor Parson released his Executive Budget earlier this week, following the State of the State address. While the Executive Budget assumes 1.9% growth in FY2021, the House Budget Committee reportedly plans to develop its budget using a substantially lower estimate of state revenue growth.

In either case, the development of next year’s budget comes at a time of continued uncertainty and instability for Missouri. The growth shown in recent revenue collections may be misleading because they’re relative to a time of very weak collections.

In fact, when reviewed over just two years, MO collections didn’t even keep pace with inflation. That is, our state didn’t collect enough to pay for services at the same level they were two years ago, not accounting for an aging population that may need additional health, nutrition or caregiver services, or a larger number of kids in school.

The comparison to other states is even more glaring. Average revenue growth across the country was much higher than in Missouri, so those states were able to increase teacher pay, invest in workforce development, and save for a rainy day.

Legislators Begin Pre-Filing Bills For 2020 Session


Wednesday, December 4th, 2019

Missouri legislators have begun pre-filing bills that will be considered during the upcoming session of the Missouri Legislature. The first day for filing such legislation was December 1, and more than 250 bills have already been submitted for consideration.

Some bills of interest to Missouri seniors include: HB1560 that provides that the City of St. Louis senior citizens’ services fund budget does not need to be approved by the city government; HB 1580 that requires the Department of Health and Senior Services to promulgate regulations consistent with CDC guidelines for prescribing opioids for chronic pain; HB1388 which modifies provisions relating to long-term care facilities; HB1451 that modifies the offense of abuse of an elderly person, a person with disability, or a vulnerable person and the offense of financial exploitation of an elderly person or person with a disability; HJR61 that introduces constitutional provisions relating to a tax exemption for certain senior citizen property owners; and SB580 relating to long-term care savings accounts.

More legislation is expected to be pre-filed before the General Assembly convenes in January.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW OF LIST OF NEWLY FILED LEGISLATION

Highlights from Summit on Aging & Health – Days 2 & 3


Tuesday, September 10th, 2019

On Tuesday, the day started early and attendees were not disappointed. During the morning Pleanary session, n4a’s Autumn Campbell delivered an in-depth report on federal policy affecting seniors entitled “Live From DC: Federal Policy Update”.You can download a copy of her presentation at the following link: “Live From DC Policy Update”

After morning breakout sessions were complete, participants gathered for lunch to hear from Missouri’s Secretary of State, Jay Ashcroft.

Sessions during the day included presentations dealing with the federal census, suicide prevention techniques, the challenges of dementia, the impact of federal and state tax changes and scams that affect the elderly population.

The evening was “on your own” with an opportunity to explore The Landing in Branson; find a great new restaurant; or maybe just catch up on your email and phone calls from earlier in the day. Day 3 activities start with breakfast at 7:30.

Day 3 – 2019 Summit on Aging & Health

It always seems like the shortest day of the Summit, but it was packed with great information. Paul Greenwood, a former prosecutor with the San Diego Office the District Attorney, opened the day discussing strategies to protect against elder abuse and economic security. Breakout sessions on Innovation, Leadership and Advocacy featured presentations from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services; the award-winning SeniorAge Area Agency on Aging; and a compelling presentation from Tommy Goode of the Moral Injury Institute.

Paul Greenwood addresses the assembled group on Day 3.

The final day wrapped up with an update on MA4 initiatives and future plans and a fan-favorite drawing for door prizes for participants who were able to stay until the very end.

Lisa Knoll sends participants home with a few special gifts.

Thank you to all of our great sponsors and speakers who offered their time, expertise and funding to make us all just a little bit smarter about the work we do everyday. See you in 2020 at the 17th Annual Summit. Details coming in February.