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Governor Commits to Full Payment for Senior Assistance Program
Applications Exceed Original Estimates


August 21, 2003
Thursday - 12:30 am

Juneau - Governor Frank Murkowski reaffirmed on Wednesday his commitment to the Alaska Senior Assistance Program - notwithstanding that the number of applicants is significantly greater than the department's initial projections.

"My administration will honor the commitment we made this spring," Murkowski said. "All eligible recipients will receive the full $120 a month benefit through June of 2004. We made this change in the name of fairness to all seniors, not just previous longevity bonus recipients. To be fair, we will stick by the new program through June 30, 2004. In the meantime, we will see what the Legislature does."

"I'm extremely pleased that we were able to get this new program up-and-running this quickly," said Health and Social Services Commissioner, Joel Gilbertson. "Given the number of applications we have received so far, I have to assume that we are now providing help to many seniors who were not eligible for the longevity bonus program." Under the old Alaska longevity bonus program, only seniors who turned 65 before 1994 received the full bonus of $250 monthly. Seniors who turned 65 after 1996 did not receive a longevity bonus, regardless of their financial need.

"The need for this change is illustrated by the number of applicants for the new program," Gilbertson said. The Department of Health and Social Services initially estimated 7,500 senior Alaskans would be eligible for the program. To date, the department has received approximately 11,000 applications. Applications are being reviewed and processed and approximately 300 notices of award are being mailed daily. The first month's benefits will be mailed between September 3rd and September 5th to eligible seniors who applied prior to August 15th. Seniors who applied after August 15th will receive both their September and October benefits in early October.

To be eligible for the Alaska Senior Assistance program, a senior must be age 65 or older. Individuals may have an annual income of up to $15,134 and liquid assets of up to $4,000. If living with a spouse, applicants may have a combined annual income of up to $20,439 and assets of up to $6,000. Permanent Fund dividend income will not be counted.


Source of News Release:

Office of the Governor
Web Site


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