The2nd meeting of the Subcommittee on Consumer Affairs of the Special Advisory Commission of Senior Citizens was held on Thursday, November 2, 2000, at 3:00 PM, at the Capitol Plaza Hotel. Finnell Fields, Chair, called the meeting to order, and the secretary called the roll.
Members:Finnell Fields, Chair; Wanda Korte, Vice-Chair, J.T. Boling, Frank Carlton, Randall Donahue, Betty Fay, Virgil Gilliam, Charles Jackson, Argene Jones, Helen Raby, Stanley Ramey, Retta Riggen, Joan Stivers, Robert Veazey, and Betty Whitehead.
Guests: Alice Delambre, Assistant Director, Office of Aging Services, Cabinet for Health Services and Kip Bowmar, Executive Director, Kentucky Association for Community Action (KACA).
LRC Staff: Anne Armstrong, Gerard Donovan, and Ellen Steinberg.
Ms. Alice Delambre gave a slide presentation on Community-Based Services and Funding. She stated that the Community-Based Services and Funding are based on the Older Americans Act of 1965. This program enabled social service and nutritional services for the elderly.
Ms. Delambre covered the program framework for aging services in Kentucky. This framework includes the following:
The Older Americans Act of 1965;
State Unit on Aging;
Area Agency on Aging;
Service Providers; and
Adult Day/Alzheimer’s Disease Respite Program
Ms. Delambre explained that request for state funding for these programs is in direct competition with other vital programs.
Next on the agenda was a presentation by Kip Bowmar on the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program and weatherization and other utility conservation programs.
Mr. Bowmar explained that KACA operates the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program and subcontracts it to the 23 Community Action Agencies that provide social services in all 120 counties of the state. The program is federally funded.
He stated that in the 1999-2000 winter heating season, Kentucky had approximately $11 million in regular benefits and $1.6 million in emergency contingency benefits released by the President. The program assisted 142,000 low-income households last year. He stated that to be eligible for a program, a household must be responsible for paying the home heating costs, be at or below 110% of the federal poverty guidelines, and must provide social security numbers for all members of their household.
Mr. Bowmar said that there were two components of the program, the Subsidy and the Crisis program. The Subsidy component operates in November and December and uses an alphabetized application system. The elderly are more likely to use the Subsidy component because it does not require a disconnect or past-due notice from their utility. In a recent year, the elderly made up 26% of the applicants in the subsidy component. Last year KACA assisted 94,000 households in the subsidy component.
Mr. Bowmar stated that the crisis component begins in early January and runs until March 15th or until funds are exhausted. In addition to the subsidy requirements in crisis the household must have either a disconnect or past-due notice from their utility or be within four days of running out of fuel if they heat their home with a bulk fuel. The elderly are far less likely to use this component because they are more likely to pay that utility or fuel bill even if it means going without food or medicine. In a recent year the elderly made up approximately 9% of the households applying in Crisis, meaning that the elderly are three times more likely to apply for subsidy than they are for Crisis.
Mr. Bowmar stated that Kentucky’s regular allocation for this heating season will be approximately $11 million and Kentucky has received an additional $4.7 million in emergency funds that the President released on September 23rd. He stated that because federal resources have decreased, KACA has advocated to the Public Service Commission and the General Assembly for the need for a universal service fund which would create a line charge on electric and natural gas meters to fund things like low income energy affordability. KACA supported Senate Bill 211 which did not pass in the last session of the General Assembly. It would have created a fund in the neighborhood of approximately $10-15 million annually to address energy affordability issues.
Next, the Subcommittee began the process of reviewing its recommendations for the 2002 General Assembly. These recommendations were:
Endorse Attorney General’s Legislative Package including theft by deception, telemarketing, etc.;
Increase appropriation for Office of Aging Programs;
Appropriate additional money to support TRIAD Programs;
Continue to study Volunteer Service Banking;
Support Universal Service Fund Legislation;
Appropriation for Senior Citizen drug co-payments.
The tentative topics to be covered during the May, 2001 meeting will be: Report on Volunteer Service Banking and a Report from the Office of Attorney General.
Being no further business before the Subcommittee, the meeting adjourned.