State Considers Cutting Senior Citizen Program - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

State Considers Cutting Senior Citizen Program

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A member from the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources spoke at the Raleigh County Commission on Aging on Wednesday, March 8, 2017 about potential program cuts that would directly affect the seniors.

"Well without the waiver program, I couldn't leave my mother alone," said a Raleigh County Resident, Michael Angle.

As a proud son of his 86 year old mother, Angle said the Aged and Disabled Waiver Program hasn't only helped his mother through her illnesses but it's given them a second chance. "This wavier program isn't just financially important but it's very important to us and my mothers well-being," said Angle.

The state funded program allows the elder to remain in their own homes with caregivers, rather than sending them to expensive nursing homes.

As a concerned son, Angle said if this program is cut, he doesn't know what he will do. "Without the wavier program I don't know I could afford to hire someone to come in and take care of these things," said Angle.

Cutting the wavier program could change the lives of many senior citizens and it could have a negative economic impact. It could take away 10,000 jobs throughout West Virginia for those who work with the program.

As a part of the Department of Health and Human Resources, Cabinet Secretary, Bill Crouch explained it would be devastating to see the wavier program gone, but something needs to be done to help with the nearly half a billion dollar shortfall the state is facing.

"We're at the point of cutting programs and unfortunately this is one of the optional services we're looking at reducing," stated Secretary Crouch.

If cut, it could provide the state with $48 million, but Crouch said he understands the importance of this program and doesn't want to see it go. "It keeps folks in their homes and the community, it's extremely important."

The West Virginia legislature will decide on whether they will cut this program before the fiscal year ends on June 30.

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