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Ralph Klein has gone and it is time to retire Ralph's World. Thanks to all of you who have supported this venture by contributing material and through your comments. It has been fun.

Should we get another blog underway? Let me know your thoughts by e-mailing me at johnnyslow@gmail.com.

John Slow
January 1, 2007

Sunday, June 13, 2004

Freddie's Diary - Article 20 

ALBERTA'S SENIORS AT A GLANCE:
Key Statistics about Senior Citizens April, 2002, EJ

As of APRIL 2002, there are over 317,000 seniors in Alberta. This is approximately 10% of the Province's population.

Articles by Iris Evans MLA Sherwood Park News, JUNE 2, 2004 are used for comparison
$1.6 BILLION BENEFITS FOR ALBERTA Seniors

SENIORS PROGRAM STATISTICS - 2002
Alberta Seniors Benefit - As of April 2002, approximately 126,000 (40%) of Alberta seniors receive cash benefits and full health insurance premium exemptions from the Alberta Seniors Benefit package. The Alberta Seniors Benefit budget for 2002/03 is $154.1 million. The average payment through the Alberta Senior Benefit is $102 per month per senior. The average cash benefit per household is $123. A household may be headed by a single senior, a couple where one member is 65+ or a couple where both members are 65+.
compared to
Alberta Seniors Benefit - Iris Evans, MLA, Sherwood Park, June 2, 2004
This is an income-tested program that provides monthly cash benefits and health care premium exemption to eligible, low-income seniors. Approximately 185,000 (56%) of the 330,000 seniors in the province receive some form of benefit under the program. Single seniors with an annual income of $18,850 or less and senior couples with a combined annual income of $28,740 or less are eligible for a cash benefit.
The 2004/05 budget for the Alberta Seniors Benefit is $199 million, a $21 million increase from the final approved budget in 2003/04. Since the establishment of The Ministry of Seniors in 2001, annual expenditures for Alberta Seniors Benefits have risen from $128 million to approximately 199 million. In addition, since 2001, cash benefits under the Alberta Seniors Benefit have increased 15%.

Health Insurance Premiums - 2002
More than 52% (165,000) of Alberta seniors pay no health insurance. Approximately 6 % (19,000) of Alberta seniors pay partial premiums.
compared to
Health Care Insurance Premium exemptions - 2004
Approximately 165,000 seniors (50%) in Alberta pay no health insurance premiums and roughly 20,000 seniors (6%) pay partial premiums. The estimated foregone revenue of Health Care premium exemptions for low-income seniors in Alberta is approximately $100 million. Income eligibility thresholds for health care insurance premium exemptions have been increased over the last few years.

Special Needs Assistance for Seniors Program - 2002
During 2001/02 the Special Needs Assistance for Seniors Program helped more than 9,000 seniors. The maximum payment for the Special Needs Assistance for seniors' program is $5,000 per year. (They did not say this was a one time only payment) The average payment per approved application was $2,200.
compared
Special Needs Assistance for Seniors - 2004
The Special Needs Assistance for seniors program provides financial assistance to low income seniors eligible for the Alberta Seniors Benefit for extraordinary one time only expenses. In 2003/04 The Special Needs Assistance for seniors program provided financial assistance to over 35,000 seniors. The budget for this program in 2004/05 is $33 million.

Housing - 2002
Government provides $17.6 million in supports for seniors housing in Alberta. This includes 23,000 subsidized households (19,000) government owned and 4,000 government supported housing units). Government provides $41.0 million in supports for low-income families, individuals with special needs, and the homeless. This includes 17,100 subsidized households (9300 government -owned and
7 800 government supported housing units.
compared to
Housing - 2004
Alberta Seniors provides approximately $17 million annually to agencies to support 24,000 low to moderate income seniors in government owned and government supported housing. Rent under the seniors self-contained Apartment program is based on 30% of the household and adjusted income.

The Sherwood Park News, report by Iris Evans, MLA, June 6, 2004
.
Dental and Optical Benefits: Dental and optical benefits are available for eligible low income seniors under the Special Needs Assistance for Seniors program and can cover up to 100 % of dental services up to the lifetime maximum of "$5000".
In 2003/04 the Special Needs Assistance for seniors program provided a dental and optical financial assistance to approximately 14,000 seniors totaling $17 million, which is part of the global program budget.

Alberta Blue Cross coverage for seniors All Alberta seniors are eligible to receive premium free Alberta Blue Cross coverage. For prescription drug coverage, seniors pay 30% up to $25 maximum per prescription or refill. The Alberta Government spends approximately $364.2 million through the Blue Cross Coverage program 2003/04. This includes costs for prescription drugs (344.7 million), ambulance coverage ($15 million) and other benefits like prostheses, home nursing and clinical psychology ($4.5 million).

Alberta Aids to Daily Living (AADL) program
The AADL program assists Albertans in maintaining independence in their home or home-like setting by funding medical equipment and/o4 supplies that best meet their basic medically assessed needs. Some of the benefits include hearing aids, wheelchairs, compression stockings, and oxygen. While all benefits have specific eligibility criteria this program is not age-specific and all seniors are eligible to apply. AADDL is a cost-share program. Clients pay 25% of the cost of the benefit, to a maximum of $500 per individual/family per benefit year. Clients with low incomes may be exempt from cost sharing. The Cost for 2003/04 was $73 million and provided assistance to 50,000 seniors in 2003/04.

Long term Care Assistance
THE MINISTRY OF SENIORS provides financial assistance to approximately 8,000 eligible low income seniors in long term care totaling approximately $29 million. Alberta Health and Wellness continues to pay around $95 per resident, per day for health care services. The estimated senior's portion of long term care expenditures in 2003/04 is approximately $650 million.

You have to admit that these great sums of money spent on half of the Senior Population sounds impressive. That is the point isn't it, to make us think they are giving generously TO HALF OF THE SENIOR POPULATION. The Klein government has split the senior population into bit parts. We have Low Income Seniors, Partial Seniors, Partially Rich (up to $40,000 income) and the very rich (8/9%). If your income is more than $18,850 (single) or $28,740 (couple) the Klein government does not want to know you - you do not count. Come the Revolution, when you cast your vote, make sure you find a party to support that knows you are still alive, cares about you and your needs, a party that considers you an asset to society, not a burden to be swept under the rug.

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