A Kansas elder law attorney can provide help to seniors in making the law work for them. Seniors can begin to face difficult legal issues related to protecting assets, taking advantage of benefits, and planning ahead for if they get sick or pass away. Parman & Easterday can provide assistance in understanding the law and how seniors can use legal tools to obtain more security for themselves and their families.
Because so many issues impact seniors, older adults are often politically involved. In Kansas, some are actually helping to shape legislation. The McPherson Sentinel reports on one group that aims to give seniors a powerful political voice: the Silver Haired Legislature.
What Does the Silver Haired Legislature Do?
The Silver Haired Legislature was created in 1969 by an Act of Congress. The Silver Haired Legislature was given the responsibility to identify specific issues of importance to seniors aged 60 and older and to provide education to lawmakers about the issues that have a major impact on people within this age group. Members of the Silver Haired Legislature come from counties throughout Kansas, with each county entitled to at least one representative on the legislature.
According to the McPherson Sentinel, the Kansas Silver Haired Legislature met in October of 2016. This meeting was the 34th annual session held by this group. At the meeting, delegates debated issues that an executive board selected in July. The debate was for a period of two days and included formal hearings to address these issues, which were presented in the form of both bills and resolutions.
After debating, they voted on the bills and resolutions put forth to them. When a bill or a resolution receives enough votes, that bill or resolution is sent on to the Kansas State Legislature where lawmakers will consider whether to address the issue in the legislative session.
The Silver Haired Legislatures exists to make certain seniors can get issues before lawmakers so they have a voice in the rules and regulations that pass in Kansas. Because they present their bills and resolutions to legislators after a careful voting process, with each bill or resolution being voted on twice before being passed on, lawmakers often take these proposals seriously. Even if the legislature doesn’t propose legal changes in response to these seniors, the Silver Haired Legislature forces lawmakers to pause and consider what matters to older constituents in Kansas.
What Kinds of Bills and Resolutions are Passed?
The Kansas Silver Haired Legislature passed several resolutions last year. For example, they asked the Kansas legislature to ensure it was fully funding, with 8% interest, its obligation to the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System.
The Silver Haired Legislature also urged the governor and legislature to provide cost of living adjustments to increase pensions for seniors receiving retirement benefits though KPERS. Seniors who receive their retirement funds through this program have not had a rise in benefits since 1998.
Other requests included repealing the income tax exemption for non-wage businesses in favor of a different tax policy; supporting and enhancing funding for public transportation; and supporting Medicaid expansion. The Senior Care Act Program, which helps seniors stay in their homes longer when they only need minimum help, was another target; seniors asked lawmakers to restore funding after the program was cut 30 percent last year. Not only is it better for seniors to remain in their homes and to remain independent, but it also saves money since a senior living at home costs far less than a senior who is living in a nursing home.
Getting Help from A Kansas Elder Law Attorney
Parman & Easterday can provide help to older people in Kansas who want to understand what the law requires and who want to make sure the law works as well as possible to protect them. To find out more about how a Kansas elder law attorney can provide assistance in addressing issues that arise as you age, join us for a free seminar. You can also give us a call today at (405) 843-6100 or (913) 385-9400 or contact us online to talk with a legal professional who you can count on to be knowledgeable about the issues impacting seniors. Give us a call today to get help.