Budget uncertainty could make it harder for the elderly to access medical care

Potential cuts to senior benefits and Medicaid have many concerned. But the elder community faces another potential setback – this one tied to cuts to the Alaska Legal Services Corporation.

News Story (Alaska)

KCAW (Sitka, AK)
July 30, 2019

Tags: Seniors

Organizations mentioned/involved: Alaska Legal Services Corporation


When Cecilia needed full time, professional help. Alan and his sister turned to Sitka Pioneer Home in town. His mother required Tier III care at a cost of some $7,000 a month, Borbridge said. Despite being on a fixed income, Cecilia still made too much money each month to qualify for a Medicaid waiver that would defray the costs of care

Monthly payouts from her retirement fund put her “way over income” to qualify for that waiver Borbridge said. That’s because, depending on the specifics, Medicaid waivers or Medicaid is often the only way for low-income seniors to get support for long-term care, says Catherine Rogers, a member attorney at the Alaska Legal Services corporation.

Alongside other legal advice for low-income people, she spends a lot of her time helping elderly people afford medical care through something called a Miller Trust, or Qualified Income Trust. That’s what Rogers helped Alan set up for Cecilia. She also helped the Borbridge family manage their assets – another necessary step to qualify. The cuts to Alaska Legal Services could mean fewer people will have access to that support.