By Bob Katzen
The Committee on Elder Affairs held a hearing on a proposal raising the Personal Needs Allowance (PNA) for nursing home residents from the current $72.80 monthly to $100 monthly. It also includes a provision that gives the residents an annual cost of living increase. The PNA pays for expenses not covered by Medicaid for nursing home residents.
Supporters say that the money, half of which is reimbursed with federal dollars, helps residents pay for clothing, shoes, phone calls, medicine, transportation, haircuts and other personal needs which help them maintain their dignity and well-being. They noted the $72.80 monthly allowance has not been raised in 20 years.
“It is heartbreaking to hear from people living in rest homes who can’t afford a phone, a used winter coat or birthday cards to their grandchildren,” said the bill’s sponsor Sen. Pat Jehlen (D-Somerville).