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Legislatively Speaking

July 18, 2017 - 12:40am

HB 607 (Act 102) became law this month, appropriating $600,000 to the Executive Office on Aging to establish the Kupuna Caregivers Program. The goal of the program is to assist qualified caregivers in obtaining care for their care recipients while remaining in the workforce, provided certain criteria are met.

The Hawaii Legislature heard from kupuna about the challenges of getting assistance when needed and the financial impact on their families if someone had to quit work to take care of their parents. This bill has been discussed for many years, but this was the year there was overwhelming support to address the importance of caregivers to the overall well-being of the ohana. Hawaii is at the forefront of this policy and will continue to be at there because we have the most percentage of population over 60 which is currently 16.5 per cent, and this is projected to rise to 19.4 per cent by 2020 and 23 per cent by 2030.

Who is eligible?

Qualified caregivers must be employed at least 30 hours a week at one or more jobs and provide care directly to a care recipient. A Care recipient is someone who is a citizen of the United States or a qualified alien; 60 years of age or older; is not covered by any comparable government or private home and community-based care service, except kupuna care services; does not reside in a long-term care facility; and has impairments of at least two activities of daily living, two instrumental activities of daily living, one activity of daily living and one instrumental activity of daily living, or substantive cognitive impairment requiring substantial supervision.

What assistance is provided?

The Kupuna Caregivers Program shall award up to $70 per day (subject to availability), to cover costs for adult day care, chore services, home-delivered meals, homemaker services, personal care, respite care, or transportation that would otherwise be performed by the qualified caregiver for the care recipient. Funds will be issued directly to the service provider upon request and receipt of an invoice for services rendered.

When will this program start?

EOA plans to launch the Kupuna Caregivers program in 2018. If you have a need for caregiving and want to explore your options, contact Aging and Disability Resource Center at 643-2372, ADRC TTY Line 643-0899, or go to www.hawaiiadrc.org.

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