|Vol. 9, nos. 3 & 4|
On Delivery of Legal Assistance to Older Persons
The Tobacco Settlement Funds and Aging Programs
The Attorneys General of 46 states, the District of Columbia, and 5 territories have stated their intentions to sign an agreement with the tobacco industry which will bring up to $206 billion to the states in the next 25 years and then additional billions in subsequent years. (Four states -- MS, FL, TX and MN -- had already signed separate settlements for over $40 billion over 25 years.) In short, while the 46 state settlement may have many substantive flaws, once it is consummated, the states will be receiving huge sums of no-strings-attached money. We call this OPPORTUNITY!
The Center for Social Gerontology is available to assist the Aging Network in seeking to assure that older Americans obtain a share of the tobacco settlement funds coming to their state. In most states, this is the time of year that the FY'2000 state budget request is being prepared, and it is in the FY'2000 budget that most states will first be deciding how to spend the tobacco settlement funds. If aging programs are to share in this new funding opportunity, it is imperative that action be taken in the coming weeks and months to get this into the FY'2000 budget and appropriations.
States will be receiving millions of dollars; dollars that were obtained to reimburse the state for Medicaid expenditures for health care costs spent on persons with tobacco-related diseases. Most of these persons were older; and most of the future health care costs the state incurs due to tobacco-related diseases will also be for older persons. TCSG believes that aging programs, particularly health-related ones, should receive a fair share of the settlement funds.
To assist in assuring that aging shares in the tobacco settlement, TCSG is doing the following:
- We have sent materials to State Units on Aging and others in the Aging Network notifying them of this opportunity and recommending strategies to obtain funds for aging programs, including smoking cessation and clean indoor air initiatives.
- We are available to provide telephone consultation on: the background and details of the settlement, how other states are pursuing this opportunity, and strategies to pursue.
- We have added a number of very useful items on tobacco and the elderly and the settlement to our web site for the Aging Network to easily access and download at http://www.tcsg.org just by clicking on Tobacco & Elderly. On the site are: the settlement payment schedule; the fact sheet; a detailed bibliography on tobacco & the elderly; and past copies of our Tobacco & the Elderly Notes newsletters which contain much useful information that could support arguments for tobacco settlement funds going to aging programs.
- Recently we created two posters highlighting tobacco as an elderly issue -- particularly a poster that shows the percentage of tobacco victims who are older persons. We have a limited number of additional copies of these posters, and they are available if they might assist groups in publicly demonstrating the need for some of the settlement funds going to elders.
Back to TCSG Home
The Center for Social Gerontology, Inc.
A National Support Center in Law and Aging
2307 Shelby Avenue Ann Arbor, MI 48103
Tel: (734) 665-1126 Fax: (734) 665-2071