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State cutting some cash assistance

Mon., May 3, 2010, 8:38 a.m.

BOISE — The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare is reducing or eliminating payments to about 1,250 residents receiving cash assistance under the Aid for the Aged, Blind and Disabled program.

Agency administrator Russ Barron says the program faces a $1.1 million deficit.

Over 14,700 Idaho residents receive cash payments through the AABD program, and most will continue to get $53 a month. Payment reductions range from $33 a month to a $198 a month for 300 participants with developmental disabilities who live in certified family homes.

“We hope that doesn’t change anybody’s living situation,” said department spokesman Tom Shanahan. “If there is a problem we would work with the person to try to find them a new certified family home.”

The program doesn’t receive any federal funds, Shanahan said.

“This cut hurt because it’s all state general funds, it’s all dollar-for-dollar cuts,” he said.

Still, most of the neighboring states have lower average payments under the program than Idaho, Shanahan said.

“In Idaho, most people get $53 a month, and Washington pays $46 a month, Nevada pays $36 and Wyoming is $27,” he said. “We have been pretty good, it’s just that we can’t keep funding it at the level that we were.”

The proposed changes will take effect on July 1 and those affected will be notified by letter as early as this week.

Some of the residents affected by the cuts may see an increase in food stamp benefits, he said.

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