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Older Americans in Utah
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Change in Utah is Happening Now | How New Legislation Changes Will Help to Benefit Older Americans Living in Utah

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AARP UtahThis article about law changes for older Americans in Utah is presented by AARP Utah.

The past year was a tumultuous one, with older adults caught in the crosshairs of a global pandemic that laid bare several issues that must be immediately addressed through state legislation. Here are 5 new legislation changes that will help to benefit older Americans living in Utah.

1. Social Security Tax Relief for Older Americans in Utah

Social Security - Older Americans

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There has actually been a lot of progress bringing tax relief to older Utahns this year. The state tax on Social Security advantages for joint filers with income of $50,000 as well as single filers with income of $30,000 has been removed. The tax credit is decreased by $1 for every single $40 of revenue above those levels. That means even more retirees will likely receive a partial tax debt.

2. An Expanded Ability to Create Accessory Dwelling Units

Accessory Dwelling Unit

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A lot of Utahns have struggled to get approvals to create accessory dwelling units or ‘mother-in-law apartments’ in their cities. Legislation supported by AARP Utah would establish these accessory dwelling units as a permitted use throughout the state. But the home has to be owner-occupied. And the owner can’t rent the space for short-term rentals (through Airbnb or VRBO). There also may be some additional requirements by the cities they are in. But the legislation will make it much easier for more Utahns to find these affordable places to live. Or make it easy to create ADU’s inside their homes in order to supplement their income in retirement.

3. Compensation for Caregivers

Caregivers - Older Americans

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Another new piece of legislation would reimburse some Utahns who are providing care to loved ones who are on Medicaid waivers. A lot of these caregivers have had to leave their jobs to make this possible. By providing some compensation, these families can continue to live independently in their own homes. That’s instead of placing those needing care into nursing homes too early. That could cost taxpayers six times as much too.

4. Property Tax Relief

Property Tax - Older Americans

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Many older Utahns have difficulty paying their property taxes. That’s because they have to come up with cash for an illiquid asset. As property values increase people on fixed incomes struggle to keep up with increasing property taxes. New legislation changes would create higher eligibility for older Utahns to receive some tax forgiveness under Utah’s “circuit breaker” law. That’s for household incomes up to $34,666

5. More Affordable Prescription Drugs

Prescription - Older Americans

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Finally, Utah legislation allowing Public Employees Health Plan to create more bulk purchasing programs with groups throughout the country. This will enable them to drive down the cost of more prescription drugs. A discount program for epinephrine auto-injectors (commonly known as EpiPens) was also created. It’s building off the program created last year for insulin. This has a good potential to bring down the cost of the drugs for many Utahns.

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