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CTDSS gives reprieve for seniors facing benefits loss

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NORWALK -

More than 100,000 of Connecticut's senior citizens will retain their Medicare assistance at the end of the month after receiving a temporary reprieve from the state's Department of Social Services.

They are getting an extra two months before much tougher income requirements take effect for the state's Medicare Assistance Program.

State lawmakers hope to agree on a permanent fix by then, because the new state budget will cut or remove benefits for 113,000 seniors.

"We want to fix it," says state Rep. Joe Aresimowicz, the speaker of the state House. "We understand it's a major problem that's affecting a great many citizens of the state of Connecticut."

Judith Lipton, of Fairfield, says she could lose her $134 monthly Medicare contribution.

The Department of Social Services delayed the move for two months after thousands of worried seniors called to complain.

Wednesday afternoon, Gov. Dannel Malloy met with top state lawmakers to discuss how to keep so many people from getting kicked off the program. He says that if lawmakers restore the Medicare cuts, it will probably cost other people in need.

The state is facing a $200 million deficit coming into the new year. The Medicare assistance extension is expected to cost more than $50 million.

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