We’re All Stronger In Our Unions
By Gayle Lockett
Kudos to our retirees and in-service members who journeyed by train to Albany on Feb. 4 and 5 for the CSA Joint Advocacy Day to meet with the New York State legislators. Everything ran smoothly, thanks to our CSA legislative team’s outstanding planning and training which was led by Director of Political Affairs Gabe Gallucci, RC Legislative Liaison Mitra Lutchman, and RC Secretary Janice Imundi, who is also the chair of the Chapter’s Legislative Committee.
Some of the 2019 budget and legislative priorities we advocated for included increased community school and foundation aid funding; additional funding for professional leadership development affordable and transparency for prescription drug pricing; and an increased cost of-living adjustments (COLAs) to combat inflation for retirement system members. It was rewarding to see the full nonstop schedule on both lobby days. During the trip back to Penn
Station, even though we were tired, it was gratifying to have been a part of this project, and witnessing the bonding between retirees and in-service members. Remember, whether retired or in-service, we can all be participating active members.
At the Jan. 30 CSA Retiree Welfare Fund meeting, a motion was made and approved to increase the amount for home health aide service by $2,000, raising it to $10,000 annually and for lifetime from $24,000 to $30,000. This will be retroactive to Jan. 1, 2019. You will be notified and receive more information from Dr. Hathaway, CSA Welfare Fund Administrator.
Most members who are Medicare-eligible and who have the GHI prescription drug rider should have received a “Valentines Day” check of up to $480 from the Welfare Fund. (It comes automatically. You do not have to apply for this.)
Finally, the number of acupuncture visits reimbursable is increased from 18 per year to 36 per year effective Jan. 1, 2019. In addition, the maximum allowable charge effective January 1, 2019 is $100 per visit, which will continue to be reimbursed at 80%.
In closing, the RC Officers and I consider it a privilege to be part of this union. CSA’s officers are always concerned for the welfare of the retirees by maintaining and increasing benefits when they can to ensure a comfortable retirement.
This column is reprinted from the March 2019 CSA News.