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October 21, 2004 • Volume 13 Number 4

Nota Bene

Cash and Counseling, the successful GSSW-led model program in which disabled Medicaid consumers make their own personal assistance decisions, is expanding its reach.

Funders of the original three-state Cash and Counseling program, which is directed by Assoc. Prof. Kevin Mahoney (GSSW) announced this month that 11 new states will receive three-year grants of approximately $250,000 each to replicate and expand the successful program. The program is funded by The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation and the Administration on Aging within the US Department of Health and Human Services.

Cash and Counseling was launched in 1995 to give Medicaid beneficiaries choice and control over their personal care needs. It provides a self-directed, individualized budget to recipients of Medicaid personal care services. Participants use the money to hire their own caregivers or purchase items - such as chair lifts or touch lamps - that help them live independently. Each person's budget is comparable to the value of services that he or she would have received from an agency.

Arkansas, Florida and New Jersey were the first states to implement the program. The grants will establish Cash and Counseling programs in Alabama, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington and West Virginia.

"Providing more choice and control to people who are capable of managing these very personal daily activities makes a tremendous difference in improving their quality of life," said Mahoney. "With 11 new states launching programs, we hope we're that much closer to the day when every state will make this voluntary option available to Medicaid beneficiaries who have disabilities."

Cash and Counseling is headquartered in GSSW's Center for the Study of Home and Community Life [www.bc.edu/schools/gssw/research/researchcenter/].

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The Center for Retirement Research at Boston College has received $1.9 million in new funding from the US Social Security Administration (SSA) to support research and dissemination on retirement income issues.

This fiscal year 2005 award represents a 65 percent increase over last year's funding level. Since winning renewed SSA funding last year in a nationally competitive process, the center has brought in $3 million and, since its establishment in 1998, has received $11.6 million from SSA and $1.6 million from corporate and foundation sources.

The center's goals are to promote research on retirement issues, transmit new findings to the policy community and the public, help train new scholars, and broaden access to valuable data sources. Through these initiatives, the center hopes to forge a strong link between the academic and policy communities around an issue of critical importance to the nation's future.

Drucker Professor in Management Sciences Alicia Munnell, the center's director, said the new SSA award is "a huge step forward. It is a clear affirmation of the center's continuing national leadership on retirement research and dissemination."

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Dean and Associate Vice President for Research Michael Smyer said, "The Social Security Administration invests in the Center for Retirement Research because the center has become the leading research center on pension policy in the country. Boston College is pleased to be leading the discussion in this important area."

Nota Bene highlights recent achievements and marks of distinction by members of the Boston College community.

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