State moves to ban non-citizens from getting senior benefits

State officials want to change eligibility requirements that now allow non-citizens to collect monthly senior benefits.

The proposed change from Gov. Bill Walker and the state health department would remove 16 people from the program that pays monthly benefits to low-income senior citizens. It would save the state about $43,000 annually.

Most of those who would be affected have not met the five-year residency requirement to receive benefits. Three others have moved to Alaska but don’t plan to immigrate, and one person is in the country without legal permission.

Walker’s bill would require anyone receiving the senior benefit be a citizen or a qualified permanent resident.

The governor’s office says all public assistance programs except one other have citizenship requirements.