The Older Americans Act (OAA) helps older adults to engage in their communities and to maintain and improve dignity, health, and independence. Services funded through the OAA include case management, elder abuse prevention, family caregiver supports, nutrition programs, transportation, and in-home assistance. In partnership with the Leadership Council of Aging Organizations, the Eldercare Workforce Alliance, and other groups, NASW has advocated consistently for OAA funding.
The omnibus appropriations bill for fiscal year (FY) 2018, passed and signed into law (P.L. 115-141) in late March, included increased funding (as compared to FY 2017) for some OAA programs and other programs critical to the well-being of older adults:
- OAA Title II programs: Aging and Disability Resource Centers
- OAA Title III programs: Preventive Health, Family Caregiver Support, Nutrition Services, and Home and Community-Based Supportive Services
- OAA Title VI programs: caregiver support services and nutrition and supportive services for American Indians/Alaska Natives/Native Hawai’ians
- OAA Title VII programs: Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program; Prevention of Elder Abuse and Neglect Programs; Elder Justice Initiative and other Elder Rights Support Activities
- State Health Insurance Assistance Program (partial restoration of funding cut in FY 2017)
- Alzheimer’s Disease Program: part of the Prevention and Public Health Fund, created in 2010 by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (P.L. 111-14)
- Section 202 program: provides housing for older adults with low incomes
- Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program: benefits many older adults
- National Institutes of Health: research on Alzheimer’s and related dementias
- Geriatrics Workforce Enhancement Program
- National Health Service Corps and Area Health Education Centers
- Community Development Block Grant.
Moreover, the law included level funding for other programs that had faced severe cuts during the FY 2018 appropriations process:
- Chronic Disease Self-Management Program and Elder Falls Prevention, both under the auspices of the PPHF
- Senior Community Services Employment Program Senior Corps: includes Retired Senior Volunteer Program, Foster Grandparents, and Senior Companion programs
- Community Services Block Grant and Social Services Block Grant.
These appropriations constitute a significant victory for the OAA and for other aging programs.
Send a message to your members of Congress to underscore the importance of funding for the OAA and other programs integral to the health and well-being of older adults.