n4a Update 10-25-19

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OAA Reauthorization Headed to House Floor
Tell Your Representatives to Support Older Adults and Caregivers! 

October 25, 2019


n4a has breaking news from Capitol Hill! According to leaders on the House Education and Labor Committee, the full House is expected to consider the Committee’s bipartisan bill to reauthorize the Older Americans Act, the Dignity in Aging Act (H.R. 4334), next week—as early as the afternoon of Monday, October 28!

n4a endorses the Dignity in Aging Act as do dozens of other national aging advocacy organizations. We are urging swift passage in the House on Monday and we need your help to make this happen. Time to act is short, but we hope you will take one or more of the following steps to encourage your Representatives to support critical OAA programs!

Take Action

  • Contact your Representatives to let them know why it is important to support the Dignity in Aging Act!
    • CALL: The Capitol Switchboard (202.224.3121) can connect you to your lawmakers’ DC offices. Let them know why reauthorizing the OAA is important to the older adults and caregivers in their districts. Include a short data point or story about the value of local OAA services and the needs in your community.
    • EMAIL: Express your support for H.R. 4334 in an email via your Representative’s website. Find their websites at www.house.gov/representatives.
  • Engage your grassroots network! This is a simple ask to make of your local networks and advocates. Alert them via email, social media or other advocacy channels, as we hope to generate a broad show of support for OAA reauthorization. The more calls or emails on OAA your Member receives, the more they will pay it attention now and in the future. 
  • Use n4a’s OAA Advocacy Toolkit to Assist Your Efforts. Our toolkit has everything you need to learn more and take action, including n4a’s endorsement letter of the Dignity in Aging Act, H.R. 4334, social media messages and images, and a fact sheet about the Act.  


More About the Dignity in Aging Act 
The Dignity in Aging Act, H.R. 4334, was introduced in September and sailed through the committee approval process with unanimous support from House Education and Labor Committee members. Importantly, H.R. 4334 is a five-year reauthorization of the OAA and includes critical increases in funding authorization levels. The measure also contains several other n4a-supported priorities including:

  • Clarifying language to make it clear that AAAs can, outside of the OAA, engage in private pay, integrated care and other arrangements to expand services.
  • Adding additional funding to support Title VI programs, specifically for the provision of demonstration funds for supportive services and capacity-building training.
  • Removing the Title III E funding cap on grandfamilies and older relative caregivers.
  • Creating a new research and demonstration authority at the Administration on Aging with a $20 million authorization.
  • Recognizing the negative effects of social isolation and loneliness and reinforces the Aging Network’s role in preventing isolation and promoting engagement among older adults.

What’s not in the bill is also important, as n4a worked successfully to prevent any unfunded mandates and threats to local control and flexibility.
 
The bill that the full House will consider next week also includes several modest provisions that were originally introduced in the Senate’s draft reauthorization proposal. Furthermore, the Dignity in Aging Act includes a Senate-sponsored funding formula compromise. The federal OAA funding formula and harm-reduction provision within the formula stalled Senate action on OAA reauthorization this summer, but recently Senators reached an agreement and sent their compromise language to the House to include in H.R. 4334. Members recently released the final bill text and summary of the Dignity in Aging Act, which will be on the House floor on Monday.

Next Steps
 
Across Capitol Hill, the Senate has resolved its months-long funding formula negotiations and resumed bipartisan, bicameral reauthorization discussions. While we still expect that each chamber will consider its own reauthorization proposal, reports of proactive negotiations across the rotunda are great news and bode well for a possible compromise bill arriving fairly soon.
 
While we are optimistic about the prospects for OAA reauthorization at this point, there is still a lot of advocacy work to do before we reach the finish line! Stay tuned to n4a and continue to educate your Senators and Representatives about the value of OAA programs and services to your community. Thank you for your advocacy on this important issue!
 
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If you have questions or concerns about this Advocacy Alert or n4a’s policy positions, please contact Autumn Campbell at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and Amy Gotwals at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

n4a Update 10-03-2019

 
Get Loud on OAA Funding!
Connect with Congress Now to Advocate for Increased Funding

October 3, 2019

Members of Congress are in their districts and states and won’t return to DC until mid-October, when they will need to tackle decisions about final funding for FY 2020, which began on October 1. Last week, lawmakers avoided a government shutdown when they passed a short-term extension of current funding, known as a continuing resolution (CR), that keeps federal dollars flowing through November 21.
 
Senate and House appropriators are using the six-week extension to continue to hash out full-year funding proposals for FY 2020. While there are major differences between the chambers’ funding bills, the good news is that the House passed significant increases for OAA and other important federal aging programs this summer. There is also a chance that if lawmakers can’t agree on a final bill, they will continue to pass CRs indefinitely—perhaps even adopting a year-long CR. Those scenarios are far from ideal, as a series of CRs causes uncertainty for states and local agencies, and frozen funding levels do not reflect the growing need for these vital programs and services.
 
This means that advocates must reach out NOW to push for a full-year FY 2020 funding bill that includes the House-approved increases for OAA and other aging programs. This is the home stretch of FY 2020 advocacy, but perhaps the most critical period yet!
 
Even if you have already connected with your Members of Congress and asked your grassroots networks to engage as well, it’s time to do so again! Members of Congress need to hear directly from stakeholders in their state/district and constituents who benefit from the OAA programs and services that you deliver. Lawmakers also need to hear from you on the harm that prolonged CRs can cause on a local level.
 
Take Action
 
n4a has updated the Grassroots Advocacy Alert Template included in our FY 2020 Appropriations Campaign Toolkit, which we hope you will use to urge your network of local advocates to take action! Here’s your to-do list:
 
  1. Put your agency on record. Send an updated letter to your Members of Congress. Use n4a’s updated template letter to send your own messages about the importance of a long-term funding bill and funding increases to your Members of Congress.
  2. Does Your Representative or Senator serve on an Appropriations Committee? Advocacy with Members on the House and Senate Appropriations Committees is especially important. If your Representative or Senator serves on one of these key committees, your letter should request that they share your messages with their committee leaders. At this point, many funding decisions are being made at a leadership level, and the more they hear from their committee colleagues, the more seriously they will consider these requests.
  3. Engage your grassroots. Using our toolkit or your own creative ideas, get the word out in your networks that action is needed now! Here are some approaches you could take:
    • Ask your grassroots to email or post a short note to lawmakers on social media. Members monitor their email/website traffic for constituent correspondence, and personal messages resonate most. Ask your advocates to share why OAA is important to them. 
    • Ask local advocates to call Congress. Included in the Template Alert are instructions on calling lawmakers and a short sample script that constituents can use.
    • Share stories in person. Encourage your advocacy stakeholders to attend a townhall next week to share the importance of funding for OAA. Or better yet, invite your Member of Congress to come see your agency in action and meet some of their constituents receiving OAA services!
 
We need all AAAs, Title VI Native American programs and local allies to raise their voices in support of Older Americans Act funding. We must ensure that all Members of Congress know how important increased, stable, federal funding for OAA is to promote the health, well-being and independence of their older constituents and those who care for them.
 
More advocacy resources are available on n4a’s FY 2020 Appropriations Campaign page. Thank you for your advocacy on this important issue!
 
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If you have questions or concerns about this Advocacy Alert or n4a’s policy positions, please contact Autumn Campbell and Amy Gotwals at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
Copyright © 2019 National Association of Area Agencies on Aging, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
National Association of Area Agencies on Aging
1100 New Jersey Ave., SE, Suite 350
Washington, DC 20003

www.n4a.org

n4a update 09-16-2019

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More Than 620,000 Older Adults May Lose
Nutrition Benefits Under Proposed Rule

Use n4a Template Letter to Respond to SNAP Changes

September 16, 2019


A rule change proposed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) would transform the way that many states assess eligibility for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and could eliminate eligibility for three million current participants, including an estimated 620,000 older adults.
 
Overview
 
The FNS proposal makes changes to the process that many states use to determine SNAP eligibility—known as Broad Based Categorical Eligibility (BBCE)—to significantly restrict reciprocal eligibility for multiple income-support programs. Currently, states may confer SNAP eligibility if an individual or household qualifies for benefits from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. BBCE is a streamlined determination process that reduces the administrative burden of more than 40 state agencies and ensures that vulnerable individuals, including millions of older adults, receive access to SNAP benefits to reduce food insecurity and improve health.
 
According to USDA’s own estimates, more than 13 percent of all SNAP households with older adults will lose benefits under the proposed rule. This means that of the approximately 4.7 million older adults currently enrolled in SNAP, a minimum of 620,000 could lose benefits that help them fulfill basic nutritional needs—resulting in a higher risk for negative health outcomes and increased medical costs. The 620,000 older adults who risk losing SNAP benefits under the proposed rule will also have more difficulty maintaining a basic standard of living as they may be forced to choose between paying for food, medicine, rent, utilities, transportation and other necessities. (See how your state would be affected.)
 
Take Action
 
n4a plans to comment on these proposed changes, and we encourage others in the Aging Network to do the same by submitting comments highlighting the implications that this proposed rule could have on older adults in your communities. Here are several ways you can weigh in.

  1. Put Your Agency on Record. Submit formal comments about what this change could mean for the older adults that you serve. You can use n4a’s template letter to comment online at https://www.regulations.gov (search for Docket No. FNS-2018-0037). Make sure to include any information that you can find about the implications this proposed change would have for older adults in your state, which you can learn about here. Also consider incorporating individual stories about the importance of SNAP benefits to individuals in your community.
  1. Consider Submitting Individual Comments. Even if your agency cannot comment, you can weigh in personally online and, if possible, encourage your advisory council members and other advocates to do the same.
  1. Contact Your Elected Officials. Members of your congressional delegation should understand your concerns about the effects that this rule change would have on older adults in your community. If you submit a formal comment letter, make sure to send a copy to your Representative(s) and Senators. Even if your agency cannot formally comment, it is still a good idea to reach out to your legislators to voice your concerns.


Formal comments are due by midnight Monday, September 23. If your agency comments on this proposed change to SNAP, please send your submission to n4a as well. Contact n4a’s policy team with questions or to share your feedback at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
 
Thank you for your advocacy on this important issue!
 
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If you have questions or concerns about this Advocacy Alert or n4a’s policy positions, please contact Autumn Campbell and Amy Gotwals at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

n4a Update 08-15-2019

advocacy.alert.benefit

Time to Get Loud on OAA Funding!
Engage Your Grassroots in Advocacy Opportunities Now

August 15, 2019

Members of Congress are in their districts and states for the August recess and will return to DC in September to tackle decisions about federal funding for FY 2020. The Bipartisan Budget Agreement that increased overall federal budget caps for FY 2020 and FY 2021 sets the stage for lawmakers to finalize spending decisions by the end of September when current FY 2019 funding expires. More details about the budget agreement compromise are available in n4a’s recent Legislative Update.
 
In order to finalize all FY 2020 discretionary funding bills, including those for Older Americans Act and other critical aging programs, the House and the Senate will need to agree on funding levels for thousands of individual programs.
 
The good news is that earlier this summer the House passed significant increases for OAA and other important federal aging programs. This means advocates need to encourage Senate appropriators to adopt the House-passed increases for critical aging supports! It’s vital that your agency and your grassroots advocates connect with federal lawmakers NOW about the importance of adopting funding increases for Older Americans Act (OAA) and other aging programs.
 
Please augment the appropriations outreach that you have already done with your Members of Congress by asking your grassroots to take action, too. We need Members of Congress—especially in the Senate—to hear directly from their constituents who benefit from the OAA programs and services that you deliver.  
 
Take Action
 
n4a has updated our Grassroots Advocacy Alert Template included in our FY 2020 Appropriations Campaign Toolkit, which we hope will help you to urge your network of local advocates to take action now! Here’s your to-do list:

  1. Put your agency on record. Send an updated letter to your Members of Congress—especially in the Senate. Use n4a’s updated template letter to send your own messages about the importance of funding increases to your Members of Congress.
  2. Engage your grassroots. Using our toolkit or your own creative ideas, get the word out in your networks that action is needed now! Here are some approaches you could take:
    • Ask your grassroots to email or post a short social media note to lawmakers. Members monitor their email/website traffic for constituent correspondence, and personal messages resonate most. Ask your advocates to share why OAA is important to them. 
    • Ask local advocates to call Congress. Included in the Template Alert are instructions to call lawmakers and a short sample script that constituents can use.
    • Share stories in person. Encourage your local grassroots advocates to attend a townhall meeting during the rest of August to share the importance of funding for OAA. You can also invite your Member of Congress to come see your agency in action and meet some of their constituents receiving OAA services! Or, better yet, do both!

We need all AAAs, Title VI Native American programs and local allies to raise their voices in support of Older Americans Act funding. We must ensure that all members of Congress know how important robust federal funding for OAA is to promote the health, well-being and independence of their older constituents and those who care for them.
 
More advocacy resources are available on n4a’s FY 2020 Appropriations Campaign page. Stay tuned for more updates from n4a and thank you for your advocacy on this important issue!

n4a Legislative Update - July 24, 2019

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Two-Year Budget Deal Poised for Approval
Bipartisan Agreement Would Lift Budget Caps Through FY 2021

On the cusp of the upcoming congressional August recess, this week President Donald Trump, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) announced an outline for a two-year agreement that would lift budget caps for discretionary programs and mitigate the threat of another round of sequestration cuts. The measure would also suspend the federal debt limit through July 2021, which removes the issue of the debt limit and defaulting on the federal debt until after the 2020 election.

The 2019 Bipartisan Budget Agreement for FY 2020 and FY 2021 would increase overall budget caps for non-defense discretionary (NDD) programs by $88 billion in FY 2020 to $621.5 billion, which is approximately a 16 percent boost from the budget limits established in the 2011 Budget Control Act (BCA) and a $34 billion (5.6 percent) increase over FY 2019 funding. In FY 2021, the NDD funding cap would be $626.5 billion. The draft agreement would also increase funding for defense discretionary spending and includes one-time funding of $2.5 billion for the 2020 Census.

The bipartisan deal would be the latest in a series of two-year deals to lift the BCA’s too-stringent caps on discretionary programs. While previous budget agreements have included “policy riders” (legislative language unrelated to budget levels) and other must-pass bills, the current draft is limited to increasing the budget caps and suspending the debt limit.

What Does a Deal Mean for Aging and Health Programs?

Assuming this bipartisan deal passes both chambers and is signed into law—which is likely but never certain these days—congressional appropriators would have until September 30 to negotiate the details of their FY 2020 spending bills.

While it is good news that the agreement boosts overall caps for NDD funding, we don’t yet have specific details on what this would mean for individual agencies and line-items such as OAA and other aging programs.

The good news is that the House approved their funding proposals earlier this summer for the spectrum of discretionary programs supporting older adults and caregivers. The appropriations bills that passed the House include a number of important funding increases for OAA and other aging programs, which puts advocates in a good position to encourage the Senate to adopt the House-passed funding levels. The Senate has not yet produced its spending bills, instead choosing to wait until an overall budget deal is passed. Given the timing, the Senate is likely to start working directly with the House to negotiate the final appropriations measures.

Next Steps for Aging Advocates

If this 2019 Bipartisan Budget Agreement is approved, advocates should once again weigh in with their lawmakers—particularly in the Senate—to encourage adopting House-approved funding increases for aging and other NDD programs in FY 2020. Aging advocates must continue the drumbeat to increase funding for OAA Title III B Supportive Services, III E Family Caregiver Support and Title VI Native American aging programs; to protect SHIP funding, which was had been threatened in recent years; and to increase funding for all Older Americans Act programs and other essential aging and health care services. For more information and resources to assist you in your appropriations advocacy, check out n4a’s FY 2020 Appropriations Campaign page.

Stay tuned to n4a’s Legislative Updates and Answers on Aging weekly member newsletter as this bipartisan budget agreement moves forward, and watch for additional Advocacy Alerts with messaging for your Members of Congress about appropriations priorities as lawmakers finalize FY 2020 spending bills!

Get in touch

Location

ECIAAA
1003 Maple Hill Road
Bloomington, IL 61705-9327

Contact

Email: aginginfo@eciaaa.org
Phone: 309-829-2065
Fax: 309-829-6021

Opening hours

Mon-Fri: 8:00 am to 4:00 pm
Sat-Sun: CLOSED

Seniors

Seniors may call toll free:
Phone: 1-800-888-4456