Thursday, April 16, 2020

Older American’s Act Re-Authorization

On March 25th the Supporting Older Americans Act of 2020, HR4334, was signed into law. The law reauthorizes critical Older Americans Act (OAA) programs through 2024. Since 1965, the OAA has provided critical services that have enabled millions of older Americans to stay in their own homes and communities.  These services include congregate and home-delivered meals, case management, specialized transportation services, employment and volunteer programs, adult day care, senior centers, personal care, homemaker and chore services, legal support, health promotion, and disease prevention. OAA programs also support family caregivers, who are the backbone of our nation’s long-term care system. Details of this legislation can be found online here.

As America confronts this unprecedented health threat, the community-based, creative work of the aging networks supported by the Older Americans Act is a model for supporting vulnerable Americans.

— HHS Secretary Alex Azar

COVID-19 Relief

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, signed into law on March 27, sent an unprecedented level of emergency response funding and economic stimulus into the national economy, including $2.2 trillion in funding, with $955 million directed to ACL programs, including the following for Older Americans Act programs:

  • $200M for Home and Community Based Services
  • $480M for nutrition programs
  • $100M for the National Family Caregiver Support Program
  • $20M for the Ombudsman Program

What’s Next?

As Congress works to develop another Coronavirus relief package, AgeGuide, in partnership with the Illinois Association of Area Agencies on Aging (I4A) is advocating for Congress to build upon the significant funding for the Aging Network that was included in the Families First and CARES Acts and highlight additional funding and policy opportunities that would address the ongoing health and economic challenges that older Americans, caregivers and aging services providers face.

At this point, the path forward on the next comprehensive COVID-19 relief package is unclear. Both the House and the Senate are out of session, and while it’s anticipated that a bill will be under consideration in the very near future for additional federal support to address the crisis, precise next steps are uncertain.

Illinois Family Caregiver Act

The Illinois Association of Area Agencies on Aging (I4A), to which AgeGuide belongs, has initiated a major advocacy effort to support Illinois caregivers.  The goal is to fund the Illinois Family Caregiver Act (PA 93-064).  The Illinois Family Caregiver Act was established in 2004 to provide a caregiver support program to assist unpaid caregivers so they can help older Illinoisans stay home longer. The Act has never been funded by the legislature and it is time to change that. Watch for more news on our advocacy efforts.


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