Older Americans Act Update
Summary of February 11, 2014 Senate Committee Hearing, Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Training
Elder Law & Advocacy strongly supports Reauthorization of the Older Americans Act:
The Older Americans Act (OAA) funds important social and nutrition services for elderly Americans. Since 1965, OAA has provided a wide range of assistance to seniors, including community-based legal services, meals through senior dining centers and/or home delivery, respite care, and transportation.
Elder Law & Advocacy is a nonprofit organization providing free and low-cost civil legal services, Medicare counseling, and advocacy and litigation services.
OAA was not officially renewed since its 2011 expiration. Reauthorization of OAA is necessary to modernize and improve services. On February 11, 2014, the Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Training hearing discussed OAA programs, services, and challenges. The hearing was chaired by Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC).
Next step for Reauthorization of OAA:
The bill awaits passage by the Senate and the House.
Four experts presented testimony:
- Ms. Carol O’Shaughnessy, Principal Policy Analyst, National Health Policy Forum
- Mrs. Lynn Kellogg, Chief Executive Officer, Region IV Area Agency on Aging
- Dr. Yanira Cuz, President and CEO, National Hispanic Council on Aging
- Mrs. Denise Niese, Executive Director, Wood County Committee on Aging, Inc.
Legislators address current challenges during hearing:
- Recognizing barriers to living independently which others may take for granted.
- Expanding definition of caregivers beyond hired and/or family caregivers.
- Providing services to a rapidly increasing older population.
- Rising impact of dementia on older adults and their families and communities.
- Reaching and serving older adults from diverse and unique backgrounds, including minorities, Holocaust survivors, and LGBT seniors.
- Encouraging larger public awareness and appreciation of older adult needs.
- Ability to quantify services and tools for needs assessments.
- Maintaining flexibility exercised by local agencies who have “feet, ears, and hands on the ground” to develop services and garner private sector resources.
- Administering cost-sharing policies.
- Dispensing funds based on past or current funding formulas.
- Combating elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation.
For more information about OAA and other related legislation, please contact Elder Law & Advocacy, 5151 Murphy Canyon Road, Suite 100 and 110, San Diego, California 92123, (858) 565-1392.