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On May 13, 2020, we hosted a webinar on Aging Policy in the Age of COVID-19 with our partners at the National Association of Nutrition National Association of Nutrition and Aging Services Programs. The webinar provided an overview of recent legislation impacting older adults, including the reauthorization of the Older Americans Act and the CARES act, as well as information on Administration for Community Living Programs (ACL) programs in the age of COVID-19. It also explored the impact of ACL and other federal programs at the local and provider level. If you missed it, you can view the recording here.

Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging is committed to staying engaged in, and sharing, the latest public policy news affecting older adults, caregivers and the professionals who care for them.

Check out current policy news below!

Economic Stimulus Legislation

On March 18, 2020, the Senate passed H.R. 6201, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which was immediately signed into law by the President. This act contains $250 million in emergency funding for Older Americans Act senior nutrition programs.

Another emergency spending bill, the CARES Act (H.R. 784), was signed into law on March 27 in response to the COVID-19 crisis. The bill includes hundreds of millions of dollars in emergency funding for Older Americans Act programs, including supportive services, nutrition, Native American nutrition, caregiver support and elder abuse programs, including ombudsmen.

The CARES Act also provides funding for other programs impacting older adults, including the HUD Housing for the Elderly program, the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), the USDA Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) to assist food banks, and the FEMA Emergency Food and Shelter Program which provides shelter, food and supportive services through local service organizations.

On April 24, a third economic stimulus package, the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act (H.R. 266), was signed into law. The new law includes:

  • $335 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program
  • $60 billion for small business disaster loans
  • $75 billion for hospitals 
  • $25 billion for national coronavirus testing

Older Americans Act Reauthorization Update

In March 2020, the Senate and House of Representatives both unanimously passed the Supporting Older Americans Act of 2020 (H.R. 4334), a bill to reauthorize the Older Americans Act, which was initially passed into law in 1965. This bipartisan, five-year reauthorization bill is supported by dozens of other aging organizations, including the members of the Leadership Council of Aging Organizations. The bill was signed into law March 25, 2020.

The law provides funds for critical services that help older adults maintain their health and independence, including home- and community-based services, meals, job training, senior centers, caregiver support, transportation, health promotion, benefits enrollment and more.
Important provisions of the bill include:

  • Increased authorizations of more than 35 percent over the next five federal fiscal years for every Older Americans Act program, such as The Home-Delivered Nutrition Program.
  • Inclusion of social isolation screening and further coordination of services to address this issue, as well as a report on how social isolation is currently addressed in the community through existing services.
  • Support to caregivers.
  • Establishment of a National Research, Demonstration, and Evaluation Center for the aging network. 
  • Addition of new preventive health measures, such as malnutrition screening. The bill restates the highly successful Falls Prevention and Chronic Disease Self-Management Education programs into the Act.
     

Washington Update

The Washington Update is produced monthly with our partners at Matz, Blancato & Associates to share the latest information about policy issues impacting older adults and their families. Subscribe here.
 

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