Congress Finalizes OAA and Other FY12 Appropriations
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Congress Finalizes OAA and Other FY12 Appropriations

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December 19, 2011

FY12 Funding Table

See a table of funding levels for OAA and other aging services programs.

Late last week, Congress approved the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2012, which will fund government agencies through Sept. 30, 2012.

The legislation contains nine FY12 appropriations bills that had not yet been enacted, including the Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill that funds the Older Americans Act (OAA) and several aging services programs.

What does the package mean for older adults and the aging services network? Here are highlights of what’s included:

Administration on Aging (AoA) Funding

AoA is essentially level-funded for FY12, with the following notable exceptions:

  • All Program Innovations (Title IV) funding eliminated (from $13 million to zero)
  • $7.4 million (65%) cut in Alzheimer’s Disease Demonstrations
  • $3.2 million increase in AoA administration

Areas funded under Title IV include:

  • Multigenerational Civic Engagement
  • National resource centers
  • Community Innovations for Aging in Place
  • National Alzheimer’s Call Center

The legislation does not include the Administration’s requests for:

  • The Caregiver Initiative, which included increases of $40 million for the National Family Caregiver Support Program, $48 million for Supportive Services and Senior Centers, and $7.5 million for Lifespan Respite Care.
  • Transfer to AoA of the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) and the State Health Insurance Programs (SHIPs).
  • First-time funding for the Elder Justice Act (EJA).

Prevention and Public Health Fund Investments

Senate appropriators had proposed that $10 million each in funding for the Chronic Disease Self-Management Program (CDSMP) and falls prevention be allocated from the Prevention and Public Health Fund.

The Consolidated Appropriations Act does not contain specific allocation instructions, but we understand that appropriators will direct the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) to provide the $10 million in CDSMP funding, but nothing for falls prevention, which will continue to receive $1.96 million in funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP)

Although the legislation does not transfer SCSEP from the Department of Labor to AoA, it does maintain level funding for the program at $449.1 million. With this appropriation amount, work hours will continue to remain as low as 12 hours per week and waiting lists will continue to grow across the country.

Amidst the debate on reauthorization of the Workforce Investment Act, legislation has been introduced in the House that would repeal SCSEP in the name of consolidation. This has been proposed despite a General Accountability Office report that specifically states that SCSEP is one of three job training programs that serves a unique population and hence was not duplicative. The timing of any action on this legislation is currently unclear.

Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)

The legislation provides $3.5 billion for LIHEAP, which provides utility assistance for families with low-incomes, seniors, and individuals with disabilities. This is significantly less than the $4.7 billion provided for FY11, and contains no allocation for the Emergency Contingency Fund that provides additional assistance during extreme weather or energy price spikes. However, it is more than the $2.57 billion requested by the Administration, which would have been a 45% cut.

Several stories submitted by seniors to the One Away campaign relate the struggles they are having paying their energy bills. They face difficult choices between heating their homes and paying for medication, or keeping the lights on or paying for food. Sens. Sanders (I-VT), Snowe (R-ME), and Reed (D-RI) have launched a tripartisan effort to restore LIHEAP funding.

Senior Corps

The debate concerning volunteerism and civic engagement continues to be complicated. As noted above, OAA civic engagement has been defunded for FY12. In FY11, the Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) was the only AmeriCorps program that saw cuts. Yet, the House FY12 draft appropriations bill proposed to defund the entire Corporation for National and Community Service except for Senior Corps programs.

The final word on FY12 and Senior Corps is status quo: The Foster Grandparents Program ($111 million), the Senior Companion Program ($47 million), and RSVP ($50 million) are all level funded.

What’s Next?

We continue to analyze the legislation and will provide more details as they become available. An across-the-board cut of 0.189% is also levied on these and most other programs in the Labor, HHS, Education and Related Agencies (exceptions include the Prevention and Public Health Fund and Pell Grants).

Generally the news is good: Other than elimination of Title IV and the reduction in Alzheimer’s demonstration funding, there are no significant cuts in the AoA budget, and there will be a significant investment in CDSMP from the Prevention and Public Health Fund. We will continue to advocate for increased resources for falls prevention and LIHEAP and will keep you informed how you can join this effort.

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