The following is a statement from James Firman, National Council on Aging (NCOA) President and CEO, on the Trump Administration Budget Blueprint:
“The Trump Administration’s budget blueprint for fiscal years 2017 and 2018 would eliminate programs that help older adults find work, keep them safe while aging in their homes, and provide opportunities for them to give back to their communities, among many others.
“The blueprint eliminates the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP), which provides job training and placement for adults 55 and over who have limited incomes and are trying to make ends meet. Among these are individuals who have taken time off to care for aging parents or family and are now trying to return to the workforce. Last year under SCSEP, 70,000 older adults received on-the-job training while providing nearly 36 million hours of staff support to 30,000 organizations. The value of this work exceeded $800 million, or nearly twice the program’s appropriations. It is ironic that a budget proposal focused on job creation would eliminate the only program dedicated to job training and placement for older, lower income Americans.
“The blueprint also eliminates the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), which provides assistance to low-income households to meet the costs of electricity, heating, and cooling. About a third of the nearly 7 million households receiving LIHEAP benefits include an older adult aged 60 or older. For these families, LIHEAP benefits often mean they do not have to choose between paying for utilities, food, or medicine.
“Also on the chopping block is the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG), which provides states and localities with funding to improve community health and living conditions for low-income families and seniors with incomes below $15,075. For 2.4 million people 55 and older, these services include home care the keeps them out of nursing homes, congregate and home-delivered meals to keep them healthy, and transportation to doctor appointments.
“Finally, the blueprint eliminates the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), which provides volunteer programs that serve distressed communities and vulnerable populations. This includes three Senior Corps programs—the Foster Grandparent Program, Senior Companion Program, and Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP). Together, these programs provide the nation with approximately 96 million hours of service, with a value of $2.1 billion.
“All of these cuts would be part of the $18 billion taken from non-defense discretionary programs for FY17 and $54 billion for FY18. The blueprint eliminates the long-standing bipartisan agreement to spread funding cuts across defense and non-defense programs. And it comes at a time when non-defense discretionary spending is already on track to fall to the smallest amount as a share of the economy in history.
“Taken together, these proposals would be a serious blow to the health and safety of all older Americans and their families.”
The National Council on Aging (NCOA) is a trusted national leader working to ensure that every person can age well. Since 1950, our mission has not changed: Improve the lives of millions of older adults, especially those who are struggling. NCOA empowers people with the best solutions to improve their own health and economic security—and we strengthen government programs that we all depend on as we age. Every year, millions of people use our signature programs BenefitsCheckUp®, My Medicare Matters®, and the Aging Mastery Program® to age well. By offering online tools and collaborating with a nationwide network of partners, NCOA is working to improve the lives of 10 million older adults by 2020. Learn more at ncoa.org and @NCOAging.