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Federal budget debates remain contentious despite nearly $5 trillion in deficit reduction achieved in recent years. More than 75% of this reduction has come through spending cuts, particularly in non-defense discretionary (NDD) programs such as those of the Older Americans Act (OAA), Falls Prevention, Housing Counseling, Section 202 Housing for the Elderly, the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), and Senior Corps. Visit the NDD United website and review Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) pieces on House FY18 Budget and Appropriations proposals to learn more.

Help us make sure that deficit reduction does not come at the expense of programs that serve vulnerable older adults.

Ways to Act

1.Take Action NOW

2. Share a Story

3. Meet with Your Lawmakers

4 Steps to Connect with Your Lawmakers

  1. Find your legislators’ contact information using our Action Center.
  2. Prepare for an in-person meeting or host a site visit with your legislator.
  3. Attend a town hall meeting if there’s one in your area.
  4. Tell us how it went. Your response will help us track our advocacy efforts.

Talking Points: FY18 Appropriations

The new Administration proposed a significant number of cuts to discretionary programs, including those older adults and their families rely on. Review our blog post for some of the details.

Although Congress is proceeding with its own budget process and has not expressed widespread endorsement of the Administration proposals, advocacy is needed to reinforce bipartisan support for a number of aging services programs, and educate members of Congress who might not be aware of the benefits of some programs to their communities. Learn about what’s being proposed in the House and Senate so far, and what’s expected this fall.

Learn more about investments in services for older adults and ongoing advocacy efforts on our Federal Budget page, which includes information such as our Aging Program Funding Table and Issue Briefs.

Below are more details about investing in aging services that you can share with your members of Congress:

Medicare State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP)

The challenge: Understanding the A, B, C, and Ds of Medicare is often an overwhelming process. It can also be an isolating experience if seniors and people with disabilities don’t know where to get help. SHIPs provide local, in-depth insurance counseling and assistance to Medicare beneficiaries, their families, and caregivers. Counseling services are provided via telephone, one-on-one in person, and at thousands of public education presentations. Over the past two years, about seven million people with Medicare received help from SHIPs.

Funding status: Final FY17 funding for SHIP was cut by $5 million, to $47.1 million. The Administration and the House Appropriations Committee have proposed eliminating all funding for FY18. The Senate Appropriations Committee has proposed level funding of $47.1 million.

Key messages: 

  1. If your Senators are on the Senate Appropriations Committee, or signed Sen. Murphy’s letter in support of SHIP, thank them for protecting Medicare SHIP funding.
  2. If your Representative is on the House Appropriations Committee educate her/him about how the proposed elimination of SHIP will affect Medicare beneficiaries in your state or community.
  3. Educate your Congressional delegation, regardless of committee membership, about the importance of SHIP. Use our Connecting with Congress tips below to successfully leverage local meetings, town hall discussions and your own events. Use our template to tell the story in your state.

Learn more: Review this issue brief outlining NCOA’s rationale for investing in SHIP.

Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP)

The challenge: SCSEP is the nation’s oldest program to help low-income, unemployed individuals aged 55+ find work. It matches eligible older adults with part-time jobs for community service organizations. Participants build skills and self-confidence, while earning a modest income. For most, their SCSEP experience leads to permanent employment.

Funding status: Final FY17 funding for SCSEP was cut by $34.4 million, to $400 million. The Administration has proposed eliminating all funding and the House Appropriations Committee has proposed cutting $100 million (25%) for FY18. The Senate Appropriations Committee has proposed level funding of $400 million.

Key messages:

  1. If your Senators are on the Senate Appropriations Committee, or signed Sen. Murphy’s letter in support of SCSEP, thank them for protecting SCSEP funding.
  2. If your Representative is on the House Appropriations Committee educate her/him how the proposed cut will affect older workers looking for jobs in your state or community.
  3. Educate your Congressional delegation, regardless of committee membership, about the importance of SCSEP. Use our Connecting with Congress tips below to successfully leverage local meetings, town hall discussions and your own events.

Learn more: Review materials on our Federal Budget page.

Falls Prevention

The challenge: One in three Americans aged 65+ falls each year. In 2014, 2.8 million nonfatal fall injuries among older adults were treated in emergency rooms, with more than 812,000 of these hospitalized. Among older adults, falls are the leading cause of injury death. In 2013, $34 billion in direct medical costs was spent treating older adults for the effects of falls, with 78% of these costs reimbursed by Medicare.

Funding status: The Administration requested level funding for falls prevention activities at ACL, but future funding is threatened by proposals to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and with it, the Prevention and Public Health Fund (PPHF) that makes the investment at ACL. The Administration also proposed to eliminate the $2.1 million provided to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) for falls prevention efforts. The House Appropriations Committee and the Senate Appropriations Committee have proposed level funding for falls prevention at both ACL and CDC.

Key messages: 

  1. If your Senators are on the Senate Appropriations Committee, thank her/him for protecting funding for falls prevention and explain what it will mean for your state or community.
  2. If your Representative is on the House Appropriations Committee, thank her/him for protecting funding for falls prevention and explain what it will mean for your state or community.
  3. Educate your Congressional delegation, regardless of committee membership, about the importance of falls prevention. Use our Connecting with Congress tips below to successfully leverage local meetings, town hall discussions and your own events.

Learn more: Review this issue brief outlining why the NCOA-led Falls Free® Coalition is calling for for at least $7.1 million for Falls Prevention for FY18 and our advocacy toolkit to protect future funding.

Chronic Disease Self-Management Education (CDSME)

The challenge: Chronic diseases account for more than 70% of deaths in the U.S. Older Americans are disproportionately affected by these conditions, which account for more than 75% of all health expenditures and 95% of health care costs for older adults. Over 90% of older adults have at least one chronic disease, and two-thirds have two or more. CDSME is a low-cost, evidence-based disease prevention intervention that utilizes state-of-the-art techniques to help those with chronic diseases manage their conditions, improve their health status, and reduce their need for more costly medical care.

Funding status: The Administration and the House Appropriations Committee have proposed a $3 million cut, from $8 million to $5 million, for CDSME efforts at ACL. The Senate Appropriations Committee has proposed level funding of $8 million. Future funding is threatened by proposals to repeal the ACA, and with it, the PPHF that makes the investment at ACL.

Key messages: 

  1. If your Senators are on the Senate Appropriations Committee, thank her/him for protecting funding for CDSME and explain what it will mean for your state or community.
  2. If your Representative is on the House Appropriations Committee educate her/him about how the proposed cut to CDSME funding will affect services and seniors in your state or community.
  3. Educate your Congressional delegation, regardless of committee membership, about the importance of CDSME. Use our Connecting with Congress tips below to successfully leverage local meetings, town hall discussions and your own events.

Learn more: Review this issue brief outlining NCOA’s rationale for $16 million in funding for CDSME for FY18 and our advocacy toolkit to protect future funding.

Learn More