Congress is debating ways to cut the federal deficit. 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: FY17 Appropriations

Federal budget debates remain contentious despite nearly $5 trillion in deficit reduction achieved in recent years. More than 75% of this 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), Senior Corps, and the Social Services Block Grant (SSBG). Visit the NDD United website to learn more.

Track investments in services for older adults with our Aging Program Funding Table and review NCOA priorities for FY17 appropriations detailed in our Issue Briefs.

Despite a budget deal that was supposed to provide relief from spending caps for FY16 and FY17, we’re still seeing significant cuts in key programs. The Senate Appropriations Committee has proposed eliminating all funding for SHIPs and cutting SCSEP funding by $34.4 million. The House Committee level-funds these programs and makes investments in a number of OAA programs. NCOA joined with the Leadership Council of Aging Organizations (LCAO) to weigh in with House and Senate members regarding our priorities as appropriators finalized their work. Your voice is needed more than ever as compromises are worked out to finalize FY17 funding.

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

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 approximately 94,000 public education presentations last year.

Funding status: The Senate Appropriations Committee has proposed to eliminate all funding for SHIP for FY17. The House Committee has proposed level funding of $52.1 million.

Key messages: 

  1. If your Representative is an appropriator, thank him/her for for protecting SHIP funding and urge that level-funding prevail in the final appropriations legislation.
  2. If your Senator is an appropriator, urge her/him to accept the House level for SHIP in the final funding package.
  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.

Learn more: Review this issue brief outlining NCOA’s rationale for $59.4 million in funding for 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: The Senate Appropriations Committee has proposed a $34.4 million, or 8%, cut in SCSEP for FY17. The House Committee has proposed level-funding of $434.4 million.

Key messages:

  1. If your Representative is an appropriator, thank him/her for for protecting SCSEP funding and urge that level-funding prevail in the final appropriations legislation.
  2. If your Senator is an appropriator, urge her/him to accept the House level for SCSEP in the final funding package.
  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 this issue brief outlining NCOA’s rationale for SCSEP and other OAA funding.

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: Both the Senate and House Appropriations Committees have proposed level funding for Falls Prevention for FY17: $5 million to the Administration for Community Living (ACL) and $2.1 million to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). 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.

Key messages: Educate your Congressional delegation about the importance of FY17 Falls Prevention funding and the threat that ACA repeal could pose for future investments.

Learn more: Review this issue brief outlining why the NCOA-led Falls Free® Coalition called for a $10 million PPHF allocation for Falls Prevention for FY17 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: Both the Senate and House Appropriations Committees have proposed level funding for CDSME for FY17: $8 million to ACL. Future funding is threatened by proposals to repeal the ACA, and with it, the PPHF that makes the investment at ACL.

Key messages: Educate your Congressional delegation about the importance of FY17 CDSME funding and the threat that ACA repeal could pose for future investments.

Learn more: Review this issue brief outlining NCOA’s rationale for $16 million in funding for CDSME for FY17 and our advocacy toolkit to protect future funding.

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