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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 FY20 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. 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: FY20 Appropriations

The Administration’s budget request for FY20 reiterates many of the cuts and eliminations proposed for programs that older adults and their families rely on.

Congress is once again proceeding with its own budget process and has not expressed widespread endorsement of the Administration proposals. Nevertheless, 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 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. Last year, over seven million people with Medicare received help from SHIPs.

Funding status: Final FY19 funding for SHIP was $49.1 million. The Administration only proposed a $13 million cut for FY20, and the House has proposed a $6 million increase.

Key messages: 

  1. If your Senators signed Sen. Murphy’s FY20 letter in support of SHIP, thank them for calling for an increase in Medicare SHIP funding. Urge your other Senator(s), especially if they are on the Senate Appropriations Committee, to at least match the House-proposed increase for FY20.
  2. If your Representative is on the House Appropriations Committee, thank her/him for increasing FY20 Medicare SHIP funding. Also thank any of your Representatives who signed the joint SHIP-SCSEP funding support letter.
  3. Educate your Congressional delegation, regardless of committee membership, about the importance of SHIP. Use our our Connecting with Congress tips below to successfully leverage local meetings, town hall discussions and your own events. Tailor 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: The final FY19 appropriations package provided $400 million for SCSEP. The Administration once again proposed eliminating the program for FY20, but the House bill increases funding by nearly $64 million.

Key messages:

  1. If your Senators signed Sen. Murphy’s FY20 letter in support of SCSEP, thank them for calling for an increase in SCSEP funding. Urge your other Senator(s), especially if they are on the Senate Appropriations Committee, to at least match the House-proposed increase for FY20.
  2. If your Representative is on the House Appropriations Committee, thank her/him for increasing FY20 SCSEP funding. Also thank any of your Representatives who signed the joint SHIP-SCSEP funding support letter.
  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 our issue brief on FY20 aging services funding and our materials on our Federal Budget page.

Falls Prevention

The challenge: One in four Americans aged 65+ falls each year. In 2016, over 3 million nonfatal fall injuries among older adults were treated in emergency rooms, with nearly 870,000 of these hospitalized. Among older adults, falls are the leading cause of injury death. The cost of falls has reached $50 billion, with 75% of it covered by Medicare and Medicaid.

Funding status: The Administration again proposed no funding for falls prevention activities at the Administration for Community Living (ACL) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) for FY20. The House has proposed a $1 million increase in FY20 funding at CDC.

Key messages: 

  1. If your Senators are on the Senate Appropriations Committee, urge them to support 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 increasing some of the 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 our issue brief 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 86% of all health expenditures. About 80% 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 again proposed no funding for CDSME efforts at ACL for FY20.  The House FY20 bill maintains the current funding level.

Key messages: 

  1. If your Senators are on the Senate Appropriations Committee, urge them to support funding for CDSME 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 CDSME, and explain what it will mean for 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 our issue brief and our advocacy toolkit to protect future funding.

Learn More