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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 FY19 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: FY19 Appropriations

The Administration’s budget request for FY19 reiterates many of the cuts and eliminations proposed for programs that older adults and their families rely on.

Similar to last year, Congress is 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 FY17 funding for SHIP was cut by $5 million, to $47.1 million. The final FY18 appropriations package provided $49.1 million. The Administration is once again proposing eliminating the program for FY19.

Key messages: 

  1. If your Senators are on the Senate Appropriations Committee, or signed Sen. Murphy’s FY18 letter in support of SHIP, thank them for protecting Medicare SHIP funding and ask for their support for restoring funding at least $52.1 million in FY19.
  2. If your Representative is on the House Appropriations Committee, thank her/him for protecting FY18 Medicare SHIP funding and request support for restoring funding to at least $52.1 million in FY19.
  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: Final FY17 funding for SCSEP was cut by $34.4 million, to $400 million. The final FY18 appropriations package provided $400 million. The Administration is once again proposing eliminating the program for FY19.

Key messages:

  1. If your Senators are on the Senate Appropriations Committee, or signed Sen. Murphy’s FY18 letter in support of SCSEP, thank them for protecting SCSEP funding and ask for their support for at least restoring funding to the $434.4 million level.
  2. If your Representative is on the House Appropriations Committee, thank her/him for protecting FY18 SCSEP funding and request support for restoring funding to at least $434.4 million in FY19.
  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 proposed no funding for Falls Prevention activities at the Administration for Community Living (ACL) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and funding is also threatened as the Prevention and Public Health Fund (PPHF) that makes the investment at ACL is targeted for cuts or elimination. In FY18, appropriators protected the funding at both agencies.

Key messages: 

  1. If your Senators are on the Senate Appropriations Committee, thank them 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 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 proposed no funding for CDSME efforts at ACL, and funding is also threatened when the PPHF is targeted.  In FY18, appropriators protected the funding.

Key messages: 

  1. If your Senators are on the Senate Appropriations Committee, thank them 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 thank her/him for protecting funding for CDSME funding 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 advocacy toolkit to protect future funding.

Learn More