Older Americans Act Funded by American Rescue Plan

Posted on 05/14/21

Building support for the Older Americans Act was AARP’s number one legislative priority from 1961 to 1965 - and was AARP’s first major successful grassroots advocacy campaign. Dr. Ethel Percy Andrus, the founder of AARP, was the campaign’s leader.

The Older Americans Act was designed to help older people maintain maximum independence in their homes and communities and to promote a continuum of care for the vulnerable elderly. The act established the U.S. Administration on Aging (AoA) and facilitated creation of State and Area Agencies on Aging to address the social service needs of older people at the community level.

Since 1965, millions of our most vulnerable seniors have relied on the Older Americans Act for their health and economic security. The act helps seniors live independently by:

  • Supporting nutrition programs, including Meals on Wheels;
  • Providing home and community-based services, including preventive health services and transportation assistance;
  • Assisting family caregivers with information and referral, counseling and respite care;
  • Preventing and detecting elder abuse; and
  • Providing part-time community service employment and training, including the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP), which has helped more than 1 million low-income older Americans enter the workforce.

Fast forward to 2021, and AARP again waged a successful advocacy campaign to increase federal funding to the Older Americans Act for home and community-based services – to ensure the needs of older adults and people with disabilities can be met during the pandemic.

The recently enacted American Rescue Plan provides $1.434 billion in funding for programs authorized under Older Americans Act (OAA), including $750 million for the OAA Nutrition Services Program; $25 million for Native American services; $460 million to support home-and community-based support services programs, including support for COVID-19 vaccination outreach and addressing social isolation; $44 million for evidence-based health promotion and disease prevention; $145 million for the National Family Caregiver Support Program; and $10 million for the long-term care ombudsman program.

West Virginia can claim additional federal funds for:

  • HCBS waiver services
  • Home health services 
  • Private duty nursing
  • Personal care services
  • Self-directed personal care services
  • Case management
  • School-based services
  • Rehabilitative services
  • Program of All Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE)

This story is provided by AARP West Virginia. Visit the AARP West Virginia page for more news, events, and programs affecting retirement, health care, and more.

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