U.S. Congress Considering Funding For Senior Programs NOW

Urge Members of Congress to Support Funding for Local Aging Programs

Both the House and the Senate have considered their FY 2018 funding proposals for Older Americans Act (OAA) and other aging programs, and lawmakers have until December 8 to either reach a long-term funding agreement or pass another short-term funding solution.

That means now is the perfect time for local aging advocates in Missouri to reach out to our Representatives and Senators to advocate for the highest possible funding levels for OAA and other critical aging programs in the final bill Congress passes.

There are a few key messages about current funding proposals for local aging that we hope you will take to local lawmakers. We want lawmakers to support a recently proposed $14.2 million increase for Older Americans Act Title III B Supportive Services, which fund critical aging services in Missouri.

We also want them to reject proposed cuts for critical Medicare counseling services under the federal SHIP program as well as for senior workforce development and elder justice programs. The good news is that that because the Senate proposed fully funding all of these programs, we have a chance to ensure the cuts will be rejected in the final federal budget for next year.

How do we do that? At ma4, we are advocating for these programs alongside our national champions in Washington, DC. However, we need YOU to make our voices be better heard by lawmakers! We hope you will consider taking the following steps in support of Older Americans Act funding!

Contact your Senators and Representatives now to advocate for funding for Older Americans Act programs and services. You can use some of the sample language below in your outreach, but make sure to fill in details about the effect these programs have had on you and others in our community.

If you can, put your concerns in writing to email and/or fax it to our Senators and Representative(s). Email is easiest, but sometimes a fax will draw more notice. Use the language below to help you craft your messages, but make sure to include your personal experiences about these programs. You can find contact information for our Senators and Representatives at www.senate.gov and www.house.gov and you can email them right from that same site.

If you’d rather call than write our lawmakers (or do both!), this is an easy way to be heard! Use the Capitol Switchboard (202.224.3121) to reach DC offices, or look up the district phone numbers on their websites.

Sample Script:

“[IDENTIFY YOURSELF AS A CONSTITUENT AND SHARE ANY RELEVANT PERSONAL INFORMATION YOU FEEL COMFORTABLE SHARING. For example, “I live in the town of Fairmont with my husband who is living with Alzheimer’s. I am his primary caregiver, but he also receives in-home services from the Older Americans Act which allows us to be able to stay in our home of 45 years.”]

I am reaching out today regarding funding for the Older Americans Act and other aging programs in the 2018 funding bills being considered by Congress. By December 8, Congress should adopt a bipartisan, long-term funding bill that:

  • Preserves the House-passed increase for Older Americans Act Title III B Supportive Services, which provides critical in-home help to older adults who would otherwise not be able to remain living independently.
  • Adopts the Senate-proposed funding levels for the federal State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP), senior workforce development programs and elder justice programs.

Older Americans Act programs are critical to me and people like me in your state/district, and with more Americans living longer, we should be investing in these programs now, not cutting them!

Please ensure that any final funding bill preserves increases for and rejects cuts to Older Americans Act and other critical aging programs. Thank you.”

More information on these topics is available from the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a) in Washington, DC: www.n4a.org, 202.872.0888.

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