n4a Update 10-03-2019

 
Get Loud on OAA Funding!
Connect with Congress Now to Advocate for Increased Funding

October 3, 2019

Members of Congress are in their districts and states and won’t return to DC until mid-October, when they will need to tackle decisions about final funding for FY 2020, which began on October 1. Last week, lawmakers avoided a government shutdown when they passed a short-term extension of current funding, known as a continuing resolution (CR), that keeps federal dollars flowing through November 21.
 
Senate and House appropriators are using the six-week extension to continue to hash out full-year funding proposals for FY 2020. While there are major differences between the chambers’ funding bills, the good news is that the House passed significant increases for OAA and other important federal aging programs this summer. There is also a chance that if lawmakers can’t agree on a final bill, they will continue to pass CRs indefinitely—perhaps even adopting a year-long CR. Those scenarios are far from ideal, as a series of CRs causes uncertainty for states and local agencies, and frozen funding levels do not reflect the growing need for these vital programs and services.
 
This means that advocates must reach out NOW to push for a full-year FY 2020 funding bill that includes the House-approved increases for OAA and other aging programs. This is the home stretch of FY 2020 advocacy, but perhaps the most critical period yet!
 
Even if you have already connected with your Members of Congress and asked your grassroots networks to engage as well, it’s time to do so again! Members of Congress need to hear directly from stakeholders in their state/district and constituents who benefit from the OAA programs and services that you deliver. Lawmakers also need to hear from you on the harm that prolonged CRs can cause on a local level.
 
Take Action
 
n4a has updated the Grassroots Advocacy Alert Template included in our FY 2020 Appropriations Campaign Toolkit, which we hope you will use to urge your network of local advocates to take action! Here’s your to-do list:
 
  1. Put your agency on record. Send an updated letter to your Members of Congress. Use n4a’s updated template letter to send your own messages about the importance of a long-term funding bill and funding increases to your Members of Congress.
  2. Does Your Representative or Senator serve on an Appropriations Committee? Advocacy with Members on the House and Senate Appropriations Committees is especially important. If your Representative or Senator serves on one of these key committees, your letter should request that they share your messages with their committee leaders. At this point, many funding decisions are being made at a leadership level, and the more they hear from their committee colleagues, the more seriously they will consider these requests.
  3. Engage your grassroots. Using our toolkit or your own creative ideas, get the word out in your networks that action is needed now! Here are some approaches you could take:
    • Ask your grassroots to email or post a short note to lawmakers on social media. Members monitor their email/website traffic for constituent correspondence, and personal messages resonate most. Ask your advocates to share why OAA is important to them. 
    • Ask local advocates to call Congress. Included in the Template Alert are instructions on calling lawmakers and a short sample script that constituents can use.
    • Share stories in person. Encourage your advocacy stakeholders to attend a townhall next week to share the importance of funding for OAA. Or better yet, invite your Member of Congress to come see your agency in action and meet some of their constituents receiving OAA services!
 
We need all AAAs, Title VI Native American programs and local allies to raise their voices in support of Older Americans Act funding. We must ensure that all Members of Congress know how important increased, stable, federal funding for OAA is to promote the health, well-being and independence of their older constituents and those who care for them.
 
More advocacy resources are available on n4a’s FY 2020 Appropriations Campaign page. Thank you for your advocacy on this important issue!
 
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If you have questions or concerns about this Advocacy Alert or n4a’s policy positions, please contact Autumn Campbell and Amy Gotwals at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
Copyright © 2019 National Association of Area Agencies on Aging, All rights reserved.

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www.n4a.org

n4a update 09-16-2019

advocacy.alert.benefit

More Than 620,000 Older Adults May Lose
Nutrition Benefits Under Proposed Rule

Use n4a Template Letter to Respond to SNAP Changes

September 16, 2019


A rule change proposed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) would transform the way that many states assess eligibility for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and could eliminate eligibility for three million current participants, including an estimated 620,000 older adults.
 
Overview
 
The FNS proposal makes changes to the process that many states use to determine SNAP eligibility—known as Broad Based Categorical Eligibility (BBCE)—to significantly restrict reciprocal eligibility for multiple income-support programs. Currently, states may confer SNAP eligibility if an individual or household qualifies for benefits from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. BBCE is a streamlined determination process that reduces the administrative burden of more than 40 state agencies and ensures that vulnerable individuals, including millions of older adults, receive access to SNAP benefits to reduce food insecurity and improve health.
 
According to USDA’s own estimates, more than 13 percent of all SNAP households with older adults will lose benefits under the proposed rule. This means that of the approximately 4.7 million older adults currently enrolled in SNAP, a minimum of 620,000 could lose benefits that help them fulfill basic nutritional needs—resulting in a higher risk for negative health outcomes and increased medical costs. The 620,000 older adults who risk losing SNAP benefits under the proposed rule will also have more difficulty maintaining a basic standard of living as they may be forced to choose between paying for food, medicine, rent, utilities, transportation and other necessities. (See how your state would be affected.)
 
Take Action
 
n4a plans to comment on these proposed changes, and we encourage others in the Aging Network to do the same by submitting comments highlighting the implications that this proposed rule could have on older adults in your communities. Here are several ways you can weigh in.

  1. Put Your Agency on Record. Submit formal comments about what this change could mean for the older adults that you serve. You can use n4a’s template letter to comment online at https://www.regulations.gov (search for Docket No. FNS-2018-0037). Make sure to include any information that you can find about the implications this proposed change would have for older adults in your state, which you can learn about here. Also consider incorporating individual stories about the importance of SNAP benefits to individuals in your community.
  1. Consider Submitting Individual Comments. Even if your agency cannot comment, you can weigh in personally online and, if possible, encourage your advisory council members and other advocates to do the same.
  1. Contact Your Elected Officials. Members of your congressional delegation should understand your concerns about the effects that this rule change would have on older adults in your community. If you submit a formal comment letter, make sure to send a copy to your Representative(s) and Senators. Even if your agency cannot formally comment, it is still a good idea to reach out to your legislators to voice your concerns.


Formal comments are due by midnight Monday, September 23. If your agency comments on this proposed change to SNAP, please send your submission to n4a as well. Contact n4a’s policy team with questions or to share your feedback at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
 
Thank you for your advocacy on this important issue!
 
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If you have questions or concerns about this Advocacy Alert or n4a’s policy positions, please contact Autumn Campbell and Amy Gotwals at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

n4a Update 08-15-2019

advocacy.alert.benefit

Time to Get Loud on OAA Funding!
Engage Your Grassroots in Advocacy Opportunities Now

August 15, 2019

Members of Congress are in their districts and states for the August recess and will return to DC in September to tackle decisions about federal funding for FY 2020. The Bipartisan Budget Agreement that increased overall federal budget caps for FY 2020 and FY 2021 sets the stage for lawmakers to finalize spending decisions by the end of September when current FY 2019 funding expires. More details about the budget agreement compromise are available in n4a’s recent Legislative Update.
 
In order to finalize all FY 2020 discretionary funding bills, including those for Older Americans Act and other critical aging programs, the House and the Senate will need to agree on funding levels for thousands of individual programs.
 
The good news is that earlier this summer the House passed significant increases for OAA and other important federal aging programs. This means advocates need to encourage Senate appropriators to adopt the House-passed increases for critical aging supports! It’s vital that your agency and your grassroots advocates connect with federal lawmakers NOW about the importance of adopting funding increases for Older Americans Act (OAA) and other aging programs.
 
Please augment the appropriations outreach that you have already done with your Members of Congress by asking your grassroots to take action, too. We need Members of Congress—especially in the Senate—to hear directly from their constituents who benefit from the OAA programs and services that you deliver.  
 
Take Action
 
n4a has updated our Grassroots Advocacy Alert Template included in our FY 2020 Appropriations Campaign Toolkit, which we hope will help you to urge your network of local advocates to take action now! Here’s your to-do list:

  1. Put your agency on record. Send an updated letter to your Members of Congress—especially in the Senate. Use n4a’s updated template letter to send your own messages about the importance of funding increases to your Members of Congress.
  2. Engage your grassroots. Using our toolkit or your own creative ideas, get the word out in your networks that action is needed now! Here are some approaches you could take:
    • Ask your grassroots to email or post a short social media note to lawmakers. Members monitor their email/website traffic for constituent correspondence, and personal messages resonate most. Ask your advocates to share why OAA is important to them. 
    • Ask local advocates to call Congress. Included in the Template Alert are instructions to call lawmakers and a short sample script that constituents can use.
    • Share stories in person. Encourage your local grassroots advocates to attend a townhall meeting during the rest of August to share the importance of funding for OAA. You can also invite your Member of Congress to come see your agency in action and meet some of their constituents receiving OAA services! Or, better yet, do both!

We need all AAAs, Title VI Native American programs and local allies to raise their voices in support of Older Americans Act funding. We must ensure that all members of Congress know how important robust federal funding for OAA is to promote the health, well-being and independence of their older constituents and those who care for them.
 
More advocacy resources are available on n4a’s FY 2020 Appropriations Campaign page. Stay tuned for more updates from n4a and thank you for your advocacy on this important issue!

n4a Legislative Update - July 24, 2019

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Two-Year Budget Deal Poised for Approval
Bipartisan Agreement Would Lift Budget Caps Through FY 2021

On the cusp of the upcoming congressional August recess, this week President Donald Trump, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) announced an outline for a two-year agreement that would lift budget caps for discretionary programs and mitigate the threat of another round of sequestration cuts. The measure would also suspend the federal debt limit through July 2021, which removes the issue of the debt limit and defaulting on the federal debt until after the 2020 election.

The 2019 Bipartisan Budget Agreement for FY 2020 and FY 2021 would increase overall budget caps for non-defense discretionary (NDD) programs by $88 billion in FY 2020 to $621.5 billion, which is approximately a 16 percent boost from the budget limits established in the 2011 Budget Control Act (BCA) and a $34 billion (5.6 percent) increase over FY 2019 funding. In FY 2021, the NDD funding cap would be $626.5 billion. The draft agreement would also increase funding for defense discretionary spending and includes one-time funding of $2.5 billion for the 2020 Census.

The bipartisan deal would be the latest in a series of two-year deals to lift the BCA’s too-stringent caps on discretionary programs. While previous budget agreements have included “policy riders” (legislative language unrelated to budget levels) and other must-pass bills, the current draft is limited to increasing the budget caps and suspending the debt limit.

What Does a Deal Mean for Aging and Health Programs?

Assuming this bipartisan deal passes both chambers and is signed into law—which is likely but never certain these days—congressional appropriators would have until September 30 to negotiate the details of their FY 2020 spending bills.

While it is good news that the agreement boosts overall caps for NDD funding, we don’t yet have specific details on what this would mean for individual agencies and line-items such as OAA and other aging programs.

The good news is that the House approved their funding proposals earlier this summer for the spectrum of discretionary programs supporting older adults and caregivers. The appropriations bills that passed the House include a number of important funding increases for OAA and other aging programs, which puts advocates in a good position to encourage the Senate to adopt the House-passed funding levels. The Senate has not yet produced its spending bills, instead choosing to wait until an overall budget deal is passed. Given the timing, the Senate is likely to start working directly with the House to negotiate the final appropriations measures.

Next Steps for Aging Advocates

If this 2019 Bipartisan Budget Agreement is approved, advocates should once again weigh in with their lawmakers—particularly in the Senate—to encourage adopting House-approved funding increases for aging and other NDD programs in FY 2020. Aging advocates must continue the drumbeat to increase funding for OAA Title III B Supportive Services, III E Family Caregiver Support and Title VI Native American aging programs; to protect SHIP funding, which was had been threatened in recent years; and to increase funding for all Older Americans Act programs and other essential aging and health care services. For more information and resources to assist you in your appropriations advocacy, check out n4a’s FY 2020 Appropriations Campaign page.

Stay tuned to n4a’s Legislative Updates and Answers on Aging weekly member newsletter as this bipartisan budget agreement moves forward, and watch for additional Advocacy Alerts with messaging for your Members of Congress about appropriations priorities as lawmakers finalize FY 2020 spending bills!

Pritzker after Senate adjourns: ‘Illinois is back’

Illinois Legislature
Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker holds a press conference, surrounded by both Republicans and Democrats from the legislature, touting the accomplishments of the spring session.
 
"“Today, the people of Illinois can be proud that we are putting state government back on the side of working families,” Pritzker said at the news conference. They can be proud that we are restoring fiscal responsibility after many years of crisis and deficits.
...
Make no mistake. We still have a lot of work ahead,” he said. “Our budget and pension challenges unfolded over many years, and they won’t go away overnight. We have more big things to do: to bring more efficiencies to state government, to grow our economy at a faster rate, to create jobs, to invest in our future.”"
 
Check out news article here.
 

Get in touch

Location

ECIAAA
1003 Maple Hill Road
Bloomington, IL 61705-9327

Contact

Email: aginginfo@eciaaa.org
Phone: 309-829-2065
Fax: 309-829-6021

Opening hours

Mon-Fri: 8:00 am to 4:00 pm
Sat-Sun: CLOSED

Seniors

Seniors may call toll free:
Phone: 1-800-888-4456