Congress Reauthorized the Older Americans Act in March 2020
The Older Americans Act (OAA) is the country’s leading vehicle for delivering services and supports to older people nationwide. The OAA makes many services and supports for older adults available at low or no cost. Necessary services like home delivered meals, transportation, and benefits counseling all help older adults live in their homes and communities and age with dignity. It is an invaluable law that helps millions of people each year.
On March 25, 2020, the reauthorization of the Older Americans Act was signed into law. We continue to advocate for the explicit inclusion of our communities (see below) in the Older Americans Act and turn our attention to the next round of reauthorization.
What has the Diverse Elders Coalition done?
In 2017, the DEC released the fact sheet, Diverse Elders and the Older Americans Act, along with three other fact sheets in response to the release of the Trump administration’s planned budget for FY18, which included massive cuts to social safety net programs. The series of fact sheets highlight federal programming that improves aging for diverse elders.
In 2019, the DEC revised and re-released our recommendations for the reauthorization of the Older Americans Act. Our requests to Congress include increased authorized funding for all Titles of the Act, strengthened support for SCSEP, the recognition of LGBT older adults as a population of most need, and more. We attended several meetings and advocacy opportunities on Capitol Hill to promote these priorities later this year.
Our members are also active in advocating for their communities in the OAA reauthorization. The National Indian Council on Aging (NICOA) has released their recommendations for the reauthorization of the Older Americans Act.
Additionally, SAGE and other national partners worked to ensure that LGBT older adults were explicitly included in the 2020 reauthorization. The current reauthorization will require that state and local departments of aging be held accountable for undertaking outreach to LGBT older people who need services in their communities. It will also hold them responsible for engaging in both data collection and reporting on the needs of LGBT older people and whether they are meeting those needs.
In December 2015, the Diverse Elders Coalition released two new consumer resources to promote the Older Americans Act as one of the coalition’s main priorities. The Older Americans Act and Diverse Elders: Emerging Solutions for Critical Constituencies was updated in March 2019 to reflect revised priorities. These resources are available on our Learn page or by clicking the links below: