On April 19, 2016, President Obama signed as PL 114-144, S 192, the Older Americans Act Reauthorization of 2016 (Act). It reauthorizes Older Americans Act programs though FY 2019, including Native American Nutrition and Supportive Services and Native American Caregiver Support. The authorization for the Older Americans Act expired in 2011 but Congress has continued to fund it.
Native American Nutrition and Supportive Services. The Act provides authorization levels which would allow modest increases over the current appropriation for the Native American Nutrition and Supportive Services program. The program provides funds for congregate and home-delivered meals, transportation, health screening (including oral health), and other services. A new provision encourages the use of locally-grown food when feasible.
The Native American program is authorized separately from the formula-funded state nutrition and supportive services programs. The Act continues language that the Older Americans Act services under the Native American programs are to be comparable to those provided under the state programs. It also continues the Sense of Congress provision that Indians, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians are “a vital resource entitled to all benefits and services available and that such services and benefits should be provided in a manner that preserves and restores their respective dignity, self-respect, and cultural identities.”
Currently, there are 264 tribal organizations representing 400 tribes and one Native Hawaiian organization receiving formula-based funds from this program. Funds are distributed based on their share of the Native population age 60 and over. Grantees must represent at least 50 Native Americans who are age 60 or over, although may they deem as “elder” and provide services to persons under age 60.
The FY 2016 appropriation for this program is $31.5 million. The Act provides the following authorization levels:
FY 2017 FY 2018 FY 2019
$31.9 million $32.6 million $33.6 million
Native American Caregiver Support. The FY 2016 appropriation for this program is
$7.5 million. As with the Services program, the authorization levels would allow for modest funding increases. The Act provides the following authorization levels:
FY 2017 FY 2018 FY 2019
$7.7 million $7.9 million $8.0 million
Currently, there are 231 tribal organizations receiving formula-based funds from this program. Funds are distributed based on their share of the Native population age 60 and over. Grantees must represent at least 50 Native Americans age 60 or over, and must be receiving a Native American Nutrition and Supportive Services award. Funds are for the purpose of assisting tribes in providing support services for family caregivers as well as for grandparents caring for grandchildren. Services include respite, caregiver training, information and outreach, counseling and support groups. The Act clarifies that older adults caring for older children with disabilities are eligible to participate in the program.
Other. There are additional programs in the Older Americans Act including the Ombudsman Program, Resource Centers, and Community Service Employment. We attach a brief summary of the Act prepared by the House Education and the Workforce Committee.
Please let us know if we may provide additional information regarding PL 114-144, the Older Americans Act Reauthorization of 2016.