Older Americans Act: 105th Congress Issues
CRS Report for Congress
Older Americans Act: 105 Congress Issues
Updated December 1, 1998
Carol V. O’Shaughnessy
Specialist in Social Legislation
Education and Public Welfare Division
Congressional Research Service ˜ The Library of Congress
This report sums up 105 Congress action on reauthorization of the Older Americans Act.th
It describes proposals that were introduced (H.R. 4099/Riggs; S. 2295/McCain; H.R. 4344/
DeFazio) and discusses issues in reauthorization. Issues included: consolidation and
restructuring of programs; restructuring of the community service employment program; and
revision of provisions related to the interstate funding formula for supportive and nutrition
services, targeting of services to low-income minority individuals, and cost-sharing forthth
supportive and nutrition services. Neither the 104 nor the 105 Congress reauthorized the
Act after its authorizations of appropriations expired in 1995. Appropriations legislation
for FY1996-FY1999 has continued programs under the Act. This report will not be updated.
For information on Older Americans Act funding, see CRS Report 95-917, Older Americans
Act: Programs and Funding.
Older Americans Act: 105 Congress Issues
Authorizations of appropriations for the Older Americans Act expired at the end
of 1995. The 105 Congress, like the 104 Congress, did not reauthorize the Act.thth
Appropriations legislation for the last four years—FY1996 through FY1999—has
continued the program.
The Older Americans Act, funded at $1.4 billion in FY1999, has been
reauthorized 12 times, the last time in 1992. Its most visible program is the elderly
nutrition program, which provides 240 million congregate and home-delivered meals
to older persons. Other services it funds include a wide range of supportive services,
such as home care services for the frail elderly, ombudsman services for residents of
long-term care facilities, and elder abuse prevention services.
In the past, the Act has received bipartisan congressional support. However,
beginning with the 104 Congress, and continuing through the 105 Congress,thth
Members of Congress have differed about certain provisions that were under
discussion as part of the reauthorization. Although the House Economic and
Educational Opportunities Committee and the Senate Labor and Human Resources
Committee reported bills to reauthorize the Act in 1996, these bills were not acted
upon by either chamber.
Issues that continued to be in controversy in the 105 Congress includedth
proposals to: restructure the Act’s programs and reduce the number of authorizations
of appropriations; restructure the community service employment program; impose
cost-sharing requirements on participants toward services they receive; revise the
formula for distributing funds for nutrition and supportive services to states; and
change provisions that target services to low income minority older persons.
In June 1998, the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Youth
and Families of the House Education and the Workforce Committee (which has
responsibility for the Act) introduced H.R. 4099, the Older Americans Act
Amendments of 1998. The bill revisited issues that remained in controversy at theth
end of the 104 Congress, and modified proposals that were contained in the House
Committee-reported 104 Congress bill. H.R. 4099 would have reduced the 20th
currently authorized programs to eight, made structural changes in the community
service employment program, and modified the formula for distributing funds,
among other things. The Chairman of the Subcommittee on Aging of the Senate
Labor and Human Resources Committee, which has responsibility for the Act, did
not introduce legislation in the 105 Congress.th
In response to rising criticism about the lack of congressional action to consider
reauthorization legislation, Senator McCain and Representative DeFazio introduced
bills (S. 2295/ H.R. 4344) that would have provided a 3-year reauthorization of the
Act, but would have made no substantive changes to current law. Other proposals
introduced (S. 390/Mikulski; H.R. 1671/Martinez) were similar to the
Administration’s proposal for the 104 Congress.th
Introduction ................................................ 1
Activity During the 105th Congress..............................1
Issues in Reauthorization......................................2
Consolidation and Restructuring of Older Americans Act Programs......3
Restructuring the Community Service Employment Program...........7
Interstate Funding Formula for Supportive and Nutrition Services......10
Targeting of Services to Low-Income Minority Older Persons.........11
Cost-Sharing for Services by Older Persons.......................12
List of Tables
Table 1. Programs Authorized by the Older Americans Act in Current Law, and
in H.R. 4099, as introduced in the 105th Congress...................4
Table 2. Older Americans Act (OAA) Programs: FY1999 Appropriations
and FY1999 Authorization of Appropriations in H.R. 4099, as introduced.6
Older Americans Act: 105 Congress Issues
Authorization of appropriations for the Older Americans Act expired at the end
of FY1995. Its programs continued to be funded for FY1996-FY1999 through
appropriations legislation for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services,
Education and Related Agencies, and the Department of Agriculture. 1
Legislation to reauthorize the Act (H.R. 4099, Older Americans Amendments
of 1998) was introduced by Representative Riggs, Chairman of the Subcommittee on
Early Childhood, Youth and Families of the House Education and the Workforce
Committee, on June 19, 1998. It would have reauthorized the Act through FY2003.
During the 104 Congress, legislation to reauthorize the Act was reported by theth
House Economic and Educational Opportunities (EEO) Committee and the Senate
Labor and Human Resources Committee, but was not acted upon by either chamber.2
Bipartisan agreement to report the bills did not occur in either House or Senate
committee. For a detailed discussion of the bills, see CRS Report 95-32, Older3
Americans Act: 104th Congress Legislation.
Activity During the 105th Congress
Although many Members of Congress and many aging organizations were
concerned about the delay in enactment of reauthorization legislation, ultimately the
in the 104 Congress bills, and devising ways to modify approaches to these
proposals, were major factors in the delay in the 105 Congress.th
On June 19, 1998, a bill to reauthorize the Act, H.R. 4099, the Older Americans
Act Amendments of 1998, was introduced by the Chairman of the Subcommittee on
Early Childhood, Youth and Families of the House Education and the Workforce
Committee which has responsibility for the Act. H.R. 4099 revisited certain issues
that remained in controversy at the end of the 104 Congress, and modified proposalsthth
that were contained in the House Committee-reported 104 Congress bill. These
For further information, see CRS Report 95-917, Older Americans Act: Programs and1
Funding, by Carol O’Shaughnessy and Alice Butler.
This House Committee changed its name in the 105 Congress to the House Education and2th
the Workforce Committee.
H.R. 2570 was reported by the House Economic and Educational Opportunities (EEO)3
Committee on April 25, 1996; S.1643 was reported by the Senate Labor and Human
Resources Committee on July 31, 1996.
include proposals to (1) consolidate authorizations of appropriations for certain
programs under the Act; (2) restructure the community service employment program;
(3) change the interstate formula for distribution of Title III funds for supportive and
nutrition services; (4) revise certain requirements to target supportive and nutrition
services to low-income minority older persons that are in current law, while retaining
an overall requirement to target services to these persons; and (5) impose cost-
sharing requirements for certain services so that participants contribute toward their
costs. The Chairman of the Subcommittee on Aging of the Senate Labor and Human
Resources Committee, which has responsibility for the Act, did not introduce
legislation in the 105 Congress.th
By early summer 1998, some Members of Congress were concerned that there
appeared to be no action on reauthorization. In response to rising criticism from
constituents and constituent organizations about the lack of action, two bills were
introduced that would have reauthorized the Act through FY2001. Senator McCain
introduced S. 2295 on July 13, 1998, and Representative DeFazio introduced a
companion bill, H.R. 4344, on July 29, 1998. The bills would have simply
reauthorized the Act, and made no substantive program changes. They received
substantial congressional support — S. 2295 had 67 co-sponsors, and H.R. 4344 had
Other reauthorization proposals were introduced. These were S. 390, Older
Americans Act Amendments of 1997 (Mikulski), and H.R. 1671, Older Americans
Act Amendments of 1997 (Martinez). These bills were similar to the reauthorizationth
proposals suggested by the Administration during the 104 Congress. They differed
from H.R. 4099 and bills reported by the House and Senate Committees during the
authorizations of appropriations for the Act’s programs, nor would have made major
structural changes in the community service employment program.
Other 105 Congress bills include S. 948 (Grassley)/H.R. 2167 (Schumer), theth
Pension Assistance and Counseling Act of 1997. These bills would have amended
the research, training, and demonstration program authorized under Title IV of the
Act to create a toll-free telephone number for individuals who are seeking
information and assistance regarding pension and other retirement benefits, among
The House Education and the Workforce Committee held reauthorization
hearings on the Act on July 9 and 16, 1997. The Subcommittee received testimony
from Administration officials and representatives of state and area agencies on aging,
services providers, and Indian tribal organizations.
Issues in Reauthorization
The following discusses issues that have been raised as part of the
Consolidation and Restructuring of Older Americans Act Programs
Similar to the 104 Congress House and Senate Committee reported- bills, H.R.th
4099 would have consolidated and restructured certain Older Americans Act
programs, and given more flexibility to states in the operation of aging service
programs. Current law authorizes 20 separate programs under the Act (although
some have never been funded). H.R. 4099 would have reduced the number of
separately authorized programs to eight.
While the bill proposed major changes in the structure of the Act, it would have
preserved core functions of the state and area agency on aging programs under Title
III. These include responsibilities of these agencies to plan and coordinate service
programs on behalf of older persons, and to advocate for programs and services on
their behalf. Current law requirements that state and area agencies develop state and
area plans on aging, taking into consideration the needs of older persons with the
greatest social and economic need, would have remained intact. Similar to the 104th
Congress legislation, H.R. 4099 would have eliminated a number of specific plan
requirements that were viewed as burdensome to state and area agencies.
H.R. 4099 would have consolidated the authorization of appropriations for the
congregate and home-delivered nutrition programs, now under two separate
authorities. Under this approach, states would have received one allotment of funds
for congregate and home-delivered meals, but would have been expected to assess
the need for both types of nutrition services. There appeared to be consensus around
this issue in the 104 Congress. The bill would have retained a separateth
authorization of appropriations for the U.S. Department of Agriculture portion of the
One aspect of proposals to consolidate programs remained controversial at the
end of the 104 Congress. The House Committee-approved bill would haveth
eliminated a separate authorization of appropriations for the long-term care
ombudsman program and elder abuse prevention services, and a separate title for
elder rights activities. Some aging advocates feared that these proposals would have
jeopardized funding for elder rights activities. Unlike the 104 Congress Houseth
Committee-reported bill and in response to concern about its approach, H.R. 4099
would have retained a separate authorization of appropriations for the long-term care
ombudsman program, and for elder abuse remediation under a new Title IV.
Table 1 lists programs separately authorized under current law and in H.R.
and authorizations of appropriations for these programs for FY1999 in H.R. 4099.
Table 1. Programs Authorized by the Older Americans Act in
Current Law, and in H.R. 4099, as introduced in the 105th Congress
Current lawH.R. 4099, as introduced
Title and programs with separate authorization of appropriations
Title II. Administration on Aging. Title I. General Provisions. Authorization
Authorization of appropriations forof appropriations for AoA salaries and
AoA salaries and expenses andexpenses and for streamlined AoA
requirements for AoA activities andactivities and responsibilities.
Title II. Federal Council on AgingNot authorized.
Title III. Grants for State andTitle III. Grants for State and Community
Community Services on AgingServices on Aging
Supportive services and centers. Supportive services and centers.
Authorizes a wide range of socialAuthorizes a wide range of social services
services and multipurpose seniorand multipurpose senior centers. Includes
centers. in-home services for the frail elderly, long-
term care ombudsman and elder abuse
prevention, disease prevention and health
promotion, and supportive services for
Nutrition servicesSingle authorization of appropriations for
congregate nutrition and home-delivered
nutrition services. Adds authority for
nutrition services in adult day care settings.
— Congregate nutrition
— Home-delivered nutritionUSDA assistance included in nutrition
— USDA assistanceprogram with a separate authorization of
appropriations.Each component of the nutrition
program has a separate authorization
Disease prevention and healthServices specifically authorized under
promotionsupportive services and centers with no
separate authorization of appropriations.
School-based meals/multigenerationalIntergenerational meals programs
activities*encouraged in nutrition program. No
separate authorization of appropriations.
In-home services for the frail elderlyServices authorized under supportive
services and centers program. No separate
authorization of appropriations.
Assistance for special needs*No separate authorization of
Supportive activities for caretakers*Services authorized under supportive
services and centers. No separate
authorization of appropriations.
Current lawH.R. 4099, as introduced
Title IV. Training, Research, andSeparate title eliminated. Broad functions
Discretionary Projects and Programs. included in Title I with separate
Includes two authorizations ofauthorization of appropriations for
appropriations, one for research,research, training, and demonstration,
training, and demonstration and aincluding a set-aside for the nationwide
separate authorization for servicetoll-free telephone line (elder care locator).
Title V. Community ServiceTitle V. Community Service Employment
Employment for Older Americans.for Older Americans. (Includes changes in
program administration and structure.)
Title VI. Grants for NativeTitle II. Grants for Native American
Americans. Separate authorizations ofPrograms on Aging. Single authorization
appropriations for grants to Indianof appropriations for grants to Indian tribal
tribal organizations and Nativeorganizations and Native Hawaiian
Hawaiian organizations. organizations.
Title VII. Vulnerable Elder RightsTitle IV. State Long-term Care
Protection Activities. SeparateOmbudsman Programs; Services for the
authorizations of appropriations forPrevention and Remediation of Elder
long care ombudsman program, elderAbuse, Neglect, and Exploitation. Contains
abuse prevention program, elder rightsrequirements for state long-term care
and legal assistance,* outreach,ombudsman program (Title III of the bill
counseling and assistance program,requires states to establish a long-term care
and Native Americans elder rightsombudsman program). Also contains
program.*requirements for elder abuse prevention
and remediation services, if a state elects to
provide such services. One authorization of
appropriations for both programs.
Separate authorizations of appropriations
for other programs in current law are
Note: *These programs have never been funded.
Table 2. Older Americans Act (OAA) Programs: FY1999
Appropriations and FY1999 Authorization of Appropriations
in H.R. 4099, as introduced
OAA programFY1999 appropriationsof appropriations in
AoA program administration$14.8 million$14.8 million
Supportive services and$300.3 million$310.2 million
Congregate and home-$486.4 million—total$502.5
delivered nutrition servicesmillion—congregate and
USDA assistance$140 million$145.0 million
Disease prevention and health$16 millionNo separate authorization
In-home services for the frail$9.8 millionNo separate authorization
Research, training and$18 million. (Of this$10.3 million. Of this
demonstration activitiesamount, $750 thousandamount, up to $1 million
was used for themay be used for the
nationwide toll-freenationwide toll-free
telephone line (eldertelephone line (elder care
care locator) for each oflocator).
Long-term care ombudsman$12.1 million—total$9.4 million
and elder abuse prevention
($7.4 million for long-
term care ombudsman
services; $4.7 million
for elder abuse
Grants for Native Americans$18.5 million$19.1 million
Community service$440.2 million$454.7 million
Restructuring the Community Service Employment Program
The senior community service employment program, authorized under Title V
of the Act, provides opportunities for part-time employment in community service
activities for unemployed, low-income older persons who have poor employment
prospects. The program is funded at $440 million in FY1999, representing 30% of
Older Americans Act funds. It is administered by the Department of Labor (DoL),
which awards funds directly to national sponsoring organizations and to states.4
H.R. 4099 would have made changes in (1) the distribution of funds by the
federal government; (2) formula allocations to grantees; and (3) requirements
regarding use of funds by grantees for enrollee wages and fringe benefits,
administration, and other enrollee costs. Like the 104 Congress Committee-th
reported bills, H.R. 4099 would have restructured the program, in part, to respond to
a 1995 General Accounting Office (GAO) report. That report reviewed certain
administrative issues related to the program, including DoL’s method of awarding
funds, formula allocation of funds, and grantee use of funds. H.R. 4099 would have5
given states more control of the administration of the program and introduced
competition for funds among prospective grantee organizations.
In addition, H.R. 4099 would have retained the community service employment
program as a separate Older Americans Act title, and retained DoL as the federal
administrative authority. The 104 Congress legislation would have eliminated theth
separate title and moved the program to AoA.
Distribution of Community Service Employment Funds by the Federal
Government. Currently, 78% of funds are awarded by DoL directly to 10 national
organizations on a non-competitive basis; 22% of funds is distributed to states. Theth
104 Congress bills would have transferred all funds now administered by national
organizations to states. In contrast, H.R. 4099 would have transferred only a portion
of funds now administered by national organizations to states, so that by FY2003,
to states. The national organizations’ share of total funds would have decreased from
The 10 national organizations are: American Association of Retired Persons; Asociacion4
Nacional Por Personas Mayores; Green Thumb; National Asian Pacific Center on Aging;
National Center and Caucus on the Black Aged; National Council on Aging; National
Council of Senior Citizens; National Indian Council on Aging; National Urban League; and
the U.S. Forest Service.
General Accounting Office. Senior Community Service Employment Program Delivery5
Could Be Improved Through Legislative and Administrative Actions. GAO/HEHS-96-4.
organizations be awarded on a competitive basis.
This approach is, in part, based on a goal of reducing the number of national
organizations that operate in each state, and of giving states more control in the
administration and coordination of the program. National organizations receive
funds to administer the program in all but three states; in many states, multiple
national organizations administer programs in addition to a designated state agency.
Some state agencies have been concerned about the duplication of national
organizations’ activities that affect the distribution of employment positions within
a state. In its report, GAO noted that there is inequitable distribution of funding
within some states as well as duplication of effort among national and state sponsors.
Proponents of the approach to equalize funds for national organizations and
states indicate that costs of program administration and duplication of effort within
states would decrease since there would be fewer organizations that would administer
the program in some states. Proponents also say that giving states more leverage in
funding decisions would increase coordination of effort among all grantees in states.
The restructuring of the senior community service employment programth
generated substantial controversy during the 104 Congress. Some existing national
grantees expressed concern that their continued existence would be threatened if
more program funding were to be shifted to states, and if states, rather than the
federal government, were to make decisions about which organizations would be
grantees. They were also concerned that restructuring could result in disruption of
jobs for some existing enrollees. A number of organizations and some Members of7
Despite requirements in the authorizing statute that states are to receive a larger portion6
of funds, appropriations law for many years has stipulated that 78% of funds be distributed
to national organizations, and 22% to states. This has been a long-standing issue. In the
1978 reauthorization of the Older Americans Act, the Senate Labor and Human Resources
Committee expressed concern about the”circumvention” by the Appropriations Committee
of the authorizing committee formula.
In more recent action on the funding split, for FY1997 the House Appropriations
Committee proposed to increase the amount of funding allocated to states to 35% of the
total, thereby reducing funds to national organizations to 65%. This action was taken in part
based on recognition that the House authorizing committee was moving toward transferring
all Title V funding to the states. However, in final action on FY1997 appropriations (P.L.
104-208), Congress continued to stipulate the 78%/22% split for national organizations and
states, as it has done in the past.
The modifications to the program were debated during markup of the bills by the House7th
EEO Committee and the Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee in the 104
Congress, with certain members of the Committees voicing objections to the proposed
restructuring. Some Members were concerned about the bills’ approach to completely turn
over the program to the states and that such a transition could be disruptive to enrollees.
There was also concern that there would be a loss of the national organizations’ expertise
in administering the program.
An amendment to S. 1643 to maintain direct award of funding to national
organizations by the federal government offered by Senator Mikulski during the Labor and
Human Resources Committee markup was not approved. Senator Mikulski stated that the
Congress indicated that the program has operated well under the national
organizations’ administration, and that, because of the long-standing association of
some of the organizations with the program, they have expertise to continue
administering the majority of funds.
Formula Allocations to Grantees. Tile V funding is distributed to national
organizations and states using a combination of factors, including a “hold harmless”
for employment positions held by national organizations in each state in 1978, and
a formula based on states’ relative share of persons aged 55 and over and per capita
income. In FY1998, 57% of funds were distributed according to the hold harmless
provision ($252 million out of $440.2 million for July 1, 1998-June 30, 1999
program year); the balance is distributed according to each state’s relative population
of persons aged 55 and over and per capita income. Because the hold harmless
provision is based on a 1978 state-by-state distribution of positions held by national
organizations, it does not ensure equitable distribution of funds based on relative
measures of age and per capita income. In its report on the program, GAO
recommended that if Congress wishes to ensure equitable distribution of funds, it
should consider eliminating or amending the hold harmless provision.
The formula in H.R. 4099 builds upon the current methodology, but it would
have moved the hold harmless amount to 1998. The bill would have required that
funds for FY1999-FY2003 be distributed to states based on the share of funds they
received in FY1998; any funds appropriated in excess of the FY1998 level would
have been distributed on the basis of states’ relative share of persons age 55 and over
and per capita income. Funds would have then been distributed to national
organizations and to state agencies as described above.
Use of Funds for Enrollee Wages/Fringe Benefits, Administration, and Other
Enrollee Costs. Currently, funds are used for (1) enrollee wages and fringe benefits;
(2) administration; and (3) other enrollee costs. DoL regulations require that at least
75% of funds be used for enrollee wages and fringe benefits. The law specifies that
grantees are allowed to use up to 13.5% of federal funds for administration (and up
to 15% in certain circumstances). Any remaining funds may be used for “other
enrollee costs” that, under current DoL regulations, may include recruitment and
orientation of enrollees and supportive services for enrollees, among other things.
In its review, GAO found that most national organizations and some state sponsors
had budgeted administrative costs in excess of the statutory limit by inappropriately
classifying them as “other enrollee costs.”
H.R. 4099 would have established a new minimum amount of grant funds that
must be used for enrollee wages and fringe benefits, specify a limit on “other
enrollee costs,” and redefine such costs. First, it would have required that a
minimum of 85% of a grantee’s funds be used for enrollee wages and fringe benefits
(compared to 75% in DOL regulations). Of these funds, up to 5% could be used for
restructuring of the Title V program would be revisited when S. 1643 reached the Senate
floor. A similar amendment was proposed by Representative Kildee during the markup of
H.R. 2570, but was also rejected by the EEO Committee.
“other enrollee costs.” The bill would have defined these as costs for employment-
related counseling, supportive services, and transportation. This approach was
designed to limit funds for administration by prohibiting funds categorized as “other
enrollee costs” to be used for administration.
The bill would have retained the same limit on administrative costs as in current
law, that is, up to 13.5% of a grantee’s funds (with a waiver up to 15%, if approved
by the Secretary). Under this approach, grantees would have paid for enrollee
assessments and training from their administrative costs.
Performance Standards. H.R. 4099 would have required the Secretary of
Labor to publish regulations establishing performance standards. The standards8
would have included requirements that:
!at least 20% of participants are placed in unsubsidized employment, and that
they remain in unsubsidized jobs for at least 4 months after placement;
!there be a specific percentage reduction in participants’ dependency on public
assistance, as a result of program participation;
!a specific percentage of participants receive employment and training through
other federal, state and local training programs; and
!there be a specific percentage increase in employment opportunities in
The bill also specifies penalties and adjustment to grants if grantees fail to meet the
Interstate Funding Formula for Supportive and Nutrition Services
The way in which AoA distributes nutrition and supportive funds to states
continued to be at issued during the 105 Congress as it had during the 104thth
congress. Current law requires the Administration on Aging (AoA) to distribute Title
III funds for supportive and nutrition services to states based on their relative share
of the population aged 60 and older. In addition to specifying certain minimum
funding amounts, the law contains a “hold harmless” provision requiring that no state
receive less than it received in FY1987.
AoA distributes funds for supportive and nutrition services in the following
way. First, states are allotted funds in an amount equal to their FY1987 allocations,
which were based on estimates of states’ relative share of the total U.S. population
in 1985. Second, the balance of the appropriation is allotted to states based on their9
relative share of the population aged 60 and over as derived from the most recently
Development of performance standards for the program was also discussed during the 1048th
Congress. During markup of the Senate bill by the Committee on Labor and Human
Resources, Senator Mikulski introduced an amendment that would have established certain
performance standards for the program.
There is usually a two-year time lag in availability of estimates of state population from9
the U.S. Census Bureau; therefore, for example, 1998 funding allotments relied on 1996
state population estimates.
available estimates of state population. And third, state allotments are adjusted to
assure that the minimum grant requirements are met. The effect of this methodology
is that the majority of funds are distributed according to population estimates that do
not reflect the most recent population trends. For example, for FY1998, 84% of total
Title III funds were distributed according to the FY1987 “hold harmless.” The
remainder of funds appropriated was distributed according to 1996 population data.
The method that AoA uses to meet the 1987 “hold harmless” provision has
received some scrutiny. In a 1994 report, GAO concluded that Title III funds are not
distributed according to the requirements of the statute. GAO concluded that the10
method employed by AoA does not distribute funds proportionately according to
states’ relative share of the older population, based on the most recent population
data and, therefore, negatively affects states whose older population is growing faster
than others. GAO recommended that AoA revise its method to allot funds to states,
first, on the basis of the most current population estimates, and then adjust the
allotments to meet the hold harmless and statutory minimum requirements.
H.R. 4099 would have followed the GAO recommendation by requiring that
funds be distributed, first, according to the most recent data on states’ relative share
of persons 60 years and older. The bill then stipulated that no state would receive
less than it received in FY1998, thereby creating a 1998 hold harmless requirement.
The intent of this approach was to have more of total funding distributed according
to the most recent population data as total funding increases over the FY1998 level,
but at the same time assuring that states allotments would not go below their FY1998
levels. The actual effect of this approach in FY1999 would have been that states
would have generally received approximately the same amount as they received in
FY1998 because funding for nutrition and supportive services did not increase
between those years.
H.R. 4099 differed from the 104 Congress House Committee-reported bill,th
which would have gradually eliminated the 1987 hold harmless requirement over a
period of years. Some states were concerned about this approach, indicating that
without a hold harmless provision, they would have lost funds. H.R. 4099's hold
harmless provision may have ameliorated concerns of some states that would have
lost funds under the 104 Congress bill.th11
Targeting of Services to Low-Income Minority Older Persons
Targeting of services to low-income minority older persons continued to be a
subject of review during the 105th Congress, as it has during past reauthorizations
of the Act. Current law contains numerous requirements that state and area agencies
U.S. General Accounting Office. Older Americans Act. Title III Funds Not Distributed10
According to Statute. GAO/HEHS-94-37. January 1994.
The Senate Committee-approved bill would have taken a different approach to changing11
the formula. It would have based allotments for supportive and nutrition services on two
factors: a composite measure that attempts to capture the relative size of a state’s relative
“elderly in-need” (EIN) percentage; and, a measure of a state’s relative total taxable
resources compared to the state’s relative EIN.
on aging target services to persons in greatest social and economic need, with
particular attention on low-income minority older persons. It also requires that the
agencies set specific objectives for serving low-income minority older persons and
that program development, advocacy, and outreach efforts be focused on these
groups. Service providers are required to meet specific objectives set by area
agencies for providing services to low-income minority older persons, and area
agencies are required to describe in their area plans how they have met these
The House bill, as introduced in the 104 Congress, would have retainedth
requirements that the Title III program focus on older persons who have the greatest
social and economic need, but would have deleted a number of provisions on specific
targeting on low-income minority older persons that are in current law. These
deletions were debated during markup of the bill by the EEO Committee; an
amendment to the bill that would have restored certain targeting requirements
contained in current law was rejected.
H.R. 4099 contains targeting provisions that are similar to those contained in the
were not in the Committee-reported bill. It would have required that (1) state
agencies develop a formula to distribute funds within the state, taking into account
the geographical distribution of older individuals with greatest social or economic
need; (2) preference be given to providing services to older individuals with greatest
social and economic need, with particular attention to low-income minority older
individuals; (3) state and area agencies evaluate the need for services by older
individuals with the greatest social and economic need, with particular attention to
low-income older individuals; and (4) state and area agencies conduct outreach to
older individuals with the greatest social and economic need, and to low-income
The bill did not contain all references to low-income minority older individuals
that are in current law. Therefore, the targeting issue continued to be debated duringth
the 105 Congress.
Cost-Sharing for Services by Older Persons
One of the most frequent issues to arise in past reauthorization legislation has
been whether the Act should allow mandatory cost sharing for certain social services.
Under current law and regulations, mandatory fees are prohibited, but nutrition and
supportive services providers are allowed to solicit voluntary contributions from
older persons toward the costs of services. Older persons may not be denied a service
because they will not or cannot make a contribution. Funds collected through
voluntary contributions are to be used to expand services. In the past, Congress has
resisted any attempts to allow Older Americans Act programs to charge fees for
H.R. 4099 would have allowed states to apply cost sharing to most Title III
services on a sliding scale basis. It would have prohibited cost sharing for certain
services — these are information and assistance, outreach, benefits counseling, case
management, and ombudsman and other protective services. It would have
prohibited states from imposing cost sharing on individuals with low income (as
defined by the state, but no lower than 125% of the federal poverty level), and would
have required that incomes of older persons be determined on a self-declaration basis.
It would have prohibited states from denying older persons services because of an
inability to pay, and would have continued to allow older persons to make voluntary
contributions for services, as under current law. This cost-sharing provision is the
same as that in the 104 House Committee-approved bill. The Administration’s billth
for the 104 Congress also proposed a new provision on cost-sharing. It containedth
some of the same elements as the House and Senate-Committee approved bills, but
would have also exempted nutrition services from cost-sharing.
State and area agencies on aging have been in favor of a policy that would allow
them to impose cost sharing for certain services, arguing, in part, that such a policy
would eliminate barriers to coordination with other state-funded services programs
that do require cost sharing, and would improve targeting of services to those most
in need. Some representatives of aging services programs, such as those representing
minority/ethnic elderly, have been opposed to cost sharing, arguing, in part, that a
mandatory cost sharing policy would discourage participation by low-income and
minority older persons and would create a welfare stigma. In the 1987 and 1992
reauthorizations of the Act, Congress considered, but ultimately rejected, proposals
to change the current voluntary contributions policy.